Speeches made during Parliamentary debates are recorded in Hansard. For ease of browsing we have grouped debates into individual, departmental and legislative categories.
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).
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
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
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.
The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
On?1 May,?the Government announced that up to £617 million has been made available to local authorities?in England to allow them to provide discretionary grants. The?Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund is aimed at small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs that are not liable for business rates or rates reliefs.
We are asking local authorities to prioritise the following types of businesses for grants from within this funding pot:
Local authorities are responsible for defining the precise eligibility for this Fund?and?may choose to make payments to other businesses based on local economic need,?subject to those businesses meeting the specific eligibility criteria.
Guidance to support local authorities to administer the Fund was published on 13 May at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-business-support-grant-funding.
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/
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
The Government has been clear that our intention is for all children to return to school from September. We want to get all children and young people back into education because it is the best place for them to learn, and because we know how important it is for their wellbeing to have social interactions with their teachers and friends.
On 2 July we published guidance to help schools plan for a full return of all pupils in September. In our guidance we advise schools to teach an ambitious and broad curriculum in all subjects from the start of the autumn term but make use of existing flexibilities to create time to cover the most important missed content.
Schools should consider resuming any breakfast and after-school provision, where possible, from the start of the autumn term. We recognise that schools may need to respond flexibly and build this up over time. Such provision will help ensure pupils have opportunities to re-engage with their peers and with the setting, ensure vulnerable children have a healthy breakfast and are ready to focus on their lessons, to provide enrichment activities, and also support working parents. Schools should carefully consider how they can make such provision work alongside their wider protective measures, including keeping children within their year groups or bubbles where possible. If it is not possible to maintain bubbles being used during the school day then schools should use small, consistent groups.
As part of Step 3 of the Government’s recovery strategy, wraparound care providers operating away from a school or nursery have been able to open from 4 July. We have published guidance for after school clubs and wraparound care providers, available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/protective-measures-for-holiday-or-after-school-clubs-and-other-out-of-school-settings-for-children-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) recommends that, currently, approved driving instructors (ADI) should only provide lessons to candidates who have an essential need. ADIs should ask pupils to bring appropriate identification to demonstrate the need for the lesson: a payslip, letter or identification badge should suffice.
When providing driving lessons, all ADIs should put in place appropriate measures, in line with the latest Public Heath England and Cabinet Office guidance, to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. It is the responsibility of the ADI and the pupil to consider the risks to their health and to decide if the driving lesson is essential.
ADIs whose registration lapses in the next three months, and who are observing government guidelines not to work, can delay renewing their registration until restrictions are lifted. Legislation provides that ADIs have one year in which to apply to re-register without having to take the qualification tests again.
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.
We take parliamentary scrutiny incredibly seriously and it is fundamentally important that hon. Members are provided with accurate and timely information to enable them to hold Government to account. We are working rapidly to provide all Members with accurate answers to their questions, as well as supporting the Government’s response to the unprecedented challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The hon. Member’s question will be answered as soon as possible.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A property’s valuation for rating purposes is the Rateable Value (RV) shown in the Rating Lists. It is this readily available information which Local Authorities have used to help determine eligibility for grants under the Small Business Grant Fund, and Retail, Hospitality, and Leisure Grant Fund. Linking these grants to the existing business rates system has allowed Local Authorities to make payments quickly to businesses in need.
The RV represents the VOA's opinion of the open market rental value at the valuation date. Rounding ensures consistency of assessment between comparable properties. It also follows practise in the rental market. Considerations other than valuation questions cannot influence Rateable Values.
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.
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:
COVID-19 vaccinations have been and will be offered to eligible UK Defence contractors across our overseas network, in line with UK timelines.
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.
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.
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:
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:
£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.