Alec Shelbrooke Portrait

Alec Shelbrooke

Conservative - Elmet and Rothwell

First elected: 6th May 2010


Energy Bill [HL]
17th May 2023 - 29th Jun 2023
UK Infrastructure Bank Bill [Lords]
16th Nov 2022 - 22nd Nov 2022
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
7th Sep 2022 - 26th Oct 2022
Genetic Technology (Precision Breeding) Bill
22nd Jun 2022 - 7th Jul 2022
Elections Bill
15th Sep 2021 - 26th Oct 2021
European Scrutiny Committee
15th Jul 2015 - 7th Nov 2016
Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee
23rd Jun 2014 - 30th Mar 2015
Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee
23rd Jun 2014 - 30th Mar 2015
Backbench Business Committee
10th Dec 2013 - 14th May 2014


There are no upcoming events identified
Division Votes
Tuesday 27th February 2024
Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 293 Conservative No votes vs 2 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 179 Noes - 294
Speeches
Tuesday 27th February 2024
BBC News Impartiality: Government's Role
Before we move on to the in-depth part of my right hon. and learned Friend’s speech, is not one of …
Written Answers
Tuesday 27th February 2024
GP Surgeries
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps her Department is taking to help support …
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
Wednesday 29th June 2016
National Minimum Wage (Workplace Internships) Bill 2016-17
A Bill to require the Secretary of State to apply the provisions of the National Minimum Wage Act 1998 to …
MP Financial Interests
Monday 30th October 2023
1. Employment and earnings
23 November 2023, received £50 for an interview on the First Edition show on Talk TV on 19 October 2023. …
EDM signed
Wednesday 4th November 2020
British record breaking Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton
That this House congratulates Formula One World Champion Lewis Hamilton on winning his 92nd Grand Prix thus making him the …
Supported Legislation
Wednesday 5th February 2020
Unpaid Work Experience (Prohibition) (No. 2) Bill 2019-21
A Bill to prohibit unpaid work experience exceeding four weeks; and for connected purposes.

Division Voting information

During the current Parliament, Alec Shelbrooke has voted in 749 divisions, and 2 times against the majority of their Party.

30 Mar 2022 - Health and Care Bill - View Vote Context
Alec Shelbrooke voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 72 Conservative Aye votes vs 175 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 215 Noes - 188
11 Jul 2022 - Employment Agencies and Trade Unions - View Vote Context
Alec Shelbrooke voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 1 Conservative No votes vs 284 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 289 Noes - 202
View All Alec Shelbrooke 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
Cat Smith (Labour)
(22 debate interactions)
John Spellar (Labour)
(19 debate interactions)
Chloe Smith (Conservative)
(17 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Cabinet Office
(93 debate contributions)
Department of Health and Social Care
(54 debate contributions)
Ministry of Defence
(47 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
Legislation Debates
Parliamentary Constituencies Act 2020
(15,170 words contributed)
Energy Act 2023
(5,344 words contributed)
Elections Act 2022
(3,743 words contributed)
View All Legislation Debates
View all Alec Shelbrooke's debates

Elmet and Rothwell 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 Elmet and Rothwell signature proportion
Alec Shelbrooke has not participated in any petition debates

Latest EDMs signed by Alec Shelbrooke

2nd November 2020
Alec Shelbrooke signed this EDM as a sponsor on Wednesday 4th November 2020

British record breaking Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton

Tabled by: Jeffrey M Donaldson (Democratic Unionist Party - Lagan Valley)
That this House congratulates Formula One World Champion Lewis Hamilton on winning his 92nd Grand Prix thus making him the most successful race winning F1 driver of all time in addition to the world record that he already holds for all-time career points; acknowledges that Lewis is a fantastic ambassador …
6 signatures
(Most recent: 4 Nov 2020)
Signatures by party:
Conservative: 3
Democratic Unionist Party: 2
Independent: 1
22nd May 2019
Alec Shelbrooke signed this EDM as a sponsor on Wednesday 22nd May 2019

DEATH OF NIKI LAUDA

Tabled by: Jeffrey M Donaldson (Democratic Unionist Party - Lagan Valley)
That this House celebrates the life of three-time Formula One world champion and racing legend Niki Lauda; recognises that his remarkable recovery and return to racing in 1976 will remain unforgettable and a true show of unfaltering courage; and acknowledges that racing fans in the UK and throughout the world …
15 signatures
(Most recent: 25 Jul 2019)
Signatures by party:
Scottish National Party: 4
Conservative: 3
Labour: 3
Independent: 2
Democratic Unionist Party: 2
Liberal Democrat: 1
View All Alec Shelbrooke's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Alec Shelbrooke, 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.


Alec Shelbrooke has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Alec Shelbrooke has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

4 Bills introduced by Alec Shelbrooke


The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress. A Bill to make provision for the prohibition of unpaid work experience exceeding four weeks, and for connected matters

Lords Completed
Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Monday 30th April 2018

A Bill to require the Secretary of State to apply the provisions of the National Minimum Wage Act 1998 to workplace internships; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Wednesday 29th June 2016
(Read Debate)

The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Tuesday 13th May 2014

The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress. A Bill to provide for the introduction of a welfare cash card; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Tuesday 18th December 2012

71 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
24th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what assessment he has made of the feasibility of retrofitting heat pumps into existing gas piping in domestic properties.

Analysis conducted by Government suggests it is technically feasible to install a heat pump in around 90% of British homes currently on the gas grid, based on analysis of homes’ current energy efficiency and internal electrical limit. Practical considerations, like space availability or compliance with planning regulations, may limit where heat pumps can be installed, but the Government supports innovation to develop solutions to these challenges.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
23rd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, with reference to the consultation entitled Phasing out the installation of fossil fuel heating in homes off the gas grid, published on 19 October 2021, when he plans to publish his Department's response to that consultation.

The Government consulted on phasing out the installation of heating systems using high carbon fossil fuels in homes, businesses and public buildings in England off the gas grid during the 2020s. The Government will respond to these consultations in due course.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
21st Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what recent progress her Department has made on the procurement process under Project Gigabit for work in Elmet and Rothwell constituency.

Over 98% of premises in Elmet and Rothwell already have access to a superfast broadband connection (over 30Mbps) and over 83% have access to gigabit-capable broadband (>1000 Mbps). This is above the national average of 97% for superfast coverage and 79% for gigabit coverage respectively.

In April 2023, as part of Project Gigabit, we launched a procurement inviting broadband suppliers to bid for a contract to bring gigabit-capable broadband to the remaining premises in West Yorkshire, including in Elmet and Rothwell, that are unlikely to be reached by broadband suppliers' commercial rollout plans. We aim to award a contract to the successful supplier in early 2024.

31st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the supply chain carbon cost per MWh is for power generated by Drax when fuelled by (a) domestically sourced coal and (b) wood exported from the USA.

The Government does not hold this information.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department plans to maintain the supply of free coal to former miners as part of their existing pension entitlements.

There are no plans to alter the current concessionary fuel arrangements awarded to certain qualifying former employees and their widows of the coal mining industry.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will take steps with Ofgem to amend the emerging RIIO-ED2 framework so that Distribution Network Operators are encouraged to optimise voltage in the electricity network.

The price control is a matter for the independent regulator, Ofgem.

Ofgem sets the price control with incentives to ensure Distribution Network Operators operate their networks in the most efficient manner. Ofgem have also used innovation funding to support trials and roll out of new technologies enabling Distribution Network Operators to manage voltage levels on the network to optimise system efficiency and drive down customer bills.

The independent Electricity Engineering Standards Review, jointly commissioned by Government and Ofgem, is looking at how the planning and operational engineering standards should be updated to reflect our changing electricity system. This includes considering future changes to voltage limits set out in the Electricity Safety, Quality and Continuity Regulations 2002.

6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will take steps to support innovative projects in the energy market to use smart meter readings to send signals to automatic voltage control devices in the primary electricity network to optimise the voltage for customers.

The Government welcomes innovations that can improve the quality of supply to consumers and demonstrate value for money, including the safe use of active control of voltage levels.

The Government offers support to companies seeking to bring innovative technologies to market which can help drive the transition to net zero emissions by 2050, through competitive innovation funding grants such as the Energy Entrepreneurs Fund competition. Innovation support schemes are also offered by InnovateUK and Ofgem.

28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to ensure that high street lenders do not require firms to conduct costly third party audits before being considered for a loan under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

There are now over 90 accredited lenders of CBILS and individual lending decisions remain at the discretion of these lenders. We would expect a lender to follow its normal credit policy when assessing security. There has been significant demand for the Scheme and lenders are fully aware of the current urgency, so we expect them to respond appropriately to their customers’ needs.

Since the CBILS was introduced, Government has made several improvements to speed up the application process and ensure businesses are getting the support they need. These include:

- Clarifying that all lenders should use automated, rather than manual, credit checks when assessing the viability of a business;

- Removing the forward-looking viability test;

- Removing the per lender portfolio cap; and

- Removing any requirement for the main lenders to interact with the British Business Bank systems before issuing loans.

24th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent estimate she has made of the number of pensioners in England who live in a property not connected to the internet; and what support will be made available to those pensioners when BT close down Public Switched Telephone Network phone lines and move to a digital network service only in 2025.

Ofcom’s Adult Media Use and Attitudes research published in 2021 found that 18% of those aged 65 and over did not have internet access at home.

Voice-only services will remain available to consumers in the UK following the migration meaning those who do not wish to purchase an internet connection will still be able to access telephone services.

Further, the PSTN migration does not affect the universal service obligations set in the Electronic Communications (Universal Service) Order 2003 which require the designated providers to offer telephony services throughout the UK. BT and KCOM are therefore still required to maintain access to a range of telephony services as well as provide a series of special measures designed for older or vulnerable users.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
15th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether her Department has had discussions with representatives of the Professional Football Association on the support and care required by former footballers affected by Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy.

My Department has discussed a range of issues with the Professional Footballers Association (PFA), including around instances of concussion and brain injury within football.

On 10 December 2021 we published our report on Concussion in Sport. It outlines the steps the government will be taking to help reduce risks associated with head injuries by improving understanding, awareness, prevention and treatment of concussion in sport.

We are now working to develop a single set of shared protocols across the UK on concussion, and convening a new sports concussion research forum to identify the research questions that need answering in this important area.

On 14 March 2022, the Department for Health and Social Care launched a Call for Evidence to inform the development of the government’s Acquired Brain Injury Strategy. More information on the Call for Evidence can be found here.

The Government remains committed to working with sports stakeholders, including the PFA, to build on the positive work on concussion and brain injury that is already taking place to mitigate the causes and effects of concussion in sport.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what progress his Department is making on delivering superfast broadband to homes and businesses located in remote, rural areas in Elmet and Rothwell constituency.

We have achieved 97.55% superfast broadband coverage in the Elmet and Rothwell constituency as a whole which is above the UK and National average. This has increased more than 5% in the last 3 years.

We are, however, not resting on our laurels and have a project running in partnership with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority to utilise the latest Fixed Wireless technology to further improve Gigabit broadband connectivity across the West Yorkshire region including 100 additional postcodes in the constituency.

Ultrafast (100Mbps) coverage is now at 68.87% in the Constituency and Gigabit coverage (1,000MBps) is now at 66.34%, both of which are also above the National average. This time last year Gigabit coverage in the constituency was just 11.8% so we have seen a rapid increase of the latest broadband technology in 12 months. (Source: https://labs.thinkbroadband.com/local/E14000689)

For Constituents in your rural areas we would draw your attention to the UK Government Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme, which offers vouchers of up to £1,500 for Residents (as part of a Community Scheme) and up to £3,500 for SME’s. This is to enable them to upgrade to the latest technology.https://gigabitvoucher.culture.gov.uk/

1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will ensure that the distribution of the covid-19 arts rescue package includes funding for (a) the Royal Northern Sinfonia and (b) other institutions in the North of England.

The Culture Recovery Fund will provide targeted support to critical cultural, arts and heritage organisations to help them survive and recover through the coronavirus pandemic. Funding will be prioritised to institutions of national and international significance and those that are crucial to levelling up places and communities, including smaller organisations and cultural venues that are at the centre of their communities.

Key organisations in England are able to apply for grants or loans. The relevant DCMS Arms Length Bodies (Arts Council England, Historic England, National Lottery Heritage Fund and the British Film Institute) will make funding decisions for grants against the published criteria agreed by Ministers. In addition, the independent Culture Recovery Board will make decisions regarding applications for loans, and provide additional assurance over the largest grants.

16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he can provide a timeframe for the events and exhibitions sector on when gatherings of more than 30 people will be allowed.

Meetings of up to 30 people indoors are now allowed in permitted venues if social distancing can be maintained and the venue can demonstrate that it has followed the
Covid-19 guidance.

From 1 August, exhibition and conference centres are allowed to show small groups (of up to 30 people with social distancing requirements) around to view the facilities and plan
future events and to enable government-backed pilots to take place. They should not be
open fully to host events more widely.

From 1 October, it is expected that events of all types (such as trade shows, consumer shows, exhibitions and conferences) will be allowed at a capacity allowing for compliance
with social distancing. As with all aspects of the Government’s response to COVID-19, our decisions have been and will continue to be based on scientific evidence and public health
assessments.

We have worked closely with events stakeholders through both the Visitor Economy and Events & Entertainment Working Groups to develop Covid-19 Secure reopening guidance
for the business events industry. We continue to meet with the Events Industry Senior

Leaders Advisory Panel to discuss the specific issues facing the industry. Since 11 July, a range of outdoor events have been able to take place - including
agricultural shows, literary fairs and car boot sales.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
27th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to maintain the provision of school transport services in rural areas.

The Department’s school transport policy aims to ensure that no child of compulsory school age is unable to access education because of a lack of transport. Local Authorities must arrange free travel to school for children aged 5 to 16 who attend their nearest school and cannot walk there due to the distance, route safety, or as a result of special educational needs, disability or mobility problems. There are additional rights to free transport for low-income families aimed at helping them exercise school choice. Home to school travel and transport guidance is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/home-to-school-travel-and-transport-guidance.

The majority of central Government funding for home to school transport is made available to Local Authorities through the Local Government Finance Settlement, administered by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. The Department provides grant funding to Local Authorities as a contribution towards the cost of extended rights transport, which is just under £45.8 million in the 2023/24 financial year.

14th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether pension benefits that retired teachers are in receipt of will be protected, in a similar way that pension benefits of retired NHS workers have been since the start of the covid-19 outbreak, in the event that they return to work after being called upon by him in December 2021.

Generally, retired teachers returning to the classroom following the recent call for ex-teachers to help will not be subject to potential abatement of their teachers’ pension. This is because it is expected that they will be employed by supply teacher agencies, which tend not to be participating Teacher Pensions’ Scheme (TPS) employers.

TPS abatement rules would currently apply to retired teachers, with a final salary pension, if they were to be employed directly by a participating TPS employer. However, the call for ex-teachers to help in the classroom is expected to involve short-term and/or part-time appointments. Consequently, the amount of earnings involved is unlikely to result in any adjustment to individuals’ pension benefits on account of abatement.

We do not, therefore, anticipate there being a compelling need to suspend the abatement provisions in the way that the NHS has done to facilitate the longer-term re-employment of key staff. However, the department is monitoring the situation and, if needed, we will review the policy position.

10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will publish the outcomes of the Developer Loans for Schools pilot between 2019-2021; and whether that programme will remain open in 2022.

The Developer Loans for Schools pilot was launched in October 2019. Expressions of interest were received and assessed against the initial eligibility criteria. No loans were agreed, and no monies were committed. In July 2020, an internal review of all aspects of the pilot concluded that the need had changed, and it would not continue. There is no intention to revisit the initiative in 2022.

15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education,if schools will be able to use the £1 billion Covid Catch-Up Premium for intensive revision lessons for Key Stage 4 pupils wishing to resit their GCSEs in the Autumn.

The Government has announced a catch-up package worth £1 billion, including a ‘Catch-Up Premium’ worth a total of £650 million, to support schools to make up for lost teaching time. This ‘Catch-Up Premium’ will be paid to schools in the 2020-21 academic year to support catch up for students aged 5 to 16.

As part of the catch-up package we have also announced a £350 million National Tutoring Programme which includes a 16 to 19 Tuition Fund. This fund will allocate up to £96 million as a one-off, one year, ring-fenced grant to school sixth forms, colleges and all other 16 to 19 providers to provide small group tutoring activity for disadvantaged 16 to 19 students whose studies have been disrupted as a result of COVID-19, including those resitting GCSEs. Further detail of this element will be confirmed in due course.

1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if it his policy that local authorities should encourage schools and academies to update their risk assessments to reflect 1 metre plus social distancing.

On 2 July we published guidance to help schools plan for a full return of all children in September. This sets out that in preparation for September, schools should thoroughly review their health and safety risk assessments and draw up plans for the autumn term that address the risks identified.

Schools are expected to give consideration of how to reduce contacts and maximise distancing between those in school wherever possible and minimise potential for contamination so far as is reasonably practicable. These contacts can be reduced by a variety of steps including grouping children together, avoiding contact between groups and staff maintaining distance from pupils and other staff as much as possible.

Our guidance states that ideally, adults should maintain 2 metre distance from each other, and from children. We know that this is not always possible, particularly when working with younger children. In particular, adults should avoid close face to face contact and minimise time spent within 1 metre of anyone.

Children who are old enough should also be supported to maintain distance and not touch staff and their peers where possible. This will not be possible for the youngest children and some children with complex needs and it is not feasible in some schools where space does not allow. Schools doing this where they can, and even doing this some of the time, will help.

The guidance on the full opening of schools can be viewed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether parents unable to utilise their 30 hours free childcare entitlement during the covid-19 lockdown will be able to carry those unused hours over for use during the summer holidays 2020.

We want parents to have access to a range of affordable childcare, giving them increased flexibility in their working hours and helping children thrive in the crucial early years. The government-funded early years entitlements deliver 15 or 30 hours a week of free, high quality, flexible childcare for eligible two, three and four-year-olds for 38 weeks a year.

The government wants to support nurseries, pre-schools and childminders during what must be a worrying and uncertain time. On 17 March, my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, confirmed the government would continue to pay funding to local authorities for the free entitlements for two, three and four-year-olds during the period of closures, providing reassurance for early years settings in light of the COVID-19 outbreak. This entitlement funding has continued to be paid to providers to try and ensure that once the lockdown measures are eased and people return to work, there remains sufficient childcare for all those who need it.

These entitlements, therefore, cannot be accrued for time not spent in the setting and so parents will not be able to carry over unused hours for use in the summer holidays.

From 1 June, childcare settings have been able to reopen for children of all ages.

13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions she has had with Cabinet colleagues on the readiness of (a) food border checks and (b) veterinary provisions.

In August 2023, the Government published the Border Target Operating Model (BTOM) which sets a new regime of sanitary and phytosanitary controls regime for all imports to GB. Defra continues to engage regularly with other Government departments, including Cabinet Office to prepare for implementation of the BTOM. Under the BTOM inspections for food safety, biosecurity and animal health will take place at Border Control Posts (BCPs) from April. BCP operators must demonstrate that there are sufficient on-site staff, including official veterinarians, to carry out the required import checks on consignments, and BCPs should therefore have sufficient staff to undertake their function. There will be continual dialogue between Defra, the Animal and Plant Health Agency and Port Health Authorities to ensure that the correct levels of staffing are in place to deliver BTOM.

13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions she (a) has had and (b) plans to have with international trading partners on the use of avian influenza vaccinations.

The vaccination of poultry and captive birds against avian influenza, excluding those in licensed zoos in England, is not currently permitted.

While avian influenza vaccination is unlikely to be a viable option for the 2023/24 high risk season, Defra has established a cross Government and industry task force to explore potential for use of vaccination as a preventive measure for avian influenza. Further information can be found at Bird flu (avian influenza) vaccination task force - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

The Secretary of State and her officials, including the UK Chief Veterinary Officer, regularly engage with trading partners and international fora like the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) on a range of animal health issues, including vaccination policies.

Any future decisions on avian influenza control measures, including the use of vaccination, will be based upon the latest scientific, ornithological, and veterinary advice. Should UK avian influenza vaccination policy change in future, Defra will work to secure the buy-in of trading partners to ensure UK trade in poultry is not negatively affected.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment she has made of the adequacy of resources in the (a) Animal Health and Plant Agency to respond to multiple exotic disease outbreaks and (b) Food Standards Agency to respond to safety risks associated with imported food.

a) The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) constantly review resource allocation and the Secretary of State is briefed on the Agency’s preparedness for multiple disease outbreaks. Recognising the impact of persistent incursions of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 into the UK, additional funding has been made available this year to APHA to ensure it has the resources needed to deliver against the increased demands HPAI has placed on it.

(b) While the Food Standards Agency is responsible for imported food safety policy, responsibility for the delivery of border controls for imported food rests with Plant Health Agencies, which are the relevant competent authorities. As such they are responsible for ensuring adequate resources are in place to carry out this function at a local level.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps she is taking with the Secretary of State for Business and Trade to increase levels of meat and poultry exports.

To support delivery of the Government’s Export Strategy the Prime Minister recently announced a food and drink export package to boost export capability and deliver on growing demand for our high-quality UK produce across the world. This included a further expansion of our global agrifood and drink counsellor network who negotiate removal of trade barriers in growing global markets. Within the last year we have successfully secured access for lamb to the USA and apples to India. The export package also included a £2m boost to promotional activity such as trade shows and missions that help drive demand for UK products alongside the GREAT food and drink campaign.

To further support food producers export, we have held a range of National and Regional food summits with dedicated SME workshops to highlight export opportunities and build capability.

Supporting this increased investment in exports we have an ambitious programme of negotiations for free trade agreements which is delivering results. On 31 May the UK’s first new free trade agreements with Australia and New Zealand came into force, opening markets for UK producers across all products. On 31 March, the Government substantially concluded negotiations on the UK’s accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), a free trade agreement (FTA) including 11 members: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. This trade deal will see new export opportunities for food producers including exporters of meat and poultry.

We work closely with a wide range of industry representative partners to identify and prioritise barrier removal, and to seize opportunities to streamline the export process for animals and animal products. Alongside opening new market opportunities, we are also increasing resilience and mitigating risks to existing trade. This is particularly the case with poultry where we are working with trade partners to agree regionalisation agreements to allow trade from unaffected regions to continue in the context of Avian Influenza outbreaks.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many cases of Brucella Canis were reported between April 2021 and January 2022; and what data her Department holds on reported cases of Brucella Canis between January 2011 and April 2021.

We consider a case to be a single epidemiological event. Each event may involve 1 or more dogs.

For example, many cases are just 1 dog (imported rescue dog) while another case may involve a breeder of a litter of dogs where more than 1 dog is infected.

So between 1st April 2021 – 31st January 2022: Cases = 35 (37 positive dogs).

Prior to April 2020 we have data identifying 3 cases: 2 in 2017 and 1 in 2018 (all single dogs imported from eastern Europe).

1st April 2020 – 31st March 2021: Cases = 14 (53 positive dogs)

Total January 2011 – April 2021 is the sum of these 17 cases (56 positive dogs).

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to support poultry farmers with increased energy costs.

The UK poultry sector operates in an open market and the value of poultry commodities is established by those in the supply chain including farmers, processors, wholesalers, retailers, and consumers. We have already seen supply chains adjusting to address the challenges related to rising input costs, including feed, fuel, fertiliser and energy costs.

Since November 2022, the poultry industry has been able to access the Energy Bill Relief Scheme (EBRS). In January 2023 the Government announced the Energy Bills Discount Scheme (EBDS) that will replace EBRS when it comes to an end on 31st March 2023. This new scheme will run until 31st March 2024.

Following the review of EBRS, beyond the broad baseline support provided for all sectors under EBDS from 1st April 2023, the government will target higher levels of support at the most energy and trade intensive sectors (ETIIs) – which are primarily manufacturing businesses. Poultry meat processing falls within the remit of the Government’s Energy Intensive Industries exemption scheme and will therefore also qualify for the enhanced level of ETII support.

Within the context of the wider economy, we do not consider there is a case for further financial support to the poultry sector at this time. We continue to keep the sector under close review, including through the UK Agriculture Market Monitoring Group, which monitors UK agricultural markets including price, supply, inputs, trade and recent developments.The UK poultry sector operates in an open market and the value of poultry commodities is established by those in the supply chain including farmers, processors, wholesalers, retailers, and consumers. We have already seen supply chains adjusting to address the challenges related to rising input costs, including feed, fuel, fertiliser and energy costs.

Since November 2022, the poultry industry has been able to access the Energy Bill Relief Scheme (EBRS). In January 2023 the Government announced the Energy Bills Discount Scheme (EBDS) that will replace EBRS when it comes to an end on 31st March 2023. This new scheme will run until 31st March 2024.

Following the review of EBRS, beyond the broad baseline support provided for all sectors under EBDS from 1st April 2023, the government will target higher levels of support at the most energy and trade intensive sectors (ETIIs) – which are primarily manufacturing businesses. Poultry meat processing falls within the remit of the Government’s Energy Intensive Industries exemption scheme and will therefore also qualify for the enhanced level of ETII support.

Within the context of the wider economy, we do not consider there is a case for further financial support to the poultry sector at this time. We continue to keep the sector under close review, including through the UK Agriculture Market Monitoring Group, which monitors UK agricultural markets including price, supply, inputs, trade and recent developments.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of providing financial support to egg producers under Section 1 of the Agriculture Act 2020.

The UK egg industry operates in an open market and the value of egg commodities, including the farm gate egg price, is established by those in the supply chain. While the Government may act in exceptional circumstances, we do not set retail food prices nor comment on day-to-day commercial decisions by companies.

Defra does not believe it would be appropriate to intervene in the market by providing specific financial support to egg producers under Section 1 of the Agriculture Act 2020 at this time. Other agricultural sectors have experienced similar challenges related to rising input costs such as energy, feed and fuel. On energy costs, the government has already provided financial support to the agricultural industry via the Energy Bill Relief Scheme. We have also seen supply chains themselves adjusting to address the challenge of rising input costs.

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

We continue to keep the egg sector under close review, including through the UK Agriculture Market Monitoring Group, which was set up by Defra and the Devolved Administrations to monitor the UK market across all key agricultural commodities.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether she plans to change the Renewable and Low Carbon Energy guidance to allow development of solar installations on grade 3b agricultural land.

Protecting our environment, backing British farmers and delivering long-term energy security with more renewables is at the heart of HM Government’s manifesto.

Best and Most Versatile (BMV) Land is defined in the National Planning Policy Framework and Natural England’s guide to assessing development proposals on agricultural land as land in grades 1, 2 and 3a of the Agricultural Land Classification.

The National Planning Policy Framework sets out clearly that local planning authorities should consider all the benefits of the best and most versatile agricultural land, when making plans or taking decisions on new development proposals. Where significant development of agricultural land is shown to be necessary, planning authorities should seek to use poorer quality land in preference to that of a higher quality.

Planning Practice Guidance does not mention BMV land but sets out a preference for the use of lower quality agricultural land.

1st Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to help end illegal puppy smuggling.

HM Government published its Action Plan for Animal Welfare in May 2021, which is a wide-reaching plan that sets out our current and future work to build on our already high standards of animal welfare.

Now that we have left the EU, we are making some significant changes to domestic law through the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill, bringing in legislation to meet our manifesto commitment to crack down on puppy smuggling. The Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill was re-introduced to the House of Commons in May and will progress to Report stage as soon as Parliamentary time allows.

The Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill allows us to protect the welfare of pets by introducing restrictions to crack down on the low welfare movements of pets into Great Britain and includes powers to introduce new restrictions on pet travel and the commercial import of pets on welfare grounds, via secondary legislation. In August 2021, HM Government launched a consultation on how these powers should be used. We are currently analysing the responses to the consultation and will publish a response in due course.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions officials in his Department are having with representatives of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons on (a) extending the waiver on level 7 English language requirements for Official Veterinarians introduced in June 2021 and (b) relaxing the technical supervisory conditions imposed as a condition of that waiver.

There are no current plans to discuss extending the waiver on level 7 language requirements for official veterinarians supporting the delivery of official controls in abattoirs. Nor are there any plans to discuss relaxing the technical supervisory conditions imposed because of that waiver. Defra has therefore not raised these proposals in discussion with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what recent steps he has taken to enable the provision of humanitarian aid in Lebanon.

In Lebanon, DFID is providing regular targeted cash transfers to help over 10,000 of the most vulnerable Syrian refugee families to meet their most basic survival needs. The UK also funds legal assistance, support and advice (e.g. birth/marriage registration, civil documentation) to 55,000 individuals to uphold rights, facilitate access to basic services and to better prepare refugees for their eventual return to Syria. DFID is also supporting provision of non-formal education for up 114,500 vulnerable children and providing child protection and gender-based violence services to 295,930 girls, boys and caregivers.

The UK strongly advocates for the rights and protection of refugees and is working with aid agencies to further reform the aid system to deliver more effective, smarter aid to the most vulnerable. The UK continues to play a leading role in mobilising the international community. On 12 – 14 March 2019, the UK attended the third Brussels Conference on “Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region”, driving forward the legacy of our own London Conference held in 2016. The money pledged will save lives and enable the provision of life-saving supplies and resources to build the livelihoods of millions of internally displaced persons and refugees, and their host communities.

Andrew Murrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what guidance his Department has issued to local authorities on supporting the provision of on-street charging points for electric vehicles where there (a) is no off-street parking and (b) are no public charge points.

The Department is supporting local authorities through the £381m Local Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (LEVI) Fund, enabling local authorities to work with industry to transform the availability of charging infrastructure for drivers without off-street parking. A key aspect of the LEVI Fund is over £45m Capability funding, which enables local authorities to secure dedicated in-house expertise to plan and deliver EV chargepoint strategies, which take account of local challenges.

A variety of technical, commercial and management guidance and best practice is available for local authorities through the LEVI Fund Support Body, appointed by the Department to deliver the LEVI Fund. This includes a ‘Knowledge Repository’ which contains guidance for each stage of charging infrastructure delivery, from writing a strategy to selecting sites and hardware through to designing effective contracts using a procurement ‘heads of terms’.

31st Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will take steps to release safeguarded land in (a) Elmet and Rothwell constituency and (b) the City of Leeds in the context of the cancellation of HS2 Phase 2b.

The Integrated Rail Plan for the North and Midlands set out the Government’s plans for HS2 East from the West Midlands to the East Midlands and committed to considering the optimal way for HS2 to serve Leeds. Terms of Reference for the study will be published soon.

As a result, the Government confirmed it would maintain existing safeguarding and property schemes along the route of HS2 Phase 2b until a decision following this study is taken.

In the meantime, retaining safeguarding provides continued access for affected property owners to the full range of statutory and non-statutory property schemes that are available on the rest of the HS2 route.

If decisions are taken that safeguarded land is no longer essential for future plans, then safeguarding would be lifted and any property acquired in those areas sold.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
22nd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has had recent discussions with TransPennine Express on making a rest day working agreement with ASLEF.

The Secretary of State met the Managing Director of First Rail on 23 November to discuss the operator’s delivery issues. More generally, the Department through its Rail North Partnership with Transport for the North continues to have regular ongoing discussions with TPE, particularly on managing services in the face of prolonged national and local industrial action, including prospects for reinstating rest day working.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with Ryanair on (a) the continuation of that airline's flights to Spain and (b) the provision of vouchers or refunds to its customers who cancel a flight in order to adhere to Foreign and Commonwealth Office's guidance advising against all but essential travel to Spain.

The Department has not had any discussions with Ryanair about the continuation of flights to Spain. Aviation is a private industry and these are commercial decisions for individual airlines.

Where a flight or holiday has been cancelled the Department has been clear that airlines should not deny consumers their legal right to a refund, if it is requested and this should be done in a timely manner. Many businesses are trying to do the right thing during this unprecedented time, but where the regulator has evidence of businesses taking advantage of this crisis, we would expect them to act.

28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans the Government has to introduce International Road Permits for HGVs entering the UK from 1 January 2021 in the event that a reciprocal agreement is not secured in negotiations on the UK’s future trading relationship with the EU.

It is in both the UK and EU’s interests to secure liberalised rights for UK and EU hauliers to carry goods between our respective territories without the need for additional documentation, such as permits.

The Government will communicate arrangements informing operators on how to prepare for the end of the transition period in good time. This will cover any changes to documentation requirements.

23rd Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of introducing an online portal for Personal Independence Payment claims to help improve communication between his Department and claimants.

The Health Transformation Programme is modernising health and disability benefit services. It will create a more efficient service and a vastly improved claimant experience, reducing journey times and improving communications with claimants to increase transparency and build trust in our services and decisions.

The programme is transforming the entire PIP service, including introducing a digital PIP service with the option to apply online.   We are currently operating a small-scale test of this new apply service, taking a small number of claims to begin with, before we gradually and carefully increase the number of people who can use it.

We have already introduced a digital version of the PIP2 health questionnaire, which is now offered to the majority of those making a claim. The full online apply service will offer claimants the option to claim PIP online, including the ability to save and resume and to upload medical evidence.

The programme will be developing the new PIP service carefully and incrementally, designing it around the needs of claimants, making it quicker, simpler and more transparent.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether the Health and Safety Executive has considered making risk assessments, including protective barriers, vehicle run-off zones and noise distancing, a mandatory requirement at temporary motorsport events, including grass track meetings on farmers' fields.

There is already a legal requirement to assess risk at motorsport events by identifying control measures, such as protective barriers, run-off zones and noise control. This includes temporary events such as those taking place upon farmer’s fields. Employers and organisers of such events are subject to wide ranging duties under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, Section 2 (relating to duties owed to employees) and Section 3 (a duty to ensure the safety of persons not employed by the dutyholder, such as spectators or members of the public).

The Health and Safety Executive has produced the guidance publication HSG112 “Management of Health and Safety at Motorsport Events, HSG112. Whilst this publication has a focus upon the professional sport, the information within it is of use to those planning and controlling smaller temporary events.

19th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps her Department is taking to help support GP practices with the costs of recycling medical packaging.

The Premises Costs Directions 2013 set out the reimbursement of certain costs, incurred by General Medical Services contractors, that can be claimed relating to their practice premises. This includes being able to claim reimbursement for clinical waste disposal. The costs of all other waste services are a general practice (GP) expense, covered by the payments GPs receive for delivery of services under their contracts. The Premises Costs Directions 2013 is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/nhs-general-medical-services-premises-costs-directions

Andrea Leadsom
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many dental practices in the Elmet and Rothwell constituency have (a) become wholly private and (b) reduced their NHS commitment since March 2020; and what urgent steps his Department is taking to ensure that residents living in the Elmet and Rothwell constituency have access to an NHS dentist.

We do not hold data at the requested level or on private dental practices.

In September 2022, we announced ‘Our plan for patients’, which outlines how we will meet oral health needs and increase access to dental care. This plan will help increase access to NHS dentistry whilst making the NHS dental contract more attractive to dental practices, including in Elmet and Rothwell. We have taken action to implement these changes, including through regulations that came into effect on 25th November 2022.

In circumstances where patients are unable to access an urgent dental appointment directly through an NHS dental practice, they are advised to contact NHS 111 for assistance. Further reforms are planned for this year.

30th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the policy paper entitled Our plan for patients, published on 22 September 2022, what steps his Department is taking to require dentists to update their NHS website profiles more frequently.

In September 2022, we announced ‘Our plan for patients’, which outlines how we will meet oral health needs and increase access to dental care.

We have taken action to implement these changes, including through amendments to the National Health Service dental contract introduced on 25 November 2022. It became a contractual responsibility for NHS dentists to keep their NHS.UK profiles up to date so that patients can find a dentist more easily. Practices are required to update their NHS.UK profiles at least once every 90 days, including information on whether they are accepting new patients.

Commissioners will have access to a report showing which practices are non-compliant, with monitoring due to come into effect from end of March 2023.

10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to consult the public as part of the Government’s social care reform process.

We continue working with organisations in the social care sector, including members of the public with lived experience of care and support, to inform the implementation of the reforms. We will also launch a public consultation on the charging reform operational guidance in the spring.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that residents living in Elmet and Rothwell constituency are able to access a NHS dentist.

The Department is working closely with NHS England and NHS Improvement, the Chief Dental Officer for England and the British Dental Association to increase levels of service, as fast as is safely possible. In circumstances where patients are unable to access an urgent dental appointment directly through a National Health Service dental practice, they are advised to call NHS 111 who will assist in booking an appointment at one of over 100 designated urgent care centres, which continue to stay open across Yorkshire.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether low-income parents or guardians of a child who has been instructed to self-isolate by their school will be eligible to apply for the covid-19 £500 Test and Trace Support payment.

The Test and Trace Support Payment scheme is for people on low incomes who have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app, either because they have tested positive or because they are a close contact of someone who has tested positive. We have worked closely with local authorities to monitor the effectiveness of the scheme and have listened to feedback from charities and support groups. We are now extending the scheme to summer 2021 and expanding eligibility to cover parents and guardians who have to take time off work to care for a child who is self-isolating.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the (a) subject and (b) outcomes for each trial of a new medical device developed for the UK market since 1 January 2006.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is currently bound by the European Union Regulations, the Medical Devices and the In-Vitro Diagnostic Devices Regulations, and its transparency provisions and therefore cannot currently publish information relating to approved clinical investigations from 1 January 2006.

The Medicines and Medical Devices Bill currently going through parliament will give the MHRA the power to update and amend the legislative frameworks that governs human medicines, medical devices and veterinary medicines. These powers will also enable transparency to support patient safety work. Clinical investigations work will be part of these future considerations.

4th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether all trials using new medical devices are logged centrally; and what steps he is taking to ensure that there is oversight of all non-drug trials.

Medical devices are regulated by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). All trials of new medical devices being developed for the United Kingdom market are reviewed by the MHRA before the devices are used on humans in these trials in the UK. The MHRA maintains a record of all such trials whether approved or refused. Plans are in place to make this information available to the public in future. The MHRA only has oversight of medicines and medical devices trials and therefore do not have oversight of all non-drug trials.

All non-drug trials (including device studies) are centrally reviewed for ethical approval by the Health Research Authority (HRA). If they meet a set of additional legal and policy criteria, they are granted approval to proceed in the National Health Service.

All clinical trials must be conducted in accordance with the Policy Framework for Health and Social Care, which describes the roles and responsibilities of those involved in research oversight.

There is an expectation that all trials are registered and a lay summary made available on the HRA website.

28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of air sanitisation and UV-C sterilisation units on reducing the spread of covid-19 in confined public spaces.

Public Health England (PHE) has made no assessment of the effectiveness of air sanitisation and ultraviolet C (UV-C) sterilisation units on reducing the spread of COVID-19 in confined public spaces.

PHE is liaising with national and international partners on the effectiveness of UV-C for inactivating SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19.

PHE will continue to review the emerging evidence.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the timeframe is for the resumption of (a) nursing and (b) care home visits in England; and if he will make an assessment of the potential merits on enabling immediate covid-secure visits for residents who have a (i) terminal illness and (b) mental and physical health condition that is affected by a lack of contact with relatives.

On 22 July 2020 the Government published updated guidance on visiting arrangements for care homes during the COVID-19 pandemic. This guidance is applicable to all nursing and care homes and is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/visiting-care-homes-during-coronavirus

Updated visiting guidance was developed with collaboration from a range of social care stakeholders, including the Alzheimer’s Society. Our priority has been to enable residents to be reunited safely with their loved ones. This guidance will be updated as the risk posed by COVID-19 continues to change.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to help reduce the number of people with endometriosis globally.

The UK recognizes the significant impact that endometriosis has on women's sexual and reproductive health and quality of life and that strong health systems, with a focus on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), are essential for tackling this disease. That's why the Women's Health Strategy for England made improving access to services, and prioritising services for women's conditions such as endometriosis, one of the 6 priorities for action.

Globally, the UK is proud to defend and promote universal and comprehensive SRHR. With our partners, we are working towards a world where women, girls and all other marginalised people have access to quality health services. We support health system strengthening through our funding to the Global Financing Facility for Women, Children and Adolescents, and in collaboration with key partners, including the World Health Organization and UNFPA.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
20th Jul 2021
What recent assessment he has made of the political situation in the Crimea.

Seven years on from Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea, we continue to make clear to Moscow that Crimea is, and will remain part of Ukraine. Russia must withdraw forces and end illegitimate control.

Under UK leadership, G7 Foreign Ministers issued statements on 18 March, to mark the seventh anniversary of Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea, and on 12 April, calling for de-escalation following Russia's build-up of military forces in Crimea and near the Ukrainian border. At the G7 Cornwall Summit in June, G7 leaders called on Russia to withdraw military troops and materiel from Crimea. The Foreign Secretary has raised these matters directly with his counterparts, including on 17 June with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov.

We will continue to call for international monitoring missions to have access to Crimea, currently denied by Russia. We have contributed nearly £700,000 this financial year to the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission, which monitors and documents human rights abuses in Crimea. We welcome and support Ukraine’s proposal to establish an International Crimean Platform. We are exploring what role we can play.

We also remain deeply concerned about ongoing human rights abuses experienced by minorities in Crimea, including Crimean Tatars.

24th Mar 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of (a) liaising with the Azure and Barclays Action and Support Group on the loans issued outside of the April 2014 – April 2016 period and (b) investigating the allegations of regulatory failures associated with Barclays Partner Finance and Azure Services Ltd.

The Government is aware of the campaign by the Azure and Barclays Action and Support Group for consumers to receive compensation for loans outside the April 2014 – April 2016 period.

However, the regulation of consumer credit is a matter for the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which operates independently of Government. The Treasury has no general power of direction over the FCA and cannot intervene on specific matters.

John Glen
Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office
2nd Mar 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what support he will provide to residents of park homes who are not eligible for the energy bill rebate because their energy is supplied direct to the operating business and then recharged to the resident.

All domestic electricity customers in Great Britain will receive a £200 reduction in their electricity costs from this October. This will be delivered via energy suppliers and will be clearly identifiable as a line item on electricity bills.

There are certain situations where a third party will be responsible for the bill (and be named on it). In this situation, any electricity charges are then passed onto the end user, typically through an all-inclusive rent (in the case of a landlord/tenant) or ‘pitch’ charges, e.g. for a park home.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) will explore this issue further, including by gathering further information via the government consultation on the delivery of the Energy Bill Support Scheme for households.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will use returned Discretionary Grant Funds unspent by local authorities to provide financial assistance to close companies directors who operate businesses from their homes, have had no access to business grants or local authority discretionary funds and have been unable to trade throughout the covid-19 outbreak.

Local Authorities had significant discretion when it came to setting the eligibility criteria for their discretionary grant schemes. Although the Government encouraged Local Authorities to focus on small businesses which faced high fixed property-related costs and which had missed out on the main business grant schemes due to the way they interacted with the business rates system, Local Authorities were able to pay grants to other kinds of businesses, according to their assessment of local economic need.

The business grant funds, including the Discretionary Grant Fund, were primarily intended to support small businesses which faced high fixed property-related costs during the strict ‘lockdown’ period, when consumer footfall was dramatically reduced. As most businesses are now able to reopen, it is right that we wind up the grant schemes, all of which closed to new applicants on 28 August. The Government continues to review the economic situation and consider what support businesses need. However, there are currently no plans to re-open the business grants to new applications.

We expect that Local Authorities will spend the vast majority of the funding which they were allocated for the Discretionary Grant Fund. We do expect there to be some underspends from the Small Business Grant Fund and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund. We have asked Local Authorities to return any underspends to the Exchequer.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make it his policy to expedite the bringing forward of legislative proposals for a plastic packaging tax as a result of the (a) fall in global oil prices and (b) the rise in the level of production of virgin plastic in order to protect the financial viability of recycling companies in the UK.

At Budget 2020, the Government announced key details of the world leading Plastic Packaging Tax, which will help to tackle the pressing issue of plastic waste. The initial rate of the tax will be £200 per tonne and it will be paid by manufacturers and importers of plastic packaging that contains less than 30% recycled plastic.

The Government is continuing to monitor both the global oil price and recycling capacity in the UK. The Government expects the tax to create greater demand for recycled material and in turn stimulate increased levels of recycling and collection of plastic waste. Since the announcement of the tax at Budget 2018 there has been increased investment in the UK’s recycling capacity, partly due to the tax.

The Government has set a rate of £200 per tonne for the tax as this is expected to make using recycled plastic the most cost-effective option for a business in many cases. Following its introduction in April 2022, the rate will be kept under review to ensure that the tax remains effective in increasing the use of recycled plastic in plastic packaging.

The Government is now consulting on the detailed design and implementation of the tax, and will publish draft primary legislation before it is included in a future Finance Bill, followed by draft secondary legislation and guidance. It is right that the Government consults on the detail of the tax in this manner to make sure it works as intended and that businesses are given time to prepare.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what support he plans to make available to recently self-employed people who are ineligible for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme as a result of their 2018-19 self-assessment tax return including a one-off redundancy payment which HMRC classes as non-traded income.

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS), including the eligibility requirement that an individual’s trading profits must be at least equal to their non-trading income, is designed to target those who most need it, and who are most reliant on their self-employment income.

If an individual is not eligible based on their 2018-19 Self Assessment return, HM Revenue & Customs will then look at their Self Assessment returns from 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 to determine their eligibility. This reduces the impact of one-off events, such as a redundancy payment, in determining eligibility. More detail is available at www.gov.uk/guidance/how-hmrc-works-out-total-income-and-trading-profits-for-the-self-employment-income-support-scheme#eligibility.

The first £30,000 of a termination payment is not chargeable to income tax and is therefore not included in the calculation of an individual’s non-trading income. This further reduces the impact that a redundancy payment may have on eligibility for the SEISS.

Individuals who received more than half their income from non-trading sources in 2018-19 and did not have trading profits from earlier Self Assessment returns may still be eligible for other elements of the financial support provided by the Government. The SEISS is one element of a comprehensive package of support for individuals and businesses, including Bounce Back loans, tax deferrals, rental support, increased levels of Universal Credit, mortgage holidays, and other business support grants. More information about the full range of business support measures is available at www.gov.uk/government/collections/financial-support-for-businesses-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

15th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether people that are shielding are entitled to be furloughed by employers after 16 April 202 under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme instead of automatic entitlement to Statutory Sick Pay.

Employees who are shielding in line with public health guidance (or need to stay home with someone who is shielding) can be placed on furlough. Use of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is at the discretion of the employer. Individuals who are shielding should speak to their employer about whether they plan to place staff on furlough. If a firm chooses not to furlough these staff, they are entitled to Statutory Sick Pay as a statutory minimum, although many employers will pay more than that in occupational sick pay.

4th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether the Bounce Back Loan scheme will be made available to businesses that bank with Cash Plus and other online lenders and that cannot open new business accounts with high street lenders that have stopped accepting new customers.

The new Bounce Back Loans Scheme (BBLS), launched 4 May, will ensure that the smallest businesses can access up to £50,000 loans in a matter of just days.

There are over 16 lenders that are offering loans under the scheme which can be found here: https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-schemes/bounce-back-loans/current-accredited-lenders-and-partners/

Any lender that wishes to become accredited to offer Bounce Back Loans should contact the British Business Bank.

John Glen
Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office
27th Feb 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what plans his Department has to inform businesses of the rules on employing contractors after 6 April 2020.

The Government is committed to working with organisations to ensure changes to the off-payroll working rules are implemented correctly. HMRC are undertaking an extensive programme of education and support to help organisations prepare for the reform. This includes:

  • Offering one-to-one support to more than 2,000 of the UK’s biggest employers, and writing directly to 43,000 medium sized businesses and other organisations.
  • Providing large and medium sized businesses, public bodies, and charities with factsheets to share with their contractors, and publishing this factsheet on gov.uk.
  • Holding workshops with small tax agents, recruitment agencies, charities, and public bodies.
  • Holding webinars at least weekly, with small tax agents, recruitment agencies, charities, public bodies and contractors.
  • Publishing an enhanced version of the Check Employment Status for Tax online tool in November 2019, to help individuals and organisations make the right status determinations and apply the off-payroll rules correctly.
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether his Department has plans to provide covid-19 vaccinations for British Nationals that are working overseas under defence infrastructure organisation contracts as part of the vaccination programme for armed forces personnel at UK sovereign bases.

COVID-19 vaccinations have been and will be offered to eligible UK Defence contractors across our overseas network, in line with UK timelines.

James Heappey
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Minister for the Armed Forces)
23rd Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, with reference to the independent report entitled Regulation of Property Agents: working group report, published on 18 July 2019, what assessment he has made of the implications for his Department's policies of that report's findings; and when he plans to bring forward legislative proposals on regulating service charges on new build estates.

As part of a fair and just housing system, the Government is committed to making sure that homeowners and tenants are protected from abuse and poor service. This commitment includes raising professionalism and standards amongst property agents (letting, estate and managing agents), protecting consumers while defending the reputation of good agents from the actions of rogue operatives. We therefore welcome the ongoing work being undertaken by the industry itself to raise professionalism and standards across the sector, including on codes of practice for property agents. The Government is considering the recommendations in the final report on the regulation of property agents from Lord Best’s working group. We will continue to work with industry on improving best practice.

When parliamentary time allows, the Government intends to legislate to ensure that freehold homeowners who pay estate rentcharges have the right to challenge their reasonableness and to go to the tribunal to appoint a manager to manage the provision of services.

14th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that developers (a) sign building repairs safety pledges and (b) commit to remediate fire safety works in buildings over 11 metres.

Further to the answer given in response to Question UIN82386, 49 of the largest developers have signed a pledge to take responsibility for all necessary work to address life-critical fire-safety defects on buildings 11 metres and over that they had a role in developing or refurbishing, as of 15 November 2022. We have published the names of the developers who have signed the pledge on gov.uk.

We are also in ongoing discussions with several developers who have not yet signed the pledge, and we will invite them to sign the finalised contract. We have made clear that developers that fail to do the right thing face significant consequences. In August 2022, we made commencement regulations that are an important step towards giving Ministers powers to stop developers that fail to do the right thing from commencing developments for which they have planning permission, and from being granted building control sign-off. The Government expects all developers to do the right thing, irrespective of whether they have signed the building safety repairs pledge.

Lee Rowley
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
14th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether he plans to introduce a time limit on the duration of development once a building's work has commenced.

The Government is clear that developers should build-out permissions as quickly as possible. Where planning permission has been granted for new development, or where sites are stalled or experiencing delays to being delivered, it is for local authorities and developers to work closely together at a local level to overcome any barriers. There are instances where delays in starting or progressing sites may be avoidable and the Government wants to empower authorities with the tools to respond to such cases. Consequently, we are exploring all options to support faster build out as part of the wider package of proposed planning reforms.

23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, when he plans to reinstate the conditions on food supply deliveries which were relaxed on 13 March 2020 due to the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government made a Written Ministerial Statement on 13 March, setting out the need for flexibility around deliveries to supermarkets and other retailers of food, sanitary and other essential items given the disruption to supply chains due to the impact of the Coronavirus. This statement is being kept under review. Conditions are a matter for local authorities, and should be kept to a minimum, and must meet the tests set out in National Planning Policy Framework of being necessary, relevant to planning and the development, enforceable, precise, and reasonable in all other respects. We are also continuing to engage with supermarkets on the extent to which the relaxation is being used.

22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether local authorities will receive grant funding for additional covid-19 related spending required by central Government; and if he will issue guidance to local authorities that normal democratic scrutiny including full council meetings must resume before (a) consideration of emergency budgets and (b) the issue of statutory notices.

We have made £3.2 billion available to local authorities through an un-ringfenced grant so they can address pressures they are facing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In total, the Government has committed over £27 billion to local areas to support councils and their communities. I am working closely with colleagues across government on a comprehensive plan to ensure councils’ financial sustainability over the financial year ahead and will continue to keep the House informed as these plans develop.

The Local Authorities and Police and Crime Panels (Coronavirus) (Flexibility of Local Authority and Police and Crime Panel Meetings) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020 enable all local authority meetings to be held remotely and do not preclude physical meetings or a hybrid form of meeting where these can be held in accordance with public health regulations and guidance. It is for each local authority to determine what is appropriate in their specific circumstances. In giving councils this flexibility, they are expected to hold these meetings in a manner that ensures the decision-making process remains accessible to their residents.

1st Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps his Department is taking to tackle the backlog of probate applications.

Despite the unprecedented challenges faced by the probate service during the Covid-19 pandemic, and the increased volume of applications that have been seen since, the average length of time taken for a grant of probate following receipt of the documents required has been maintained at between five and seven weeks.

HMCTS has increased resources to meet the higher demand and is further increasing resourcing to reduce outstanding caseload back to pre-Covid levels and further bring down overall timeliness on digital and paper applications.

The improvement of the online probate system remains a priority for HMCTS, to ensure more applications can be issued first time and resources can be focused on reducing waiting times.

Mike Freer
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how much funding his Department has made available to organisations that provide support to victims of (a) domestic violence and (b) sexual abuse based in the Leeds area in each of the last three years; and if he will increase that funding in response to the effects of the covid-19 pandemic.

MoJ does not hold specific funding data for Leeds, as funding for local support services for victims of crime is provided to West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner covering all of West Yorkshire.

In the last three years, the funding provided to West Yorkshire PCC by the Ministry of Justice for local support services for victims of crime, including Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence is as follows:

Financial Year

Funding Allocation

2018/19

£2,672,833

2019/20

£2,664,803

2020/21

£2,712,200

In the last three years, the funding provided through the Ministry of Justice Rape Support Fund to rape support centres in West Yorkshire is as follows:

Financial Year

Funding Allocation

2018/19

£250,532

2019/20

£389,005

2020/21

£906,772 (inc. £323,264 COVID-19 funding)

In 2020/21 MoJ provided an additional £770,000 in emergency COVID-19 funding to West Yorkshire PCC to provide additional support for domestic abuse and sexual violence service providers to maintain support during the pandemic.


On 1st February 2021, in addition to the core funding for local commissioning of support services for victims of crime, the Government announced a further £40m for victims’ services. This funding will include £11 million for local community-based sexual violence services and £9.7 million for domestic abuse services. It also includes £16m to expand further the availability of Independent Domestic Violence Advisers and Independent Sexual Violence Advisers. We are in the process of agreeing the core and additional allocations for 2021-22 that all local areas will receive.

Alex Chalk
Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice