Andrew Lewer Portrait

Andrew Lewer

Conservative - Northampton South


Department Event
Monday 12th September 2022
14:30
Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities
Oral questions - Main Chamber
12 Sep 2022, 2:30 p.m.
Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (including Topical Questions)
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Division Votes
None available
Speeches
Wednesday 13th July 2022
Oral Answers to Questions
Q10. In the past few years, campaigning and persistence have led to the construction of a new children’s A&E, and …
Written Answers
Thursday 21st July 2022
Nutrition
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department will be introducing a Calorie Reduction …
Early Day Motions
Thursday 11th October 2018
COSWORTH 60TH ANNIVERSARY
That this House congratulates Cosworth Engineering Ltd on its 60th Anniversary as an iconic British enterprise at the cutting edge …
Bills
None available
Tweets
None available
MP Financial Interests
Monday 27th June 2022
1. Employment and earnings
1 June 2022, received £2,500 from West One Loans Ltd, the Edward Hyde Building, 38 Clarendon Rd, Watford WD17 1JW, …
EDM signed
Friday 20th December 2019
Big Ben chiming on the day of Brexit
That this House notes the ongoing refurbishment works on the Elizabeth Tower and the fact that during this period Big …
Supported Legislation
Wednesday 17th March 2021
Education Employment (Accompaniment to Hearings) Bill 2019-21
A Bill to provide that teachers and other education staff may choose to be accompanied to disciplinary or grievance hearings …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Andrew Lewer has voted in 533 divisions, and 14 times against the majority of their Party.

22 Mar 2021 - Trade Bill - View Vote Context
Andrew Lewer voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 29 Conservative Aye votes vs 318 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 300 Noes - 318
22 Mar 2021 - Trade Bill - View Vote Context
Andrew Lewer voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 26 Conservative No votes vs 318 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 319 Noes - 297
9 Feb 2021 - Trade Bill - View Vote Context
Andrew Lewer voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 31 Conservative No votes vs 318 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 318 Noes - 303
19 Jan 2021 - Trade Bill - View Vote Context
Andrew Lewer voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 34 Conservative No votes vs 319 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 319 Noes - 308
27 Apr 2021 - Delegated Legislation - View Vote Context
Andrew Lewer voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 77 Conservative No votes vs 222 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 431 Noes - 89
22 Nov 2021 - Health and Care Bill - View Vote Context
Andrew Lewer voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 19 Conservative No votes vs 269 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 272 Noes - 246
23 Nov 2021 - Health and Care Bill - View Vote Context
Andrew Lewer voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 3 Conservative No votes vs 290 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 294 Noes - 244
30 Nov 2021 - Public Health - View Vote Context
Andrew Lewer voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 19 Conservative No votes vs 268 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 434 Noes - 23
30 Nov 2021 - Public Health - View Vote Context
Andrew Lewer voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 32 Conservative No votes vs 259 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 431 Noes - 36
14 Dec 2021 - Public Health - View Vote Context
Andrew Lewer voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 97 Conservative No votes vs 224 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 369 Noes - 126
14 Dec 2021 - Public Health - View Vote Context
Andrew Lewer voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 60 Conservative No votes vs 258 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 385 Noes - 100
30 Mar 2022 - Health and Care Bill - View Vote Context
Andrew Lewer voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 8 Conservative No votes vs 245 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 247 Noes - 150
25 Apr 2022 - Health and Care Bill - View Vote Context
Andrew Lewer voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 11 Conservative No votes vs 280 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 282 Noes - 183
22 Jun 2022 - Health and Personal Social Services - View Vote Context
Andrew Lewer voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 61 Conservative No votes vs 106 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 215 Noes - 70
View All Andrew Lewer 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
Boris Johnson (Conservative)
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
(10 debate interactions)
James Cartlidge (Conservative)
(6 debate interactions)
Ben Wallace (Conservative)
Secretary of State for Defence
(6 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Department for Education
(18 debate contributions)
Department of Health and Social Care
(14 debate contributions)
HM Treasury
(12 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(12 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Andrew Lewer's debates

Northampton South 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 Lewer has not participated in any petition debates

Latest EDMs signed by Andrew Lewer

19th December 2019
Andrew Lewer signed this EDM on Friday 20th December 2019

Big Ben chiming on the day of Brexit

Tabled by: Mark Francois (Conservative - Rayleigh and Wickford)
That this House notes the ongoing refurbishment works on the Elizabeth Tower and the fact that during this period Big Ben currently only chimes for Remembrance Sunday and New Year's Eve; further notes that the United Kingdom will now leave the European Union at 11.00pm GMT on 31 January 2020; …
53 signatures
(Most recent: 7 Jan 2020)
Signatures by party:
Conservative: 47
Democratic Unionist Party: 5
Labour: 1
11th April 2019
Andrew Lewer signed this EDM on Thursday 11th April 2019

Exiting the European Union

Tabled by: William Cash (Conservative - Stone)
That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (Exit Day) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2019 (S.I., 2019, No. 859), dated 11 April 2019, a copy of which was laid before this House on 11 April 2019, be annulled.
82 signatures
(Most recent: 29 Apr 2019)
Signatures by party:
Conservative: 73
Democratic Unionist Party: 7
Independent: 1
Non-affiliated: 1
View All Andrew Lewer's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Andrew Lewer, 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 Lewer has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Andrew Lewer has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

Andrew Lewer has not introduced any legislation before Parliament


71 Written Questions in the current parliament

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department
2 Other Department Questions
26th Oct 2021
To ask the President of COP26, whether external parties are able to (a) participate in and (b) make contributions to decision-making at COP26 via an open, transparent and accountable process, including through engagement with the members of the UK delegation to that conference.

We ensured that civil society, businesses, cities and regions, Indigenous Peoples, youth, gender and frontline groups impacted by climate change could participate in Presidency events. This included contributing to the World Leaders Summit and side events, as well as to the UK Pavilion and the Green Zone for anyone who registered their interest. Non-party observer groups have been able to observe the negotiations and we have sought their views on a range of negotiations issues.

Michael Ellis
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Attends Cabinet)
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what the Government's policy is on the use of unconscious bias training; and if she will make a statement.

The Government recognises that it is important to tackle bias in workplaces and in wider society, and it is good practice to use a range of evidence based measures to achieve this, and evaluate their success. The request for a statement on this has been noted and the Government will provide an update, detailing its position on unconscious bias training, in due course.

8th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department is taking steps to support roofers experiencing liquidity challenges in the context of inflation on roofing materials.

The Government is aware that construction materials price inflation is creating liquidity challenges for some businesses in the sector. We are working closely with the Construction Leadership Council’s (CLC) Product Availability Group to monitor product and material availability and mitigate the impact of price increases and we would encourage any companies who are concerned about this to get in touch with the CLC so that their comments and views can be considered a part of that work.

15th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he plans to extend to March 2022 or extend indefinitely the validity of already issued Green Homes Grant vouchers in response to supply chain problems in the construction industry.

Officials are working with industry representatives to better understand the global supply chain issues which are affecting various sectors.

This will allow continuity of support to installers, while also informing future Government energy efficiency schemes.

Following the closure of the Green Homes Grant Voucher scheme the Government is refocussing efforts and funding towards alternative approaches that will both maximise the delivery of home retrofits for consumers who are most in need, and support the supply chain to keep delivering.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department will take to provide sector specific support to the wedding industry in response to the restrictions to guest numbers being in place until 21 June 2021.

Over the course of the pandemic the Government has provided an unprecedented package of financial support to businesses, including those in the wedding industry, which we keep under regular review.

My Rt hon Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced in his Budget a raft of new measures to further support businesses, including those in the wedding industry. These include:

  • Extension of the Coronavirus Job Support Scheme to the end of September 2021.

  • £5 billion for new Restart Grants.

  • The Government is also providing all Local Authorities in England with an additional £425 million of discretionary business grant funding, on top of the £1.6 billion already allocated.

  • Eligible businesses in hospitality sector will benefit from business rates relief worth over £6 billion in 2021 to 2022.

My Rt hon Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer also announced the launch of the Events Research Programme, to pilot events with larger crowd sizes, including weddings with the aim of removing restrictions on events in Step 4 of the roadmap.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
24th Mar 2022
What steps her Department is taking to protect freedom of expression.

Freedom of expression and the media are essential qualities of any functioning democracy. The Department is taking a number of steps to protect freedom of expression and democratic values online. This includes our Online Safety Bill, work on open societies with the G7, and our work on press freedom and sustainability.

The Government introduced the Online Safety Bill on 17 March 2021. This legislation will usher in a new era of accountability for tech companies, and uphold free expression and pluralism online.

8th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of supporting new types of amusement machine through the Gambling Act review to enable that industry to innovate and add to its low-stake, low prize offer.

As part of its broad scope, our Gambling Act Review call for evidence included questions on the rules governing land based gambling and the need to ensure an equitable approach to the regulation of the online and the land based industries.

We are carefully considering all the evidence submitted and a white paper setting out our next steps and proposals for reform will be published in due course.

8th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps she will take in the forthcoming gambling White Paper to support the land-based amusements sector.

As part of its broad scope, our Gambling Act Review call for evidence included questions on the rules governing land based gambling and the need to ensure an equitable approach to the regulation of the online and the land based industries.

We are carefully considering all the evidence submitted and a white paper setting out our next steps and proposals for reform will be published in due course.

8th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if she will make it her policy to undertake regular reviews of the gambling sector to ensure that policy, regulation, stakes and prizes are kept up to date.

As part of its broad scope, our Gambling Act Review call for evidence included questions on the rules governing land based gambling and the need to ensure an equitable approach to the regulation of the online and the land based industries.

We are carefully considering all the evidence submitted and a white paper setting out our next steps and proposals for reform will be published in due course.

22nd Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of proposals relating to the curriculum Arms-Length Body in the Schools Bill on educational publishers across the country; and if he will take steps to ensure that educational publishers are able to compete on equitable terms.

As announced in the Schools White Paper, the department will establish a new arm’s length curriculum body, building on the success of Oak National Academy’s work during the COVID-19 pandemic. It will work with thousands of teachers to co-design, create, and continually improve packages of optional, free, adaptable digital curriculum resources and video lessons. These optional resources will be available across the UK, helping teachers deliver a high-quality curriculum.

Teachers in the UK benefit from a diverse commercial education resources market that offers a range of materials to support high-quality planning and teaching. The curriculum body will work with the market, leading a broad and inclusive national process that will involve commercial education resource suppliers as well as teachers, schools, school trusts, Subject Associations, National Centres of Excellence, and many others, as it develops and delivers its support offer for schools.

Building on our existing understanding, the department is currently working with commercial organisations to gather further information that will help us to understand the potential effect on the market. It is important to us that areas of the market that offer high-quality, carefully sequenced resources that meet teachers’ needs can continue doing so. Opportunities for educational publishers and other partners to work with the curriculum body will be open to all across the sector.

26th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment his Department has made of the potential impact of the withdrawal element of the Education Act 1944 on (a) a child’s education in religious education lessons and (b) the expectation that schools promote mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs; and if he will make a statement.

While the department considers religious education (RE) to be an important subject, we respect parental rights and have no plans to change the right of withdrawal. Legislation gives parents the right to request withdrawing their child from all or part of a school’s RE. Parents are not required to give a reason for their requests, which must be complied with. The right of withdrawal from RE does not extend to other areas of the curriculum where religious matters are spontaneously raised by pupils or arise in other subjects such as history or citizenship.

The department believes that the current position is correct, as it balances the rights of parents and of children.

It is, of course, important that schools promote mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs. The Education Act 2002 requires schools to ensure the Spiritual, Moral, Social, and Cultural (SMSC) development of all their pupils. There are many opportunities within the curriculum for schools to promote SMSC, including through RE, history, and citizenship. State-funded schools are also required to actively promote the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.

10th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether it is his Department's policy that Local Education Authorities must report how frequently they assess the appropriateness of education services for looked after children.

Local authorities have a statutory duty to promote the educational achievement of looked-after children, including those placed outside of their authority. They are required to appoint an officer, the local authority Virtual School Head, to ensure this duty is properly discharged.

Statutory guidance on the implementation of these duties can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/promoting-the-education-of-looked-after-children.

This requires Directors of Children’ Services and Lead Members for Children’s Services to ensure that the authority’s Children in Care Council regularly considers educational experiences, as reported by looked-after children, and is able to respond effectively to any issues.

Further, the guidance is clear that the Virtual School Head should ensure that the educational attainment and progress of children looked after by the local authority is monitored and evaluated as if those children attended a single school. It is also clear that there are systems in place to report regularly through the authority’s corporate parenting structures. It requires Virtual School Heads to publish an annual report, which should include details of how they have managed the Pupil Premium Plus and Early Years Pupil Premium for looked-after children, and evidence of how the funding has supported the achievement of the children looked after by their authority. Ofsted inspectors are required to ask for the Virtual School Annual Report as part of the framework for Inspections of Local Authority’s Children’s Services.

Will Quince
Minister of State (Education)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when will the Education and Skills Funding Agency provide an update on plans to refresh the cap on the number of new apprentices that a non-levy paying employer can take on.

The government recognises the important role that non-levy paying employers play in creating high-quality apprenticeship opportunities, particularly for young people and those in disadvantaged areas.

To support apprenticeships for all employers, the department is increasing funding for apprenticeships in England to £2.7 billion by the 2024/25 financial year. Non-levy paying employers can continue to reserve funding for 95% of apprenticeship training and assessment costs.

Since 1 April 2021, all small-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have been able to reserve funding for up to 10 new apprenticeship starts. Employers can continue to make reservations into the 2022/23 financial year up to the maximum of 10.

Reservations levels for employers who do not pay the apprenticeship levy are kept under review to ensure that this level is still sufficient to allow SMEs to use apprenticeships to support their business.

Non-levy paying employers can also access apprenticeship funding via transferred funds from levy-paying organisations. The department has made it easier for employers to benefit from levy transfers through a new ‘pledge and transfer’ online service. It is encouraging to see that over 145 employers, including Amazon UK, DPD and HomeServe, have pledged to transfer almost £9 million to support new apprenticeship starts in businesses of all sizes.

6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when his Department plans to confirm the funding allocation for Music Education Hubs beyond 2021-22; and for how many years future funding will be allocated.

The Department has invested around £380 million of funding in music education hubs between 2016 and 2021, to ensure all children, whatever their background, have access to a high-quality music education. This has been followed by a commitment of £79 million in the 2021/22 financial year for music education hubs, and £1 million for charities focused on teaching music.

Decisions regarding future funding are subject to outcome of the next Spending Review. As announced on 7 September, the Spending Review will set Departmental budgets for the 2022/23 to 2024/25 financial years and concludes on 27 October 2021, alongside Autumn Budget 2021. Future funding for hubs will be confirmed subsequently.

26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to update guidance on wearing masks in secondary school classrooms as covid-19 restrictions are eased.

It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Prorogation.

8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will take steps to ensure that children educated in the private sector have access to mass covid-19 testing when it is introduced for secondary school pupils.

As part of the asymptomatic testing programme for secondary schools and colleges, independent schools have already started receiving test kits and personal protective equipment to deliver initial mass testing of pupils and students (two tests, three to five days apart), and will receive further equipment to support weekly testing of staff and daily contact testing. Independent schools are also able to access and utilise the guidance provided online and through webinars by the Department.

The Department are not able to extend funding to independent schools and colleges with fee-paying individuals. Non-maintained special schools and independent special schools are eligible for funding.

8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate the Government has made of the average annual cost of school uniform.

The Department commissioned the Cost of School Uniform report in 2015 which found the average total expenditure on school uniform for the 2014/15 school year was £212.88.

The Government is supporting the Education (Guidance about Costs of School Uniforms) Private Members’ Bill to enable us to put our guidance on the cost of school uniform on a statutory footing. The Department’s existing guidance on cost considerations will form the basis for the new statutory guidance.

Second-hand uniform and swap schemes can increase both affordability and sustainability of school uniform. The Government would therefore like to see second-hand school uniform made available for parents at all schools to acquire from the school directly or from a local, established, scheme.

8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if the Department will take steps to encourage second-hand uniform shops and uniform swap schemes.

The Department commissioned the Cost of School Uniform report in 2015 which found the average total expenditure on school uniform for the 2014/15 school year was £212.88.

The Government is supporting the Education (Guidance about Costs of School Uniforms) Private Members’ Bill to enable us to put our guidance on the cost of school uniform on a statutory footing. The Department’s existing guidance on cost considerations will form the basis for the new statutory guidance.

Second-hand uniform and swap schemes can increase both affordability and sustainability of school uniform. The Government would therefore like to see second-hand school uniform made available for parents at all schools to acquire from the school directly or from a local, established, scheme.

7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if his Department will (a) amend the delivery of the Study Programme for 16-18 year olds attending further education colleges to allow for catch-up learning rather than industrial placements and work experience as a result of the covid-19 outbreak and (b) take steps to ensure that colleges that are unable to offer full content but able to deliver the required hours under that programme do not have their funding reduced.

Industry placements and work experience for 16 to 18 year olds are important components of a student’s study programme, providing genuine insight to the world of work and allowing students to gain valuable skills. Ofqual is currently working with awarding organisations to see what adaptations are appropriate and necessary for students to be able to complete their studies, as well as catch up on missed learning due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Adaptations to work experience placements that are part of their qualifications will also be considered.

Where a college or other provider is unable to deliver a work experience placement as part of a study programme they will still receive their full funding allocation if they continue to deliver the planned hours by replacing the work experience with other eligible activity relevant to the student’s study programme.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the role school-specific uniform plays in counteracting bullying in schools.

The Department strongly encourages schools to have a school uniform. We recognise the valuable role it can play in contributing to the ethos of a school and setting an appropriate tone.

It is for the governing body of a school (or in the case of academies, the academy trust) to decide whether there should be a school uniform and what it will be.

When deciding upon a school uniform policy and considering how the school uniform should be sourced, governing bodies should give highest priority to the consideration of cost and value for money for parents. Governing bodies should be able to demonstrate that they have obtained the best value for money from suppliers.

The Government is pleased to support the recently introduced Private Member’s Bill to ‘Make provision for guidance about the cost aspects of school uniform policies.’ It will place a duty on the Secretary of State for Education to issue statutory guidance pertaining to the cost aspects of school uniform policies. We intend to consider the views of a full range of stakeholders when developing this statutory guidance.

13th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the role school-specific uniform plays in promoting a sense of identity within schools and their local communities.

The Department strongly encourages schools to have a school uniform. We recognise the valuable role it can play in contributing to the ethos of a school and setting an appropriate tone.

It is for the governing body of a school (or in the case of academies, the academy trust) to decide whether there should be a school uniform and what it will be.

When deciding upon a school uniform policy and considering how the school uniform should be sourced, governing bodies should give highest priority to the consideration of cost and value for money for parents. Governing bodies should be able to demonstrate that they have obtained the best value for money from suppliers.

The Government is pleased to support the recently introduced Private Member’s Bill to ‘Make provision for guidance about the cost aspects of school uniform policies.’ It will place a duty on the Secretary of State for Education to issue statutory guidance pertaining to the cost aspects of school uniform policies. We intend to consider the views of a full range of stakeholders when developing this statutory guidance.

13th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to hold discussions with school-uniform retailers, distributors and manufacturers on his Department's school uniform guidance; and what plans he has to work with that sector to implement that guidance.

The Department strongly encourages schools to have a school uniform. We recognise the valuable role it can play in contributing to the ethos of a school and setting an appropriate tone.

It is for the governing body of a school (or in the case of academies, the academy trust) to decide whether there should be a school uniform and what it will be.

When deciding upon a school uniform policy and considering how the school uniform should be sourced, governing bodies should give highest priority to the consideration of cost and value for money for parents. Governing bodies should be able to demonstrate that they have obtained the best value for money from suppliers.

The Government is pleased to support the recently introduced Private Member’s Bill to ‘Make provision for guidance about the cost aspects of school uniform policies.’ It will place a duty on the Secretary of State for Education to issue statutory guidance pertaining to the cost aspects of school uniform policies. We intend to consider the views of a full range of stakeholders when developing this statutory guidance.

13th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the (a) quality and (b) value for money of school-specific uniform.

The Department strongly encourages schools to have a school uniform. We recognise the valuable role it can play in contributing to the ethos of a school and setting an appropriate tone.

It is for the governing body of a school (or in the case of academies, the academy trust) to decide whether there should be a school uniform and what it will be.

When deciding upon a school uniform policy and considering how the school uniform should be sourced, governing bodies should give highest priority to the consideration of cost and value for money for parents. Governing bodies should be able to demonstrate that they have obtained the best value for money from suppliers.

The Government is pleased to support the recently introduced Private Member’s Bill to ‘Make provision for guidance about the cost aspects of school uniform policies.’ It will place a duty on the Secretary of State for Education to issue statutory guidance pertaining to the cost aspects of school uniform policies. We intend to consider the views of a full range of stakeholders when developing this statutory guidance.

14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the National Food Strategy, published in July 2021, what plans he has to consult UK-based food and drinks manufacturers on the recommendation that that he should bring forward a Good Food Bill before Parliament in the fourth session of the 2019–2024.

The forthcoming Government Food Strategy White Paper is a once in a generation opportunity to create a food system that feeds our nation today and protects it for tomorrow. The Government will consider the contents of Henry Dimbleby’s independent review when developing the Food Strategy White Paper including the recommendation for legislative measures.

We are committed to listening to opinions from stakeholders across the entirety of the food system and will encourage dialogue with a wide range of external and internal stakeholders to identify any policy gaps or potential options to transform the food system.

The Food Strategy White Paper will build upon work already underway in the Agriculture Act, Fisheries Act, and Environment Bill as well as docking into wider Government priorities, including Net Zero, 25 Year Environment Plan, and Build Back Greener. We will consider the need for mandatory or voluntary policy interventions as part of the White Paper and evaluate the need for additional primary and secondary legislation throughout its development.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the extension of the Household Support Fund, when his Department will provide advice to local authorities on enabling public access to that service.

We are providing an additional £500 million from April to help households with the cost of essentials, bringing the total funding for this support to £1 billion. In England, £421 million will be provided to extend the existing Household Support Fund from 1 April to 30 September inclusive, following directly on from the £421 million previously provided from 6 October 2021 to 31 March 2022 bringing the total funding for England to £842 million. This funding will continue to help people who are struggling to afford energy and water bills, food, and other essentials.

Local Authorities have been issued with the fund guidance and the accompanying grant determination for the extended funding. Local Authorities have discretion on exactly how this funding is used within the scope set out. It is for Local Authorities, using their local ties and knowledge, to design local schemes that best meet the needs of local people. We expect local schemes to be available shortly.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department will be introducing a Calorie Reduction Taskforce; and whether he has made an assessment of the potential impact of that taskforce on (a) consumers and (b) businesses.

We have no current plans to introduce a Calorie Reduction Taskforce. Any future policy will be subject to impact assessments, including consideration of the impact on individuals and business. We have an existing voluntary calorie reduction programme which was launched in 2020. This challenged all sectors of the food industry to reduce calories by 5% to 20% by 2024.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of trends in the take-up of vaping products since 2015.

The Office for National Statistics’ data shows that in England in 2020, 6.2% of those aged 16 years old and over or approximately 2.8 million people were current vape users, compared with 4.5% or 2 million users in 2015. In 2020, 17.4% of cigarette smokers were also current vape or dual users, compared with 14.3% in 2015 and 12% of ex-smokers were current vape users in 2020 compared with 8% in 2015. Approximately 1.1% of adults who had never smoked were current vape users in 2020, compared with 0.2% in 2015.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate his Department has made of the amount of money (a) spent and (b) saved through the use of the Category Tower model by NHS Supply Chain Coordination Limited.

The operational cost of each Category Tower of NHS Supply Chain was £60 million in 2020/21 and £61 million in 2021/22. An estimated £390 million to £400 million has been spent on services provided by Unipart Logistics in each year since the start of the contract.

The Department has spent an estimated £13 billion through the Category Tower Model by NHS Supply Chain, with an estimated £1.4 billion in savings.

10th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much has been spent on services provided by Unipart Logistics as part of NHS Supply Chain in each year since the start of that contract to 10 June 2022.

The operational cost of each Category Tower of NHS Supply Chain was £60 million in 2020/21 and £61 million in 2021/22. An estimated £390 million to £400 million has been spent on services provided by Unipart Logistics in each year since the start of the contract.

The Department has spent an estimated £13 billion through the Category Tower Model by NHS Supply Chain, with an estimated £1.4 billion in savings.

10th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the operational cost of running each Category Tower of NHS Supply Chain Coordination Limited was in NHS financial years (a) 2020-21 and (b) 2021-22 as of 10 June 2022.

The operational cost of each Category Tower of NHS Supply Chain was £60 million in 2020/21 and £61 million in 2021/22. An estimated £390 million to £400 million has been spent on services provided by Unipart Logistics in each year since the start of the contract.

The Department has spent an estimated £13 billion through the Category Tower Model by NHS Supply Chain, with an estimated £1.4 billion in savings.

2nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will provide people with (a) motor neurone disease and (b) other underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk from covid-19 with access to free tests for their asymptomatic immediate family members and carers beyond 1 April 2022.

From 1 April 2022, free access to asymptomatic and symptomatic tests for the public in England will end. We will continue to make testing available for a small number of at-risk groups. Further details of eligible groups will be made available in due course. We will continue to review the impact of this policy on those with motor neurone disease, underlying health conditions and their close contacts.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to introduce a process for acquiring free covid-19 tests from 1 April 2022.

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

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether there will be a limit on the number of free covid-19 tests that eligible people can receive from 1 April 2022.

From 1 April 2022, free access to asymptomatic and symptomatic tests for the public in England will end. We will continue to make testing available for a small number of at-risk groups. Further details on eligible groups and any limits on the number of free tests will be made available in due course.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment the Government has made of the implications for its policies of Professor Andrew Stephen's Expert Opinion and analysis of proposals in the Health and Care Bill relating to advertising of high far, sugar and salt products.

The introduction of restrictions on the advertising of products high in fat, salt or sugar on TV and paid for advertising online is part of a range of measures to tackle obesity. A post-implementation review will be undertaken within five years of the introduction of restrictions. A sunset clause would pre-empt this evaluative work and could undermine compliance with the regulations.

The impact assessment for this policy published in June 2021 shows the health benefits outweigh the costs to business and the Government. The health benefits accrued when appraised over 100 years are estimated at around £2 billion. Additionally, the policy will provide savings for the National Health Service of £50 million, in social care £40 million and reduced premature mortality is expected to deliver an additional £119 million of economic output. Professor Andrew Stephen’s analysis was considered alongside other responses to the consultation and, where appropriate, the impact assessment was updated.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment the Government has made of the potential economic impact of advertising restriction provisions in the Health and Care Bill.

The introduction of restrictions on the advertising of products high in fat, salt or sugar on TV and paid for advertising online is part of a range of measures to tackle obesity. A post-implementation review will be undertaken within five years of the introduction of restrictions. A sunset clause would pre-empt this evaluative work and could undermine compliance with the regulations.

The impact assessment for this policy published in June 2021 shows the health benefits outweigh the costs to business and the Government. The health benefits accrued when appraised over 100 years are estimated at around £2 billion. Additionally, the policy will provide savings for the National Health Service of £50 million, in social care £40 million and reduced premature mortality is expected to deliver an additional £119 million of economic output. Professor Andrew Stephen’s analysis was considered alongside other responses to the consultation and, where appropriate, the impact assessment was updated.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of including a sunset clause for the advertising restrictions contained in the Health and Care Bill in the event that they cannot be shown to have been effective in reducing levels of childhood obesity following the review period.

The introduction of restrictions on the advertising of products high in fat, salt or sugar on TV and paid for advertising online is part of a range of measures to tackle obesity. A post-implementation review will be undertaken within five years of the introduction of restrictions. A sunset clause would pre-empt this evaluative work and could undermine compliance with the regulations.

The impact assessment for this policy published in June 2021 shows the health benefits outweigh the costs to business and the Government. The health benefits accrued when appraised over 100 years are estimated at around £2 billion. Additionally, the policy will provide savings for the National Health Service of £50 million, in social care £40 million and reduced premature mortality is expected to deliver an additional £119 million of economic output. Professor Andrew Stephen’s analysis was considered alongside other responses to the consultation and, where appropriate, the impact assessment was updated.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason the spring booster vaccine is not being offered to people under the age of 75 with (a) motor neurone disease and (b) other underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk from covid-19.

On 21 February 2022, the Government accepted advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) on offering a further dose to individuals as part of the spring COVID-19 vaccination programme. The primary aim of the programme is to reduce the risk of severe disease. As protection against severe COVID-19 disease appears to decline slowly, the most vulnerable groups have been prioritised for vaccination.

The programme targets the oldest age groups and those who are at higher risk of severe COVID-19. A dose will be offered to those over the age of 75 years old, residents in care homes for older adults and the immunosuppressed. The JCVI continues to consider the latest available data in relation to the timing and value of further doses.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department plans to make an assessment of the costs, benefits and risks to the public in line with the Better Regulation guidance when drafting forthcoming Tobacco and Related Products regulations.

A post implementation review (PIR) into The Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 has been conducted in accordance with the Better Regulation Framework (BRF) guidance. The PIR has considered the costs, benefits and risks to the public of the current regulations. Any future tobacco and related products regulatory changes would be conducted in accordance with the BRF guidance.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the recently announced £50 million for targeted motor neurone disease (MND) research will be awarded in full to the scientific programme set out in the submission by MND charities to the 2021 Spending Review.

This funding can be accessed through applications to the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). The NIHR and UKRI rely on researchers submitting high-quality applications to access funding. All applications are subject to peer review and judged in open competition, with awards being made on the basis of the importance of the topic to patients and health and care services, value for money and scientific quality.

Maria Caulfield
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of overturning the ban on oral tobacco products such as snus.

We have no plans to make such an assessment as the Department has no intention to legalise banned tobacco products. Snus use is associated with raised all-cause mortality. Whilst the risks of adverse health outcomes caused by snus are lower than smoking, we have found no evidence that introducing snus to the United Kingdom market will bring health benefits given the existing availability of non-tobacco nicotine pouches. It remains the Government’s policy to help people to quit all forms of tobacco use.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care,if he will make an assessment of the accuracy of the Action on Smoking and Health finding that the use of snus is over 100 times less harmful than smoking.

We have no plans to make such an assessment as the Department has no intention to legalise banned tobacco products. Snus use is associated with raised all-cause mortality. Whilst the risks of adverse health outcomes caused by snus are lower than smoking, we have found no evidence that introducing snus to the United Kingdom market will bring health benefits given the existing availability of non-tobacco nicotine pouches. It remains the Government’s policy to help people to quit all forms of tobacco use.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
27th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his Department will publish the minutes, including details of the UK delegation, from the ninth Conference of the Parties (COP9) of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

All decisions and documentation from the ninth Conference of the Parties, including details of the United Kingdom’s delegation and a video recording is available at the following link:

https://fctc.who.int/who-fctc/governance/conference-of-the-parties/ninth-session-of-the-conference-of-the-parties

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
27th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when his Department plans to provide an update on the outcomes of the ninth Conference of the Parties (COP9) of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

All decisions and documentation from the ninth Conference of the Parties, including details of the United Kingdom’s delegation and a video recording is available at the following link:

https://fctc.who.int/who-fctc/governance/conference-of-the-parties/ninth-session-of-the-conference-of-the-parties

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
27th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when his Department plans to publish (a) the new Tobacco Control Plan and (b) the updated Tobacco and Related Products Regulations.

The new Tobacco Control Plan will be published later this year. The Department’s response to the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 post implementation review is expected to be published shortly, prior to the Tobacco Control Plan.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Government's Build Back Better policy paper, published in September 2021, whether he plans to include working age adult social care, including mental health social care, in the forthcoming white paper on wider system reform and funding.

The white paper sets out our reforms for adult social care and outlines priorities for investment. This includes an investment of at least £500 million in the workforce to support the delivery of person-centred social care and £300 million in housing to allow more people to live in a place that supports them to live independently. These reforms apply equally to those of working age as to those aged over 65 years old.

The white paper does not present reforms based on specific reasons for care. However, it includes case studies that explore how reforms will benefit different groups, including those of working age and with mental health needs.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Food (Promotion and Placement) (England) Regulations 2021, what constitutes a meal deal; and if he will make a statement.

In December 2020, we confirmed that we will legislate to restrict the promotion by location and volume price of foods high in fat, salt and sugar (HFSS) in stores and online. Restrictions will apply to medium and large businesses with 50 or more employees in England. The regulations were laid on 21 July 2021 with an implementation date of October 2022. Having considered the industry’s feedback, we have extended the implementation date to allow businesses enough time to prepare for these novel restrictions.

For on pack promotions, the purpose of the transition period is to permit existing stock produced before October 2022 to be sold by relevant businesses until October 2023. However, whilst the on pack promotion is permitted to enable products to be sold between October 2022 and October 2023, the volume price promotion offer themselves must be void. After October 2023, products with on pack volume price promotions should not be sold in qualifying businesses.

The regulations explain that specified food must not be offered for sale as part of a volume price promotion, including a promotion in which non specified food items are also included. Offers that are not volume price promotions do not fall in scope of the restrictions.

‘Meal deals’ will not be in scope of the volume price promotion restrictions. However, HFSS products under a category which is in scope would be subject to the location restrictions, regardless of whether it is part of a meal deal. The intention for the ‘relevant special offer’ definition in the regulations is to reflect deals where a ‘main’ included in the deal. In the spirit of the regulations, only relevant special offers that are intended for consumption as a ‘typical’ meal with a main should be out of scope of the volume price promotions restrictions.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Food (Promotion and Placement) (England) Regulations 2021, whether non-food and specified food items be promoted together; and if he will make a statement.

In December 2020, we confirmed that we will legislate to restrict the promotion by location and volume price of foods high in fat, salt and sugar (HFSS) in stores and online. Restrictions will apply to medium and large businesses with 50 or more employees in England. The regulations were laid on 21 July 2021 with an implementation date of October 2022. Having considered the industry’s feedback, we have extended the implementation date to allow businesses enough time to prepare for these novel restrictions.

For on pack promotions, the purpose of the transition period is to permit existing stock produced before October 2022 to be sold by relevant businesses until October 2023. However, whilst the on pack promotion is permitted to enable products to be sold between October 2022 and October 2023, the volume price promotion offer themselves must be void. After October 2023, products with on pack volume price promotions should not be sold in qualifying businesses.

The regulations explain that specified food must not be offered for sale as part of a volume price promotion, including a promotion in which non specified food items are also included. Offers that are not volume price promotions do not fall in scope of the restrictions.

‘Meal deals’ will not be in scope of the volume price promotion restrictions. However, HFSS products under a category which is in scope would be subject to the location restrictions, regardless of whether it is part of a meal deal. The intention for the ‘relevant special offer’ definition in the regulations is to reflect deals where a ‘main’ included in the deal. In the spirit of the regulations, only relevant special offers that are intended for consumption as a ‘typical’ meal with a main should be out of scope of the volume price promotions restrictions.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether manufacturers be able to produce products with on pack promotions until October 2023; and if he will make a statement.

In December 2020, we confirmed that we will legislate to restrict the promotion by location and volume price of foods high in fat, salt and sugar (HFSS) in stores and online. Restrictions will apply to medium and large businesses with 50 or more employees in England. The regulations were laid on 21 July 2021 with an implementation date of October 2022. Having considered the industry’s feedback, we have extended the implementation date to allow businesses enough time to prepare for these novel restrictions.

For on pack promotions, the purpose of the transition period is to permit existing stock produced before October 2022 to be sold by relevant businesses until October 2023. However, whilst the on pack promotion is permitted to enable products to be sold between October 2022 and October 2023, the volume price promotion offer themselves must be void. After October 2023, products with on pack volume price promotions should not be sold in qualifying businesses.

The regulations explain that specified food must not be offered for sale as part of a volume price promotion, including a promotion in which non specified food items are also included. Offers that are not volume price promotions do not fall in scope of the restrictions.

‘Meal deals’ will not be in scope of the volume price promotion restrictions. However, HFSS products under a category which is in scope would be subject to the location restrictions, regardless of whether it is part of a meal deal. The intention for the ‘relevant special offer’ definition in the regulations is to reflect deals where a ‘main’ included in the deal. In the spirit of the regulations, only relevant special offers that are intended for consumption as a ‘typical’ meal with a main should be out of scope of the volume price promotions restrictions.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if the Government will (a) advocate for a contemporary approach to tobacco harm reduction and (b) propose an inclusive and contemporary approach to harm reduction be developed through a dedicated working group being established at the forthcoming ninth session of the Conference of the Parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in November 2021 (COP9).

The United Kingdom is fully committed to the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and we are clear that all tobacco products are harmful to health. At the Ninth Conference of Parties, the UK will not advocate for a contemporary approach nor a working group on tobacco harm reduction products such as novel tobacco products. However, we will set out our approach to e-cigarettes which is pragmatic and evidence based.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with relevant stakeholders on the potential effect of a six month implementation period on businesses following the proposed introduction of restrictions on the promotion and placement of products that are high in fat, salt and sugar.

It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before prorogation.

8th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that there is adequate (a) provision of covid-19 testing facilities for (i) care homes and (ii) other social care settings and (b) co-ordination between local authorities and social care providers in preparation for the potential imposition of regional covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

Following the success of the whole home testing programme, we announced the next stages in our testing strategy on 3 July. This includes regular retesting for care homes and enhanced outbreak testing for care homes.

We will be expanding our retesting service to all care homes from 31 August 2020. This retesting service has been prioritised in care homes for older people and people with dementia, and we aim to reach all of these homes by 7 September 2020. We continue to issue over 50,000 tests a day to care homes across the country, with the majority of these in high priority outbreak areas.

16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure (a) people with motor neurone disease and (b) other vulnerable groups can access the healthcare they need during the covid-19 outbreak; and what support will be available to family members who have had to (a) stop working and (b) withdraw children from school in order to provide care and avoid passing on the infection to vulnerable family members.

We are advising those who are at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 to be particularly stringent in following social distancing measures.

If vulnerable individuals receive support from health and social care organisations, for example, if care is provided through the local authority or health care system, this will continue as normal. Health providers will take additional precautions to ensure individuals are protected.

If you think you fall into one of the categories of extremely vulnerable people listed on the following link, you will receive a letter or phone call from your GP and you are strongly advised to stay at home at all times and avoid any face-to-face contact for a period of at least 12 weeks from the day you receive your letter:

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

The Government is committed to supporting the millions of families that will be affected over the coming months.

The Chancellor committed £1 billion to support the financial security of vulnerable people, through a half billion boost to the welfare system, and a half billion pound Hardship Fund for Local authorities. The Chancellor has also announced that for those in difficulty due to coronavirus, mortgage lenders will offer at least a three month mortgage holiday and will work with trade unions and business groups to develop new forms of employment support.

31st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps she is taking with her international counterparts to help trace the 2763 missing Yazidi women.

The UK supports the implementation of Iraq's Yazidi Survivors' law of March 2021 and we engage regularly with partner governments, NGOs, survivor networks and Iraqi Government ministries to advocate for full financial provision of the law. Through UK support to the International Organisation for Migration, we provide technical and practical assistance to the Directorate of Yazidi Survivor Affairs, whose mandate includes searching for missing survivors. UK programme funding also supports psycho-social care for female survivors of conflict-related sexual violence. We have contributed £2 million to the UN Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Daesh (UNITAD), whose work in gathering evidence of crimes, including against minority communities, we continue to champion.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
31st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of the case of Pooja Kumari, an 18 year old Hindu girl in Pakistan, who was allegedly killed for refusing to convert to Islam and resisting attempted abduction and forced marriage to Wahid Bux Lashari.

The UK strongly condemns forced marriage and the forced conversion of women and girls. We regularly raise our concerns about Freedom of Religion or Belief and women and girls' rights at a senior level with the Government of Pakistan. During his visit to Pakistan on 23 and 24 June 2021, Lord Ahmad met the then Prime Minister, as well as other senior government ministers, and discussed our concerns. He met interfaith leaders to understand the situation of Pakistani minorities, particularly the issue of forced conversion and marriage. Most recently, he discussed the need to promote respect for all religions with the then Governor of Punjab on 28 November 2021. The FCDO funds programmes in Pakistan that directly address early and forced marriages and gender-based violence. The UK government has supported the Government of Pakistan in setting up eight child courts to provide child-sensitive justice to children who come in contact with the law, including victims of child abuse, trafficking and child marriage.

James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
15th Mar 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, about the potential merits of levying VAT on audiobooks.

Audiobooks, in both physical and digital format, are subject to VAT at the standard rate.

VAT has been designed as a broad-based tax on consumption, and the 20 per cent standard rate applies to the vast majority of goods and services, including audiobooks. VAT raised around £130 billion in 2019-20 and helps to fund key spending priorities.

VAT, as a matter of tax policy, is overseen by the HM Treasury. There are no planned discussions between the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on the merits of levying VAT on audiobooks.

The Government keeps all taxes under review, including VAT.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
2nd Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when the Government plans to publish guidance on which businesses will be eligible for the 50 per cent business rates relief discount; and whether high street adult gaming centres are planned to be eligible.

Guidance setting out eligibility for the 2022-23 retail, hospitality and leisure relief will be published by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities in due course.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if HMRC’s officers will provide their tax analysis and answer questions from the taxpayer arising from the analysis, before parties enter into Alternative Dispute Resolution scheme; and if he will make a statement.

Throughout a compliance check HMRC will provide accurate, consistent and clear information to the taxpayer, including details of any assessments raised and explanations for any decisions HMRC make during the check. Should a taxpayer have any questions about the compliance check or an assessment, they should write to HMRC who will seek to clarify anything that is unclear. However, HMRC’s approach also relies on a shared understanding of the full facts so that they can understand the full nature of the tax risk and deal with it appropriately.

It is generally only when an impasse is reached between HMRC and the taxpayer that Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is considered. In some cases the full facts will have been established and the mediation will focus on the consequent tax analysis. But in some, the value of ADR will be to seek through mediation, a shared understanding of the facts and help the case progress on that basis.

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is a voluntary, informal process in which an impartial HMRC mediator actively assists parties to work towards agreement of a tax dispute. ADR is one facet of HMRC’s overall approach to dispute resolution, which is wherever possible to reach agreement with taxpayers through collaboration. The following is specific information relating to the ADR function only and therefore only forms part of the dispute resolution landscape in HMRC. HMRC do not currently offer arbitration as a means to resolve disputes.

For the period 1 April 2015–31 March 2020 there have been 5,467 applications for ADR. Of these, 2,641 were suitable for mediation and accepted into the ADR process with an average resolution rate of 86.8% across all years.

25th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of the number of taxpayers who have used HMRC's Alternative Dispute Resolution through (a) arbitration and (b) mediation in each year that the scheme has existed.

Throughout a compliance check HMRC will provide accurate, consistent and clear information to the taxpayer, including details of any assessments raised and explanations for any decisions HMRC make during the check. Should a taxpayer have any questions about the compliance check or an assessment, they should write to HMRC who will seek to clarify anything that is unclear. However, HMRC’s approach also relies on a shared understanding of the full facts so that they can understand the full nature of the tax risk and deal with it appropriately.

It is generally only when an impasse is reached between HMRC and the taxpayer that Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is considered. In some cases the full facts will have been established and the mediation will focus on the consequent tax analysis. But in some, the value of ADR will be to seek through mediation, a shared understanding of the facts and help the case progress on that basis.

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is a voluntary, informal process in which an impartial HMRC mediator actively assists parties to work towards agreement of a tax dispute. ADR is one facet of HMRC’s overall approach to dispute resolution, which is wherever possible to reach agreement with taxpayers through collaboration. The following is specific information relating to the ADR function only and therefore only forms part of the dispute resolution landscape in HMRC. HMRC do not currently offer arbitration as a means to resolve disputes.

For the period 1 April 2015–31 March 2020 there have been 5,467 applications for ADR. Of these, 2,641 were suitable for mediation and accepted into the ADR process with an average resolution rate of 86.8% across all years.

21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps his Department is taking to help relocate vulnerable Afghans and British nationals from third countries to the UK.

The ARAP Scheme has been one of the most generous relocation programmes in the world facilitating the relocation of eligible Afghan and their families. The ACRS will also prioritise the relocation of vulnerable Afghans.

We continue to work at pace with international partners to safely evacuate British Nationals and eligible Afghans through third countries.

James Heappey
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
24th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will commit to ensuring that all forms of affordable housing, including homes at Discount Market Sale, are granted exemption from the infrastructure levy proposed in the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill.

The Infrastructure Levy will be a mandatory, non-negotiable charge, set and collected locally, to largely replace the complex and discretionary section 106 regime and CIL charge.

The Government is committed to the delivery of on-site affordable housing through the Levy, and to delivering at least as much, if not more, affordable housing than at present. We will introduce through regulations a new 'right to require'. Local authorities will be able to require that a proportion of the Levy liability to be paid as in-kind, onsite affordable housing.

We do not intend to charge the Levy on affordable housing, and will consult on the details of our proposed approach. Exemptions and reductions with regards to the Levy will be set out through regulations.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
30th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, with reference to the oral evidence taken by the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee on 18 November 2021 on Parking Code of Practice Enforcement Framework, HC 794, what assessment he made of the evidence given by representatives of the parking industry in that session on the impact of the Parking Code of Practice enforcement framework on that industry.

The Government is aware of the concerns raised by representatives of the parking industry in relation to the Code Enforcement Framework, including the proposed levels of private parking charges. My department has been engaging closely with the parking industry as part of the process to develop the Code. The parking industry also had the opportunity to comment on the proposals in the Private Parking Charges, Discount Rates, Debt Collection Fees and Appeals Charter: Further Technical Consultation, which closed on 27 August 2021.

We take the industry’s concerns seriously and are carefully considering all consultation responses and additional documentation provided, including the industry’s impact assessment, before making a final decision.

2nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if his Department will not release its response to the Parking Code of Practice Technical Consultation until (a) after the Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee has published its report on his Department's handling of the process to date and (b) his Department has considered that report's recommendations.

The 'Private parking charges, discount rates, debt collection fees and appeals charter: further technical consultation' was published on 30 July. It contained proposals to bring private parking charges into closer alignment with Local Authority Penalty Charge Notices, along with a number of other measures to improve the private parking sector. The consultation closed on 27 August and the department is now analysing the responses. We will consider the Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee hearings. However, our current intention is to publish the consultation response together with the new Code of Practice as soon as possible so that motorists can benefit and industry has time to adapt itself to the new requirements.

19th Jul 2021
What steps he is taking to increase the supply of new homes.

This Government cares deeply about building more homes. Since 2010, we have delivered over 1.8 million new homes, including 542,400 new affordable homes, so homes are there where people need them.

We are investing in supply, with over £12 billion in affordable housing over five years, the largest investment in a decade, and £7.1 billion in the National Home Building Fund, to unlock up to 860,000 homes over the lifetime of the projects, including much-needed new homes on brownfield land.

As set out in the Planning for the Future White Paper, the Government will speed up the planning system, enabling us to build homes more quickly.

16th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what discussions his Department has had with relevant stakeholders on the potential response of managing agents’ professional indemnity insurers to building and fire safety works obligations under the Building Safety Bill.

The Government understands that those involved in the construction industry are struggling to obtain adequate professional indemnity insurance (PII) for fire safety work.

We have been engaging with industry to investigate these challenges and those arising from the increased obligations outlined in the Building Safety Bill. This includes developing an industry survey with the Construction Leadership Council to provide a robust evidence base on the construction PII market.

We are working across Government and with industry to find possible solutions that may improve the availability of PII for construction professionals.

9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what his timeframe is for the next stages of the public consultation for the Parking (Code of Conduct) Act 2019; and if he will he make a statement.

We are working to improve the regulation of the private parking industry. This year we launched consultations on our proposals for the new Parking Code of Practice and Enforcement Framework, designed to crack down on rogue car parking firms. The consultations closed on 12 October. We are now considering the feedback and will publish our response in due course.

9th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what plans he has to bring forward legislative proposals to amend the Planning Act to include the infrastructural requirements of the emergency services.

Emergency services infrastructure is usually consented under the relevant town and country planning legislation. My Department is currently consulting on a new vision for the planning system, which proposes significant changes to the planning process, aiming to offer greater certainty and speed to those who use the planning system, including emergency services.

The Planning Act 2008 established the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects planning regime. This is a separate consenting regime for nationally significant infrastructure projects in the fields of energy, transport, water, waste water and waste.

13th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on additional funding to tackle rough sleeping in the next spending round.

Ministers and officials in my department have regular discussions with counterparts in HM Treasury on a range of issues, including rough sleeping.

The Government has made clear that no one should be without a roof over their head, which is why we have committed to end rough sleeping within this Parliament and to fully enforce the Homelessness Reduction Act.

In 2020/2021 we are providing £437 million to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping. This marks a £69 million increase in funding from the previous year.

21st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, with reference to the Local Government Association Business Rates Avoidance Survey Report 2019, published on 1 January 2020, what assessment he has made of the accuracy of the finding of that report that £250 million is lost to business rates each year; and what steps he plans to take to protect revenue from business rates for local authorities.

My Department welcomes the Local Government Association’s Business Rates Avoidance Survey, published in January 2020, and will work with the Local Government Association to evaluate its findings and better understand the causes of business rates avoidance.