Andrew Gwynne Portrait

Andrew Gwynne

Labour - Denton and Reddish

Co-National Campaign Coordinator
14th Jun 2017 - 6th Apr 2020
Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
9th Jan 2018 - 6th Apr 2020
Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
14th Jun 2017 - 9th Jan 2018
Shadow Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
7th Oct 2016 - 14th Jun 2017
Campaigns and Elections Chair
11th Feb 2017 - 14th Jun 2017
Shadow Minister (Health)
7th Oct 2011 - 28th Jun 2016
Shadow Minister (Transport)
8th Oct 2010 - 7th Oct 2011
Procedure Committee
12th Jul 2005 - 18th Jan 2010
Crossrail Bill
14th Nov 2007 - 18th Nov 2007


There are no upcoming events identified
Division Votes
Wednesday 9th June 2021
Investing in Children and Young People
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 193 Labour Aye votes vs 0 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 224 Noes - 0
Speeches
Thursday 22nd July 2021
Oral Answers to Questions

What recent assessment the Committee has made on the potential effect of proposed voter ID laws on electoral participation. (903195)

Written Answers
Thursday 22nd July 2021
Legal Aid Scheme: Special Guardianship Orders
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of extending …
Early Day Motions
Thursday 27th May 2021
Human rights violations in Bahrain
That this House regrets the 25 May 2021 meeting between the Home Secretary and Bahraini Minister of Interior Shaikh Rashid …
Bills
Wednesday 29th June 2016
Disability Equality Training (Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Drivers) Bill 2016-17
A Bill to make the completion of disability equality training a requirement for the licensing of taxi and private hire …
MP Financial Interests
Monday 23rd November 2020
8. Miscellaneous
From 8 October 2020, an unpaid Director of the Great Britain China Centre, a non-departmental public body established to support …
EDM signed
Thursday 22nd July 2021
UN World Drowning Prevention Day
That this House welcomes the UN General Assembly’s adoption of its first ever resolution on global drowning prevention; recognises the …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Andrew Gwynne has voted in 250 divisions, and 1 time against the majority of their Party.

25 Mar 2021 - Coronavirus - View Vote Context
Andrew Gwynne voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 21 Labour No votes vs 176 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 484 Noes - 76
View All Andrew Gwynne 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
Gavin Williamson (Conservative)
Secretary of State for Education
(16 debate interactions)
Jacob Rees-Mogg (Conservative)
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
(16 debate interactions)
Matt Hancock (Conservative)
(16 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Cabinet Office
(49 debate contributions)
Department of Health and Social Care
(21 debate contributions)
Department for Education
(13 debate contributions)
HM Treasury
(13 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Andrew Gwynne's debates

Denton and Reddish 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).

Andrew Gwynne has not participated in any petition debates

Latest EDMs signed by Andrew Gwynne

21st July 2021
Andrew Gwynne signed this EDM as a sponsor on Thursday 22nd July 2021

UN World Drowning Prevention Day

Tabled by: Catherine McKinnell (Labour - Newcastle upon Tyne North)
That this House welcomes the UN General Assembly’s adoption of its first ever resolution on global drowning prevention; recognises the first ever UN World Drowning Prevention Day on 25 July 2021 and deeply regrets that almost 4,000 people in the UK lost their lives in water accidents from 2009-20 according …
14 signatures
(Most recent: 22 Jul 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 8
Scottish National Party: 2
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Alba Party: 1
Independent: 1
Conservative: 1
20th July 2021
Andrew Gwynne signed this EDM on Thursday 22nd July 2021

John Lewis's equal parenthood paid leave policy

Tabled by: Alison Thewliss (Scottish National Party - Glasgow Central)
That this House recognises the bold leadership shown by John Lewis in becoming the first UK retailer to introduce six months’ equal parenthood paid leave and two weeks paid leave for any partner who experiences pregnancy loss; notes that progressive practices such as this are crucial to closing the gender …
10 signatures
(Most recent: 22 Jul 2021)
Signatures by party:
Scottish National Party: 4
Labour: 2
Alba Party: 1
Independent: 1
Plaid Cymru: 1
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
View All Andrew Gwynne's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Andrew Gwynne, 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.


Andrew Gwynne has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Andrew Gwynne has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

2 Bills introduced by Andrew Gwynne


A Bill to make the completion of disability equality training a requirement for the licensing of taxi and private hire vehicle drivers in England and Wales; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 2nd Reading: House Of Commons
Friday 25th November 2016
(Read Debate)
Next Event - 2nd Reading: House Of Commons
Date TBA

A Bill to require certain public procurement contracts let by public authorities to include a commitment by the contractor to provide apprenticeships and skills training; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 2nd Reading: House Of Commons
Friday 1st November 2013

Andrew Gwynne has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


303 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
7 Other Department Questions
23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Prime Minister, with reference to his in-person meeting with the Bahraini Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa on 17 June 2021, whether he had discussions on human rights in Bahrain during that meeting.

The Crown Prince and I discussed a wide range of matters. We regularly raise human rights issues with the Government of Bahrain and continue to engage with the Government of Bahrain to support its reform agenda.

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to the Answer of 23 March 2021 to Question 171542, whether he has had discussions with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on implementing the recommendations made by Baroness Cumberlege in First Do No Harm - The report of the IMMDS Review; and if he will make a statement.

I refer the Hon Member to the Written Ministerial Statement of 11 January 2021 (HCWS692) made by my Hon Friend the Minister for Patient Safety, Suicide Prevention and Mental Health. The Government will respond in full to the report later this year.

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
15th Oct 2020
To ask the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire, representing the House of Commons Commission, pursuant to the Answers to Questions 98904, 101251 and 101252, what discussions members of the House of Commons Commission have had with the members of the House Service on (a) the decision on the House Twitter account to no longer cover Divisions, (b) other changes to that Twitter account and (c) the compatibility of those changes with (i) the objective in the Strategy for the House of Commons Service 2016-21 of involving and inspiring the public and (ii) other objectives in that strategy.

The Commission has had no discussions with House Service staff regarding the House of Commons Twitter account. The account is managed by the House of Commons Communications Office, part of the House Service, and it is for the House Service to take any decisions about its content.

A core task of the House Service is to support the House of Commons, its committees, and individual members of all parties and their staff. As such, its commitment to, and perception of, impartiality is critical.

Pete Wishart
Shadow SNP Leader of the House of Commons
9th Oct 2020
To ask the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire, representing the House of Commons Commission, pursuant to the Answer of 8 October 2020 to Question 98904, if the Commission will discuss (a) the decision on the House Twitter account to no longer cover Divisions, (b) other changes to that Twitter account and (c) the compatibility of those changes with (i) the objective in the Strategy for the House of Commons Service 2016-21 of involving and inspiring the public and (ii) other objectives in that strategy.

The Commission has no plans to consider the House of Commons Twitter account. The account is managed by the House of Commons Communications Office, part of the House Service, and it is for the House Service to take any decisions about its content.

A core task of the House Service is to support the House of Commons, its committees, and individual members of all parties and their staff. As such, its commitment to, and perception of, impartiality is critical.

Pete Wishart
Shadow SNP Leader of the House of Commons
9th Oct 2020
To ask the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire, representing the House of Commons Commission, pursuant to the Answer of 8 October 2020 to Question 98904, what consultation the Commission has carried out with (a) hon. Members, (b) members of the public and (c) other stakeholders on the decision to stop the House of Commons Twitter service covering the results of divisions.

The Commission has no plans to consider the House of Commons Twitter account. The account is managed by the House of Commons Communications Office, part of the House Service, and it is for the House Service to take any decisions about its content.

A core task of the House Service is to support the House of Commons, its committees, and individual members of all parties and their staff. As such, its commitment to, and perception of, impartiality is critical.

Pete Wishart
Shadow SNP Leader of the House of Commons
1st Jul 2020
To ask the hon. Member for City of Chester, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of asking the Local Government Boundary Commission for England to consider delaying the periodic Ward Boundary Reviews in (i) Tameside and (ii) Stockport for 12 months to allow those councils to focus on covid-19 prevention and community support activity.

Since the imposition of lockdown restrictions the Local Government Boundary Commission for England has had extensive dialogue with those councils included in its electoral review programme. This includes Tameside and Stockport.

The Commission initially paused input from councils for three months where councils felt it would help them deal with their response to COVID-19. It is in continuing dialogue with councils to reach mutually acceptable timetables for carrying out electoral reviews. Those timetables are tailored to the individual council. A number have already been agreed. Some are proceeding broadly according to their original timetable, others have more significant extensions. Once agreed those timetables are subject to ongoing review to take account of future changes in circumstances faced by individual councils.

Christian Matheson
Shadow Minister (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
29th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what estimate he has made of the number of employees with epilepsy working for Government departments.

Data on the number of staff across the Civil Service with epilepsy is not held centrally. The Annual Civil Service Employment Survey which is used to produce Civil Service Statistics, collects diversity information on Civil Servants including disability status but does not specify the type of disability.

Julia Lopez
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the effect of the notice period for the 2021 covid-19 lockdown on the ability of wholesale distributors to effectively make business plans.

Throughout this crisis, the government has sought to protect people’s jobs and livelihoods while also supporting businesses and public services across the UK. We are aware of the challenges faced by the wholesale sector, and the foodservice wholesale sector in particular. Officials have been working closely with the wholesale sector to understand the scale of the challenge. The Government has made a range of support available to wholesalers, and continues to consider the needs of the sector.

Penny Mordaunt
Paymaster General
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the answer of 1 October 2020 to Question 94353, and with reference to the covid-19 outbreak, what plans the Government has to delay the 2021 local elections in England.

Primary legislation states that the elections will go ahead in May 2021.

We continue to work closely with the electoral community, including electoral suppliers, and public health bodies to resolve challenges and ensure everyone will be able to cast their vote safely and securely - and in a way of their choosing.

Measures are planned to support absent voting at short notice. Guidance will be published in good time ahead of the polls and this matter will be kept under review. The House will be kept updated.

The Government has also engaged with the Parliamentary Parties Panel to ensure that views from political parties are taken on board.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of allowing covid-secure bingo halls to open in areas under Tier 3 local covid alert level restrictions once the national covid-19 lockdown ends.

For areas which move in future to a Tier 3 Level, we will work with local leaders to agree measures specific to that area’s situation.

Penny Mordaunt
Paymaster General
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the covid-19 outbreak, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of the 2021 local elections in England being conducted through all-postal votes.

The UK Government is of the view that it would not be appropriate to impose an all-postal vote for the local and mayoral elections in England, and the Police and Crime Commissioner elections in England and Wales, in May 2021. All-postal voting increases fraud risks, and removes choice from voters who wish to cast their vote in person.

Postal voting on demand already allows any registered elector to apply for a vote by post.

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

This work is outlined in my recent letter to Electoral Returning Officers, which can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/letter-from-chloe-smith-mp-to-returning-officers

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 13 March 2020 to Question 27615, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of publishing an updated List of Ministerial Responsibilities on gov.uk to reflect new responsibilities during the covid-19 outbreak.

I refer the Hon. member to the answer given to PQs 57314, 57315, 57316 and 57317 on 15 June 2020.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
20th May 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, when the Government plans to release updated guidance on marriages during the covid-19 outbreak.

As stated in 'Our Plan To Rebuild', the Government's COVID-19 Recovery Strategy, the Government is examining how to enable people to gather in slightly larger groups to better facilitate small weddings.

Penny Mordaunt
Paymaster General
10th Mar 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 9 March 2020 to Question 25034, how many times Ministerial responsibilities have changed since 11 October 2019 when the last updated List of Ministerial Responsibilities was published on gov.uk.

Ministerial responsibilities change for a variety of reasons, including following changes in appointments. Details of ministerial responsibilities can be found on the GOV.UK website.

Updates to the List of Ministerial Responsibilities document are made periodically to reflect the Government as it stands on the day of publication. An update will be published in due course.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
10th Mar 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 9 March 2020 to Question 25033, what criteria the Government uses to determine when to publish an updated List of Ministerial Responsibilities on gov.uk.

Ministerial responsibilities change for a variety of reasons, including following changes in appointments. Details of ministerial responsibilities can be found on the GOV.UK website.

Updates to the List of Ministerial Responsibilities document are made periodically to reflect the Government as it stands on the day of publication. An update will be published in due course.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
9th Mar 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what proportion of Civil Service Fast Stream entrants graduated less than a year before starting the programme in each of the last five years.

We do not cross-tabulate information relating to the year of graduation for candidates recommended for appointment. This could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

The Civil Service does not have post-programme tracking by grade for completed Fast Streamers.

The next Civil Service Fast Stream Annual Report will be published in due course. This report will include indicators.

Further information can be found in previous reports.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
9th Mar 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what proportion of civil servants at each grade are graduates of the Civil Service Fast Stream programme.

We do not cross-tabulate information relating to the year of graduation for candidates recommended for appointment. This could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

The Civil Service does not have post-programme tracking by grade for completed Fast Streamers.

The next Civil Service Fast Stream Annual Report will be published in due course. This report will include indicators.

Further information can be found in previous reports.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
9th Mar 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, when his Department plans to publish the next Civil Service Fast Stream Annual Report.

We do not cross-tabulate information relating to the year of graduation for candidates recommended for appointment. This could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

The Civil Service does not have post-programme tracking by grade for completed Fast Streamers.

The next Civil Service Fast Stream Annual Report will be published in due course. This report will include indicators.

Further information can be found in previous reports.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
9th Mar 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what indicators are used to measure the effectiveness of the Civil Service Fast Stream programme.

We do not cross-tabulate information relating to the year of graduation for candidates recommended for appointment. This could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

The Civil Service does not have post-programme tracking by grade for completed Fast Streamers.

The next Civil Service Fast Stream Annual Report will be published in due course. This report will include indicators.

Further information can be found in previous reports.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
4th Mar 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 3 March 2020 to Question 21909, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of setting targets for the publication of the List of Ministerial Responsibilities; and if he will take steps to publish an updated List of Ministerial Responsibilities on GOV.UK within two weeks of any change to ministerial responsibilities.

Further to my answer of 3rd March 2020 to PQ21909, the Government has no plans to introduce a specific publication target.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
4th Mar 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 3 March 2020 to Question 21909, how many times ministerial responsibilities have changed since 11 October 2019 when the last updated List of Ministerial Responsibilities was published on GOV.UK.

Ministerial responsibilities change for a variety of reasons, including following changes in appointments. An updated List of Ministerial Responsibilities will be published in due course.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
27th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what targets he has set for the publication of an updated List of Ministerial Responsibilities on the gov.uk website after changes to ministerial responsibilities; and how often these targets have been met since the 2017 General Election.

The Government does not set targets for the publication of the list of Ministerial Responsibilities. However, details of Ministerial responsibilities can be found on GOV.UK (https://www.gov.uk/government/ministers).

The List of Ministerial Responsibilities document has been updated periodically to reflect the Government as it stood on the day of publication. The history of updates can be seen on the ‘Government Ministers and responsibilities’ page on GOV.UK (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/government-ministers-and-responsibilities).

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans he has to support the development of the geo-engine in the UK.

Titan Electricity based in Birkenhead manufacture the geo-engine for extracting power from the heat in extracted natural gas. This low-carbon power can be used to separate carbon dioxide and other contaminants from the natural gas and return them underground for long term storage.

The geo-engine could help achieve the ambitious decarbonisation targets set in the North Sea Transition Deal for offshore gas published by BEIS in March. This commits the UK offshore oil and gas sector to a carbon dioxide production emission reduction of 10% in 2025, 25% in 2027, and 50% in 2030 compared to a 2018 baseline.

Geo-engine has benefited from innovation support in its development through UK Research and Innovation. For example, Innovate UK funded Croft Filters in conjunction with Titan Electricity to develop a gas filter which will withstand the extremely hostile conditions the geo-engine will operate within.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether guidance issued by his Department to local authorities relating to the £425 million discretionary business grant funding announced in Budget 2021 will include reference to wholesale distribution businesses.

My Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced an additional £425m will be made available via the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) meaning that more than £2bn has been made available to Local Authorities since November 2020.

Local Authorities are responsible for managing grants schemes locally and determining eligibility. Local Authorities can determine how much funding to provide to businesses from the discretionary Additional Restrictions Grant funding provided, and exactly which businesses to target. They may choose to target business who have not been mandated to close but have had their trade adversely affected. It is for Local Authorities to determine the best use of the Additional Restrictions Grant in their area, this is reflected in the guidance published on the 4th March for both Local Authorities and Businesses.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the inclusion in guidance issued to local authorities of instructions to include wholesale distribution businesses in the eligibility for the £425 million discretionary business grant funding announced in the 2021 Budget on the financial viability of those businesses.

The Government has introduced an unprecedented package of support for businesses that are required to close, or which are severely affected by the restrictions put in place to tackle Covid-19 and save lives. Local Authorities are responsible for managing grants schemes locally and determining eligibility.

The Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) continues to enable Local Authorities to put in place discretionary business support. Local Authorities are free to provide support that suits their local area including to support those businesses not required to close but which have had their trade severely affected by the restrictions and those businesses that fall outside the business rates system such as market traders.

This grant scheme forms part of a wider package of support, including business loans and the Coronavirus Job Support Scheme, to assist businesses during this unpresented time.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the inclusion in guidance issued to local authorities instructions to include wholesale distribution businesses in the eligibility for the £425 million discretionary business grant funding announced in the 2021 on the levelling up agenda.

The Government has introduced an unprecedented package of support for businesses that are required to close, or which are severely affected by the restrictions put in place to tackle Covid-19 and save lives.

The discretionary Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) forms part of a wider package of support for business that have been mandated to close and also had their trade adversely affected by the Coivd-19 Restrictions. Local Authorities can determine how much funding to provide to businesses from the discretionary Additional Restrictions Grant funding provided, and exactly which businesses to target.

Levelling up is central to the Government’s agenda and we are working with local leaders to ensure every region, city and town will recover from Covid-19 and ultimately level up. The pandemic has rightly necessitated resources across Whitehall and in local government being re-allocated to tackling Covid-19 and on economic recovery. The Spending Review announced a £27 billion investment towards transport, energy and digital communications this year to level up the country.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what progress his Department has made on negotiating mutual recognition agreements with the EU that would apply to mountain professionals.

The recognition of professional qualifications, including for mountain professionals, is important for individuals wishing to practise their chosen profession outside the jurisdiction in which they qualified. It is for this reason that UK negotiators worked hard to secure a best-in-class Free Trade Agreement with the EU, in which the recognition of professional qualifications is covered.

We have secured a framework under which regulators and professional bodies from across the UK and EU may agree arrangements on the recognition of professional qualification (such as Mutual Recognition Agreements) covering the UK and all 27 EU Member States. Once an arrangement is adopted by the Partnership Council under the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, UK professionals will be able to use the terms outlined in the arrangement to secure recognition of their professional qualifications within EU Member States. The Department has set up a unit to assist regulators and professional bodies negotiating these arrangements.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of (a) extending eligibility for the Christmas Support Payment for wet-led pubs to social clubs and (b) providing back payments to those clubs.

The Christmas Support Payment was put in place specifically to help pubs without a significant food offering, whose businesses were severely impacted by the local restrictions over the festive period. The scheme eligibility period ended on 28 December 2020 and the closing date for applications is 12 January 2021.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with the Local Government Association on ensuring that local authorities administer grant funding to wholesalers as part of the Plan for Jobs five per cent discretionary fund in line with the recommendations in clause 23 of the Additional Restrictions Grant Guidance for Local Authorities.

There has been close engagement with the local government sector, including the Local Government Association, throughout the design and implementation of grant support for businesses since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020.

The Additional Restrictions Support Grant is a discretionary fund and local authorities are free to determine which support best fits their area.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has had discussions with Debenhams on their redundancy process during the covid-19 outbreak.

Officials are in regular contact with Debenhams.

Whilst we cannot protect every job during this crisis, we continue to do everything we can to help people get through and back into work.

We know this continues to be a worrying time for their employees and families, and we stand ready to support them in any way we can.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on employers using money from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to make redundancy payments.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme grants cannot be used to cover redundancy payments. The Government wants to ensure that employees do not lose out on their employment rights because they have been furloughed. New legislation which commenced on 31 July will ensure that pay received in relation to statutory redundancy pay, statutory notice pay, unfair dismissal compensation and pay for short-time working are based on an employee’s normal pay, rather than their furlough pay (potentially 80% of their normal wage).

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether employers should calculate (a) redundancy and (b) notice pay based on (i) employees' salary; and what the relevance of payments through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is to those calculations.

During this difficult period, we urge employers to exercise discretion and not use the Job Retention Scheme to make someone redundant on less favourable terms than they would otherwise have received.

The provisions relating to calculation of redundancy and notice pay under the Employment Rights Act continue to apply when an individual is on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Employees who are dismissed due to redundancy and who satisfy certain qualifying conditions are statutorily entitled to a lump sum from their employer, based on their age, length of service and contractual weekly earnings, subject to a statutory upper limit, payable at, or soon after, the dismissal date.

Employees are also eligible for notice pay if they have worked for at least one month for their employers. The entitlements include one week’s notice if employed between one month and 2 years and an additional week’s notice for each year employed more than 2 years, capped at 12 weeks.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
26th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of enabling pubs and bars to host music performances from the 4 July 2020 in accordance with covid-19 social distancing guidelines.

Following my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister’s announcement, all pubs, restaurants, bars, and cafes in England can begin to offer services to customers from Saturday 4 July as long as they follow the safer working guidelines.

Guidance is clear that venues should not permit indoor performances, including drama, comedy and music, to take place in front of a live audience.

Indoor performances or loud music can increase the risk of aerosol transmission from either the performer(s) or their audience.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of a new industrial site reclamation scheme to help bring regional strategic employment sites forward for development.

Officials in the Department recently met with Greater Manchester Combined Authority and will continue discussions on plans for Tameside and the vision for the city region.

The Government has made funding available to support these types of scheme. This includes £663.4 million from the Government’s Local Growth Fund 1, 2 and 3 to Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership, of which £3.5 million went to the Tameside Minors project for highway and rail access improvements, as well as cycle links.

Tameside will soon have the opportunity to apply for further funding to support local regeneration. This includes a further round of the Future High Streets Fund to welcome proposals from local authorities to change their high streets. There are also plans to enable further places to benefit from the Towns Fund.

It is vital that we have well-resourced, efficient, and effective planning frameworks in place to unlock regeneration, investment, and business growth. Our ambitions build on the Government’s recent Planning White Paper, which aims to make the planning system clearer and more accessible. The White Paper includes options to introduce a new planning fee structure to ensure that planning authorities are resourced to improve the speed and quality of decisions.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he will meet with (a) the Hon Member for Denton and Reddish and (b) officers from Tameside Council to discuss plans for bringing the Ashton Moss regional strategic employment site forward for development.

Officials in the Department recently met with Greater Manchester Combined Authority and will continue discussions on plans for Tameside and the vision for the city region.

The Government has made funding available to support these types of scheme. This includes £663.4 million from the Government’s Local Growth Fund 1, 2 and 3 to Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership, of which £3.5 million went to the Tameside Minors project for highway and rail access improvements, as well as cycle links.

Tameside will soon have the opportunity to apply for further funding to support local regeneration. This includes a further round of the Future High Streets Fund to welcome proposals from local authorities to change their high streets. There are also plans to enable further places to benefit from the Towns Fund.

It is vital that we have well-resourced, efficient, and effective planning frameworks in place to unlock regeneration, investment, and business growth. Our ambitions build on the Government’s recent Planning White Paper, which aims to make the planning system clearer and more accessible. The White Paper includes options to introduce a new planning fee structure to ensure that planning authorities are resourced to improve the speed and quality of decisions.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if his Department will provide support to Tameside Council to help bring forward the borough’s employment site investment strategy.

Officials in the Department recently met with Greater Manchester Combined Authority and will continue discussions on plans for Tameside and the vision for the city region.

The Government has made funding available to support these types of scheme. This includes £663.4 million from the Government’s Local Growth Fund 1, 2 and 3 to Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership, of which £3.5 million went to the Tameside Minors project for highway and rail access improvements, as well as cycle links.

Tameside will soon have the opportunity to apply for further funding to support local regeneration. This includes a further round of the Future High Streets Fund to welcome proposals from local authorities to change their high streets. There are also plans to enable further places to benefit from the Towns Fund.

It is vital that we have well-resourced, efficient, and effective planning frameworks in place to unlock regeneration, investment, and business growth. Our ambitions build on the Government’s recent Planning White Paper, which aims to make the planning system clearer and more accessible. The White Paper includes options to introduce a new planning fee structure to ensure that planning authorities are resourced to improve the speed and quality of decisions.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when pubs without outdoor space will be allowed to reopen.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister set out a roadmap in his speech on the 10 May outlining steps, or ‘phases’, to get people in the UK back to work in a way that is safe.

The roadmap sets out our ambition to reopen sections of the hospitality industry, including pubcs, in Step Three of our strategy, provided they are safe and enforce social distancing. Any decision to reopen this sector will be subject to the scientific advice at the time.

We are working at pace to develop safe ways for pubs to reopen at the earliest opportunity it is safe to do so, through our pubs and restaurants taskforce, and this work is progressing well.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the number of small (a) cafes, (b) restaurants, (c) bars and (d) other hospitality businesses which will be unable to reopen because of social distancing rules due to the covid-19 outbreak.

We recognise the challenges facing this industry during this time. Our extensive package of support continues to be available, including our furlough scheme which has been extended until October, 100% business rates holidays, and tens of bullions of pounds’ worth of business loans and guarantees.

Information regarding the number of hospitality businesses which are currently unable to reopen is not in the public domain and is, therefore, classed as commercially sensitive information.

We are working with the sector at pace to develop guidance on how these businesses can reopen safely. The Pubs and Restaurants working level Technical Group comprised stakeholders from a cross-section of the sector, with representation from trade bodies to small and medium sized operators, unions, as well as the supply chain, Public Health England and the Health and Safety Executive. We consulted these stakeholders due to their expertise and real-life knowledge and experience of the challenges faced by the industry during the COVID-19 outbreak.

This Guidance will be published ahead of time to allow the sector to prepare.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 3 March 2020 to Question 21910, whether his Department plans to make an assessment of the merits of including measures to decrease the qualifying period for unfair dismissal claims to one year in the Employment Rights Bill.

The Government has no plans to make an assessment of the merits of decreasing the qualifying period for unfair dismissal claims to one year. The qualifying period aims to strike the right balance between fairness for employees and flexibility for employers.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
27th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 27 February 2020 to Question 19784, whether his Department has evidence of a causal link between increasing the qualifying period for unfair dismissal claims to two years and employment and unemployment rates in the UK.

There is a correlation between regulatory frameworks and how an economy performs but it is difficult to attribute a causal link to specific aspects of regulation within the UK’s labour market framework. The Government is committed to making the UK the best place in the world to work and grow a business. In the recent Queen’s Speech, we announced that we would bring forward an Employment Rights Bill to deliver the greatest reforms of workers’ rights in over 20 years.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of reverting to a one-year qualifying period for unfair dismissal claims.

At the time of increasing the qualifying period for unfair dismissal claims to two years, the policy intention was to increase business confidence in recruiting and retaining staff. The UK now has record levels of employment and the lowest rate of unemployment since 1975.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of providing additional sector specific support to the tourism and travel industry.

We continue to engage with tourism stakeholders to assess the role of the Government’s unprecedented support measures in supporting the sector through this period. Ministerial colleagues in the Department for Transport are doing the same with the travel sector.

In total, over £25bn has been provided during the pandemic to the tourism, leisure and hospitality sectors in the form of grants, loans and tax breaks. The Government is continuing to support businesses and individuals - including through various government-backed loans, grants and the extended furlough and self-employed support schemes. A UK-wide VAT cut for the tourism sectors from 20% to 5% is in place until September 2021, and 12.5% for the rest of the financial year.

The Government published the Tourism Recovery Plan on 11th June. Alongside addressing short and medium term challenges, the plan sets out a long-term framework for how the Government will work with the sector to build back better from the pandemic - and develop a more sustainable, innovative, and data-driven tourism industry.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to findings from Bite Back that young people in the UK are exposed to 15 billion junk food adverts a year online, if the Government will bring forward legislative proposals to introduce statutory online advertising restrictions on junk food, as proposed in its original consultation, at the same time as those for television.

The Covid-19 health crisis has underlined the need to reduce levels of obesity in the general population, and that it is critically important that we encourage healthy eating habits, particularly for our young people. The Prime Minister is clear that this is a priority.

The Biteback 2030 campaign has helped to inform our work to understand the impacts of junk food advertising on young people. Government officials recently attended a session hosted by the Bite Back campaign, and were able to hear first hand from the Biteback Youth Ambassadors on the problem of junk food advertising and its effects in particular on young people.

In 2019 and 2020, the government consulted on bold proposals to restrict HFSS advertising on TV and online, and we will soon publish our response to both consultations. As the government set out in its Tackling Obesity strategy (published in July 2020), we intend to simultaneously legislate for an online restriction and a TV watershed by the end of 2022.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 2 March 2021 to Question 158881, what assessment his Department has made of whether visa processes for mountain leaders and other similar professionals are as prompt and smooth as possible under the UK's agreement with the EU.

My Department has not made an assessment of how smoothly the visa process for mountain leaders is running. As stated in my previous answer, the Government continues to engage with stakeholders, including the British Association of International Mountain Leaders, to understand their priorities for the UK’s future relationship with the EU. Where this concerns visa processes, this will be fed into the relevant Departments - in this case BEIS and the Home Office.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on financial support for freelance DJs dependent on working at events who have been unable to work during the covid-19 outbreak.

DCMS continues to engage with HM Treasury to ensure the needs of our sectors are factored into the developing economic response, and that DCMS sectors, including the live music industry, are supported throughout this time.

The Government recognises the significant challenge the current pandemic poses to many individuals and freelancers working in the music industry, including freelance DJs.

We are working very hard to help freelancers in those sectors access support, including through the Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) and funding from Arts Council England.

The Government has and will continue to look for ways to improve the SEISS grant and existing support.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of the UK-EU Trade Cooperation Agreement on the UK mountain leaders sector.

The UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) provides a framework under which the UK and the EU may agree Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs) on the recognition of professional qualification covering the UK and all 27 EU Member States. Once an arrangement is adopted under the TCA, UK professionals will be able to use the terms outlined in the arrangement to secure recognition for their professional qualifications within EU Member States.

Arrangements are implemented on a profession-by-profession basis and depend upon reciprocal cooperation from both the UK and EU Member States. The framework enables UK and EU professional bodies or authorities to make recommendations on MRAs to the Partnership Council.  Once an arrangement has been adopted, a professional qualified in the UK (e.g. an engineer) will be able to use the terms outlined in the arrangement to secure recognition of their qualifications within an EU Member State.

The Government continues to engage with stakeholders in the tourism sector to hear their priorities for the UK’s future relationship with the EU. Officials are currently engaging with the tourism trade bodies, including the British Association of International Mountain Leaders (BAIML) to gather feedback on priority regulators and qualifications for the tourism sector.

The government will provide help and guidance to UK regulatory authorities and professional bodies to help them benefit from these provisions as well as other recognition paths. Where visas apply, our agreement with the EU contains measures that will help ensure processes are as prompt and smooth as possible.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
15th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 14 January 2021 to Question 135862 on Musicians: Visas, whether the EU offered visa arrangements during negotiations on the future relationship between the UK and the EU which would have allowed UK musicians to tour in the EU visa-free for 90 days.

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

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the provision of financial support for online travel agencies that have not been eligible for business support schemes during the covid-19 outbreak.

We hold regular discussions with Her Majesty’s Treasury and across Government regarding the significant impact of COVID-19 restrictions on the travel sector, including online travel agencies.

The Government has introduced a number of support measures for businesses and individuals through COVID-19, which online travel agencies can access. These include various government-backed loans, as well as the extended furlough and self-employed support schemes.

The Chancellor also announced that Local Authorities in England will be given an additional £594 million discretionary funding to support their local businesses. This builds on the £1.1 billion discretionary funding which local authorities in England have already received to support their local economies and help businesses impacted. The guidance for this funding encourages Local Authorities to develop discretionary grant schemes to help those businesses which - while not legally forced to close - are nonetheless severely impacted by the restrictions. We encourage local authorities to be sympathetic to applications from businesses such as online travel agents who may not have been eligible for other grants.

We continue to engage with relevant stakeholders, including UKInbound and the Association of British Travel Agents, to assess how we can best support the sector’s domestic and international recovery.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what visa arrangements for touring musicians were offered by the EU during negotiations on the future relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union.

The Government recognises the importance of touring for UK musicians and other creative professionals. We acknowledge that there will be some additional processes for those in creative industries working across the EU now that the transition period has come to an end. However, our agreement with the EU contains Transparency and Procedural Facilitation measures that will help ensure visa processes are as prompt and smooth as possible.

During our negotiations with the EU, the UK proposed measures, reflecting the views of the music industry itself, that would have allowed musicians to travel and perform in the UK and the EU more easily, without needing work-permits. Specifically, we proposed to capture the work done by musicians, artists and entertainers, and their accompanying staff through the list of permitted activities for short-term business visitors.

In practice this would have delivered an outcome that is closer to the UK’s approach to incoming musicians, artists and entertainers from non-visa national countries, such as EU Member States and the US, who can come to perform in the UK without requiring a visa. Unfortunately, these proposals were repeatedly rejected by the EU.

The EU did not propose and wouldn’t accept a tailored deal for musicians, artists and their support staff to tour across the EU and UK.

Going forward, we will continue our close dialogue with the creative and cultural sectors to ensure that they have the support they need to thrive.The Government recognises the importance of touring for UK musicians and other creative professionals, and has engaged extensively with the creative industries and arts sector since the announcement of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement to ensure they are aware of the new requirements.

Oliver Dowden
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to ensure visa-free travel for (a) UK musicians touring in the EU and (b) EU musicians touring in the UK.

The Government recognises the importance of touring for UK musicians and other creative professionals. We acknowledge that there will be some additional processes for those in creative industries working across the EU now that the transition period has come to an end. However, our agreement with the EU contains Transparency and Procedural Facilitation measures that will help ensure visa processes are as prompt and smooth as possible.

During our negotiations with the EU, the UK proposed measures, reflecting the views of the music industry itself, that would have allowed musicians to travel and perform in the UK and the EU more easily, without needing work-permits. Specifically, we proposed to capture the work done by musicians, artists and entertainers, and their accompanying staff through the list of permitted activities for short-term business visitors.

In practice this would have delivered an outcome that is closer to the UK’s approach to incoming musicians, artists and entertainers from non-visa national countries, such as EU Member States and the US, who can come to perform in the UK without requiring a visa. Unfortunately, these proposals were repeatedly rejected by the EU.

The EU did not propose and wouldn’t accept a tailored deal for musicians, artists and their support staff to tour across the EU and UK.

Going forward, we will continue our close dialogue with the creative and cultural sectors to ensure that they have the support they need to thrive.The Government recognises the importance of touring for UK musicians and other creative professionals, and has engaged extensively with the creative industries and arts sector since the announcement of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement to ensure they are aware of the new requirements.

Oliver Dowden
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing a live music industry support scheme similar to the Government of Germany's €150 million package for that country's industry.

DCMS appreciates the important role that the live music sector plays in the UK’s cultural economy, and that the Covid-19 pandemic presents a significant challenge to many businesses operating in these sectors.

The Secretary of State announced a major £1.57 billion support package for cultural organisations to help them through the coronavirus pandemic. This funding will provide targeted support to organisations across a range of cultural and creative sectors. This support package will benefit the live music sector, including music venues and many other organisations in the Creative Industries that host live events, to stay open and continue operating.

From 15th August, and as part of the Government’s 5 stage roadmap to get performing arts and live entertainment sectors back up and running as soon as possible, venues and organisations have been able to put on live indoor performances in front of a socially-distanced audience. This is in addition to the earlier announcement that from 11 July we can all enjoy performances outdoors with social distancing.

We are committed to continuing to work with the live events sector to understand the difficulties they face and help them access support through these challenging times and through recovery.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what support his Department has provided to the culture and arts sector in (a) Tameside, (b) Stockport and (c) Greater Manchester during the covid-19 outbreak.

To support the sustainability of the culture and arts sector during the covid-19 outbreak, DCMS has worked closely with Arts Council England (ACE) to provide a tailored package of financial support. In March, ACE announced a £160m emergency response package to complement the financial measures already announced by the Government and to ensure immediate resilience of this vital sector.

This includes £20 million of financial support for individuals and £140 million of support for organisations, so they can better sustain themselves, and their work, in the coming months. To date over 9000 individuals and organisations across the country have been successful in applying for this support. Over £9 million of ACE emergency response funds were awarded to 53 ACE National Portfolio Organisations (NPO) in the North of England, and over £14 million has been awarded in the region in the first two rounds of ACE’s emergency response funds for individuals and non-NPO organisations.

On 5 July, DCMS also announced a major £1.57 billion support package for key cultural organisations to help them through the coronavirus pandemic. This funding will provide targeted support to organisations across a range of sectors, including performing arts and theatres, museums and galleries, heritage sites, live music venues and independent cinema.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans his Department has to create a tailored support package for the events industry to support that sector during the covid-19 outbreak.

We are aware that COVID-19 has significantly impacted multiple aspects of the events industry. My officials continue to gather intelligence from the sector and I regularly engage with events stakeholders to monitor the situation through the Visitor Economy Working Group, the Events Industry Board, and the Tourism Industry Emergency Response Group.

Government support for the events sector is set out in the International Business Events Action Plan, which was published in June 2019. We will continue to engage with stakeholders to assess how we can most effectively support the sector’s recovery from COVID-19.

Businesses and workers in the events industry can access the Government’s comprehensive economic support package, including the recently extended the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the Bounce Back Loans scheme.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
21st Jun 2021
What assessment he has made of the adequacy of catch-up funding for disadvantaged pupils.

All children have had their education disrupted by the COVID-19 outbreak, but it is likely that disadvantaged and vulnerable groups will have been hardest hit.

Since 2011 we have spent more than £20 billion to provide Pupil Premium funding for school leaders to use, based on the needs of their disadvantaged pupils. Between 2011 and 2019, the attainment gaps between disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged pupils narrowed by 13% at age 11 and 9% at age 16.

On top of this funding, we increased core schools funding by £2.6 billion last year and are increasing core schools funding by £4.8 billion and £7.1 billion in 2021-22 and 2022-23 respectively, compared to 2019-20.

In addition, over the past year we have made three major interventions to support education recovery, totalling over £3 billion additional spend: £1 billion in June 2020, a further £700 million in February 2021 and our latest £1.4 billion package announced in June 2021.

Recovery programmes have been designed to allow early years, school and college leaders the flexibility to support those pupils most in need, including the most disadvantaged. The latest announcement expands our reforms in two areas where the evidence is clear our investment will have a significant impact for disadvantaged children, high quality tutoring and great teaching.

We are providing over £1.5 billion for tutoring programmes, including an expansion of the National Tutoring Programme (NTP), an ambitious scheme that supports schools to access targeted tutoring intervention for disadvantaged pupils who have missed out on learning due to school closures. We will also provide greater flexibility to schools to make it easier for them to take on local tutors or use existing staff to supplement those employed through the NTP. This new blended offer ensures that the NTP works for all disadvantaged children, giving schools the flexibility to choose what type of approach best suits their needs and those of individual pupils.

The £302 million Recovery Premium has been weighted so that schools with more disadvantaged pupils receive more funding and includes £22 million to scale up proven approaches to reduce the attainment gap.

We have also invested more than £400 million to provide internet access and over 1.3 million laptops and tablets for disadvantaged children and young people.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he has taken to ensure that covid-19 restrictions on youth residential and summer camps are lifted as soon as possible and in line with other leisure activities.

Since 17 May all out of school settings, which would include youth residentials and summer camps, have been able to undertake residential visits for children. These settings can currently do so in groups of six, or two households, including at least one member of staff. From 21 June these settings will be able to do so in groups of 30 children, in line with the position for school residential visits. The Department has provided updated guidance on ‘Protective measures for holiday or after-school clubs and other out-of-school settings for children’, which sets out how providers can conduct residential visits safely. The guidance can be found here: 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.

Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, the Government has received advice from the scientific community, in particular from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) and its subgroups, when taking decisions on the best way to tackle the outbreak. Gathering in larger groups, including as part of residential visits, does increase the risk of transmission. COVID-19 spreads more easily indoors, especially over prolonged periods, for example, in shared sleeping arrangements, which increases the risk of residential visits. The Department continues to keep these restrictions under constant review and will ensure they remain proportionate to the threat to public health posed by COVID-19.

As new evidence or data emerges, the Government will act accordingly to ensure that all settings have the right safety measures in place.

The advice on residential visits will be reviewed again in advance of Step 4 of the roadmap out of lockdown.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of using calculated grades to award Access to Higher Education qualifications in line with those calculated grades being used for the award of other qualifications as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

We want all students to progress to the next stage of their lives, including students taking the Access to Higher Education qualification. Calculated grades are not being used for awarding any qualifications this year and given the wide range and diverse nature of qualifications, one approach to awarding cannot be taken for all qualifications.

Assessments for Access to Higher Education qualifications are continuing where possible and will continued to be marked and graded by tutors. However, the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education recognises that in some exceptional circumstances the assessments may need to be adapted to meet the needs of students and are allowing the diploma to be awarded using alternative evidence.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on academic freedom.

Tougher legal measures to strengthen free speech and academic freedom at universities in England have been announced by my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, on 16 February, to stamp out unlawful ‘silencing’ on campuses. The new measures set out in the February 2021 policy paper will ensure that our universities are places where free speech can thrive.

We engaged with other government departments on the policy paper prior to being laid in parliament. Officials and ministers will continue to work together to ensure that government commitments are met.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will extend the provisions of The School Admissions (England) (Coronavirus) (Appeals Arrangements) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 beyond the expiry date of 31 January 2021.

The temporary regulations introduced in April 2020 contain provisions allowing school admission appeal hearings to be heard by telephone or video conference, or to be decided based on written submissions only.

The regulations were due to expire on 31 January 2021. However, due to the ongoing nature of the COVID-19 outbreak and the continuation of social distance rules, we have introduced another set of temporary regulations (The School Admissions (England) (Coronavirus) (Appeals Arrangements) (Amendment) Regulations 2021) which extend the temporary provisions until 30 September 2021.

These will come into force on 31 January 2021 and updated guidance will be published. We will keep the temporary arrangements under review.

The temporary regulations and guidance only apply where it is not reasonably practicable to comply with the School Admission Appeals Code for a reason relating to the incidence or transmission of COVID-19. This means the temporary arrangements are available to use when they are needed – when they are not, the duty to comply with the The Schools Admission (Appeal Arrangements) (England) Regulations 2012 and the School Admission Appeals Code remains.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what financial support his Department is providing to wraparound and holiday childcare providers who have seen a loss of earnings as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government recognises the value that wraparound and holiday childcare providers offer, in particular with supporting vulnerable children and supporting our critical workers to continue to work. That is why we have ensured these providers can continue to remain open for the duration of the national lockdown for all vulnerable children and young people; and for all children of critical workers, where it is to enable their parents or carers to work, search for work, to undertake training or education, or to attend a medical appointment or address a medical need.

We recognise that the wrapround childcare sector, like many sectors, is facing unprecedented financial challenges as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. It is for this reason why the Government has made a range of financial packages available, throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, to support private businesses, who have been adversely affected by COVID-19; details of which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/business-coronavirus-support-finder. Depending on their circumstances, businesses may be eligible for tax relief, loans or cash grants through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme or the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. In addition, as part of the £4.6 billion in new lockdown grants to support businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors recently announced by my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Government is making a discretionary fund of £594 million available for local authorities and the devolved administrations to support businesses that might be affected by the new lockdown restrictions, but that are not part of the retail, hospitality or leisure sectors. Wraparound childcare providers should apply to their local authorities to determine if they are eligible for this funding.

Given the importance of ensuring that vulnerable children and critical workers can access the support and childcare that they need, I also wrote to Directors of Children’s Services in all local authorities in England in December to strongly encourage them to consider whether wraparound childcare providers can be supported using grants that have been made available to local authorities. This includes the Holiday Activities and Food Programme, a £220 million fund to be delivered through grants to local authorities, and which will be expanded to reach all local authority areas over the Easter, summer and Christmas holidays this year. Local authorities will be able to use these grants to arrange childcare provision through a range of settings, providing valuable support to families on lower incomes and giving them the opportunity to access rewarding activities alongside healthy meals over the school holidays.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to meet with sector representatives from the wraparound and holiday childcare sector to discuss the effects of the covid-19 outbreak.

The department does not hold a central register of all wraparound provision and so does not routinely collect data on the number of providers in operation.

However, ensuring sufficiency of childcare provision for critical worker parents and carers remains a government priority. This is why we have ensured that wraparound childcare providers, and other providers of out-of-school activities, can continue to remain open for the children of critical workers during the current national lockdown to allow critical worker parents or carers to work or to search for work, to undertake training or education, or to attend a medical appointment or address a medical need.?? Vulnerable children and young people can also continue to access wraparound childcare and other out-of-school settings during the national lockdown. The guidance on protective measures for holiday and after-school clubs, and other out of school settings during the COVID-19 outbreak will shortly be updated to outline the measures providers should put in place to ensure they are operating as safely as possible if they continue to offer face-to-face provision during the national lockdown. It is available here: 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.

Schools may also continue to open up or hire out their premises for use by external wraparound childcare providers, such as after-school or holiday clubs, that offer provision to children of critical workers and/ or vulnerable children. We have also ensured that schools that operate their own breakfast and after school clubs can continue to run wraparound provision for those attending school full-time. Doing so, will support critical workers to undertake their jobs, and help to safeguard the health and wellbeing of vulnerable children and young people. We are encouraging schools that can, to maintain their wraparound childcare provision for this reason, and we will be publishing guidance to support them in doing so shortly.

The department has engaged and met with representatives from the wraparound childcare sector on a regular basis, since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, to discuss the impacts of COVID-19 and protective measures on the sufficiency of childcare provision, and will continue to do so. In addition, our Real-time assessment of community transmission (REACT) teams , comprising education and social care staff from both the Department for Education and Ofsted, are working closely with local authorities and will act as a valuable source of intelligence on the sufficiency of wraparound childcare places for the children of critical workers, and for vulnerable children and young people during the current national lockdown.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the closure of wraparound and holiday childcare services on the ability of key workers to attend work during the covid-19 outbreak.

The department does not hold a central register of all wraparound provision and so does not routinely collect data on the number of providers in operation.

However, ensuring sufficiency of childcare provision for critical worker parents and carers remains a government priority. This is why we have ensured that wraparound childcare providers, and other providers of out-of-school activities, can continue to remain open for the children of critical workers during the current national lockdown to allow critical worker parents or carers to work or to search for work, to undertake training or education, or to attend a medical appointment or address a medical need.?? Vulnerable children and young people can also continue to access wraparound childcare and other out-of-school settings during the national lockdown. The guidance on protective measures for holiday and after-school clubs, and other out of school settings during the COVID-19 outbreak will shortly be updated to outline the measures providers should put in place to ensure they are operating as safely as possible if they continue to offer face-to-face provision during the national lockdown. It is available here: 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.

Schools may also continue to open up or hire out their premises for use by external wraparound childcare providers, such as after-school or holiday clubs, that offer provision to children of critical workers and/ or vulnerable children. We have also ensured that schools that operate their own breakfast and after school clubs can continue to run wraparound provision for those attending school full-time. Doing so, will support critical workers to undertake their jobs, and help to safeguard the health and wellbeing of vulnerable children and young people. We are encouraging schools that can, to maintain their wraparound childcare provision for this reason, and we will be publishing guidance to support them in doing so shortly.

The department has engaged and met with representatives from the wraparound childcare sector on a regular basis, since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, to discuss the impacts of COVID-19 and protective measures on the sufficiency of childcare provision, and will continue to do so. In addition, our Real-time assessment of community transmission (REACT) teams , comprising education and social care staff from both the Department for Education and Ofsted, are working closely with local authorities and will act as a valuable source of intelligence on the sufficiency of wraparound childcare places for the children of critical workers, and for vulnerable children and young people during the current national lockdown.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of closures in the wraparound care sector due to financial unviability on the (a) learning and (b) development of children.

The department does not hold a central register of all wraparound provision or routinely collect data on closures of providers. The department does not, therefore, have a recent assessment of the effect of closures on the learning and development of children.

However, we recognise that before and after-school provision plays an important role in providing enriching activities for children and promoting their wellbeing, as well as being an important source of additional childcare for working parents and carers. That is why we have sought exemptions for this sector in The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (All Tiers) (England) Regulations 2020 to ensure that wraparound childcare is able to remain open at all tiers, and that parents can continue to access this provision for their children as normal. We have published further updated guidance for providers who run before and after-school clubs, tuition and other out-of-school settings for children on the protective measures that should be in place to ensure they are operating as safely as possible. The guidance is available here: 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/protective-measures-for-out-of-school-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

We have also been encouraging schools to resume their breakfast and after-school club provision, where possible, since the start of the autumn term. As part of our guidance to schools on full opening, we have provided them with guidance to support them in reopening this valuable provision. The guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools#wraparound-provision-and-extra-curricular-activity.

In addition, our REACT teams, comprising education and social care staff from both the Department for Education and Ofsted, are working closely with local authorities and will act as a valuable source of intelligence on the sufficiency of wraparound childcare places in local areas. We have also been in close communication with several wraparound providers since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak and we will continue this communication over the coming months.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
27th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with universities on ensuring that pupils from schools in the north of England do not miss out on places at high-ranking universities as a result of having to self isolate due to the covid-19 outbreak at the time of interviews or entrance exams.

The government is working closely with partners across the education sector, and with higher education providers, to minimise the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak and the disruption it has caused to young people’s education, including for those who will be taking exams and applying to university next year.

Universities understand the unprecedented difficulties that students have faced this year. Whilst, as autonomous institutions, they are in charge of their own admissions arrangements, the government has asked that universities be as flexible as possible. We will continue to make every effort to minimise the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on young people’s education, so that they are well placed to progress to the next stage of their lives, wherever they live and whatever choices they make.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 22 October to Question 105309, what assessment he has made of the effect of the withdrawal of teaching bursaries for arts, English and humanities subjects on the ability of people (a) switching careers and (b) from less affluent backgrounds to train to teach those subjects.

The bursaries offered for initial teacher training (ITT) are reviewed before the start of the annual recruitment cycle. In doing this, several factors are considered, including forecast economic conditions, previous recruitment, and teacher supply needs in each subject. Being able to change bursary amounts gives flexibility in responding to the need to attract new teachers and ensures money is spent where it is needed most.

In the academic year 2019/20, the postgraduate ITT targets in history (127% of target), geography (119% of target) and English (110% of target) were exceeded. Teaching remains an attractive proposition for graduates, including those in arts, English and humanities subjects. As a result, the Department has decided to focus the bursaries for the academic year 2021/22 on subjects where it is expected that it will be hardest to attract sufficient applicants.

Trainee teachers on tuition fee-funded ITT routes can apply for a tuition fee loan so they do not have to pay the fee upfront. They can also apply for a maintenance loan to support their living costs. Additional funding is also available depending on individual circumstances, such as the Childcare Grant.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect on levels of teacher recruitment of the withdrawal of teaching bursaries for arts, English and humanities subjects.

The Department reviews the bursaries that we offer for initial teacher training (ITT) before the start of the annual recruitment cycle. In doing this, we take account of a number of factors including forecast economic performance, the number of graduates, and teacher supply need in each subject. Being able to change bursary amounts gives us the flexibility to respond to the need to attract new teachers and means we are spending money where it is needed most.

In academic year 2019/20 we exceeded the postgraduate ITT targets in history (127 per cent of target), geography (119 per cent of target) and English (110 per cent of target). Final recruitment figures for 2020/21 are not yet available but between February and September this year there has been a 32 per cent increase in applications for those looking to enter the classroom compared to the equivalent period last year: https://www.ucas.com/data-and-analysis/ucas-teacher-training-statistical-releases.

Teaching remains an attractive proposition for all graduates, including those in arts, English and humanities subjects. As a result, we have decided to focus the bursaries we are offering for academic year 2021/22 on subjects where we expect it will be hardest to attract sufficient applicants.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department plans to update guidance for schools to ensure that health risks for teachers who shielded during the covid-19 lockdown are minimised.

On 2 July the Department published guidance to help schools prepare for all pupils, in all year groups, to return to school full time from the beginning of the autumn term. This guidance is kept under review and updated as necessary. The guidance can be viewed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

The guidance includes information on school workforces and the public health advice schools must follow to minimise the risks of COVID-19 transmission. The public health advice in the guidance makes up a Public Health England endorsed ‘system of controls’, building on the hierarchy of protective measures that have been in use throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. When implemented in line with a revised risk assessment, these measures create an inherently safer environment for children and staff where the risk of transmission of infection is substantially reduced.

Shielding measures were paused from 1 August. Clinically vulnerable and extremely clinically vulnerable staff are able to return to school. While in school they should follow the advice in the Department’s guidance to minimise the risks of transmission. This includes taking particular care to observe good hand and respiratory hygiene, minimising contact and maintaining social distancing where possible.

The Department recommends that school leaders discuss any concerns individuals may have around their particular circumstances and reassure staff about the protective measures in place.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
2nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to his Answer to the hon. Member for Denton and Reddish in the oral statement on Education settings: Autumn opening on 2 July 2020 and his Department's document, Guidance for full opening - schools, published on 2 July 2020, what funding will be made available to schools that will be required to make significant adaptations to their site to enable the safe return of all pupils in September.

The Government intends all pupils, in all year groups, to return to school full-time from the beginning of the autumn term. On 2 July we published guidance to help schools prepare for this. The guidance can be viewed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

As stated in our guidance, schools should use their existing resources when making arrangements to welcome all children back for the autumn. There are no plans at present to reimburse additional costs incurred as part of that process.

Schools have been able to claim additional funding for exceptional costs incurred due to COVID-19, between March and July 2020, such as additional cleaning required due to confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases and increased premises costs to keep schools open for priority groups during the Easter and summer half term holidays. Schools have also continued to receive their core funding allocations throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. Following last year’s Spending Round, school budgets are rising by £2.6 billion in 2020-21, £4.8 billion in 2021-22 and £7.1 billion in 2022-23, compared to 2019-20.


Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on funding for local authorities to cover additional costs incurred to ensure that early years settings can re-open safely as covid-19 restrictions are eased.

We have worked closely and have regular conversations with the HM Treasury on support for 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 will continue to pay funding to local authorities for the free entitlements for two-, three- and four-year-olds, providing reassurance for early years settings in light of the COVID-19 outbreak.

A package of support is available for individuals and businesses which will benefit childcare providers, including a business rates holiday, business interruption loans, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and help for the self-employed. Details of support available for childcare providers are available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures#funding.

On 24 May 2020, we published a planning guide for early years and childcare settings. The guidance sets out considerations for settings as they prepared to open to more children and the protective measures to put in place to limit the transmission of COVID-19. It was developed in consultation with early years sector bodies and providers from a variety of different settings and is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/preparing-for-the-wider-opening-of-early-years-and-childcare-settings-from-1-june/planning-guide-for-early-years-and-childcare-settings.

We are continuing to work with the sector to understand how the early years sector can best be supported to ensure that sufficient safe, appropriate and affordable childcare is available for those returning to work now, and for all families who need it in the longer term.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
22nd Jun 2020
What assessment he has made of the adequacy of financial support for early years providers during the covid-19 outbreak.

We know this is a challenging time for many businesses.

I am in continual contact with early years sector organisations through regular meetings and working groups and are feeding those messages right into the heart of government.

This year we plan to pay £3.6 billion into early years entitlements.

We will continue to ensure that early years providers get the best possible support from the numerous government schemes.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to support the mental health needs of BAME children; and if he will make a statement.

Ministers and officials in the Department for Education and the Department of Health and Social Care are meeting regularly to discuss the effect of the changes to education and how to provide support for mental health and wellbeing of children and young people.

We are aware that there is emerging evidence that Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) individuals can be more severely affected than the general population by COVID-19. We also know that people from BAME backgrounds are more at risk of experiencing mental health and wellbeing issues and that they access mental health care less than people from white backgrounds.

NHS England and Improvement is working closely with BAME experts, health professionals, Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) partners and others to support rapid knowledge and information sharing to encourage timely access to NHS mental health services, and just as importantly, good BAME experiences within those services.

In May, the Department of Health and Social Care announced £4.2 million for mental health charities, including Young Minds to enable them to continue to support people experiencing mental health challenges at this time. The department then provided a further £5 million of additional funding for mental health charities to support adults and children, including charities that offer some support to children and young people from BAME communities, such as the What? Centre, which supports young people with furthering their understanding of race, culture and identity in relation to mental health.

The Department for Education has been working closely with health partners to provide resources and update guidance to support and promote all children and young people’s mental health during the outbreak and to prepare for the return of pupils and students. We have encouraged schools to focus on mental wellbeing as pupils return and published a list of resources to help those supporting children at home, which is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-online-education-resources/online-science-pe-wellbeing-and-send-resources-for-home-education#mental-wellbeing.

All NHS mental health trusts have been asked to ensure that there are 24/7 open access telephone lines to support people of all ages. Public Health England and Health Education England have also developed advice and guidance for parents and professionals on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing. Which is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-supporting-children-and-young-peoples-mental-health-and-wellbeing.

Guidance on safeguarding in education settings includes specific information on mental health and is available at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-safeguarding-in-schools-colleges-and-other-providers.

Guidance and for parents and carers to support their children’s education during the COVID-19 outbreak is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/supporting-your-childrens-education-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

As pupils return, schools will need to be especially sensitive to the needs and wellbeing of BAME members of staff, BAME parents and BAME pupils. The department’s guidance to schools sets out that they should ensure they have considered the impact on staff and pupils with protected characteristics, including race and disability, in developing their approach.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to support sixth form education in (a) England and (b) Greater Manchester during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government wants to get all children and young people back into education as soon as the scientific advice allows because it is the best place for them to learn. We know how important it is for their mental wellbeing to have social interactions with their peers, carers and teachers.

From the week commencing 15 June, the Department has asked schools with sixth forms and further education providers, which includes sixth form colleges, to offer some face-to-face support to pupils in Year 12 and to 16-19 students in the first year of a two-year study programme. Remote education should, however, remain the predominant mode of education for these students at this time. This applies schools in all parts of England.

Whilst we are unable to welcome back more sixth form students at this time, we have recently announced that other students under 19 years old can be offered a face-to-face meeting before the end of the summer term, where it would be beneficial. As long as this happens in line with wider protective measures guidance, and guidance on the numbers of pupils permitted on-site at any one time, we would encourage this where possible.

Our priority is to ensure that sixth form students can progress as planned, including starting university, moving into apprenticeships or securing a job.

We have published a planning guide for secondary schools (including those with sixth forms) to help school leaders to prepare and decide arrangements, which is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/preparing-for-the-wider-opening-of-schools-from-1-june/planning-guide-for-secondary-schools.

We have also published guidance for further education providers, which is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-further-education-provision/maintaining-education-and-skills-training-provision-further-education-providers.

The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) continues to be in regular dialogue with all sixth form colleges in Greater Manchester to establish their plans to continue to support sixth form learners.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment his Department has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on sixth form students in (a) England and (b) Greater Manchester.

The Government wants to get all children and young people back into education as soon as the scientific advice allows because it is the best place for them to learn. We know how important it is for their mental wellbeing to have social interactions with their peers, carers and teachers.

From the week commencing 15 June, the Department has asked schools with sixth forms and further education providers, which includes sixth form colleges, to offer some face-to-face support to pupils in Year 12 and to 16-19 students in the first year of a two-year study programme. Remote education should, however, remain the predominant mode of education for these students at this time. This applies schools in all parts of England.

Whilst we are unable to welcome back more sixth form students at this time, we have recently announced that other students under 19 years old can be offered a face-to-face meeting before the end of the summer term, where it would be beneficial. As long as this happens in line with wider protective measures guidance, and guidance on the numbers of pupils permitted on-site at any one time, we would encourage this where possible.

Our priority is to ensure that sixth form students can progress as planned, including starting university, moving into apprenticeships or securing a job.

We have published a planning guide for secondary schools (including those with sixth forms) to help school leaders to prepare and decide arrangements, which is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/preparing-for-the-wider-opening-of-schools-from-1-june/planning-guide-for-secondary-schools.

We have also published guidance for further education providers, which is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-further-education-provision/maintaining-education-and-skills-training-provision-further-education-providers.

The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) continues to be in regular dialogue with all sixth form colleges in Greater Manchester to establish their plans to continue to support sixth form learners.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans his Department has to issue pedagogical guidance on safe socially-distanced play-based learning for reception pupils.

As both my right hon. Friends, the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer, have made clear, the Government will do whatever it takes to support people affected by COVID-19.

The Department for Education has published guidance on implementing protective measures in education and childcare settings to prevent the spread of coronavirus, available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-implementing-protective-measures-in-education-and-childcare-settings/coronavirus-covid-19-implementing-protective-measures-in-education-and-childcare-settings.

The Department has also provided information on planning what to teach, and how, in the case of a phased return of some children into mainstream primary schools: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/preparing-for-the-wider-opening-of-schools-from-1-june/planning-guide-for-primary-schools#planning-what-to-teach-and-how.

It sets out that the priorities for young children at this time should be resocialisation into school routines; speaking and listening, and regaining momentum in particular with early reading.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
16th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to (a) simplify the application process for Animal Health Certificates for pet owners wishing to bring pets into the EU and (b) incentivise vets to take the requisite courses to issue Animal Health Certificates.

The United Kingdom (UK) has now been formally ‘listed’ as a ‘Part 2’ third country for the purposes of the EU pet travel regulations, which means that new rules now apply to pet movements from Great Britain (GB) to the EU and Northern Ireland (NI). These rules are governed by the EU Pet Travel Scheme, including those relating to certification for travel to the EU and NI.

Defra has been clear that there are no animal health or biosecurity justifications for these additional rules to travel to the EU or NI. We will continue to press the EU Commission in relation to securing ‘Part 1’ listed status, recognising that achieving this would alleviate some of the new requirements for pet owners and assistance dog users travelling, including the requirement for an Animal Health Certificate (AHC).

Our advice for pet owners and users of assistance dogs travelling is that they should continue to contact their vet at least one month in advance to ensure their pet has the correct vaccinations and paperwork to travel abroad. The costs of completing and issuing an AHC are commercial decisions, set by individual veterinary practices.

APHA has publicised the availability of the required training course and has made it easily available on-line. As of 13 July 2021, there are 7,387 Official Veterinarians in Great Britain authorised by APHA to issue Animal Health Certificates. COVID travel restrictions have previously decreased demand for AHCs to allow pets to travel with their owners from January this year; however, we are not aware of any concerns about there being insufficient numbers of authorised OVs to meet expected demand for AHCs in the future as travel restrictions continue to lift.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect of the 2021 covid-19 lockdown on the level of stocks retained by food service wholesalers.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Swansea East on 25 January 2021, PQ 138473.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the level of financial support available for the companion animal welfare sector in the context of the covid-19 outbreak.

The welfare of companion animals remains a priority for Defra throughout the coronavirus pandemic. My department continues to work closely with the companion animal welfare sector to understand the concerns of the sector and address how organisations that work with companion animals have been affected by Covid-19.

The Government has announced various measures to help businesses and charities cope in these strained times whilst remaining completely focussed on managing and eradicating the virus. Organisations can apply for the full range of COVID-19 support measures that the government has made available:

www.gov.uk/coronavirus/business-support.

There has been a change to the eligibility criteria for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS). The CBILS requirement for a small to medium-size enterprise to generate more than 50% of its income from trading has been removed for registered charities.

The Charity Commission has also issued comprehensive guidance on running a charity during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Details can be found at: www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-the-charity-sector. This includes advice for Trustees on managing financial difficulties with respect to use of reserves, restricted funds and provisions to help businesses continue operating and avoid insolvency during this period of economic uncertainty.

In addition to this, we have worked closely with the sector through the Canine and Feline Sector Group and National Equine Welfare Council to agree and update guidance to animal rescue and rehoming organisations, and other animal charities and businesses. This has enabled them to undertake core operations as far as possible, whilst maintaining compliance with the social distancing rules and need for hygiene precautions to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Defra remains committed to continued engagement with the sector to understand the longer-term impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, monitor the animal welfare implications of this and offer appropriate advice.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what procedures his Department has put in place to monitor compliance with (a) litter and (b) graffiti regulations in relation to public land by (i) the Department for Transport, (ii) Highways England and (iii) Network Rail.

The Code of Practice on Litter and Refuse sets out statutory standards for the removal of litter and refuse from relevant land and highways. It also sets out advisory standards for local authorities for graffiti removal, but there are no statutory requirements to remove graffiti.

Damaging property by leaving graffiti is an offence of criminal damage. Neither Highways England nor Network Rail has enforcement powers in respect of either littering or graffiti.

In 2018, Defra commissioned an independent survey of roadside litter on those parts of the Strategic Road Network (SRN) where Highways England is responsible for maintenance but the local authority is responsible for clearing litter. The results have been shared with relevant local authorities and will be used in policy development.

The Department for Transport published the Road Investment Strategy (RIS2) in March of this year, which sets out the Government’s long-term ambition for the SRN. The RIS2 includes a litter performance indicator in which Highways England will be required to report on the percentage of the SRN covered by Highways England’s Asset Delivery contracts where litter is graded at B or above under the Litter Code of Practice. Highways England performance on this metric will be reported to the Office for Road and Rail and Highways England will publish the data annually. This will ensure that there is an increased level of transparency for road users.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with (a) the Secretary of State for Transport and (b) Highways England on litter and graffiti on the motorway network.

The Government’s Litter Strategy for England was developed by Defra, the Department for Transport (DfT) and the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government, in consultation with other Government departments and guided by the Litter Strategy Advisory Group, of which Highways England and Network Rail were members. Defra and DfT officials have recently discussed the challenges of roadside litter on the strategic road network but there have been no recent Ministerial discussions.

DfT published the Road Investment Strategy 2 (RIS2) in March of this year, which sets out the Government’s long-term ambition for the Strategic Road Network (SRN). The RIS2 includes a litter performance indicator in which Highways England will be required to report on the percentage of the SRN covered by Highways England’s Asset Delivery contracts where litter is graded at B or above under the Litter Code of Practice[1]. Highways England’s performance on this metric will be reported to the Office for Road and Rail and Highways England will publish the data annually. This will ensure that there is an increased level of transparency for road users.

We recognise that litter and graffiti are an ongoing problem on our road and rail networks and Defra officials continue to work with Highways England and Network Rail to support them to deliver on their commitments in the strategy, along with our own. The second annual report on delivery of the Litter Strategy was published in September last year and is available at:

assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/836953/litter-strategy-annual-report-2018-2019a.pdf.

The Secretary of State for Transport is clear that graffiti on the railways is a matter that should be addressed as effectively as possible, and recognises the wider impacts associated with anti-social behaviour such as graffiti and trespass.

Addressing visible signs of crime and anti-social behaviour such as graffiti helps to create an environment of respect for the law. This helps to prevent more serious crimes on and around the railway network, thereby promoting passenger safety, such as the closely linked issue of trespass which can have extremely serious consequences for individuals’ safety and cause significant delays.

Network Rail currently spends around £3.5 million annually on tackling graffiti across the network. This expenditure is planned for and is part of Network Rail’s current five-year funding settlement which runs to 2024. In addition, each railway operator must ensure that its rolling stock and stations are kept to a high standard of condition and presentation.

Network Rail also works closely with the British Transport Police on hardening the rail network to unlawful incursions. This work by the British Transport Police is carried out with other interested parties, such as train operating companies and local authorities, and highlights the series of interlinked issues behind graffiti.

DfT is leading ongoing work across industry to assess the effectiveness of current anti-graffiti measures and develop long-term solutions to better produce a clean and more efficient railway network.

[1] www.gov.uk/government/publications/code-of-practice-on-litter-and-refuse

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with (a) the Secretary of State for Transport and (b) Network Rail on litter and graffiti on railway land and structures.

The Government’s Litter Strategy for England was developed by Defra, the Department for Transport (DfT) and the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government, in consultation with other Government departments and guided by the Litter Strategy Advisory Group, of which Highways England and Network Rail were members. Defra and DfT officials have recently discussed the challenges of roadside litter on the strategic road network but there have been no recent Ministerial discussions.

DfT published the Road Investment Strategy 2 (RIS2) in March of this year, which sets out the Government’s long-term ambition for the Strategic Road Network (SRN). The RIS2 includes a litter performance indicator in which Highways England will be required to report on the percentage of the SRN covered by Highways England’s Asset Delivery contracts where litter is graded at B or above under the Litter Code of Practice[1]. Highways England’s performance on this metric will be reported to the Office for Road and Rail and Highways England will publish the data annually. This will ensure that there is an increased level of transparency for road users.

We recognise that litter and graffiti are an ongoing problem on our road and rail networks and Defra officials continue to work with Highways England and Network Rail to support them to deliver on their commitments in the strategy, along with our own. The second annual report on delivery of the Litter Strategy was published in September last year and is available at:

assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/836953/litter-strategy-annual-report-2018-2019a.pdf.

The Secretary of State for Transport is clear that graffiti on the railways is a matter that should be addressed as effectively as possible, and recognises the wider impacts associated with anti-social behaviour such as graffiti and trespass.

Addressing visible signs of crime and anti-social behaviour such as graffiti helps to create an environment of respect for the law. This helps to prevent more serious crimes on and around the railway network, thereby promoting passenger safety, such as the closely linked issue of trespass which can have extremely serious consequences for individuals’ safety and cause significant delays.

Network Rail currently spends around £3.5 million annually on tackling graffiti across the network. This expenditure is planned for and is part of Network Rail’s current five-year funding settlement which runs to 2024. In addition, each railway operator must ensure that its rolling stock and stations are kept to a high standard of condition and presentation.

Network Rail also works closely with the British Transport Police on hardening the rail network to unlawful incursions. This work by the British Transport Police is carried out with other interested parties, such as train operating companies and local authorities, and highlights the series of interlinked issues behind graffiti.

DfT is leading ongoing work across industry to assess the effectiveness of current anti-graffiti measures and develop long-term solutions to better produce a clean and more efficient railway network.

[1] www.gov.uk/government/publications/code-of-practice-on-litter-and-refuse

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Government’s anti-litter strategy in relation to Government-owned and Government Agency-owned land; and if he will make a statement.

The Government’s Litter Strategy for England was developed by Defra, the Department for Transport (DfT) and the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government, in consultation with other Government departments and guided by the Litter Strategy Advisory Group, of which Highways England and Network Rail were members. Defra and DfT officials have recently discussed the challenges of roadside litter on the strategic road network but there have been no recent Ministerial discussions.

DfT published the Road Investment Strategy 2 (RIS2) in March of this year, which sets out the Government’s long-term ambition for the Strategic Road Network (SRN). The RIS2 includes a litter performance indicator in which Highways England will be required to report on the percentage of the SRN covered by Highways England’s Asset Delivery contracts where litter is graded at B or above under the Litter Code of Practice[1]. Highways England’s performance on this metric will be reported to the Office for Road and Rail and Highways England will publish the data annually. This will ensure that there is an increased level of transparency for road users.

We recognise that litter and graffiti are an ongoing problem on our road and rail networks and Defra officials continue to work with Highways England and Network Rail to support them to deliver on their commitments in the strategy, along with our own. The second annual report on delivery of the Litter Strategy was published in September last year and is available at:

assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/836953/litter-strategy-annual-report-2018-2019a.pdf.

The Secretary of State for Transport is clear that graffiti on the railways is a matter that should be addressed as effectively as possible, and recognises the wider impacts associated with anti-social behaviour such as graffiti and trespass.

Addressing visible signs of crime and anti-social behaviour such as graffiti helps to create an environment of respect for the law. This helps to prevent more serious crimes on and around the railway network, thereby promoting passenger safety, such as the closely linked issue of trespass which can have extremely serious consequences for individuals’ safety and cause significant delays.

Network Rail currently spends around £3.5 million annually on tackling graffiti across the network. This expenditure is planned for and is part of Network Rail’s current five-year funding settlement which runs to 2024. In addition, each railway operator must ensure that its rolling stock and stations are kept to a high standard of condition and presentation.

Network Rail also works closely with the British Transport Police on hardening the rail network to unlawful incursions. This work by the British Transport Police is carried out with other interested parties, such as train operating companies and local authorities, and highlights the series of interlinked issues behind graffiti.

DfT is leading ongoing work across industry to assess the effectiveness of current anti-graffiti measures and develop long-term solutions to better produce a clean and more efficient railway network.

[1] www.gov.uk/government/publications/code-of-practice-on-litter-and-refuse

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of (a) the variety of food provided in food parcels to shielding individuals and (b) whether that variety can provide a well-balanced and nutritional diet.

The emergency food parcels are a standardised package designed to be suitable for the majority of people. They contain a basic selection of food and other essential items. The contents of the food parcels have been reviewed by nutritionists and are based on, and broadly in line with, the national food model, the Eatwell Guide. We are currently working with nutritionists to make recommendations as to how to improve the nutritional content of these, and increase variety in any future food parcels.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with representatives of the mobile catering industry on the support this industry may be able to provide to society during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has well-established ways of working with the food industry during disruption to supply situations. The Government has regular engagement across the industry including the delivery to home sector and the industry continues to monitor the situation closely, taking the necessary steps to address issues where they arise. Following a significant spike in consumer demand, we have now seen stock levels in supermarkets improve. To support the food sector, the government temporarily relaxed competition law and regulations relating to driver hours and delivery times so that the sector could work together to keep putting food on the shelves.

We are working quickly to support those who need help getting essential food supplies, and we are working with retailers and the voluntary sector to ensure that people are supported to shop for others safely. We welcome the actions that industry is taking, including hiring more staff, and prioritising delivery slots and shopping times for those that need them most. We are grateful for the extensive support and positive collaboration that the industry has shown.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 8 March 2021 to Question 159299, if his Department will provide funding to cover all or part of the re-sit fee for learners whose driving theory test certificate has expired during the covid-19 lockdown.

There are no current plans to provide funding or waive the charge of a theory test for those whose theory test certificates have expired, given that candidates will have already received the service for which they paid.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) pays its contractor, Pearson, per theory test delivered. If candidates were exempted from having to pay for a retake then the DVSA and in turn other fee payers would incur these costs. This would be unfair to fee payers who would not benefit from the arrangement.

In addition, applications for a re-test would need to be validated and systems amended to remove the requirement for payment in these cases. The DVSA’s focus should rightly be on developing solutions to address the backlog of practical driving tests that has arisen as a result of the pandemic.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answers of 11 January 2021 to Questions 131200 and 131201, if he will ask Highways England to mark England’s historic county boundaries on the strategic roads network in line with the Government's guidance on Celebrating the historic counties of England dated 16 July 2019.

Pursuant to the Answers to Questions and 131200 and 131201, the Department has no plans to ask Highways England to implement historic county boundary signs on the Strategic Road Network (SRN).

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the answer of 11 January 2020 to Question 131200 on Road Signs and Markings: Cultural Heritage, what steps his Department is taking to implement the Government's guidance on Celebrating the historic counties of England dated 16 July 2019, on the motorway and trunk road network through Highways England.

Pursuant to the answer to Questions 127499, 127500 and 127501, the Department has no plans to ask Highways England to implement historic county boundary signs on the Strategic Road Network (SRN).

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answers of 14 December 2020 to Questions 127499, 127500 and 127501, what steps his Department is taking to support the implementation of the Government's guidance on Celebrating the historic counties of England dated 16 July 2019.

The Department for Transport has permitted the use of historic county boundary signs through the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2016. Guidance is provided to local authorities in DfT Circular 01/2016 and in Chapter 7 of the Traffic Signs Manual. Decisions on whether to place such signs are for local authorities.

DfT Circular 01/2016 is available at

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/traffic-signs-regulations-and-general-directions-2016-an-overview

The Traffic Signs Manual is available at

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/traffic-signs-manual

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 14 December 2020 to Question 127502, whether the £1 million fund for Control Period 6 (1 April 2019-31 March 2024) is specifically for brick repair and de-vegetation work on the Stockport rail viaduct and no other projects.

The £1 Million fund for Control Period 6 (1 April 2019 – 31 March 2024) is specifically for the upkeep of the Stockport Rail Viaduct, including brick repair, de-vegetation work and maintenance of rainwater goods (downpipes, weep pipes and troughing along the construction joints).

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if his Department will take steps to mark the boundaries of the historic county Palatine of Lancaster and of historic Cheshire on the M60 and M67 motorways through Stockport and Tameside in accordance with section 3.47 of the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2016.

The decision on whether to mark historic county boundaries on road signs is for each local highway authority, or, in the case of the Strategic Road Network, for Highways England, to consider. Highways England has no plans to install any such signs.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if his Department will make an assessment of the potential merits of marking England’s historic county boundaries on the motorway network in accordance with section 3.47 of the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2016.

The decision on whether to mark historic county boundaries on road signs is for each local highway authority, or, in the case of the Strategic Road Network, for Highways England, to consider. Highways England has no plans to install any such signs.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans his Department has to restore the Stockport rail viaduct.

Stockport Viaduct is a vital part of the railway infrastructure and Network Rail take seriously the responsibility to maintain it in safe working order. They carry out detailed examinations of the structure and address any defects or problems these highlight. This year Network Rail have spent £50k on repairing the brick work in areas highlighted by their examinations.

Network Rail have a specific £1m fund for Control Period 6 (1 April 2019- 31 March 2024) to be used on brick repair and de-vegetation work on the viaduct.

Network Rail look to manage any graffiti on the viaduct in accordance with their policies and will review any specific areas of concern and will take action where appropriate.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with Network Rail on the condition of the Stockport rail viaduct.

No recent discussions have taken place with Network Rail on the condition of the Stockport rail viaduct.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will ask Network Rail to set out a timetable for (a) the removal of graffiti, (b) the restoration of the brickwork and (c) the removal of overgrowth and vegetation on the Stockport rail viaduct.

Stockport Viaduct is a vital part of the railway infrastructure and Network Rail take seriously the responsibility to maintain it in safe working order. They carry out detailed examinations of the structure and address any defects or problems these highlight. This year Network Rail have spent £50k on repairing the brick work in areas highlighted by their examinations.

The main vegetation growth on the viaduct is buddleia which is challenging to manage as it grows so quickly. Network Rail have a specific £1m fund for Control Period 6 (1 April 2019- 31 March 2024) to be used on brick repair and de-vegetation work on the viaduct.

The viaduct is a listed structure in recognition of its importance to Stockport’s industrial heritage. Network Rail look to manage any graffiti on the viaduct in accordance with their policies and will review any specific areas of concern and will take action where appropriate.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will ask Highways England to set out a timetable for the removal of graffiti from gantries and road signs on the M60 motorway through Stockport.

Highways England aims to remove from sight the graffiti currently on its structures in Stockport within the next three months.

Highways England is working closely with the Department to tackle the issue of graffiti on structures along the strategic road network in England. Graffiti on these structures is removed from sight within twenty-four hours of being reported if it is offensive, obscene, blasphemous or racist. Non-offensive graffiti, as appears along the M60 through Stockport, would normally be removed from sight at a later date, when Highways England is undertaking other works in the area in order to minimise disruption to road users, or as part of Highways England’s regular cycle of clean and sweep activity.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will ask Network Rail to remove the graffiti from the parapet of the Windmill Lane railway bridge in Denton, first reported to them by the hon. Member for Denton and Reddish in September 2019.

My officials have been in contact with colleagues in Network Rail who, in turn, I understand, have been in touch with your office. Network Rail apologise that this issue took so long to rectify.

I can confirm that the local maintenance team visited the site and cleaned the graffiti over the weekend of 12/13 December 2020.

Network Rail colleagues have confirmed they have updated your office of actions taken.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 16 November 2020 to Question 114087 on Transport for Greater Manchester and Transport for London: Finance, how much funding his Department has allocated to the Greater Manchester Combined Authority in each of the last 10 years.

Payments to Greater Manchester Combined Authority and associated bodies (Transport for Greater Manchester, Greater Manchester Integrated Transport Authority and Greater Manchester Public Transport Executive) over the last 10 years amount to £1.709.5bn.

Financial Year

10/11

11/12

12/13

13/14

14/15

15/16

16/17

17/18

18/19

19/20

20/21

Total

Amount (£m)

171.1

266.2

188.9

139.4

180.3

178.4

113.2

66.4

65.3

133.3

207.0

1,709.5

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how much funding (a) Transport for London and (b) Transport for Greater Manchester has received from the Government for (i) capital projects and (ii) general operations in each of the last 10 years.

The Department for Transport (DfT) has paid £883,925,106 (£884M) directly to Transport for London over the last 10 years. DfT has made payments directly to Transport for Greater Manchester totalling £347.6m in the last 10 years. DfT also makes payments to the Greater Manchester Combined Authority who then pay Transport for Greater Manchester for their required transport needs.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans his Department has to reform taxi and private hire licensing.

The Department is supporting licensing authorities to make use of their extensive existing powers through the recently issued Statutory Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Standards and will consult on updated best practice guidance on other matters later this year.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of implied zebra crossings on side roads.

The layout of zebra crossings is prescribed in the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2016 (TSRGD). Under TSRGD, a zebra crossing must consist of black and white stripes, give-way lines, zig-zag markings and yellow globes. TSRGD also requires a driver or cyclist to give way to anyone on the crossing.

Installation of zebra crossings is the responsibility of the local traffic authority. A zebra crossing consisting only of black and white stripes, as proposed by Transport for Greater Manchester, would not meet the requirements of TSRGD, and as such pedestrians would have no right of way when using it.

The Department is aware that Transport for Greater Manchester have been carrying out some research to support their suggestion to introduce simplified zebra crossings at side roads in Manchester, but this has been paused during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Zebra crossings have been in use for a long time in this country, they are widely recognised and understood, and have a good road safety record, and the Department has no plans to change their design.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans his Department has to include Madeira on the list of countries and territories with no self-isolation on arrival in England during the covid-19 pandemic.

Our approach to travel corridors has been guided by the science and we have worked closely with health and policy experts from across government to ensure the steps we are taking will minimise the risk of importing COVID-19 cases, while helping to open our travel and tourism sector. The Joint Biosecurity Centre, in close consultation with Public Health England (PHE) and the Chief Medical Officer, has developed an approach to assessing the public health risk associated with inbound travel from specific countries and territories. The resulting categorisation methodology has been informed by a number of factors including an estimate of the proportion of the population that is currently infectious in each country, trends in virus incidences and deaths, transmission status and international epidemic intelligence. We have also considered issues such as the testing capacity of each country and the quality of the data available.

Although Madeira was not included in the travel corridors announced on 3 July, the Health Regulations relating to the self-isolation requirements remain under constant review. The next formal review will be on 27 July 2020.

13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 10 July 2020 to Question 68683 on Roads: Greater Manchester, what steps he plans to take to introduce measures complementary to the Greater Manchester Clean Air Plan to reduce air pollution on the Trunk Road Network in (a) Tameside and (b) Stockport.

We are working across Government, including with Highways England, and with local authorities, to deliver our 2017 Plan for Tackling Roadside Nitrogen Dioxide Concentrations and achieve compliance as quickly as possible.

The Mottram Moor link road and A57(T) to A57 link road, which Highways England is due to start construction on in the current road period, will contribute to improvements in air quality in the area.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 10 July 2020 to Question 68683 on Roads: Greater Manchester, what assessment he has made of the air quality for communities living alongside the Strategic Highway Network in (a) Tameside and (b) Stockport for which Highways England is responsible.

The Pollution Climate Mapping model is used alongside measurements from the Automatic Urban and Rural Network to assess levels of air pollutants for major urban roads across the UK and report compliance with legal limits for nitrogen dioxide. One, local authority managed, section of road in Tameside, has been identified as exceeding legal nitrogen dioxide limits in the latest national modelling. Five sections of road in Stockport, one Highways England managed and four local authority managed, have been identified as exceeding legal nitrogen dioxide limits in the latest national modelling. As set out in response to Question 72845/72846 we are working across Government, including with Highways England, and with local authorities, to deliver our 2017 Plan for Tackling Roadside Nitrogen Dioxide Concentrations and achieve compliance as quickly as possible.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 10 July 2020 to Question 68683 on Roads: Greater Manchester, whether Highways England is legally responsible for managing air quality from its strategic network for the purpose of the UK's legal obligations on clean air.

For purpose of the air quality Directive (2008/50/EC), DEFRA on behalf of the Government are the competent authority. In 2017 the Government published its Plan for Tackling Roadside Nitrogen Dioxide Concentrations (The Plan) which set out plans to achieve compliance as quickly as possible.

Highways England is legally required, under the Infrastructure Act 2015 and its Licence, to comply with (or have due regard to) relevant Government policy, which includes the Government’s plans and policies on air quality, and has been commissioned by the Department for Transport (DfT) to deliver its part of The Plan. The Infrastructure Act also obliges Highways England to comply with DfT’s Road Investment Strategy (RIS). The current (second) RIS sets out DfT’s expectations for environmental outcomes to be in line with (but not limited to) The Plan, and sets key performance indicators in relation to air quality, including compliance with legal nitrogen dioxide limits as soon as possible. The Office of Rail and Road monitors Highways England’s compliance with its obligations as set out in the RIS and Licence, and has enforcement powers in respect of these obligations.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 10 July 2020 to Question 68683 on Roads: Greater Manchester, whether Highways England will be fined for breaching clean air obligations to communities adjoining the strategic highway network.

We are working across Government, including with Highways England, and with local authorities, to deliver our 2017 Plan for Tackling Roadside Nitrogen Dioxide Concentrations and achieve compliance as quickly as possible, without recourse to fines.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 10 July 2020 to Question 68683 on Roads: Greater Manchester, whether local authorities will be fined for breaching clean air obligations to communities adjoining the strategic highway network.

We are working across Government, including with Highways England, and with local authorities, to deliver our 2017 Plan for Tackling Roadside Nitrogen Dioxide Concentrations and achieve compliance as quickly as possible, without recourse to fines.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
3rd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if his Department will make an assessment of the potential merits of transferring responsibility for the strategic highway network to Transport for Greater Manchester to ensure a co-ordinated and strategic approach to the management of the network across the city-region.

The second Road Investment Strategy, published in March, commissioned Highways England to carry out a study into the role of the strategic road network in urban areas. This study will consider the merits of changes in road ownership as well as other options to improve coordination of urban road networks such as that in Greater Manchester.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
3rd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions officials in his Department have had with representatives from the Greater Manchester Combined Authority in relation to strategic pop-up cycle routes in the city-region.

The Department has regular discussions with the Mayors of Combined Authorities including Greater Manchester Combined Authority. To help fund measures such as pop-up cycle lanes, the Department has allocated Greater Manchester Combined Authority £3,174,000 from tranche 1 of the Emergency Active Travel Fund and indicatively allocated £12,697,000 from tranche 2. The Department also issued new network management duty guidance to all local authorities in May with advice on measures to reallocate road space, both to encourage active travel and to enable social distancing.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
3rd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the timeframe is for work to commence on the reconstruction of the bridge at St Anne’s Road, Denton, at Junction 2 of the M67; and if he will make a statement.

Pursuant to the answer to Question 60714, Highways England intends to commence survey work on the bridge between July and December 2020. Enabling works, including opening the closed section of St Anne’s Road to allow implementation of the diversion route, are intended to start in April 2021. Highways England will start main demolition and construction work in October 2021, with construction lasting for two years. It has no further update on the proposed works at this time.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
3rd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he plans to include the trunk road network in the proposed Greater Manchester Clean Air strategy; and if he will make a statement.

The government and Highways England continue to work with Greater Manchester authorities to finalise their plans to improve air quality as set out in the 2017 UK plan for tackling roadside nitrogen dioxide concentrations. We have no current plans to include any parts of the Strategic Road Network in a charging clean air zone.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he plans to take in response to local authorities that do not follow Government statutory guidance on reallocating road space in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

Local authorities are responsible for ensuring any changes to their road networks are made with regard to the statutory Network Management Duty guidance published on 9 May. This sets out the steps Government expects local authorities to take to reallocate road space to cycling and walking in response to Covid-19. The Department is not responsible for policing what local authorities implement on their roads.

Alongside the guidance, the Department announced emergency active travel funding of £225 million, to help local authorities make changes to their roads to enable more walking and cycling, and to enable social distancing. Any bids for this funding that are not in line with the statutory guidance will not be granted.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
17th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with Highways England on removing litter on the Junction 2 on-sliproad to the M67 in Denton.

The Secretary of State for Transport has had no such discussions with Highways England on removing litter at Junction 2 on-slip road to the M67 in Denton.

Highways England have confirmed that any restoration measures are required to take place within the timescales set out in the Code of Practice on Litter and Refuse. This states that any areas with special circumstances that falls below grade B, such as carriageways, verges and central reservations of motorways and trunk roads, must be restored back to grade A standard within twenty-eight days or as soon as reasonably practicable. Highways England expect to remove litter from the entry slip road within the next three weeks.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
17th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the timescale is for the reconstruction of the bridge at St Anne’s Road, Denton at Junction 2 of the M67; and if he will make a statement.

The timing of the delivery of the project is subject to a number of factors involving other parties. Highways England intends to commence survey work between July and December 2020.

Enabling works, including opening the closed section of St Anne’s Road to allow implementation of the diversion route, are intended to start in April 2021.

The aim is to start the main demolition and construction work in October 2021, with construction lasting for two years.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
25th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury's oral contribution of 22 June 2021, Official Report, column 745, what recent assessment she has made of state pension inequality in respect of the ongoing Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman investigation and women born in the 1950s.

All Ombudsman are independent of government. It would be inappropriate to comment while the PHSO investigation is ongoing.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent discussions she has had with the (a) Foreign Secretary, (b) Secretary of State for International Trade and (c) Chancellor of the Exchequer on the Canadian Government’s request for a reciprocal social security agreement.

There have been no discussions on the Canadian Government’s request for a reciprocal social security agreement.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what discussions were held with the Government of Canada before the UK Government that Government's request for a reciprocal pensions uprating agreement.

The UK has not had any recent discussions with the Government of Canada on reciprocal pensions uprating agreements.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to increase the number of people with epilepsy entering employment.

Government’s Plan for Jobs provides new funding to ensure more people, including those with health conditions get tailored Jobcentre Plus support to help them find work and to build the skills they need to get into work. This includes £895m for 13,500 additional Work Coaches who have been successfully recruited. The Restart Programme will support individuals who have been unemployed for over 12 months and through regular, personalised support providers will work with participants to identify the best way to support them into sustained employment.

From April 2021, the Disability Employment Advisors (DEA) Direct Support will be strengthened to include an element of Direct Support to customers with health condition or disability who require additional support over and above the ESA and Universal Credit core offer. DEA Direct Support will deliver work focussed bespoke support to move individuals with a disability or health condition towards a work outcome.

If employees with epilepsy need workplace support beyond the cost of reasonable adjustment, Access to Work can help. Access to Work is supporting thousands more people with disabilities and health conditions than ever before. In 2019, Access to Work funded tailored and flexible support for 43,000 people, a 20% increase on the previous year.

We also, through Disability Confident, provide employers with the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to attract, recruit, retain and develop disabled people in the workplace.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent steps the Government has taken to publicise the Payment Exception Service to people who are eligible to use it.

The Payment Exception Service is available in limited circumstances when customers are unable to provide us with bank account, building society, credit union, internet based or basic bank account details. Information about this service is publicised on https://www.gov.uk/payment-exception-service.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the average time it will take for her Department to process a personal independence claim during the period of the new national lockdown that commenced in England in January 2021.

As throughout the Covid-19 outbreak, we are committed to ensuring that people can access financial support through Personal Independence Payment in a timely manner. We always aim to make an award decision as quickly as possible, taking into account the need to review all available evidence.

We are currently operating within expected levels. Average clearance times from initial claim to a decision being made for new claims are currently 16 weeks (October 2020).

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 7 December 2020 to Question 123540, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of the Health Service Ombudsman's investigation into potential maladministration in her Department's communication of changes to women’s state pension age.

It would not be appropriate to comment on the possible implications of an ongoing Ombudsman’s investigation.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what discussions she has had with the Chair of the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee on the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman's investigation into potential maladministration in her Department's communication of changes to women’s State Pension age.

No discussions have taken place.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the effect of Government programmes on the employment prospects of the over-60s.

The department is supporting people of all ages back in to work. The Government’s recently announced Plan for Jobs provides new funding to ensure more people, including older workers, get tailored Jobcentre Plus support to help them find work and to build the skills they need to get into work. This includes £895m to double the number of Work Coaches in Jobcentre Plus by March 2021; a £150m increase in the Flexible Support Fund which will also boost the capacity of the Rapid Response Service to help those facing redundancy move into other jobs; £40m for a new online support service will provide tailored one-to-one job finding support to the recently unemployed.

The Government also aims to triple the number of sector-based work academy programme placements, supporting unemployed claimants of all ages through training and work experience to find a job. A further £95m will expand the Work and Health programme to offer new support to those who have been made unemployed.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what guidance her Department has published for employers to support employees suffering from the long-term effects of covid-19.

Research into the long-term health symptoms and impacts of COVID-19 is ongoing. However, it is clear that for some of those who have survived, the virus and the treatment they have received to combat it will have a lasting impact on their health.

Employers have particular responsibilities towards disabled workers including making reasonable adjustments to avoid disabled workers being put at a disadvantage. DWP’s new Employer Help site provides advice on employment of disabled people, explaining how Access to Work and Disability Confident can help businesses to ensure their practices are fair and inclusive.

The law is clear: to discriminate directly, or indirectly, against anyone because of a protected characteristic such as age, sex or disability, race or ethnicity is unlawful. All equality and discrimination laws and obligations continue to apply during the coronavirus pandemic.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that claimants suffering from long-term effects of covid-19 can access appropriate welfare support.

I refer the Rt. Hon. Member to the answer given to question UIN:78723.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether there has been a reduction in Special Rules for Terminal Illness claims for universal credit as a result of her Department's change to the online application question on terminal illness in May 2019; and if she will make a statement.

The information requested could only be provided at disproportionate cost. Data exists in the system that would require matching across a number of data sets, which is a substantial piece of work. The required information is therefore not all readily available to analysts in a format that would enable them to undertake the analysis and quality assure the figures, to answer this PQ in the timescales.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether her Department’s review of how the welfare system works for people with a terminal illness includes issues relating to universal credit for terminally ill people.

In July 2019, the then DWP Secretary of State announced an in-depth evaluation of how the benefits system supports people nearing the end of their life and those with the most severe conditions.

The evaluation included three strands of research:

  • hearing directly from claimants, clinicians and charities about their first-hand experiences;
  • considering international evidence to find out what works in other nations and the support they provide; and
  • reviewing current Departmental performance to better understand how the Special Rules for Terminal Illness and severe conditions processes operate and perform.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she has made an assessment of the potential merits of a future jobs fund to assist with job creation in (a) Tameside and (b) Stockport.

DWP is engaging cross-government to understand supply & demand across the labour market throughout and beyond the COVID-19 crisis.

We are in discussions with other Government Departments and a range of stakeholders to explore all options to ensure the right support is in place for individuals who have been adversely impacted by COVID that will meet the needs of the individual as well as local priorities.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when she plans to publish the findings of the review into how the benefits system supports people nearing the end of their life and those with severe conditions, announced on 11 July 2019.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 9 April 2021 to Question 3942 on Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Independent Review, what Government progress the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Review is monitoring as at 14 June 2021.

The information is not collected in the format requested.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 13 April 2021 to Question 175736, on Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Independent Review, whether he has had discussions with the Prime Minister on implementing the recommendations made in the report of the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review, First Do No Harm.

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has regular discussions with all Cabinet colleagues to discuss Departmental priorities, including the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his Department will publish the number of people that have used the Your COVID Recovery online service since July 2020.

Since July 2020, over 1.2 million users have accessed the ‘Your Covid Recovery’ service.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his Department will publish the number of patients who have received an assessment through the NHS post-COVID assessment service since Oct 2020.

Referral data for NHS England and NHS Improvement’s ‘long’ COVID-19 assessment services is experimental and has not yet been validated. NHS England and NHS Improvement are currently working with regions and systems to develop and refine processes to collect activity and demographic data for the assessment clinics. From summer 2021, activity data on referral, number of assessments, waiting times and the onward patient journey will be published monthly.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason people with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS/ME) are being offered the covid-19 vaccine in some areas of the country and not in others.

To date, chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) has not been identified as a condition that makes an individual clinically extremely vulnerable to COVID-19 or would place an individual at increased clinical risk. It is likely that some people with CFS/ME are being offered vaccines because they are eligible through other means such as their age or they have other underlying health issues that would it put them at increased clinical risk.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with his Department on implementing the recommendations made by the Cumberlege report, First Do No Harm: the report of the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review; and if he will make a statement.

I refer the hon. Member to my Written Ministerial Statement of 11 January 2021 (HCWS692).

The Government will respond in full to the report later this year.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make a comparative assessment of the effectiveness of the supply of covid vaccination vials to (a) the Manchester Etihad Stadium mass vaccination site and (b) Primary Care Network sites in (a) Tameside and Glossop CCG and (b) Stockport CCG.

There are no specific plans to do so.

Each region is given an allocation of vaccine based on national levels of supply and plans submitted by local systems, which is allocated to vaccination sites. The plans are based on a range of criteria, including previous activity, population and the remaining number of people in the eligible cohorts. Each Primary Care Network site receives their own supply and work has been carried out with local clinical commissioning group colleagues to ensure that vaccine supply aligns with the number of registered patients in the priority cohort groups.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are working with vaccination sites across the country to ensure that supplies are replenished as required and to ensure an adequate and consistent supply of vaccine.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what comparative assessment he has made of covid-19 vaccination wastage levels at the (a) Manchester Etihad Stadium mass vaccination and (b) Primary Care Network sites in (i) Tameside and Glossop CCG and (ii) Stockport CCG.

We have made no such assessment of vaccine wastage at those sites.

No vaccines should be wasted. All vaccination centres should have a backup list people in the cohorts currently being vaccinated, who can be called in case doses would be wasted. If no members of the currently vaccinated cohorts are available, it is recommended that members of the priority cohorts next in line be vaccinated.

In the unlikely case the above is not possible, in line with Enhanced Service Specification, individuals present on site should be vaccinated based on clinical judgement. The Enhanced Service Specification is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-content/uploads/sites/52/2020/12/C0917-Covid-19-Enhanced-Service-ES-Specification-1-December-2020.pdf

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that NHS England shares data with local Primary Care Networks to avoid duplication and confusion relating to invitations for the covid-19 vaccine.

To record vaccinations, a National Immunisation Management System (NIMS) is being used as the national register for COVID-19 vaccinations. At the point that someone receives their vaccine, this information will be recorded on the NIMS system and onto a patient’s general practitioner record. National letters include information for individuals booked or received a first vaccination and options of booking via the national booking service or waiting to be contacted locally.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 13 January 2021 to Question 134382, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of ensuring that unused covid-19 vaccines are offered to (a) police officers and (b) other key workers.

If there are ‘spare’ doses available from existing allocations for eligible cohorts, the priority list should be worked through including using the doses starting with those in Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) groups five and six. In very rare instances where no one from any of the JCVI priority groups are available, the spare dose should be administered based on clinical judgement on who is appropriate to receive the dose.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 17 February 2021 to Question 149746 on Sodium Valproate, what the terms of reference are for his Department's assessment of recommendation 4 of the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review.

Recommendation 4 of the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety (IMMDS) Review, which relates to redress schemes, gives the Government the parameters for its assessment. In undertaking it, the Government will continue to utilise the wealth of information captured by the review as well as other relevant information. A full response to this and other outstanding recommendations of the IMMDS Review will be set out later in 2021.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reasons the Government has decided not to implement recommendation 3 of the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review to create a new independent Redress Agency for people harmed by medicines and medical devices.

The Government has no current plans to establish a redress agency as set out in recommendation three of the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review. The Government is able to establish redress schemes on individual issues without the need for a new organisation and has done so several times.

We have prioritised a new safety regime for devices to reduce the risk of harm occurring.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will take steps to ensure that people with asthma are included in priority group 6 for covid-19 vaccination.

An individual with a more severe case of asthma may have been included in the clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) group, in which case they will be vaccinated in priority group four.  Those with asthma not identified for inclusion in the CEV group, that require continuous or repeated use of systemic steroids or with previous exacerbations requiring hospital admission, will be vaccinated in priority group six. Adults with mild asthma who do not meet the inclusion criteria would not be included within the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation’s priority group six.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of women that have missed out on immediate breast reconstruction since April 2020.

This information is not available in the format requested. Information regarding completed specific treatment pathways is only published annually.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the July 2020 Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review report entitled First Do No Harm, what plans he has to create a new independent redress agency for people harmed by medicines and medical devices.

The Government has no current plans to do so.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent estimate he has made of the number of women that are awaiting breast reconstruction surgery.

This information is not available in the format requested. Information regarding completed specific treatment pathways is only published annually.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of women that have had their breast reconstruction surgery delayed since April 2020.

This information is not available in the format requested. Information regarding completed specific treatment pathways is only published annually.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to put support in place for people under the age of 18 with long covid.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have provided a £10 million investment package to support people, including children and young people, with ‘long’ COVID-19. As part of the investment, 69 post-COVID-19 assessment service centres are operational across England. A further 12 assessment centres are expected to be available shortly. These clinics will be crucial in helping medical experts to assess, diagnose and treat thousands of people suffering the debilitating long-term consequences of the virus.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what preparations his Department is making for the increase in numbers of people with long covid following the winter 2020-21 spike in covid infections.

In October 2020, NHS England announced a £10 million investment package to support people with ‘long’ COVID-19. As part of the investment, 69 post-COVID-19 assessment service centres are operational across England to assess people with long-term effects of COVID-19 and direct them to effective treatment pathways. Seven trusts in the Greater Manchester area are already providing clinics. A further 12 long COVID-19 assessment service centres are expected to launch in early 2021 nationally.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence published a clinical case definition of long COVID-19 in October 2020 and evidence-based clinical guidelines for medical staff treating people with long COVID-19 in December 2020. This is available at the following link:

https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng188

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing statutory regulation of (a) training and (b) professional standards for foot health practitioners.

The Government has no plans to extend statutory regulation to foot health practitioners. The statutory regulation of healthcare professionals should only be used where the risks to public and patient protection cannot be addressed in other ways, such as through employer oversight or accredited voluntary registration.

Foot health practitioners can register with the Alliance of Private Sector Practitioners, which is a voluntary register accredited by the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care (PSA). The PSA sets standards for organisations holding voluntary registers for health and social care occupations and accredits those registers that meet the standards. Accreditation provides assurance that a voluntary register is well run - for example, by ensuring that registrants are required to meet high standards of personal behaviour, technical competence and, where relevant, business practice.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that clinically vulnerable emergency service workers are prioritised for the covid-19 vaccine.

NHS England and Improvement have set out Operational Guidance on the Vaccination of Frontline Health and Social Care Workers. This includes all frontline social care workers directly working with people clinically vulnerable to COVID-19 who need care and support irrespective of where they work, whether they care for clinically vulnerable adults or children or who they are employed by. All frontline healthcare staff who are eligible for seasonal influenza vaccination should be offered a COVID-19 vaccine. This includes paramedics and ambulance drivers. If an emergency worker is not included due to their occupation but is eligible for prioritisation due to their age or clinical risk, then they will be vaccinated in the according priority group.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to reduce bureaucracy for medical professionals who volunteer to administer the covid-19 vaccine.

We are streamlining the process for registering medical professionals who wish to volunteer as vaccinators. There are no delays in the COVID-19 vaccination programme caused by accrediting volunteers or returners.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of issuing Government guidance that clinically vulnerable people should work from home until they have received a covid-19 vaccination.

The four-week period of national restrictions ended on 2 December and the tiering system has now been reintroduced.

Clinically vulnerable people are advised to work from home if possible. If this is not possible, they can go to work, but their employer must ensure that the workplace is Covid-secure.

We have no plans to issue guidance advising clinically vulnerable people to work from home until they have received a covid-19 vaccination.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of extending maternity exemption certificates for people who have not been able to use them during the covid-19 lockdowns.

The Government has no current plans to extend the period of maternity exemption certificates during the coronavirus pandemic.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of the legalisation of the supplement Agmatine for medical purposes.

Agmatine is a substance that is classified as a novel food in the European Union. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) can confirm Agmatine is not present in any licensed medicines in the United Kingdom and there have been no clinical trials using agmatine either.

In order for the MHRA to authorise a medicine for use in the UK, a manufacturer has to apply to obtain a marketing authorisation. The MHRA makes its decision to approve a licence for a product based on demonstration of safety, quality and efficacy. Thus far, the MHRA has not received any application for Agmatine to be used for medical purposes.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress his Department has made on implementing the recommendations of the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review report entitled First Do No Harm, published on 8 July 2020.

The Government welcomes the report and we are considering Baroness Cumberlege’s recommendations carefully. We will update Parliament before the end of the year.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of NHS staff who are line-managed by close family members.

The Department does not hold the information requested.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits for (a) breast cancer patients and (b) NHS England of making permanent the reductions introduced during the covid-19 outbreak to (i) the number of doses of radiotherapy and (ii) cycles of adjuvant trastuzumab during treatment.

Breast cancer treatments are advancing all the time. Despite the pandemic, this year is no exception with developments having been made in both radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatments – both of which are likely to benefit breast cancer patients and the National Health Service as follows:

- The publication of the 10-year results of the FAST Trial, which looked at five fraction radiotherapy to treat early breast cancer, is an exciting breakthrough which enables people with breast cancer to be treated much more quickly and conveniently meaning fewer visits to hospital. All NHS radiotherapy providers in England are adopting this approach; and

- The PERSEPHONE trial evaluated the use of trastuzumab over a six month period versus a 12 month period to evaluate non-inferiority. In response to the pandemic, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence developed interim guidance which recommended the use of the six month schedule. This approach means that patients attend hospital for a shorter overall period in order to reduce the risk of infection to vulnerable patients.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to tackle flu vaccine shortages in (a) Tameside and (b) Stockport.

There is no national shortage of the flu vaccine. We have sufficient vaccine for over 30 million people to be vaccinated in England this winter.

NHS England and NHS Improvement’s local team are currently unaware of any specific issues with shortages in Tameside or Stockport.

General practitioners and pharmacists are directly responsible for ordering flu vaccine from suppliers which are used to deliver the national flu programme to adults, with deliveries phased through the season. In addition, the Department has procured additional doses of seasonal flu vaccine to ensure more flu vaccines are available from November.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people have been referred to the Your COVID Recovery programme.

Your COVID Recovery is a two-phase endeavour with phase 1 being available now and is an open, publicly available site containing general information on all aspects of recovering from COVID-19 including physical, emotional and psychological wellbeing, and signposting to other agencies. The only data collected on this are the numbers of interactions on the website.

Phase 2 will be launched this autumn and will be available to people who are assessed and referred by a health care professional. It is the intention that these people will be assessed once they have completed a tailored online programme.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of giving NHS staff paid leave when they are required to self-isolate.

It is essential for infection control purposes that staff members who should self-isolate, do so. To support this, we have issued guidance to employers to ensure all National Health Service staff, including those who would normally need to be physically present at an NHS facility to fulfill their role and who are unable to work from home, continue to receive full pay should they be required to self-isolate as a result of public health advice.

Our guidance states that employers should use their usual methods for calculating full pay using agreed processes at a local level and in line with NHS terms and conditions. The full guidance on self-isolation can be found on the NHS Employers’ website at the following link:

https://www.nhsemployers.org/covid19/staff-terms-and-conditions/self-isolation

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, in which local authorities the Your COVID Recovery programme is currently available; and if he will provide a timetable for the launch of the programme in areas that are not currently covered.

Your COVID Recovery is an online tool being developed in two phases. Phase 1 was launched earlier this summer to enable patients and their families or carers to access further information around recovering post COVID-19. It provides a holistic approach to health and wellbeing and includes information on areas including mental health and wellbeing, to physical strength and returning to work. The development of Your COVID Recovery has been clinically led and by rehabilitation experts, with the support of recovered COVID-19 patients.

Phase 1 of the website is live and publicly available at the following link:

www.yourcovidrecovery.nhs.uk

It covers all aspects of care following an individual having had COVID-19 either in an acute or community setting.

Phase 2 is the virtual rehabilitation aspect of the platform and will be launched later in the autumn.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits for the understanding of long-term covid-19 symptoms of contacting people who tested positive for covid-19 four weeks later to ask whether they have returned to baseline health.

The Government, as well as our expert scientific groups, continues to monitor and assess data from a wide variety of sources to better understand the disease course of COVID-19.

In July, the National Health Service launched the ‘Your COVID Recovery’ service to support the recovery of people who have been in hospital or suffered at home with the virus. This is a two-phase endeavour with Phase 1 being available as an open, publicly available site containing general information on all aspects of recovering from COVID-19, including physical, emotional and psychological wellbeing. Phase 2 will be launched this autumn and will be available to people who are assessed and referred by a healthcare professional.

The National Institute for Health Research and UK Research and Innovation have also invested £8.4 million in the Post-HOSPitalisation COVID-19 study (PHOSP-COVID), which seeks to understand why some patients develop longer-term health problems. This is one of the world’s largest comprehensive research studies into the long-term health impacts of COVID-19 on hospitalised patients.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress he has made on the research study into the long-term health effects of covid-19 on hospitalised patients announced on 5 July 2020.

The National Institute for Health Research and UK Research and Innovation have invested £8.4 million in the Post-HOSPitalisation COVID-19 study (PHOSP-COVID), led by the University of Leicester. The study is one of the world’s largest comprehensive research studies into the long-term health impacts of COVID-19 on hospitalised patients.

The study is well underway and has established a national platform to integrate research and clinical service. The first patient was recruited on 10 August. The study has received approval from the Research Ethics Committee and obtained ISRCTN registration. Further information is available at the following link:

https://www.isrctn.com/ISRCTN10980107

The researchers have also established nine expert working groups and a Patient, Public Involvement Group to ensure the value of the patient voice is maximised and integrated in PHOSP-COVID.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has for research into the long-term effects of covid-19 on people who contracted the virus but were never hospitalised.

The Department is aware of reports that those with milder illnesses of COVID-19 can experience ongoing symptoms. In light of these findings, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care convened a roundtable meeting with researchers and clinicians – including those specialising in community health – to establish what more can be done to understand and mitigate the long-term health effects of COVID-19.

We recognise the need for further research into the longer-term effects of the virus in those who did not require hospitalisation, and the Department is considering options for future work in this area.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what guidance his Department has provided to prisons on protecting the health and safety of prisoners held permanently in their cells as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Public Health England has published guidance for managing COVID-19 in prisons and other places of detention. The guidance was updated on 4 August and is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-prisons-and-other-prescribed-places-of-detention-guidance

All prison healthcare providers are expected to operate in line with this guidance.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate his Department has made of the number of people experiencing long-term effects of covid-19.

Research into the long-term health symptoms and impacts of COVID-19 and the number of people likely to be experiencing them, is ongoing. However, it is clear that for some of those who have survived, the virus and the treatment they have received to combat it will have a lasting impact on their health.

On 4 July the Government announced a research study into the long-term health impacts of COVID-19, which is being led by UK Research and Innovation and the National Institute for Health Research. The findings will support the development of new strategies for clinical and rehabilitation care, including personalised treatments based on the particular disease characteristics that a patient shows, to improve their long-term health.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the size of waiting lists for CAMHS services in (a) England and (b) Greater Manchester, and if he will make a statement.

Data on waiting list sizes is not available.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when his Department plans to respond to the letter from UK members of the Body Politic Covid-19 Support Group of 29 March 2020 on support for individuals experiencing long-term ill health after contracting covid-19.

We have no record of receiving the letter of 29 March 2020.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, who the members are of the National HIV Expert Group that is responsible for the National HIV Action Plan, announced on 30 January 2019.

Following the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care’s announcement in January 2019, the National AIDS Trust and Terrence Higgins Trust are leading an independent commission on ending new HIV transmissions in England by 2030. The HIV Commission is chaired by Dame Inga Beale and includes experts from public health and academic communities. This work is being supported by Public Health England.

The HIV Commission will publish its recommendations later this year and the Government will convene an expert group to develop an action plan to end new HIV transmissions after it receives the recommendations. Membership of the expert group and the publication date of the National HIV Action Plan will be announced in due course.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, on what date the National HIV Action Plan will be published.

Following the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care’s announcement in January 2019, the National AIDS Trust and Terrence Higgins Trust are leading an independent commission on ending new HIV transmissions in England by 2030. The HIV Commission is chaired by Dame Inga Beale and includes experts from public health and academic communities. This work is being supported by Public Health England.

The HIV Commission will publish its recommendations later this year and the Government will convene an expert group to develop an action plan to end new HIV transmissions after it receives the recommendations. Membership of the expert group and the publication date of the National HIV Action Plan will be announced in due course.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress he has made on the HIV Expert Group and National HIV Action Plan, announced on 30 January 2019.

Following the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care’s announcement in January 2019, the National AIDS Trust and Terrence Higgins Trust are leading an independent commission on ending new HIV transmissions in England by 2030. The HIV Commission is chaired by Dame Inga Beale and includes experts from public health and academic communities. This work is being supported by Public Health England.

The HIV Commission will publish its recommendations later this year and the Government will convene an expert group to develop an action plan to end new HIV transmissions after it receives the recommendations. Membership of the expert group and the publication date of the National HIV Action Plan will be announced in due course.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that children and young people who do not meet the threshold for Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service support have access to mental health and wellbeing support during summer 2020.

I refer the hon. Members to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for the City of Durham (Mary Foy MP) on 23 June 2020 to Question 903710.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much the Government paid to transfer the CARE badge brand rights from the CARE Badge Community Interest Company to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.

The CARE Badge Community Interest Company transferred the brand rights for the CARE logo to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care free of charge.

When this transfer took place, the Government purchased the remaining stock of badges held by the previous brand owner. As of 19 June, 15,000 of these badges, or about 95% of the amount purchased from the previous rights holder, have been distributed at no cost to social care providers or members of the workforce.

Additional badges have been procured and we expect to be able to start delivery of these badges in July. Details of how they will be distributed to people working in social care who want to wear this badge with pride will be available in due course.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many CARE badges have been (a) produced and (b) distributed by his Department since the transfer of the CARE badge brand rights to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.

The CARE Badge Community Interest Company transferred the brand rights for the CARE logo to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care free of charge.

When this transfer took place, the Government purchased the remaining stock of badges held by the previous brand owner. As of 19 June, 15,000 of these badges, or about 95% of the amount purchased from the previous rights holder, have been distributed at no cost to social care providers or members of the workforce.

Additional badges have been procured and we expect to be able to start delivery of these badges in July. Details of how they will be distributed to people working in social care who want to wear this badge with pride will be available in due course.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department has taken to ensure that essential workers who visit the homes of people who are shielding from covid-19 (a) have access to personal protective equipment (PPE) and (b) wear PPE during those visits.

The Government has updated its guidance for people who are shielding taking into account that COVID-19 disease levels have decreased over the last few weeks. People who are shielding remain vulnerable and should continue to take precautions but can now leave their home if they wish, as long as they are able to maintain strict social distancing.

Any essential carers or visitors who support people who are shielding with their everyday needs can continue to visit unless they have any of the symptoms of COVID-19 (a new continuous cough, a high temperature, or a loss of, or change in, their normal sense of taste or smell). Essential carers should follow advice on good hygiene and should keep two metres away where close or personal contact is not required and where this is possible.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of trends in the level of demand for mental health services for children and young people since the start of the covid-19 outbreak; and what steps his Department is taking to (a) mitigate and (b) manage demand during that outbreak.

Mental health providers are offering support to children and young people using digital and remote approaches to continue assessment and treatment as part of the wider support across the whole system supporting children and young people including education settings, local authorities, the voluntary care sector and other services.

We are working with the National Health Service and Public Health England, service users, academics and the voluntary sector to gather evidence and assess the potential longer-term mental health impacts of COVID-19 and plan for how to support the public’s mental health and wellbeing throughout the ‘recovery’ phase.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to achieve the goal set out in the NHS Long Term Plan of ensuring that all children and young people who need specialist mental health care can access it.

We remain committed to delivering the ambitions in the NHS Long Term Plan, building on the progress to date. The National Health Service is on track to deliver its end 2020/21 target for expanding children and young people’s specialist services and is on track to deliver the roll-out of mental health support teams in schools and colleges across 20-25% of areas in England by 2023/24.

Supporting children and young people’s mental health during and after the pandemic is a priority for the NHS and providers are offering support using digital and remote approaches to continue assessment and treatment during social distancing measures.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th May 2020
To ask the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire, representing the House of Commons Commission, what recent assessment the Commission has made of the effectiveness of the functioning of the hybrid procedures for the House.

The Commission has made no formal assessment of the effectiveness of the implementation of hybrid proceedings in this House. The Speaker, as Chair of Commission, continues to work with the Procedure Committee, which is undertaking a review of the operation of hybrid proceedings, in order to ensure a wide range of Members’ views are taken into account. A group of officials regularly meets to review planning for the services provided by the House to ensure they are commensurate with the needs of Members and other users of the Estate.

I should like to put on record the Commission’s appreciation for the work by the staff of the House and the Parliamentary Digital Service in delivering, at great speed, such radical changes to the way the House operates, which have allowed it to discharge its key functions under extraordinary circumstances.

Pete Wishart
Shadow SNP Leader of the House of Commons
17th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that vulnerable people (a) living with cancer and (b) who have recently had chemotherapy can obtain the information and support they need in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

The National Health Service will contact patients that are at high risk of getting seriously ill with COVID-19 from Monday 23 March 2020. This will include patients with certain types of cancer, and those that are receiving chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

NHS England and NHS Improvement suggest that patients read the advice given on the NHS website at the following link:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

Further advice can be found on the MacMillan website at the following link:

https://www.macmillan.org.uk/cancer-information-and-support/get-help/physical-help/cancer-and-coronavirus

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to ensure (a) people living with cancer and (b) other vulnerable people can continue to receive care and support in their homes during the delay phase of the Government's response to covid-19.

On 24 March the Government implemented shielding as a measure to protect people who are clinically extremely vulnerable by minimising all interaction between those who are extremely vulnerable and others. They are strongly advising people with serious underlying health conditions, which put them at very high risk of severe illness from COVID-19, to rigorously follow shielding measures in order to keep themselves safe.

People falling into this extremely vulnerable group include those with specific cancers, including; those who are undergoing active chemotherapy or radical radiotherapy for lung cancer; those with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment; those having immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer and those having other targeted cancer treatments which can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors. More information on sheltering can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19

Those at high risk will be contacted by the National Health Service by 29 March 2020. Key workers including those who provide social care are following their own guidance measures to ensure they can still perform their roles without increasing the risk of spread. More guidance can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-residential-care-supported-living-and-home-care-guidance

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the risks that covid-19 poses to people with cancer.

On 24 March the Government implemented shielding as a measure to protect people who are clinically extremely vulnerable by minimising all interaction between those who are extremely vulnerable and others. They are strongly advising people with serious underlying health conditions, which put them at very high risk of severe illness from COVID-19, to rigorously follow shielding measures in order to keep themselves safe.

People falling into this extremely vulnerable group include those with specific cancers, including; those who are undergoing active chemotherapy or radical radiotherapy for lung cancer; those with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment; those having immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer and those having other targeted cancer treatments which can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors. More information on sheltering can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19

Those at high risk will be contacted by the National Health Service by 29 March 2020. Key workers including those who provide social care are following their own guidance measures to ensure they can still perform their roles without increasing the risk of spread. More guidance can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-residential-care-supported-living-and-home-care-guidance

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will request NHS Digital to routinely publish waiting times for joint replacement surgery as part of NHS England's Consultant-led referral to treatment waiting times dataset.

A maximum waiting time of 18 weeks from referral to elective treatment, including for joint replacement surgery, is the existing National Health Service access standard.

Data on waiting times for joint replacement surgery is already published on a monthly basis by NHS England and NHS Improvement. A detailed breakdown of the waiting times for different specialities are available on the NHS website.

A clinically-led review of NHS access standards is ongoing. NHS England and NHS Improvement’s final recommendations to the Government are due by the Spring and the Government will carefully consider these recommendations.

The Government is providing an additional £33.9 billion a year by 2023/24 to support measures set out in the NHS Long Term Plan. Additionally, a reform of outpatient services is underway that will reduce the need for patients to attend unnecessary face to face appointments, saving patients time and freeing up medical and nursing time.

This funding increase and clinical reform will reduce the demand on services while also growing capacity, thereby allowing increasing amounts of planned surgical activity. This in turn will decrease the waiting list and help get the NHS back on track to delivering performance standards.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his Department will publish an action plan with proposed timeframes to (a) improve access and (b) reduce waiting times to joint replacement surgery and to reduce waiting times.

A maximum waiting time of 18 weeks from referral to elective treatment, including for joint replacement surgery, is the existing National Health Service access standard.

Data on waiting times for joint replacement surgery is already published on a monthly basis by NHS England and NHS Improvement. A detailed breakdown of the waiting times for different specialities are available on the NHS website.

A clinically-led review of NHS access standards is ongoing. NHS England and NHS Improvement’s final recommendations to the Government are due by the Spring and the Government will carefully consider these recommendations.

The Government is providing an additional £33.9 billion a year by 2023/24 to support measures set out in the NHS Long Term Plan. Additionally, a reform of outpatient services is underway that will reduce the need for patients to attend unnecessary face to face appointments, saving patients time and freeing up medical and nursing time.

This funding increase and clinical reform will reduce the demand on services while also growing capacity, thereby allowing increasing amounts of planned surgical activity. This in turn will decrease the waiting list and help get the NHS back on track to delivering performance standards.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the Answer of 23 October 2020 to Question 106362 and with reference to his Department’s management of the Integrated Activity Fund (IAF) from 2016-18, how many projects delivered through the IAF) (a) were and (b) were not subject to an Overseas Security and Justice Assistance assessment in each of the (i) 2016-17 and (ii) 2017-18 financial years.

I refer the Honourable Member to my response to question 113154 on 12 November 2020.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the meeting between HM Ambassador to Bahrain and the Bahraini Minister of Interior on 9 June 2021, whether HM Ambassador was aware that Husain Bakarat had died of covid-19 prior to that meeting; and whether that meeting was held to discuss Husain Bakarat.

We regularly discuss the challenges of managing Covid-19 in prisons with senior members of the Bahraini Government and continue to raise specific cases with senior interlocutors, as well as with the independent human rights oversight bodies.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the risk posed by covid-19 to prisoners in Bahrain, if he will make urgent representations to his Bahraini counterpart for the immediate release of vulnerable political prisoners with pre-existing medical conditions in that country, including (a) Hasan Mushaima, (b) Abdulhadi AlKhawaja, (c) Sheikh Ali Salman, (d) Dr Abduljalil AlSingace, (e) Abduljalil AlMuqdad and (f) Abdulwahab Husain.

We regularly discuss the challenges of managing Covid-19 in prisons with senior members of the Bahraini Government, which we assess to be dealing with it effectively and in line with international norms via vaccination and other protocols. Nevertheless we continue to raise the cases of specific individuals with senior interlocutors, as well as with the independent human rights oversight bodies. We encourage those with concerns about treatment in detention to raise the matter with these oversight bodies.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 9 June 2021 to Question 10405, whether the Government has taken steps to verify the Government of Bahrain’s assurances that medical care is provided to inmates of Jau Prison in accordance with the constitution of Bahrain.

We welcome the assurances that any prisoner who falls ill has the same free access to treatment and care as any other citizen or resident in the Kingdom, and assess that that is reinforced by, for example, the absence - with one exception - of Covid-related deaths in prison. The British Ambassador and other international representatives visited Jau prison on 3 May to see the medical facilities available. We continue to monitor conditions including through our regular contact with the oversight bodies, with which we discuss health and covid-19 in prisons and which actively monitor the Covid-19 situation through inspection visits (NIHR and PDRC) and investigations into prison conditions (Ombudsman). We encourage anyone with concerns about medical treatment in prison to get in touch with the oversight bodies directly

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what the spending of the Gulf Strategy Fund was for financial year 2020-21, broken down by state.

In 2020/21 the Gulf Strategy Fund was allocated £8.4 million to support programmes in Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and a number of regional programmes including Alumni Network, Cyber Ambassador, Science and Innovation Partnership Programme, Tax Reform and UK-Gulf Marine Environment Partnership. Summaries of 2021-22 projects will be published in the future.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to Answers of 10 November 2020 to Questions 112063 and 112064, for what reasons the disclosure of the number of (a)projects applied to by individual departments under the Integrated Activity Fund (IAF) in the 2018-19 financial year and (b) IAF projects delivered solely within the named states in financial years 2018-19 and 2019-20 would compromise the confidence or confidentiality of Gulf partners in light of the decision to disclose similar information for the 2017-18 financial year; and what assessment he has made of whether withholding that information is in line with the Government's commitment to transparency and good governance.

I refer the Honourable member to my response on 27 October to question 106366 and on 7 December to question 124318. Disclosures are in line with the Government's commitment to transparency and good governance and to the maintenance of international relations with our Gulf state partners.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, how many applications over £1 million were made to the Integrated Activity Fund (IAF) in financial year 2018-19; which Department's submitted those applications; how many of those applications were approved; and which (a) Minister or (b) Director approved those applications.

I refer the Honourable Member to the answer I gave on 27 October to questions 106364 and 106365. In 2018-19 the Integrated Activity Fund approved 5 applications over £1 million.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, how many applications for funding from the Integrated Activity Fund (IAF) over £50,000 were approved in 2018-19 and 2019-20; what the value was of each of those applications; and which Departments or Ministers requested that funding.

I [Cleverly] refer the Honourable Member to the answers I gave on 21 October to question 103610, on 27 October to questions 106364 and 106365 and 9 November to question 111557. In 2018-19 the Integrated Activity Fund approved 27 applications over £50,000.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to reports that Dr Abduljalil AlSingace continues to suffer ongoing medical negligence at Jau Prison in Bahrain, if he will make urgent representations to his counterpart in Bahrain on securing (a) the immediate provision of adequate specialised healthcare for Dr AlSingace and (b) his immediate release from prison.

Responsibility for the provision of medical care lies with the Government of Bahrain, who have made clear that access to medical care for those in detention is guaranteed by the Constitution of Bahrain. We welcome these assurances from the Government of Bahrain. Bahrain takes allegations of mistreatment very seriously and has multiple mechanisms in place to investigate any allegations of wrongdoing. We urge those with any concerns regarding the treatment to submit a formal complaint into the Independent Ombudsman and the National Institute of Human Rights, for further investigation.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to reports that political leader and Swedish-Bahraini dual national Sheikh Mohammed Habib AlMuqdad has had three surgeries postponed by Jau Prison authorities in Bahrain, if he will make urgent representations to his counterpart in Bahrain on (a) ensuring that Sheikh AlMuqdad is provided with the three surgeries he urgently requires and (b) securing Sheikh AlMuqdad’s immediate release from prison.

Responsibility for the provision of medical care lies with the Government of Bahrain, who have made clear that access to medical care for those in detention is guaranteed by the Constitution of Bahrain. We welcome these assurances from the Government of Bahrain. Bahrain takes allegations of mistreatment very seriously and has multiple mechanisms in place to investigate any allegations of wrongdoing. We urge those with any concerns regarding the treatment to submit a formal complaint into the Independent Ombudsman and the National Institute of Human Rights, for further investigation.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Sep 2020
What recent discussions he has had with his Chinese counterpart on the arrest of newspaper owner Jimmy Lai and the suppression of freedom of speech and press freedoms in Hong Kong.

The enactment and imposition by China of national security legislation for Hong Kong constitutes a clear and serious breach of the Sino-British Joint Declaration. It violates the high degree of autonomy of executive and legislative powers and independent judicial authority, provided for in the Joint Declaration.

We are also deeply concerned by the arrest of Jimmy Lai, and other individuals, in Hong Kong. Freedom of the press is explicitly guaranteed in the Sino-British Joint Declaration and Basic Law, and supposedly protected under Article 4 of the National Security Law. The arrests are further evidence that the National Security Law is being used to silence opposition. The Hong Kong authorities must uphold the rights and freedoms provided for in the Joint Declaration.

Following the enactment of the national security legislation, the Foreign Secretary announced on 20 July that the UK would take clear action in response, including offering a new immigration path for British Nationals (Overseas), suspending the UK’s extradition treaty with Hong Kong, and extending our arms embargo on mainland China to Hong Kong.

The Foreign Secretary set out concerns to State Councillor/Minister for Foreign Affairs, Wang Yi, on 8 June and 28 July. FCO officials have raised recent arrests with the Hong Kong authorities over recent weeks, including with members of the Executive Council and the President of the Legislative Council.

We will continue to bring together our international partners to stand up for the people of Hong Kong, to call out the violation of their freedoms, and to hold China to their international obligations.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 14 June 2021 to Question 12080 on Tourism and Travel: Coronavirus, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of replicating travel agent support packages seen in some European countries that (a) refund lost commissions and (b) give sector specific grants of a percentage of usual turnover.

The government appreciates the significant disruption the pandemic has had on travel agents and companies facing difficulties can draw upon the unprecedented package of measures announced by the Chancellor including, the COVID loans schemes and extended furlough.

In England, travel agents can benefit from the £5 billion package of grant support announced at Budget. This includes Restart Grants worth up to £6,000 if classified as non-essential retail or up to £18,000 if classified as a leisure or accommodation business. This package of support also includes the £425 million top-up to the Additional Restrictions Grant which has already provided Local Authorities (LAs) with £1.6 billion. This funding is at the LAs discretion and is intended to support businesses which are not eligible for Restart Grants, but which are nonetheless experiencing a severe impact on their business.

The government continues to review all the economic support schemes, including grant support, as the public health response evolves.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will hold discussions with the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government on the costs to the public purse of leaseholders (a) losing their home and (b) declaring bankruptcy as a result of the costs of resolving fire safety issues.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer liaises with the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government on a wide range of issues, including on the Government’s £5 billion investment in building safety.

On 10 February 2021, the Government announced a 5-point plan for investment in building safety, with £3.5 billion earmarked for the removal of unsafe cladding on high-rise residential buildings, as well as a new finance scheme for cladding removal on buildings between 11 and 18 metres where no leaseholder will ever pay more than £50 a month.

These measures will provide certainty to residents and lenders, boosting the housing market and helping to ensure that developers, investors and building owners who have the means make a fair contribution to costs of remediation, without passing on costs to leaseholders.

Steve Barclay
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the answer of 1 March 2021 to Question 157029, for what reason the Government has excluded wholesalers in the retail, hospitality or leisure supply chain from the business rates relief available for retail, hospitality or leisure businesses.

The Government has provided enhanced support to the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors through business rates relief given the direct and acute impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on those sectors, and their direct relationship with consumers at the end of supply chains that include wholesalers.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has published guidance on eligibility for the relief, which is targeted at premises that are wholly or mainly used as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues; for assembly and leisure; or as hotels, guest and boarding premises, and self-catering accommodation.

A range of other measures have been made available for all businesses, including wholesalers, such as the extension of the furlough scheme, extension to VAT cuts, Recovery Loan schemes, and enhanced Time to Pay for taxes.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of extending the business rates relief available for retail, hospitality or leisure businesses to wholesalers in the retail, hospitality or leisure supply chain.

This year, due to the direct adverse effects of COVID-19, the Government has provided an unprecedented business rates holiday for eligible retail, hospitality and leisure properties worth over £10 billion. The Government has also frozen the business rates multiplier for all businesses for 2021-22.

The Budget will set out the next phase of the Government’s plans to tackle the virus, protect jobs and support business.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether eligible individuals will receive a Self-Employment Income Support Scheme payment for February 2021.

The Government recognises the importance of supporting the self-employed during the COVID-19 outbreak. The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) provides generous support to self-employed individuals who meet the eligibility criteria.

As part of the Winter Economy Plan, the Government announced a six-month extension to the SEISS, in the form of a third and fourth grant.

The third SEISS grant covered the period from November 2020 to January 2021, with the claims window closing on 29 January. As of 31 December, it received claims from 1.9 million individuals, totalling £5.4bn.

The fourth SEISS grant will provide a lump sum to cover the period from February to the end of April 2021. Further details on the SEISS, including the fourth grant, will be announced on 3 March.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the distributional effects of his Department's recent changes to the Green Book methodology.

The Green Book is the government’s guidance on how to develop and appraise policies that meet Government objectives. The guidance provides a framework for policymakers to think through all relevant costs and benefits of a proposal, including any distributional effects that may arise in particular parts of the UK, or to groups within UK society. It also makes clear that all proposals must take equalities impacts into account as required by the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) under the Equality Act 2010.

The updated Green Book contains stronger references to equalities requirements alongside further detailed guidance and requirements on distributional and place-based appraisal to ensure that distributional effects are not overlooked.

However, the Green Book is not a decision-making tool with direct distributional effects. Instead, the Green Book provides a framework for considering and presenting relevant information which helps to shape advice to Ministers and decisionmakers who take the final decision.

Steve Barclay
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what evidence was used to inform his Department's recent changes to the Green Book methodology; and if he will publish that evidence.

The review of the Green Book was informed by extensive consultation with a wide range of stakeholders, including academics, the National Audit Office, the National Infrastructure Commission, analytical experts and users of the Green Book both in Whitehall and in the Devolved Administrations, the Northern Powerhouse and regional and local government. HM Treasury also reviewed past policy development to understand how appraisal was being applied in practice.

The process and findings of the review are outlined in detail in the Final Report of the 2020 Green Book Review published on the 25th of November on the Government website.

Steve Barclay
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
12th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the effect of the ineligibility of wholesalers for Business Rates Relief on the integrity of public sector supply chains.

The Government has provided unprecedented levels of support for workers and businesses to protect, as much as possible, against the current economic emergency. Food and drink wholesalers have been eligible for a number of these support schemes, with the most relevant likely to include:

  • The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to help keep millions of people in employment;
  • £10,000 cash grants for all business properties in receipt of Small Business Rates Relief and Rural Rates Relief;
  • The Bounce Back Loan Scheme for small businesses to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000, with no interest payments or fees for the first 12 months.

Food and drink wholesalers have also benefited from the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme which provided over 100 million half price meals during August and helped to protect the livelihoods of the 1.8 million people working in the hospitality sector.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate his Department has made of the number of redundancies that may have been avoided if the announcement on the extension of the coronavirus job retention scheme had been made earlier.

The Government had always made clear that economic support would continue past the end of October and had announced the Job Support Scheme to do just that. Extending the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to the end of March 2021 instead responds to the latest economic conditions.

We have set out that employees that were employed and on an employers’ payroll on 23 September 2020 (the day before the Job Support Scheme announcement) who were made redundant or stopped working afterwards can be re-employed and claimed for under the CJRS extension.

Steve Barclay
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what financial support the Government plans to provide to people who have become self-employed since March 2020.

The practical issues that prevented the Government from being able to include the newly self-employed in 2019-20 in the original Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS), namely that HMRC will not have access to their self-assessment returns in order to be able to verify their eligibility, still remain. The latest year for which HMRC have tax returns for all self-employed individuals is 2018/19. 2019/20 returns are not due until the end of January 2021.

Unlike for employees, self-employed income is not reported monthly, but at the end of each tax year on the individual’s Income Tax Self Assessment return. This means that the most reliable and up-to-date record of self-employed income is from the 2018-19 tax returns.

The SEISS continues to be just one element of a comprehensive package of support for individuals and businesses. This package includes Bounce Back loans, tax deferrals, rental support and other business support grants. The Government has also temporarily increased the Universal Credit standard allowance for 2020-21 by £20 per week and relaxed the Minimum Income Floor meaning that where self-employed claimants' earnings have significantly reduced, their Universal Credit award will have increased to reflect their lower earnings.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
5th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what the reason is for not including UK tax paying limited company directors in the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme Grant Extension.

The practical issues that prevented the Government from being able to include company owner-managers in the original Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS), namely not being able to verify the source of their dividend income without introducing unacceptable fraud risks, still remain.

Income from dividends is a return on investment in the company, rather than wages. As with the previous SEISS grants, it is not possible for HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to distinguish between dividends derived from an individual’s own company and dividends from other sources, and between dividends in lieu of employment income and as returns from other corporate activity.

This means, unlike the SEISS grants that use information HMRC already hold, targeting additional support would require owner-managers to make a claim and submit information that HMRC could not efficiently or consistently verify to ensure payments were made to eligible companies for eligible activity.

The SEISS continues to be just one element of a comprehensive package of support for individuals and businesses. This package includes Bounce Back loans, tax deferrals, rental support,?increased levels of Universal Credit, mortgage holidays, and other business support grants.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what support his Department will provide for childminders who did not qualify for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

The Government is providing extra security to nurseries and childminders that are open by ‘block-buying’ childcare places for the rest of 2020 at the level the Government would have funded before coronavirus, regardless of how many children are attending.

This means that even if providers are open but caring for fewer children, as a result of low demand from parents or due to public health reasons, they can continue to be funded for the autumn term at broadly the levels they would have expected to see in the 2020 autumn term had there been no coronavirus outbreak. This gives another term of secure income to nurseries and childminders that are open for children who need them.

Early years settings will continue to benefit from £3.6 billion of planned funding in 2020-21 to create free early education and childcare places for children.

The SEISS is one element of a comprehensive package of support for individuals and businesses. This package includes Bounce Back loans, tax deferrals, rental support, 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.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking to support duty free stores prepare for the changes to duty free shopping from 1 January 2021.

Ahead of the end of the transition period, the Government has announced the VAT and excise duty treatment of goods purchased by individuals for personal use and carried in their luggage arriving from or going overseas (passengers). The following rules will apply from 1 January 2021:

- Passengers travelling from Great Britain to any destination outside the United Kingdom (UK) will be able to purchase duty-free excise goods once they have passed security controls at ports, airports, and international rail stations.

- Personal allowances will apply to passengers entering Great Britain from a destination outside of the UK, with alcohol allowances significantly increased.

- The VAT Retail Export Scheme (RES) in Great Britain will not be extended to EU residents and will be withdrawn for all passengers.

- The concessionary treatment on tax-free sales for non-excise goods will be removed across the UK.

The Government published a consultation which ran from 11 March to 20 May. During this time the Government held a number of virtual meetings with stakeholders to hear their views and received 73 responses to the consultation.

The detailed rationale for these changes are included in the written ministerial statement and summary of responses to the recent consultation: https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-statements/detail/2020-09-11/hcws448 and https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/a-consultation-on-duty-free-and-tax-free-goods-carried-by-passengers.

The Government is also continuing to meet with stakeholders following the announcement of these policies, including to discuss the implementation of duty-free sales for EU-bound passengers in export shops.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what plans he has to create a national clean air fund to support the implementation of Clean Air Zones in cities.

We are determined to tackle air pollution given its significant negative impact on public health, the economy and the environment. Air quality has improved significantly over recent decades and will continue to improve thanks to the action we have already taken.

The Government has committed £880m to support Local Authorities deliver their Air Quality plans. Alongside this, the Government has also recently announced a £2 billion package to create a new era for cycling and walking – the largest ever boost for cyclists and pedestrians – which includes £225 million to help local authorities create pop-up cycle lanes and reallocate road space.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of providing support for (a) the hair and beauty and (b) other industries that operate according to appointments to compensate for loss of income due to fewer appointments and regular cancellations as a result of Government regulations.

The Government recognises that this is a challenging time for the hair and beauty sector, where businesses were required to stay closed for longer than some others and as certain treatments were restricted until 15 August.

Businesses in this sector and those in its supply chain can already benefit from many elements of the Government’s unprecedented package of support for business, including grants, rates reliefs, loans and wage support packages.

The Government is adapting its response to the changing context, as we said we would. As restrictions have changed, government support has evolved. This week the government has published its Winter Economic Plan, a targeted package of measures to support jobs and business through the winter months. As part of that, the Job Support Scheme will support viable businesses who are facing lower demand due to Covid-19.

We will continue to monitor the impact of the restrictions necessary to curb the spread of Covid-19 on businesses and the economy and the need for further support.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of increasing fines for shops selling illegal tobacco products.

The Government recognises that civil penalties could be strengthened and announced at March Budget that it intended to consult on new sanctions for businesses trading in illicit tobacco products. HMRC intend to launch that consultation later this year.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of a small business grant scheme targeted at small businesses which were ineligible for the original covid-19 business support schemes in the event of another covid-19 lockdown being imposed.

As of 24 August, over 893,000 business properties have received over £10.95 billion of grants from the Small Business Grant Fund and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund. The Government also allocated up to an additional £617 million to Local Authorities for the Discretionary Grant Fund, to enable Local Authorities to support some of the businesses which missed out on the SBGF and RHLGF due to the way in which they interact with the business rates system. These schemes all 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 establish a new grants scheme targeted at small businesses which did not receive grants from the original schemes.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the financial implications for local authorities of excluding social care workers from the fast track visa programme; and whether the Government plans to provide additional funding to local authorities in relation to that matter.

The Government completed an Impact Assessment for the Immigration and Nationality (Fees) Regulations 2020: Introduction of the Health and Care Visa, IA number HO0369.

The Chancellor has written to Secretaries of State to launch the Comprehensive Spending Review. This is a multi-year Spending Review, setting resource budgets for three years (21-22 to 23-24) and capital budgets for four years (21-22 to 24-25) to set direction and firm budgets for the duration of the parliament. Any local government funding decisions, including decisions about social care workforce funding, will be taken as part of this Spending Review.

Steve Barclay
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to ensure that local authorities with social care responsibilities will receive funding increases commensurate with any inflationary pressures in the sector.

The Government completed an Impact Assessment for the Immigration and Nationality (Fees) Regulations 2020: Introduction of the Health and Care Visa, IA number HO0369.

The Chancellor has written to Secretaries of State to launch the Comprehensive Spending Review. This is a multi-year Spending Review, setting resource budgets for three years (21-22 to 23-24) and capital budgets for four years (21-22 to 24-25) to set direction and firm budgets for the duration of the parliament. Any local government funding decisions, including decisions about social care workforce funding, will be taken as part of this Spending Review.

Steve Barclay
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made (a) for the implications for his policies of recent wholesale food data from the Federation of Wholesale Distributors and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and (b) of the potential merits of providing additional financial support to businesses within the wholesale sector to safeguard food supplies to public services.

The Government fully recognises the extreme disruption to people’s lives, jobs and businesses caused by the necessary actions taken to tackle COVID-19. It is for this reason that the Government has announced unprecedented levels of support for workers and businesses. Food and drink wholesalers, which have played a critical role in supporting the food supply chain throughout the past months, are eligible for a number of these schemes, including:

  • The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to help keep millions of people in employment;
  • £10,000 cash grants for all business properties in receipt of Small Business Rates Relief and Rural Rates Relief;
  • The Bounce Back Loan Scheme for small businesses to borrow between £2,000 to £50,000, with no interest payments or fees for the first 12 months; and
  • The Discretionary Grant Fund for small and micro businesses that are not eligible for other grant schemes.

Food and drink wholesalers will also benefit from the Chancellor’s recent announcement of the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme which will encourage people to safely return to eating out at restaurants for sit-down meals.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
8th Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of extending the Eat Out to Help Out period in areas that experience a local lock-down for all or part of August 2020.

As announced at the Summer Economic Update, this scheme will run for the month of August and is designed to encourage people to return to eating out, while also supporting the recovery of the hospitality sector.

However, the Government acknowledges the potential for any future local lockdowns to affect how consumers and businesses benefit from the scheme, and so will be keeping this under careful review.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what fiscal support his Department is providing for social clubs reliant on live music performances affected by covid-19 outbreak lockdown restrictions.

Social clubs and other live music venues continue to have access to a range of support measures including, but not limited to:

  • A 12-month business rates holiday for all eligible retail, leisure and hospitality businesses in England
  • The retail, hospitality and leisure grant fund (RHLGF)
  • A Discretionary Grant Fund for Local Authorities in England
  • The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)
  • The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)
  • The Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBL) for small and micro enterprises
  • VAT deferral for up to 12 months
  • The Time To Pay scheme, through which businesses in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, can receive support with their tax affairs
  • Protection for commercial leaseholders against automatic forfeiture for non-payment until September 30, 2020.

In addition, on 5 July the Government announced that live music venues would be eligible to benefit from the Government’s world-leading £1.57 billion rescue package for Britain’s arts, culture and heritage industries.

The government will continue to engage with businesses and representative groups with the aim of ensuring that support provided is right for this sector and for the economy as a whole.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
3rd Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what progress his Department has made on the fundamental review of business rates.

On 28 April, HM Treasury set out timelines for tax policy consultations in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. As set out in that update, the call for evidence for the fundamental review of business rates will be published in the coming months. Stakeholders will be invited to contribute their views and engage throughout the review.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the Government's financial support to organisations in the voluntary, community and social enterprise sectors during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has announced unprecedented support for public services, workers and businesses to protect against the current economic emergency. Organisations in the voluntary, community and social enterprise sectors continue to have access the support packages that the Government has made available.

The Government has set out a £750 million package of support for charities providing key services and supporting vulnerable people during the COVID-19 crisis. Part of the funding for charities is being disbursed with £360 million directly allocated by government departments. The most up to date information is available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-the-charity-sector#government-financial-support-for-charities. Our aim is to get funding to those in greatest need as soon as possible.

Charities also have access to cross-cutting support already announced including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme which enables them to furlough staff with the government paying 80% of wages, and VAT deferral.

Organisations that are not eligible for the charity support package could be able to access the other substantial government support that has been made available. Support for organisations in the voluntary, community and social enterprise sectors, remains under constant review.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of extending eligibility for the (a) Small Business Grants Fund and (b) Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund to small events businesses operating without fixed premises.

The Small Business Grant Fund and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund have been designed to help the smallest businesses, and small businesses in some of the sectors which have been hit hardest by COVID-19. Both grant funds are also designed to support small businesses facing high fixed property-related costs, which is why the funds have been tied to the business rates system.

Small businesses which are not eligible for business grants should still be able to benefit from other elements of the Government’s unprecedented package of support for business, including:

  • An option to defer VAT payments by up to twelve months;
  • The Bounce Back Loan Scheme, which will ensure that small and micro businesses can quickly access loans of up to £50,000 which are 100 per cent guaranteed by the Government;
  • The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, now extended to cover all businesses including those which would be able to access commercial credit;
  • The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, to support businesses with their wage bills; and
  • The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, to provide support to the self-employed.

The Business Support website provides further information about how businesses can access the support that has been made available, who is eligible, when the schemes open and how to apply - https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-support/.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
17th Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of providing additional fiscal support for (a) small cafes, (b) restaurants, (c) bars and (d) hospitality businesses unable to re-open as covid-19 restrictions are eased while the two metre social distancing rules continue to apply.

The Government has announced unprecedented support for business and workers to protect them against the current economic emergency including almost £300 billion of guarantees – equivalent to 15% of UK GDP. Businesses in the hospitality sector continue to have access to a range of support measures including, but not limited to:

  • A 12-month business rates holiday for all eligible retail, leisure and hospitality businesses in England
  • The retail, hospitality and leisure grant fund (RHLGF)
  • A Discretionary Grant Fund for Local Authorities in England
  • The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)
  • The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)
  • The Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBL) for small and micro enterprises
  • VAT deferral for up to 12 months
  • The Time To Pay scheme, through which businesses in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, can receive support with their tax affairs
  • Protection for commercial leaseholders against automatic forfeiture for non-payment until June 30, 2020 – with an option for the Government to extend if needed.

The Business Support website provides further information about how businesses can access the support that has been made available, who is eligible and how to apply - https://www.gov.uk/business-coronavirus-support-finder.

On 11 May the Government published its COVID-19 recovery strategy which sets out our plan for moving to the next phase of our response. The strategy sets out a cautious roadmap for easing existing measures in a safe and measured way. The roadmap will be kept constantly under review, and we will continue to work hard to support business and workers as the situation evolves.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Prime Minister, what discussions he had on the death of George Floyd during his phone call with the President of the United States on 29 May 2020.

Details of my telephone call with President Trump can be found on the gov.uk website.

As I have said, I was appalled and sickened to see what happened to George Floyd. Racism and racist violence has no place in our society. This country has made huge strides. But there is so much more to do – in eradicating prejudice, and creating opportunity, and the government I lead is committed to that effort.

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
15th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he has plans to review the £50,000 cap on earnings in respect of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS), including the £50,000 threshold, is designed to target those most in need, and who are most reliant on their self-employment income. Some 95 per cent of people who receive the majority of their income from self-employment could benefit from this scheme.

The self-employed are a very diverse population. They have a wide mix of turnover and profits, with monthly and annual variations even in normal times. Some may see their profits unaffected by the current situation, while others have substantial alternative forms of income: for example, those who had more than £50,000 from self-employment profits in 2017-18 had an average total income of more than £200,000. The self-employed can also offset losses against profits in other years and other forms of income.

Those with average profits above £50,000 may still benefit from other support. Individuals may have access to a range of grants and loans depending on their circumstances, and the SEISS supplements the significant support already announced for UK businesses, including the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme and the deferral of tax payments. More information about the full range of business support measures is available at www.businesssupport.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-support/.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
13th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of implementing business rate relief for airports.

The Government has provided enhanced support to the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors through business rates relief given the direct and acute impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on those sectors.

A range of further measures to support all businesses, including airports, has also been made available. For example, the Government has launched the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to help firms keep people in employment, the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank backed by an 80% Government guarantee, and is deferring VAT payments for this quarter.

The Government will consider any further financial assistance necessary to help businesses get through this period.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 17 March 2020 to Question 28573 on Red Diesel, what discussions he has had with representatives of the Local Government Association on the potential effect of changes to the tax treatment of red diesel on local government.

To help the Government tackle climate change and improve the UK’s air quality, the Chancellor announced at Budget 2020 that the Government will remove the entitlement to use red diesel from April 2022, except in agriculture, fish farming, rail and non-commercial heating (including domestic heating). This change is designed to incentivise users of polluting fuels in both the public and private sector to improve the energy efficiency of their vehicles and machinery or look for greener alternatives.

The Government recognises that these changes to the tax treatment of red diesel may affect some public sector bodies, such as local government, and will therefore engage with them closely later this year as part of its consultation on these changes. While the Government expects them to reduce diesel consumption, the Treasury will discuss pressures that arise with affected departments as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review scheduled for later this year.

As set out in the policy costings document published alongside Budget 2020, the red diesel costing accounts for an increase in the overall resource spending envelope of £150 million per annum departmental spending to account for the fact that part of the costs of the policy will fall upon the public sector.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 17 March 2020 to Question 28573 in Red Diesel, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government on the potential effect of changes to the tax treatment of red diesel on local government.

To help the Government tackle climate change and improve the UK’s air quality, the Chancellor announced at Budget 2020 that the Government will remove the entitlement to use red diesel from April 2022, except in agriculture, fish farming, rail and non-commercial heating (including domestic heating). This change is designed to incentivise users of polluting fuels in both the public and private sector to improve the energy efficiency of their vehicles and machinery or look for greener alternatives.

The Government recognises that these changes to the tax treatment of red diesel may affect some public sector bodies, such as local government, and will therefore engage with them closely later this year as part of its consultation on these changes. While the Government expects them to reduce diesel consumption, the Treasury will discuss pressures that arise with affected departments as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review scheduled for later this year.

As set out in the policy costings document published alongside Budget 2020, the red diesel costing accounts for an increase in the overall resource spending envelope of £150 million per annum departmental spending to account for the fact that part of the costs of the policy will fall upon the public sector.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to paragraph 1.247 on page 63 of the Budget 2020 Red Book and pursuant to the Answer of 17 March 2020 to Question 28573 on Red Diesel; what discussions has he had with representatives of the Local Government Association on the potential effect on local government of the removal of the entitlement to use red diesel from April 2022.

To help the Government tackle climate change and improve the UK’s air quality, the Chancellor announced at Budget 2020 that the Government will remove the entitlement to use red diesel from April 2022, except in agriculture, fish farming, rail and non-commercial heating (including domestic heating). This change is designed to incentivise users of polluting fuels in both the public and private sector to improve the energy efficiency of their vehicles and machinery or look for greener alternatives.

The Government recognises that these changes to the tax treatment of red diesel may affect some public sector bodies, such as local government, and will therefore engage with them closely later this year as part of its consultation on these changes. While the Government expects them to reduce diesel consumption, the Treasury will discuss pressures that arise with affected departments as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review scheduled for later this year.

As set out in the policy costings document published alongside Budget 2020, the red diesel costing accounts for an increase in the overall resource spending envelope of £150 million per annum departmental spending to account for the fact that part of the costs of the policy will fall upon the public sector.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
12th Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to paragraph 1.247 on page 63 of the Budget 2020 Red Book, what assessment his Department has made of potential effect of the removal of the entitlement to use red diesel from April 2022 on local government.

At Budget 2020, the Chancellor announced that the Government will remove the entitlement to use red diesel from April 2022, except in agriculture, fish farming, rail and non-commercial heating (including domestic heating).

These changes to the tax treatment of red diesel may affect some public sector bodies, such as local government. While the Government expects them to reduce diesel consumption, it will discuss pressures that arise with affected departments as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review scheduled for later this year.

As set out in the policy costings document published alongside Budget 2020, the red diesel costing accounts for an increase in the overall resource spending envelope of £150 million per annum departmental spending to account for the fact that part of the costs of the policy will fall upon the public sector.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what the timeframe is for his Department's review of business rates; and whether the findings of that review will be implemented before April 2021.

The Government is committed to conducting a fundamental review of business rates and further information will be announced in due course.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment her Department has made of Hezbollah's Foreign Relations Department since its full proscription.

The Government assesses proscription is a powerful tool within the counter-terrorism toolkit. In addition to the criminal offences associated with proscription, the tool can have a powerful impact on behaviour and disincentivise people from becoming members or supporters of a proscribed organisation, as well as supporting other forms of disruptive activity, including asset freezing and the take down of online content.

Since the extension of Hizballah’s proscription in 2019, the Government has also extended the UK’s domestic asset freeze to cover the group in its entirety.

Investigations into the activities of proscribed organisations, or individuals who may be members or supporters of proscribed organisations, are an operational matter for the police and intelligence agencies. It would not be appropriate to publish data on intelligence related matters.

The Government does not routinely comment on intelligence matters, including whether groups are, or are not, being considered for proscription.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether any secondary or corollary designations have been made since Hezbollah was fully proscribed.

The Government assesses proscription is a powerful tool within the counter-terrorism toolkit. In addition to the criminal offences associated with proscription, the tool can have a powerful impact on behaviour and disincentivise people from becoming members or supporters of a proscribed organisation, as well as supporting other forms of disruptive activity, including asset freezing and the take down of online content.

Since the extension of Hizballah’s proscription in 2019, the Government has also extended the UK’s domestic asset freeze to cover the group in its entirety.

Investigations into the activities of proscribed organisations, or individuals who may be members or supporters of proscribed organisations, are an operational matter for the police and intelligence agencies. It would not be appropriate to publish data on intelligence related matters.

The Government does not routinely comment on intelligence matters, including whether groups are, or are not, being considered for proscription.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether her Department has taken steps to use the expanded law enforcement authority following Hezbollah's proscription.

The Government assesses proscription is a powerful tool within the counter-terrorism toolkit. In addition to the criminal offences associated with proscription, the tool can have a powerful impact on behaviour and disincentivise people from becoming members or supporters of a proscribed organisation, as well as supporting other forms of disruptive activity, including asset freezing and the take down of online content.

Since the extension of Hizballah’s proscription in 2019, the Government has also extended the UK’s domestic asset freeze to cover the group in its entirety.

Investigations into the activities of proscribed organisations, or individuals who may be members or supporters of proscribed organisations, are an operational matter for the police and intelligence agencies. It would not be appropriate to publish data on intelligence related matters.

The Government does not routinely comment on intelligence matters, including whether groups are, or are not, being considered for proscription.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of fully proscribing Hezbollah in 2019.

The Government assesses proscription is a powerful tool within the counter-terrorism toolkit. In addition to the criminal offences associated with proscription, the tool can have a powerful impact on behaviour and disincentivise people from becoming members or supporters of a proscribed organisation, as well as supporting other forms of disruptive activity, including asset freezing and the take down of online content.

Since the extension of Hizballah’s proscription in 2019, the Government has also extended the UK’s domestic asset freeze to cover the group in its entirety.

Investigations into the activities of proscribed organisations, or individuals who may be members or supporters of proscribed organisations, are an operational matter for the police and intelligence agencies. It would not be appropriate to publish data on intelligence related matters.

The Government does not routinely comment on intelligence matters, including whether groups are, or are not, being considered for proscription.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will take steps to determine when the three-year-old daughter of Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei is planned to receive a (a) biometric identification card and (b) response to her citizenship application.

The Home Office does not comment on individual cases.

Applications received by the Home Office are considered in accordance with UKVI customer service standards which is 6 months for standard applications.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to ensure that the General Register Office’s registration website (RON) is fit for purpose.

Following the recent introduction of new functionality there has been some intermittent system disruption for local registrars. This will be resolved as soon as possible.

The majority of the system continues to work as expected, and this issue has had no significant impact upon the public when registering life events.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many people seeking asylum were in employment in 2020.

Casework systems do not allow us to report on the number of permission to work requests received from asylum seekers or the number subsequently granted permission. Obtaining these figures would require a manual trawl of cases amounting to disproportionate time and cost.

The Home Office does not keep track of how many asylum seekers are in employment.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many asylum applicants were granted permission to work in the UK in 2020.

Casework systems do not allow us to report on the number of permission to work requests received from asylum seekers or the number subsequently granted permission. Obtaining these figures would require a manual trawl of cases amounting to disproportionate time and cost.

The Home Office does not keep track of how many asylum seekers are in employment.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on prioritising police officers in the rollout of the covid-19 vaccine.

The Government recognise that police officers are playing a vital role helping to control the spread of coronavirus while continuing to keep criminals off our streets. In protecting the public, they put themselves at risk to keep us all safe, and we have seen that courage and professionalism continue throughout the pandemic.

The current priority list, produced by the independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), targets those assessed to be at the greatest risk of dying from coronavirus. In line with this advice those being vaccinated first are people in care homes, the elderly, those with underlying health conditions and frontline health workers. Under phase 2 of the Vaccine Delivery Plan the JCVI may include key public services and occupations with a high-risk exposure to the virus like police officers who have frequent close contact with members of the public. Conversations are continuing in line with developments.

Those over 50, and all adults in an exposure risk group, will then also be eligible for vaccination in the early phase of the programme. This already includes members of the police.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
27th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 27 November 2020 to Question 119191, if she will provide refunds for payments of the immigration health surcharge made prior to 31 March 2020 by people working in the (a) health and (b) care sector.

Following the announcement in May that health and care workers would no longer be required to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge, the policy was backdated to 31 March to bring it in line with the introduction of visa extensions for health and care workers.

Health and care workers who paid the health surcharge to cover the period from 31 March 2020 onwards may be eligible for a refund. Refunds will not be made for the period prior to 31 March 2020.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of providing refunds for payments of the immigration health surcharge made by people working in the (a) health and (b) care sector prior to 31 March 2020.

Health and care workers who paid the health surcharge to cover the period from 31 March 2020 onwards, may be eligible for a refund. This includes those who were working in the health and care sector before that date.

More information on this policy can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/healthcare-immigration-application/refunds

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
3rd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of introducing emergency payments to (a) sex workers and (b) women in crisis during the covid-19 outbreak to help protect (i) the health and wellbeing of sex workers and their families and (ii) public health.

We understand that those who are vulnerable and involved in selling sex and women in crisis can face a number of challenges that affect their ability to access services particularly during the Covid-19 outbreak. The Government is providing £76m to charities and organisations throughout the country to support victims of modern slavery, sexual violence and domestic abuse. Of this, the Ministry of Justice is providing £25m to support sexual violence and domestic abuse services through Covid 19 pressures. A further £3m per annum until 2022 will also be invested in the recruitment of more Independent Sexual Violence Advisors across the country. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is providing £10m for safe accommodation services.

Healthcare services remain open including general practice, drug and alcohol, and sexual health services. Whilst they have reduced face to face appointments, some services are able to see urgent, priority or vulnerable clients (including sex workers) seeking support where necessary.

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
17th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans the Government has to reopen registry offices to enable registration of an intention to marry.

The local registration service in England has been advised that they can open to take notices of intention to marry where these can be safely delivered in line with public health and local authority guidelines. Restrictions in Wales have not yet been lifted.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment he has made of the potential merits on exempting children in a joint custody arrangement with one parent overseas from self-isolating for 14 days after arriving back in the UK.

Where children travel into the UK and need to move between parents’ UK homes as part of a shared custody agreement, this is permitted as long as they continue to self-isolate.

In all other cases everyone bar a short list of exempted people arriving into the UK should self-isolate in their accommodation for 14 days.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, if he will investigate the reason for the five month delay in awarding the Elizabeth Cross to Eric Denson.

The Government continues to recognise and be grateful to all Service personnel who participated in the British nuclear testing programme, including Mr Eric Denson. They contributed to keeping our nation secure during the Cold War and since, ensuring that the United Kingdom was equipped with an appropriate nuclear capability.

On 16 March 2021, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) advised Mr Denson’s widow of the outcome of her application for the Elizabeth Cross in respect of her late husband.

The delay in providing this response was due to the impact of COVID-19 on the working arrangements of Departmental officials, and, in particular, the ability to access Mr Denson’s Service records from almost fifty years ago, which exist in hard copy only. Mr Denson’s widow was advised that there would be a delay in considering her application.

There is no correlation between being awarded a pension under the War Pension Scheme and the criteria for the Elizabeth Cross. The Elizabeth Cross is granted to the next of kin of Service personnel who have died since 1 January 1948 on medal earning operations, as a result of an act of terrorism or on a non-medal earning operational task where death has been caused by the inherent high risk of the task. A claim considered before 6 April 2005 under the War Pensions Scheme required the award of a pension to be made unless it could be shown beyond reasonable doubt that Service had played no part in an illness or death.

28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what progress the Government has made on implementing Phase 2 of the roll-out of veterans ID cards.

The Veterans’ ID card provides both a memento of service and allows statutory and charity service providers to more easily identify an individual as someone who has served. Phase one of the Veterans’ ID card is complete, with Service leavers now receiving a card as part of the discharge process. Phase two will enable existing veterans to more quickly, easily, and securely prove they served in the UK Armed Forces so they can access the services they need, through digital means. Future-proofing and safeguarding against fraudulent use means the process for phase two rollout will take longer than anticipated. This Government is committed to making the UK the best place to be a veteran in the world, and we need to ensure that this is not abused.

The Ministry of Defence, including Veterans UK, is working with the Office for Veterans’ Affairs within the Cabinet Office to develop ideas on how to build an online digital verification tool so that people can prove they served; this is a commitment in the Strategy for Our Veterans. We are beginning to move this work forward but are unable to announce a delivery date at this point.

Information on phase two of the Veterans’ ID card will be released closer to the launch date at the following website:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-veterans-id-cards-rolled-out-to-service-leavers

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps his Department is taking to work with the Department of Health and Social Care to expand housing-based care options for older people; and whether he is considering a cross-government Housing with Care Task Force to help deliver that expansion of options.

The Department has noted the open letter sent by the Associated Retirement Community Operators (ARCO) to the Prime Minister on 29 March 2021. Housing-with-care has a vital role in enabling older people to live independently, with the necessary care and support available if required. Both the Department of Health and Social Care, and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government are committed to further improving the diversity of housing options available to older people, including housing-with-care, and are engaging closely with the sector and a range of other stakeholders on this issue. This includes considering the merits of different engagement and delivery models including proposals from the sector for a cross-government taskforce.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will respond to the open letter of 29 March 2021 sent to the Prime Minister calling on the Government to take steps to help increase the supply of housing-with-care provision for older people.

The Department has noted the open letter sent by the Associated Retirement Community Operators (ARCO) to the Prime Minister on 29 March 2021. Housing-with-care has a vital role in enabling older people to live independently, with the necessary care and support available if required. Both the Department of Health and Social Care, and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government are committed to further improving the diversity of housing options available to older people, including housing-with-care, and are engaging closely with the sector and a range of other stakeholders on this issue. This includes considering the merits of different engagement and delivery models including proposals from the sector for a cross-government taskforce.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the effect on the economy of leaseholders (a) losing their home and (b) declaring bankruptcy as a result of the costs of resolving fire safety issues relating to (i) cladding removal, (ii) balcony remediation, (iii) replacing combustible insulation, (iv) replacing missing fire breaks, (v) increased insurance premiums and (vi) waking watches.

We have not conducted an economic assessment. However, we do recognise the financial pressures being placed on leaseholders as a result of historic remediation costs.

We have been clear that building owners and industry should make buildings safe without passing on costs to leaseholders – and where they have not stepped up, we have stepped in. The Government is taking the following steps to ease these pressures:

  • In relation to removal and replacement of unsafe cladding systems, we are providing over £5 billion of Government grant funding for the removal of unsafe cladding systems from buildings of 18m and above, and a generous finance scheme (under which no leaseholder will need to pay more than £50 per month) for the removal of unsafe cladding systems from buildings of 11-18m in height.
  • As part of our Building Safety Fund funding for remediation of unsafe cladding systems, the Government is providing full funding for the replacement of combustible insulation and missing or defective cavity barriers where these form part of the external wall system.
  • In relation to insurance premia we recognise that some leaseholders in high rise buildings are facing rises in buildings insurance. Officials, leaseholders, the ABI and British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) have met to discuss buildings insurance. The Government is working with industry and looking at a range of options.
  • In relation to waking watch costs, the Government has announced a £30 million Waking Watch Relief Fund, to promote replacement of costly Waking Watch interim safety measures with fire alarms. This is consistent with guidance from the National Fire Chiefs Council published in 2019, which emphasises the need to consider installation of common fire alarms where measures are now, or are likely to be in place for the longer term: https://www.nationalfirechiefs.org.uk/Simultaneous-evacuation-guidance
Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the Answers of 15 March 2021 to Questions 166341 and 166342, what assessment he has made of the ability of his Department to make effective policy on building safety without an estimate of the potential number of leaseholders who may (a) lose their home and (b) declare bankruptcy as a result of the costs of resolving fire safety issues relating to (i) cladding removal, (ii) balcony remediation, (iii) replacing combustible insulation, (iv) replacing missing fire breaks, (v) increased insurance premiums and (vi) waking watches.

I refer the Hon Member to my response to Questions UIN 166341 and UIN 166342 on 15 March 2021.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the Answer of 10 March 2021 to Question 163654 on Housing: Insulation, for what reason his Department has not made an estimate of the potential number of leaseholders who may (a) lose their home and (b) declare bankruptcy as a result of the costs of resolving fire safety issues relating to (i) cladding removal, (ii) balcony remediation, (iii) replacing combustible insulation, (iv) replacing missing fire breaks, (v) increased insurance premiums and (vi) waking watches.

It is not possible to make such assessments. This is because the degree to which any fire safety issues require remedial action that impose costs on leaseholders, will depend on a professional fire risk assessment of individual buildings and the extent to which costs may be met by or recovered from developers, contractors or building warranties. In addition, we are unable to assess the potentially wide range of individual factors (such as job security, levels of mortgage commitment and personal circumstances) which could lead to people either losing their home or declaring bankruptcy due to additional costs.

However, we do recognise the financial pressures being placed on leaseholders through no fault of their own as a result of historic remediation costs. We have been clear that building owners and industry should make buildings safe without passing on costs to leaseholders – and where they have not stepped up, we have stepped in.

The Government is taking the following steps to ease these pressures:

  • In relation to the removal and replacement of unsafe cladding, we are providing over £5 billion of Government grant funding for the removal of unsafe cladding from buildings of 18 metres and above, and a low interest finance scheme (under which no leaseholder will need to pay more than £50 per calendar month) for the removal of unsafe cladding from buildings of 11-18 metres in height.
  • As part of our funding for remediation of unsafe cladding, the Government is providing full funding for the replacement of combustible insulation and missing or defective cavity barriers where these form part of an unsafe cladding system.
  • In relation to insurance premia we recognise that some leaseholders in high rise buildings are facing rises in buildings insurance. Officials, leaseholders, the ABI and British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) have met to discuss buildings insurance. Government is working with industry and looking at a range of options.
  • In relation to waking watch costs, the Government has announced a £30 million Waking Watch Relief Fund, to promote replacement of costly Waking Watch interim safety measures with fire alarms, which the National Fire Chiefs Council have confirmed are both safer and cost effective.
Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the Answer of 9 March 2021 to Questions 163173 and 163174, when he plans to publish the methodological note explaining how the 100 priority places were selected for funding from the UK Community Renewal Fund.

At Budget 2021, the UK Government published a prospectus for the UK Community Renewal Fund: an additional £220m funding for 2021/22 to help local areas prepare for the launch of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund in 2022.

The UK Community Renewal Fund aims to support people and communities most in need across the UK to pilot programmes and new approaches. It will invest in skills, community and place, local business, and supporting people into employment.

As set out in the prospectus published on 3 March, we have identified 100 priority places based on an index of economic resilience across Great Britain which measures productivity, household income, unemployment, skills and population density.

We are committed to transparency and have published a methodological note on the index used for the Fund: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-community-renewal-fund-prospectus.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
5th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the Answer of 4 March 2021 to Question 160570, whether his Department has made an assessment of the number of leaseholders likely to (a) lose their home and (b) declare bankruptcy as a result of the costs of resolving fire safety issues relating to (i) cladding removal, (ii) balcony remediation, (iii) replacing combustible insulation, (iv) replacing missing fire breaks, (v) increased insurance premiums and (vi) waking watches.

The information requested is not held.

The Government has announced over £5 billion in grant funding towards the removal of unsafe cladding on buildings over 18 metres in height. This unprecedented investment in building safety will help hundreds of thousands of leaseholders, who will be protected from the cost of replacing unsafe cladding on their homes. Alongside this a generous finance scheme will also provide for remediation of unsafe cladding on buildings of 11-18 metres in height. Leaseholders will pay no more than £50 a month towards this scheme. We will publish more details on how these schemes will work soon.

These schemes will also ultimately help to end interim measures and reduce building insurance costs. They build on steps already taken to support leaseholders, including the £30 million Waking Watch Relief Fund to incentivise the purchase of alarm systems in buildings where there is currently a waking watch in place and there is no common alarm system.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what methodology he used to create his Levelling Up Fund index; and how that methodology was used to rank local authorities into one of three priority categories for funding from the Levelling Up Fund.

As set out in the prospectus published at Budget, the index used for the Levelling Up Fund places areas into category one, two or three based on the local area’s need for economic recovery and growth, improved transport connectivity, and regeneration. We will shortly publish further detail on the methodology used to calculate the index.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what methodology was used to create the index of economic resilience in respect of the UK Community Renewal Fund; and how that methodology was used to identify the 100 priority places which will receive capacity funding via their lead authority from the UK Community Renewal Fund.

To ensure the UK Community Renewal Fund funding reaches the most in need, we have identified 100 priority places based on an index of economic resilience across Great Britain which measures productivity, household income, unemployment, skills, and population density. We are committed to transparency and a methodological note will be published explaining how the 100 priority places were selected.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what building types will be covered by the research into property protection for the technical review of Approved Document B as anticipated by the workplan adopted in April 2020.

The research team will be expected to consider evidence regarding all building types within scope of the statutory guidance to the Building Regulations with regards to fire safety (Approved Document B).

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of using the proposed Building Safety Bill to Amend Section 1 of the Building Act for the power to make regulations to facilitate the protection of property in a proportionate manner.

The Building Act 1984 already enables building regulations to be made on matters such as sustainable development and the security of buildings, as well as the health and safety of persons using buildings, and measures to meet these objectives can also have benefits for property protection. The Government has no plans to extend the scope of building regulations at present specifically to address property protection, but will keep this matter under review. In particular, Government will be undertaking research into how fire safety legislation in other countries addresses property protection issues.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the Answer of 22 February 2021 to Question 153161 on Housing: Insulation, what estimate his Department has made of the number of leaseholders likely to (a) lose their home and (b) declare bankruptcy as a result of the costs of resolving fire safety issues relating to (i) cladding removal, (ii) balcony remediation, (iii) replacing combustible insulation, (iv) replacing missing fire breaks, (v) increased insurance premiums and (vi) waking watches.

The information requested is not held.

The Government has announced over £5 billion in grant towards removal of unsafe cladding on buildings over 18 metres in height. This unprecedented investment in building safety will help hundreds of thousands of leaseholders, who will be protected from the cost of replacing unsafe cladding on their homes


Alongside this a generous finance scheme will also provide for remediation of unsafe cladding on buildings of 11-18 metres in height. Leaseholders will pay no more than £50 a month towards this scheme. We will publish more details on how these schemes will work as soon as we are in a position to do so.

These schemes will also ultimately help to end interim measures and reduce building insurance costs. They build on steps already taken to support leaseholders, including the £30 million waking watch fund to incentivise the purchase of alarm systems in buildings where there is currently a waking watch in place and there is no common alarm system.


Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
11th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what plans he has to ensure that leaseholders do not pay for the (a) remediation of non-cladding fire safety issues in buildings above 18 metres in height and (b) removal of cladding and remediation of non-cladding fire safety issues in buildings below 18 metres in height.

This is a globally unprecedented investment in building safety and hundreds of thousands of leaseholders will be protected from the cost of replacing unsafe cladding on their homes. The Government has rightly targeted funding at the removal of dangerous cladding to make homes safer, quicker – the costs for remediating this are high, and the risks posed by it are also high.

Our approach prioritises action on buildings 18 metres and above, where risk to multiple households is greater when fire does spread. This is in line with longstanding expert advice on which buildings are at the highest risk.

We have gone further, and through an additional package we will provide a financing scheme for the remediation of dangerous cladding for to support remediation of buildings of between 11 and 18 metres in height. As part of this financing scheme, leaseholder payments towards remediation costs will be capped at a maximum £50 per month.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
11th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues in the Department of Health and Social Care on the mental health of leaseholders affected by fire safety issues in residential buildings.

We recognise the difficult situation which many leaseholders have found themselves in, and the emotional strain which this has placed on many.

I continue to engage with Cabinet colleagues on these important issues, including those from DHSC.

As a result, where building owners have failed to step up, the Government has stepped in. On 10 February, the Secretary of State announced a comprehensive five-point plan which will provide for the removal of dangerous cladding in both high-rise buildings of 18 metres and above and medium-rise buildings of 11-18 metres. For high-rise buildings there will be £3.5 billion of grant funding in addition to the £1.6 billion already provided by Government, and for medium-rise buildings a generous financing scheme for cladding removal under which no leaseholder will have to pay more than £50 per month. There will also be a levy and tax on developers, recognising that the industry that caused this legacy of unsafe cladding must make a contribution to setting things right.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the Answer of 11 January 2021 to Question 131202 on Housing: Insulation, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of the January 2020 consolidated guidance 'Building safety advice for building owners, including fire doors' on trends in (a) sales of flats, and (b) sales in the wider housing market.

This information is not held. The consolidated advice note is non-statutory advice for building owners about the actions they should take to ensure their buildings are safe.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the Answer of 16 December 2020 to Question 128640 on Flats: Insulation, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that mortgage lenders do not require EWS1 forms for (a) terraced houses, (b) houses with cladding, (c) houses that have been converted into flats, (d) maisonettes and (e) listed buildings.

The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) continues to work with wider industry, including lenders, on new guidance for surveyors which should make clearer the circumstances when EWS1 valuations are, and are not, to be requested.

The RICS consultation ends on 25 January 2021: https://www.rics.org/uk/surveying-profession/contribute/consultations/valuation-of-properties-in-multi-storey-multi-occupancy-residential-buildings-with-cladding-1st-edition-guidance-note/ .

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the oral Answer of 12 January 2021, Official Report, what criteria the Government uses to assess whether a (a) developer, (b) investor or (c) building owner has the means to pay to cover remediation costs of dangerous cladding.

To tackle the most urgent building safety problems, we have made available £1.6 billion to remove unsafe cladding systems and appointed expert construction consultants to review ACM remediation timescales and to work to increase pace.  There should be no excuse for delay.

Applicants to the Private Sector ACM Cladding Remediation Fund (PSCRF) and Building Safety Fund (BSF) are required to demonstrate that they have taken all reasonable steps to recover the costs of replacing the unsafe cladding from those responsible.

At the application stage, we ask for information regarding such steps and may seek further information to satisfy ourselves of this position.

Where Applicants do successfully recover damages relating to the removal and replacement of unsafe cladding, the Government will expect Applicants to pay Government any amounts recovered which are referable to the removal of the unsafe cladding up to the amount of funding provided (minus any reasonable legal costs which have been incurred through pursuing cost recovery referable to the unsafe cladding).

MHCLG does not rule out seeking an assignment of relevant rights of action where it would be appropriate to do so.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the Answers of 11 January 2021 to Questions 131203, 132794 and 132795, what assessment he has made of the criteria where an EWS1 should not be required set out in section 2.1 of the RICS Draft UK Guidance Note Valuation of properties in multi-storey, multi-occupancy residential buildings with cladding, published on 8 January 2021.

The Department has seen the RICS draft guidance note, currently out for consultation, and are considering its potential implications. We await the results of the consultation which will help to make clearer the circumstances when EWS1 valuations are, and are not, to be requested.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors' handling of the EWS1 process.

The RICS EWS1 process was designed to assist with valuation of high-rise residential buildings where cladding may be a concern. While there is still work to be done to provide consumers and leaseholders with the clarity they need, we have come to an agreement with RICS that flats in blocks without cladding do not need an EWS1 form, and I await the refreshed RICS EWS1 guidance with interest.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the Answer of 17 December 2020 to Question 128896 on Housing: Insulation, what plans his Department has to make an estimate of the number of buildings of three storeys or fewer that have been brought into the current EWS1 process.

There are no plans to make such an estimate at present. We have been clear that we do not believe that buildings three storeys and under should fall in to the RICS EWS1 process. RICS is working with wider industry, including lenders, on new guidance for surveyors which will make clearer the circumstances when EWS1 valuations are, and are not, to be requested.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what discussions he has had with (a) Ministers in the Department for Transport and (b) local authority leaders on road signs marking historic county boundaries in line with the Government's guidance on Celebrating the historic counties of England dated 16 July 2019.

The historic counties are an important element of our traditions which support the identity and cultures of many of our local communities. The non-statutory guidance of 16 July 2019 is designed to encourage a greater level of activity to celebrate the historic counties by setting out what local authorities can currently do in relation to these activities and referencing the relevant guidance and regulations, . The decision on whether to mark historic county boundaries on road signs is for each local highway authority, or, in the case of the Strategic Road Network, for Highways England, to consider.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the Answer of 16 December 2020 to Question 128640, if he will update the guidance Building safety advice for building owners, including fire doors to help ensure that that guidance does not impede individuals' ability to buy and sell properties in low-rise buildings.

The Department has no plans to amend ‘Advice for Building Owners of Multi-Storey, Multi-Occupied Residential Buildings’ as published in January 2020.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the Answer of 16 December 2020 to Question 128640, what discussions he has had with Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors on the timetable for the introduction of new guidance for surveyors which will make clear the circumstances when EWS1 valuation forms are, and are not, to be requested.

The Department has regular discussions with RICS, who plan to publish draft guidance for public consultation in 2021.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
16th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what discussions he has had with RICS on ensuring that its members abide by the agreement between the Government and RICS announced on 21 November 2020 that owners of flats in buildings without cladding will no longer need an EWS1 form to sell or re-mortgage their property.

RICS have agreed?that buildings without cladding do not need an EWS1 form. RICS are consulting on guidance for valuers, and Government has regular discussions with RICS about the issues associated with EWS1.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what estimate his Department has made of the number of buildings of three storeys or less which need to undergo an external wall survey process before dwellings can be sold or re-mortgaged.

The EWS1 process is not a Government or regulatory requirement. Whether an EWS1 is needed is determined by lenders and the professionals valuing a building - not all lenders ask for an EWS1. The Department has come to an agreement with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) that flats in blocks without cladding do not need an EWS1 form. Buildings under 18m should not fall into the EWS1 process, unless in exceptional circumstances – usually relating to the proportion of cladding on the building. The Department has not made an estimate of the number of buildings of three storeys or fewer that have been brought into the current EWS1 process. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) is working with wider industry, including lenders, on new guidance for surveyors which will make clearer the circumstances when EWS1 valuation forms are, and are not, to be requested.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
11th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that mortgage lenders do not request EWS1 forms for flats in blocks of three storeys or less.

The EWS1 process is not a Government or regulatory requirement. Whether an EWS1 is needed is determined by lenders and the professionals valuing a building - not all lenders ask for an EWS1. The Department has come to an agreement with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) that flats in blocks without cladding do not need an EWS1 form. Buildings under 18m should not fall into the EWS1 process, unless in justifiable circumstances – usually relating to the proportion of cladding on the building. RICS is working with wider industry, including lenders, on new guidance for surveyors which will make clearer the circumstances when EWS1 valuation forms are, and are not, to be requested.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether the traditional boundary of the County Palatine of Lancaster is extant; and what effect the Local Government Acts (a) 1888, (b) 1929 and (c) 1972 have on that County Palatine in relation to (i) Audenshaw, (ii) Denton, (ii) Reddish, (iv) Heaton Chapel and (v) Heaton Norris.

The County Palatine of Lancaster is often seen as the historic county of Lancashire. The historic counties are an important element of our traditions which support the identity and cultures of many of our local communities. The government has been active in promoting the historic counties of our nation as a key element of our heritage and will continue to do so.

No legislation has specifically abolished historic counties, but they do not exist for the purposes of the administration of local government or ceremonial purposes, though historic, administrative and ceremonial boundaries may in some cases be coterminous. All of the areas mentioned in the question are historically within the County Palatine of Lancaster, and are now in the ceremonial county of Greater Manchester and the Metropolitan Boroughs of Stockport and Tameside, and within the area of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, for the delivery of their modern local services.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of adopting a property buying process with legally binding missives in England.

As we set out in the Government response to the Call for Evidence on improving the home buying and selling process published in April 2018, adopting a property buying process with legally binding missives would require a fundamental re-engineering of the way in which houses are bought and sold in England.

We think that it may be possible to deliver many of the benefits of binding missives without the associated disruption through the adoption of a standardised reservation agreement. These agreements would see buyers and sellers commit to going ahead with the transaction and suffering a financial penalty if they withdrew without good reason, and these could be accommodated within the current process. Government is currently working with industry to evaluate the potential of these agreements.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
3rd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what estimate he has made of the number of local authorities that plan to issue s114 notices during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department recognises the additional costs and pressures on finances councils are facing as a result of the current Covid-19 crisis. We have made £3.7 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; this includes £500 million of additional funding announced by the Secretary of State on 2 July. The Government also announced a further component of its comprehensive approach to support councils in addressing their income losses, including a co-payment scheme to cover irrecoverable sales, fees and charges income in 20/21. We also confirmed that we will extend the period over which councils must manage shortfalls in local tax income relating to 2020-21, from 1 to 3 years, and we will announce further details of how we will support local authorities to manage tax losses at the comprehensive spending review later in the year.

The Department continues to engage regularly with the local government sector, which includes our ongoing financial monitoring survey and direct contact with councils and their representatives, local Leaders and Chief Executives. If the Section 151 officer of a council judges that the council is unable to set or maintain a balanced budget, they must consider the possibility of a Section 114 notice. We have worked closely with CIPFA who have temporarily amended their guidance on the use of Section 114 notices to further encourage local authorities to make contact with the Department in the first instance to advise of any immediate financial concerns.

3rd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing a moratorium on evictions in areas where local covid-19 lockdowns are in force from 24 August 2020.

Lifting the suspension on possession cases in the county court from 24 August is an important step towards ending the lockdown.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is working closely with the Ministry of Justice and the judiciary on arrangements, including new rules, to ensure that when the courts re-open they are better able to address the need for appropriate protection of all parties.

In the event of any local lockdown, Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunal Service would follow Public Health England and government guidance issued at the time. The listing of cases remains a judicial function and as such listing arrangements would be led by the local judiciary.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether he has had discussions with the Minister for the Cabinet Office on delaying the periodic Ward Boundary Reviews in (i) Tameside and (ii) Stockport for one year to allow local authorities to focus resources on covid-19 prevention and community support activity.

Responsibility for reviewing ward boundaries sits with the Local Government Boundary Commission for England, an independent Parliamentary body responsible to the Speaker's Committee, which agrees the Commission's budget and programme of work.

20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps he is taking to support workers that have faced racial, verbal and physical abuse while providing local authority services during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government takes hate crime and discrimination of any kind very seriously. We are a tolerant and welcoming multicultural society and we have one of the strongest legal frameworks in the world to report, record and prosecute hate crime. As such, I would encourage anyone who experiences hate crime or any other form of verbal or physical abuse to report it to the police.

While MHCLG does not performance manage local government, we do consider the service delivery of authorities as part of our oversight of local government. We continue to assess the risks affecting local government as part of the response to coronavirus. This will allow for us to compile the information needed to identify risks affecting councils and their workers, aiding us in assisting the Local Government Association and across Government to identify those local authorities which may need support.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the Answer of 19 March 2020 to Question 29886, on Temporary Accommodation: Coronavirus, what guidance his Department has issued to local authorities.

Local authorities have a statutory duty to provide accommodation for households that are homeless and defined as being in priority need, unintentionally homeless and eligible for assistance. They are obliged to secure temporary accommodation for the household in the first instance until suitable long-term accommodation can be secured. Housing authorities must ensure the accommodation is suitable for the applicant and their household until the duty ends.

The Government is clear that if an individual is experiencing the symptoms of coronavirus – a new, continuous cough or a high temperature, the current guidance is to self-isolate for 7 days from when their symptoms started. If the individual is not living alone, the whole household must also self-isolate for 14 days. People should not be travelling during this time unless they have an essential reason.

This guidance is being constantly reviewed as the situation changes. Please see here for the updated guidance: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-households-with-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the Answer of 19 March 2020 to Question 29886, on Temporary Accommodation: Coronavirus, what guidance his Department has issued to visitors that do not have access to accommodation (a) that they had arranged for themselves upon arrival or (b) for other reasons.

Local authorities have a statutory duty to provide accommodation for households that are homeless and defined as being in priority need, unintentionally homeless and eligible for assistance. They are obliged to secure temporary accommodation for the household in the first instance until suitable long-term accommodation can be secured. Housing authorities must ensure the accommodation is suitable for the applicant and their household until the duty ends.

The Government is clear that if an individual is experiencing the symptoms of coronavirus – a new, continuous cough or a high temperature, the current guidance is to self-isolate for 7 days from when their symptoms started. If the individual is not living alone, the whole household must also self-isolate for 14 days. People should not be travelling during this time unless they have an essential reason.

This guidance is being constantly reviewed as the situation changes. Please see here for the updated guidance: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-households-with-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what guidance his Department has issued to local authorities on the responsibility to provide temporary accommodation to visitors visiting that local authority area who need to self-isolate immediately as a result of the risk of passing on a covid-19 infection.

The Government is clear that if an individual is experiencing the symptoms of coronavirus – a new, continuous cough or a high temperature, the current guidance is to self-isolate for 7 days from when their symptoms started. A visitor from outside a local authority area should endeavour to do so in the accommodation they had arranged for themselves upon arrival.

If the individual is not living alone, the whole household must also self-isolate for 14 days.

This guidance is being constantly reviewed as the situation changes. Please see here for the updated guidance: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-households-with-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, when the remaining six pilot locations to receive funding and support from the High Street Task Force will be announced.

The High Street Task Force will support local leaders in their work revitalising their high streets and town centres. It will provide access to expert advice, training and a repository of data and best practice and will also help to coordinate the range of groups with an interest in the evolution of our high streets and town centres.

The first 14 locations to pilot the products and services of the Task Force were announced on 30 December and were chosen due to their status as “near misses” in their Future High Street Fund bids.

The remaining pilot locations will test individual products and services and will be announced in due course. This will include a range of other Task Force users, including Business Improvement Districts, community groups and a Local Enterprise Partnership.

Following the pilot, the Task Force will rollout the products and services tested in the pilot phase across England from July.

8th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what the Government's timescale is for completion of the review of business rates; and what effect undertaking that review will have on the delivery of the Government’s review of needs and resources and the implementation of 75 per cent business rates retention by local government, due in April 2021.

The Government is committed to conducting a fundamental review of business rates. Further details on the review will be announced in due course. The Government recognises the role of business rates as a source of local authority income and will consider input from the sector as part of the review of business rates.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of extending the eligibility criteria for legal aid for (a) special guardians and (b) prospective special guardians, including the removal of means testing; and if he will publish any economic modelling undertaken in relation to that assessment.

In February 2019 as part of the Legal Support Action Plan, we committed to bringing special guardianship orders into scope of legal aid.

Although work was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic response, we are intending to look into the role of special guardians and at the scope for extending legal aid to special guardians in private law proceedings as part of wider consideration of the civil legal aid scheme more generally.

We are currently conducting a review of the means test for legal aid. We plan to conclude the review in later 2021, at which point we will publish a full consultation paper setting out our future policy proposals in this area which will include a full impact assessment. We will take these proposals into consideration for the approach to means testing when looking into special guardianship orders.

Alex Chalk
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
12th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to the February 2019 Legal Support Action Plan, when he plans to bring forward proposals to extend eligibility for non‑means tested legal aid for parents, or those with parental responsibility, who wish to oppose applications for placement orders or adoption orders in public family law proceedings.

In February 2019 as part of the Legal Support Action Plan, we agreed to remove the means test for those with parental responsibility to oppose placement or adoption orders in family law proceedings and we committed to bringing special guardianship orders into scope of legal aid.

Over the past year many elements of the Action Plan are up and running and work is proceeding on other. For example, the Civil Legal Aid Means Test Review is currently underway and is due to consult in the Autumn of this year, £3.1m has been provided for legal support for litigants in person, and changes have been made to the Civil Legal Aid telephone service, making it easier for people to get face to face advice. Furthermore, we’ve widened the scope of legal aid to cover immigration matters for separated migrant children.

Work onthis specific action has been delayed, most recently due to the focus on the ongoing response to the Covid 19 pandemic and the prioritisation of Covid recovery. However, we still intend to undertake this work and will communicate revised timelines to stakeholders in due course.

Alex Chalk
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
12th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to the February 2019 Legal Support Action Plan, when he plans to bring forward proposals to expand the scope of legal aid to cover special guardianship orders in private law.

In February 2019 as part of the Legal Support Action Plan, we agreed to remove the means test for those with parental responsibility to oppose placement or adoption orders in family law proceedings and we committed to bringing special guardianship orders into scope of legal aid.

Over the past year many elements of the Action Plan are up and running and work is proceeding on other. For example, the Civil Legal Aid Means Test Review is currently underway and is due to consult in the Autumn of this year, £3.1m has been provided for legal support for litigants in person, and changes have been made to the Civil Legal Aid telephone service, making it easier for people to get face to face advice. Furthermore, we’ve widened the scope of legal aid to cover immigration matters for separated migrant children.

Work onthis specific action has been delayed, most recently due to the focus on the ongoing response to the Covid 19 pandemic and the prioritisation of Covid recovery. However, we still intend to undertake this work and will communicate revised timelines to stakeholders in due course.

Alex Chalk
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
12th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many and what proportion of prospective kinship carers joined as parties to care proceedings were granted legal aid, in each year since 2016.

Applications for legal aid by prospective special guardians in private law proceedings:

Financial year

Certificates Granted

% Granted

Average Costs (£)

2016-17

131

71%

1,830

2017-18

145

77%

1,874

2018-19

125

70%

2,000

2019-20

183

79%

2,887

2020-21

165

73%

2,754

Please note that average costs are based on those cases which have billed in this period. Cases may conclude and bill in a different period from that which they were granted in.

Figures relate to applications for legal aid certificates submitted to the Legal Aid Agency. Equivalent figures for advice and assistance provided under the Legal Help scheme are not available, as the decision to grant funding at that tier rests with the solicitor providing the legal services.

Applications may not be granted for a variety of reasons, including being rejected for administrative reasons, with withdrawn or abandoned by the applicant, or not satisfying one or more of the requisite eligibility criteria.

Legal aid to obtain a special guardianship order is available, subject to means and merits tests, and evidence of either domestic violence or a risk of child abuse.

Information on applications for legal aid from non-parent parties in care proceedings for the purposes of pursuing placement of the subject child with them, or prospective kinship carers joined as parties to care proceedings, is only available at disproportionate cost.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
12th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to applications for legal aid from non-parent parties in care proceedings for the purposes of pursuing placement of the subject child with them, (a) how many and what proportion of those applications were granted and (b) what the average award was, in each year since 2016.

Applications for legal aid by prospective special guardians in private law proceedings:

Financial year

Certificates Granted

% Granted

Average Costs (£)

2016-17

131

71%

1,830

2017-18

145

77%

1,874

2018-19

125

70%

2,000

2019-20

183

79%

2,887

2020-21

165

73%

2,754

Please note that average costs are based on those cases which have billed in this period. Cases may conclude and bill in a different period from that which they were granted in.

Figures relate to applications for legal aid certificates submitted to the Legal Aid Agency. Equivalent figures for advice and assistance provided under the Legal Help scheme are not available, as the decision to grant funding at that tier rests with the solicitor providing the legal services.

Applications may not be granted for a variety of reasons, including being rejected for administrative reasons, with withdrawn or abandoned by the applicant, or not satisfying one or more of the requisite eligibility criteria.

Legal aid to obtain a special guardianship order is available, subject to means and merits tests, and evidence of either domestic violence or a risk of child abuse.

Information on applications for legal aid from non-parent parties in care proceedings for the purposes of pursuing placement of the subject child with them, or prospective kinship carers joined as parties to care proceedings, is only available at disproportionate cost.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government on the level of support for women leaving prison.

We are committed to doing all we can to address the issues around female offending. It is vital that we do so to better protect the public and deliver more effective rehabilitation. This includes supporting women when they are leaving prison.

In June 2018, the Government published the Female Offender Strategy. This set out a programme of work to improve outcomes for female offenders and make society safer by tackling the underlying causes of offending and reoffending. We have begun work on delivering the first of five Residential Women’s centres, a key commitment in our Strategy. These will provide a robust community alternative for women who would otherwise receive a short custodial sentence, offering safe residential accommodation and holistic support to address the often-complex needs that underlie their offending behaviour.

The Concordat on Women in or at risk of contact with the Criminal Justice System was a commitment in the Female Offender Strategy and was published on 23 January 2021. The Concordat contains an action plan that the signatory Government departments have agreed to deliver to work together more closely at a national level to identify and respond to the often multiple and complex needs of women. The Concordat strongly promotes the idea of and need for greater collaboration at local levels, including through the adoption of whole system approaches.

We are working across Government with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), Welsh Government and Other Government Departments, to address the barriers offenders face in securing suitable accommodation.

We are investing more than £20m in supporting prison leavers at risk of homelessness into temporary accommodation. Individuals released from prison will be provided up to 12 weeks of temporary accommodation and will be supported into long-term settled accommodation before the end of that 12-week period. Initially launching in five national probation regions, the service will support around 3,000 offenders in its first year and will be commencing in Summer. It will be in operation during the next financial year 2021-22, with a view to scaling up and rolling out nationally.

The service will take account of the needs of women, including those with complex needs and accommodation provision will be dedicated to single gender usage as required. Community Offender Managers, working together with local partners, will be responsible for ensuring that vulnerable female prison leavers with complex needs receive appropriate support and are provided with housing beyond the 12 weeks emergency accommodation.

Alex Chalk
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what progress his Department has made on expanding the scope of legal aid to cover special guardianship orders in private family proceedings as set out in Legal Support Action Plan (February 2019); and if he will meet interested parties.

In February 2019 as part of the Legal Support Action Plan, we committed to bringing special guardianship orders into scope of legal aid.

Work to progress this specific action has been delayed, most recently, due to the focus on the ongoing response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the prioritisation of justice recovery.

We now intend to re-start the work - looking at the scope for extending legal aid to special guardians in private law proceedings. To ensure we approach this in the appropriate way, we plan to include consideration of further representations from expert stakeholders including the Cross-Party Parliamentary Taskforce on Kinship Care, the Family Rights Group and the Law Society.

Alex Chalk
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what processes his Department has put in place to ensure that the children of prisoners are able to have contact with their parents during the covid-19 outbreak.

In recognition of the importance of continued contact with family, we have moved quickly to keep prisoners in touch with their family members. This includes the provision of 900 locked mobile phones to establishments that do not yet have in-cell telephony. All prisoners, male and female, now have access to some form of telephony either in-cell, landing PIN phone or locked mobile

Additionally, on 15 May, we announced that secure video calls will be introduced to prisons and Young Offender Institutions (YOIs) across England and Wales to maintain vital family contact for prisoners and young offenders during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Following a successful trial at HMP Berwyn, Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service is installing the technology at 10 institutions with a wider rollout in the coming weeks.

Lucy Frazer
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what plans his Department has to extend the pilot of video calls between prisoners and their children during the covid-19 outbreak.

In recognition of the importance of continued contact with family, we have moved quickly to keep prisoners in touch with their family members. This includes the provision of 900 locked mobile phones to establishments that do not yet have in-cell telephony. All prisoners, male and female, now have access to some form of telephony either in-cell, landing PIN phone or locked mobile

Additionally, on 15 May, we announced that secure video calls will be introduced to prisons and Young Offender Institutions (YOIs) across England and Wales to maintain vital family contact for prisoners and young offenders during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Following a successful trial at HMP Berwyn, Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service is installing the technology at 10 institutions with a wider rollout in the coming weeks.

Lucy Frazer
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
2nd Sep 2020
What steps the Government is taking to support the recovery of the Northern Ireland economy after the covid-19 outbreak.

Businesses in Northern Ireland have always exhibited tremendous resilience and ability to bounce back from adversity.

This Government has stood by the people of Northern Ireland, providing support for Northern Ireland businesses and employees throughout the pandemic with an unprecedented series of grants, loans and support schemes. We remain committed to enabling them, and the wider economy, to thrive and grow as we emerge from the lockdown.

We look forward to working with the Executive and local partners to unleash Northern Ireland’s potential by driving innovation and connecting Northern Ireland with opportunities through our new trading relationships.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
10th Mar 2021
What discussions he has had with (a) Cabinet colleagues and (b) the Scottish Government on preparations for COP26 in Glasgow.

The Scotland Office has regular discussions with other UK Government Departments and the Scottish Government regarding COP26 and I am confident that preparations are in good shape.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland