Andrew Lewer Portrait

Andrew Lewer

Conservative - Northampton South

First elected: 8th June 2017


Animals (Low-Welfare Activities Abroad) Bill
1st Mar 2023 - 8th Mar 2023
Pension Dashboards (Prohibition of Indemnification) Bill
19th Oct 2022 - 26th Oct 2022
European Scrutiny Committee
30th Oct 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee
11th Sep 2017 - 6th Nov 2019


Department Event
Wednesday 28th February 2024
09:25
Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities
Fifth Delegated Legislation Committee - Debate - General Committee
28 Feb 2024, 9:25 a.m.
The draft Non-Domestic Rating (Rates Retention: Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2024
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Department Event
Wednesday 28th February 2024
09:25
Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities
Fifth Delegated Legislation Committee - Debate - Select & Joint Committees
28 Feb 2024, 9:25 a.m.
The draft Non-Domestic Rating (Rates Retention: Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2024
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Department Event
Monday 4th March 2024
14:30
Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities
Oral questions - Main Chamber
4 Mar 2024, 2:30 p.m.
Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (including Topical Questions)
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Department Event
Monday 11th March 2024
14:30
Department for Education
Oral questions - Main Chamber
11 Mar 2024, 2:30 p.m.
Education (including Topical Questions)
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Department Event
Monday 22nd April 2024
14:30
Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities
Oral questions - Main Chamber
22 Apr 2024, 2:30 p.m.
Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (including Topical Questions)
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Department Event
Monday 29th April 2024
14:30
Department for Education
Oral questions - Main Chamber
29 Apr 2024, 2:30 p.m.
Education (including Topical Questions)
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Division Votes
Tuesday 20th February 2024
Offshore Petroleum Licensing Bill
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 277 Conservative No votes vs 0 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 44 Noes - 285
Speeches
Wednesday 21st February 2024
Independent School Fees: VAT
I want to express my sincere thanks to so many colleagues. I had thought about having an Adjournment debate on …
Written Answers
Monday 12th February 2024
Abortion
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment she has made of the implications for …
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
MP Financial Interests
Monday 30th October 2023
2. (b) Any other support not included in Category 2(a)
Name of donor: Christian Action Research and Education (CARE)
Address of donor: 53 Romney Street, London SW1P 3RF
Amount of …
EDM signed
Thursday 22nd February 2024
No confidence in the Speaker
That this House has no confidence in Mr Speaker.
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 Parliament, Andrew Lewer has voted in 884 divisions, and 21 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
18 Oct 2022 - Public Order Bill - View Vote Context
Andrew Lewer voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 103 Conservative No votes vs 113 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 297 Noes - 110
7 Mar 2023 - Public Order Bill - View Vote Context
Andrew Lewer voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 107 Conservative Aye votes vs 109 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 116 Noes - 299
28 Jun 2023 - Holocaust Memorial Bill: Committal - View Vote Context
Andrew Lewer voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 9 Conservative Aye votes vs 238 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 11 Noes - 379
28 Jun 2023 - Education - View Vote Context
Andrew Lewer voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 20 Conservative No votes vs 237 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 373 Noes - 28
16 Jan 2024 - Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill - View Vote Context
Andrew Lewer voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 57 Conservative Aye votes vs 262 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 58 Noes - 525
16 Jan 2024 - Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill - View Vote Context
Andrew Lewer voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 58 Conservative Aye votes vs 262 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 68 Noes - 529
17 Jan 2024 - Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill - View Vote Context
Andrew Lewer voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 59 Conservative Aye votes vs 266 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 65 Noes - 536
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)
(10 debate interactions)
Helen Whately (Conservative)
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
(8 debate interactions)
James Cartlidge (Conservative)
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
(6 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Department of Health and Social Care
(28 debate contributions)
Department for Education
(23 debate contributions)
HM Treasury
(16 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(15 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).

Petitions with highest Northampton South signature proportion
Petition Debates Contributed

The Government must exercise its power under s.23 of the Gender Recognition Act to modify the operation of the Equality Act 2010 by specifying the terms sex, male, female, man & woman, in the operation of that law, mean biological sex and not "sex as modified by a Gender Recognition Certificate"

It has been reported that the Government may amend the Equality Act to "make it clear that sex means biological sex rather than gender." The Government has previously committed to not remove legal protections for trans people, an already marginalised group, but this change would do so.


Latest EDMs signed by Andrew Lewer

21st February 2024
Andrew Lewer signed this EDM on Thursday 22nd February 2024

No confidence in the Speaker

Tabled by: William Wragg (Conservative - Hazel Grove)
That this House has no confidence in Mr Speaker.
70 signatures
(Most recent: 23 Feb 2024)
Signatures by party:
Conservative: 40
Scottish National Party: 29
Independent: 1
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: 44
Democratic Unionist Party: 5
Independent: 3
Labour: 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


162 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.

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.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will publish the methodology for calculating the Retail Price Index used at the Budget statements of (a) 27 October 2021, (b) 3 March 2021 and (c) 11 March 2020.

The information requested falls under the remit of the UK Statistics Authority.

A response to the hon. Member's Parliamentary Question of 2 September is attached.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
7th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of regulating (a) Evri and (b) other delivery companies which do not meet expected customer service standards.

The Postal Services Act 2011 designates Ofcom as the independent regulator for the postal sector with the powers to impose and enforce regulatory requirements on postal operators to fulfil its functions in relation to postal services.

In its review of postal regulation in 2022, Ofcom committed to ongoing monitoring of operators’ performance and keep under review the need for additional regulation to protect consumers.

The Government has no plans to seek change to the statutory requirements in this sector.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
20th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, with reference to his Department’s publication entitled Retention payments in the construction industry consultation: summary of responses, published in February 2020, what progress he has made on that document’s next steps, including on the policy options under consideration.

The Government continues to work with the Construction Leadership Council to resolve the problems associated with cash retentions. Any policy solution must be a sustainable one that works for the industry and its clients, addressing both the need for surety and fair payment.

The Government is currently consulting on proposals on the inclusion of retention payments under the Reporting on Payment Practices and Performance Regulations 2017.

Other Council work includes supporting a pilot project with the Get It Right Initiative to reduce defects, and collaboration with the bodies responsible for construction contractual documentation to discourage the withholding of retentions.

Nusrat Ghani
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade) (jointly with the Cabinet Office)
1st Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, with reference to Government guidance entitled Apply for energy bill support if you do not get it automatically, what the planned (a) timescale and (b) scope is for the review into Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Funding for (i) people occupying non-permanent park home sites or (ii) on a boat as a continuous cruiser.

To protect public funds against potentially fraudulent activity, the Government require applicants to show proof of address. The Government understands some travellers not on permanent sites or on boats not on registered moorings may not be able to provide proof of main or sole residence. The Government is working to find an acceptable method for these households to provide this proof so they can claim their support.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
14th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, how much funding the Government provided for research into kidney disease in each financial year since 2019-20; and whether she plans to increase that funding in future years.

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) funds research into the detection, prevention, treatment and underpinning biology of kidney disease, allocated primarily through the Medical Research Council (MRC). Over the period of 2019/20 to 2021/22, MRC has invested over £20 million in funding and support for kidney disease research with £7.7 million in 2019/20, £7.8 million in 2020/21 and £6.7 million in 2021/22.

UKRI funds research and innovation on a competitive basis, with individual applications being assessed by independent experts. In general, funding is not ring-fenced for specific conditions, and so an estimate for future spend on kidney disease research is unavailable.

22nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Lloyd’s Register Decarbonisation Hub’s Zero Carbon Fuel Monitor, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of providing additional funding for electrolysers to help increase production of renewable and zero carbon hydrogen.

The Register and Fuel Monitor are valuable tools in supporting decarbonisation of the UK’s maritime industry, for which hydrogen is a potential solution. The Government has committed to at least half of its 10GW hydrogen production capacity by 2030 ambition coming from electrolytic hydrogen and has included in the Growth Plan its intention to accelerate hydrogen electrolyser capacity deployment. Further details on the Government’s plans to accelerate UK infrastructure projects will be set out in due course.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
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.

Lee Rowley
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
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 and Trade)
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.

1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what recent meetings her Department has had with (a) authors, (b) scriptwriters and (c) playwright organisations in the last 12 months.

Arts Council England, as national development agency for creativity and culture, engages with a range of organisations on a broad range of artforms, including in the theatre and literature sectors.

Officials at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport have, in the last 12 months, attended roundtable meetings convened by Arts Council England where author organisations have been in attendance.

Additionally, Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay, Minister for Arts and Heritage, delivered a speech for the Northern Writers’ Awards on Tuesday 22 June, an event supported by the organisation New Writing North. Lord Parkinson also attended and provided a speech at the London Book Fair on 18 April. He attended a reading and literacy themed roundtable run as part of Baroness Sanderson of Welton’s independent review for public libraries which was attended by a representative of the Society of Authors, and has had meetings and engagements with a range of poets, playwrights and authors in the course of his ministerial engagement.

1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department plans to take to assess the impact of the statutory gambling operator levy on the land-based gambling industry.

The government’s recent white paper set out a range of proportionate measures to tackle practices and products which can drive harm and ensure that people who are at risk of gambling harm and addiction are protected. This includes a statutory levy on operators that will help fund research, education and treatment for those struggling with gambling addiction.

We will shortly consult on the details of how the levy will be designed, including proposals on the total amount to be raised by the levy and how it will be constructed, ensuring that a rate is fair and proportionate for different gambling sectors, including the land-based gambling industry. This approach will account for the varying association of different sectors with harm and their financial position.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, if she will meet with the Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society to discuss the proposal of establishing a Freelancer Commissioner.

The Department for Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS) is committed to engaging with and supporting freelancers, particularly in the creative industries. As part of the Sector Vision, published in June 2023, HM Government and industry have agreed to work together to address the recommendations of the Good Work Review, published in February by the Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre, and co-funded by DCMS, which highlight specific areas where we can improve job quality and working practices for freelancers.

DCMS officials regularly engage with publishing organisations and individuals to understand the challenges and opportunities facing the sector to inform policy-making. For example, a roundtable discussion is being held with industry representatives on 14 September 2023 to review the impact of AI across the publishing landscape, which the Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society will join and contribute to, as part of DCMS's sector engagement on AI.

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.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
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.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
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.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
31st Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to (a) reduce and (b) end the use of cash retentions.

In procuring construction works, the department takes account of relevant legislation, best practice and government guidelines. In deciding whether cash retentions are appropriate for procurements, the department balances managing public money considerations, the suitability of alternative approaches, and the need to ensure and enforce quality standards against the department’s desire to improve payment practices and cashflow through the supply-chain. The department regularly reviews its approach to payment and security in relation to construction procurements. In considering the use of cash retentions on future procurements, including in its construction frameworks, the department will continue to consult with contractors and other stakeholders to ensure that an appropriate position is reached and, where possible, that the use of cash retentions is reduced or eliminated.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
23rd Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether she has made an assessment of the potential merits of (a) refocussing the National Tutoring Programme to reach those children who need the most help and (b) ringfencing specific funding to support early intervention and expert literacy work to help close the attainment gap for pupils.

Since 2020, the National Tutoring Programme (NTP) has delivered over 3 million courses of tutoring to pupils most in need of catch up following the effect of COVID-19. There is extensive evidence that tutoring is one of the most effective ways to accelerate academic progress. This is why the Department is investing more than £1 billion in tutoring, so that pupils can catch up through accessing high quality tuition.

The Department’s guidance for the NTP in 2022/23 sets out that schools are expected to prioritise their Pupil Premium cohort to receive tutoring, in line with the programme’s objective of supporting disadvantaged pupils. Schools are best placed to understand the needs of their pupils and so may also consider offering tuition to other pupils, where appropriate. Since the programme was launched in 2020, the Department estimates that 49.8% of pupils who have received tuition through the NTP have been eligible for free school meals in the past 6 years.

The NTP allows schools to have autonomy in deciding what subjects to deliver tutoring in. In primary schools, a high proportion of tutoring is delivered in English and mathematics. Schools are also able to choose how best to provide tutoring for their pupils, either through academic mentors, outsourced tuition partners or school led tutoring.

Closing the attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers is a priority for the Department. A large majority of school leaders across all three tutoring routes reported that the NTP was having a positive effect on reducing the attainment gap for disadvantaged pupils, including 85% of those doing school led tutoring, which is the most popular route under the NTP.

In addition, the Department has funded £17 million to deliver the Nuffield Early Language Intervention programme, improving the language skills of Reception age pupils. The programme targets pupils needing extra support with their speech and language development and is proven to help them make approximately three months of additional progress. Over two thirds of eligible mainstream primary schools are taking part in this evidence based programme, benefitting around 90,000 children who are most in need of language support.

The Department has committed that from 2024, tutoring will be embedded across schools in England. The Department is expecting tutoring to continue to be a staple offer from schools, with schools using their core budgets, including Pupil Premium, to fund targeted support for those pupils who will most benefit.

3rd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the statement made in her Department's Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and Alternative Provision (AP) Improvement Plan: Right Support, Right Place, Right Time report, published in March 2023, that the Government intends to replace the NASENCo with a mandatory leadership level SENCo NPQ for SENCos that do not hold the qualification, what steps she has taken to assess the strength of the business case for that policy; on what evidence her Department based its assessment of the likely impact of that change on the ability of SENCos to identify (a) children and young people's needs and (b) appropriate interventions in a timely way; and what assessment she has made of the potential impact of the planned change on the number of children and young people who will require (i) specialist support and (ii) Education and Health Care Plans.

The introduction of a new leadership level SENCO National Professional Qualification (NPQ) to replace the existing mandatory qualification will play a key role in achieving the ambitions of the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) and Alternative Provision (AP) Improvement Plan, by ensuring that special educational needs coordinators (SENCOs) consistently receive high-quality, evidence-based training. Research conducted by University of Plymouth highlighted that, while there is value in SENCOs completing the National Award for SEN Coordination (NASENCO), there are certain weaknesses with the current qualification, including an overemphasis on theory and academic assignment writing.

In the SEND and AP Green Paper, published in March 2022, the department consulted on the introduction of the SENCO NPQ to address these issues. There was general support for the proposal, with 48% (1,278) of respondents agreeing or strongly agreeing with this change and only 20% (529) disagreeing or strongly disagreeing.

NPQs are designed to provide training for education professionals at all levels, using the best available evidence to transform their practice and deliver improved outcomes for children and young people. In the interim evaluation of the 2021 reformed NPQs, early feedback from participants was that the ultimate beneficiaries of the NPQs will be pupils, who they believe will receive higher-quality teaching that results in better outcomes for pupils.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
3rd Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to her Department's policy paper Further education reclassification: government response, published on 29 November 2022, if she will take steps to ensure that further education colleges do not suffer financially as a result of borrowing controls; and whether colleges that were negotiating loans will be able to proceed with those negotiations.

Following the decision by the Office for National Statistics to reclassify colleges to the public sector, colleges are now subject to the requirements of Managing Public Money, which means they may only borrow from private sector sources if the transaction delivers value for money for the Exchequer.

To support and protect colleges the department is providing colleges with additional capital grant allocations totalling £150 million. Individual college allocations were published in December 2022 and will be paid from April 2023. The full list can be found here: https://view.officeapps.live.com/op/view.aspx?src=https%3A%2F%2Fassets.publishing.service.gov.uk%2Fgovernment%2Fuploads%2Fsystem%2Fuploads%2Fattachment_data%2Ffile%2F1121488%2FAdditional_FE_capital_funding_allocations_2022_to_2023.ods&wdOrigin=BROWSELINK.

The department is also bringing forward £300 million in payments from the 2023/24 financial year into the 2022/23 financial year to cover the shortfall that providers experience in February and March 2023. This means we will make additional payments to institutions in February and March 2023.

These new measures are designed to help colleges manage the restrictions on commercial borrowing. Where a college believes that commercial borrowing is still required and would deliver value for money, they can submit a consent request for consideration. Departmental officials are working closely with further education colleges through these consent requests.

Departmental officials are also working on other options to support the delivery of capital projects by the sector, including for colleges that were intending to borrow from commercial sources.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
3rd Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to her Department's policy paper, Further education reclassification: government response, published on 29 November 2022, what plans she has to address concerns in the further education sector over borrowing controls on colleges.

Following the decision by the Office for National Statistics to reclassify colleges to the public sector, colleges are now subject to the requirements of Managing Public Money, which means they may only borrow from private sector sources if the transaction delivers value for money for the Exchequer.

To support and protect colleges the department is providing colleges with additional capital grant allocations totalling £150 million. Individual college allocations were published in December 2022 and will be paid from April 2023. The full list can be found here: https://view.officeapps.live.com/op/view.aspx?src=https%3A%2F%2Fassets.publishing.service.gov.uk%2Fgovernment%2Fuploads%2Fsystem%2Fuploads%2Fattachment_data%2Ffile%2F1121488%2FAdditional_FE_capital_funding_allocations_2022_to_2023.ods&wdOrigin=BROWSELINK.

The department is also bringing forward £300 million in payments from the 2023/24 financial year into the 2022/23 financial year to cover the shortfall that providers experience in February and March 2023. This means we will make additional payments to institutions in February and March 2023.

These new measures are designed to help colleges manage the restrictions on commercial borrowing. Where a college believes that commercial borrowing is still required and would deliver value for money, they can submit a consent request for consideration. Departmental officials are working closely with further education colleges through these consent requests.

Departmental officials are also working on other options to support the delivery of capital projects by the sector, including for colleges that were intending to borrow from commercial sources.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
17th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if she will consider lifting the cap on the number of scheme suppliers Oak National Academy will signpost.

The Department will be carrying out a review of the Oak National Academy Arm’s Length Body (ALB) in 2024, as part of the wider Public Bodies Reviews programme. Government policy is that a new ALB should be reviewed within 24 months after the start of full operations. The review will act as a checkpoint to ensure that Oak is acting effectively and will include consideration of the effect on the educational publishing industry.

Monitoring market impact is a priority for the Department and will be factored into the ongoing evaluation of Oak National Academy. The Department carried out research and engaged with trade bodies representing relevant commercial suppliers, inviting submissions to inform the market impact assessment. The Department also conducted an informal survey of commercial providers on proposals for what the ALB would do.

Oak will work collaboratively to develop new content and will signpost users to a small number of other high quality curriculum sequences in each subject. The purpose of signposting is to demonstrate that there is more than a single approach to curriculum sequencing and to direct teachers to where they can find out more information regarding alternative curricula. Oak is not intended as a marketplace and its purpose is not to show teachers all available options. Teachers will still be free to use materials that are not signposted on the Oak website.

17th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what methodology her Department used to perform the Market Impact Assessment published alongside the Oak National Academy business case in October 2022.

The Department will be carrying out a review of the Oak National Academy Arm’s Length Body (ALB) in 2024, as part of the wider Public Bodies Reviews programme. Government policy is that a new ALB should be reviewed within 24 months after the start of full operations. The review will act as a checkpoint to ensure that Oak is acting effectively and will include consideration of the effect on the educational publishing industry.

Monitoring market impact is a priority for the Department and will be factored into the ongoing evaluation of Oak National Academy. The Department carried out research and engaged with trade bodies representing relevant commercial suppliers, inviting submissions to inform the market impact assessment. The Department also conducted an informal survey of commercial providers on proposals for what the ALB would do.

Oak will work collaboratively to develop new content and will signpost users to a small number of other high quality curriculum sequences in each subject. The purpose of signposting is to demonstrate that there is more than a single approach to curriculum sequencing and to direct teachers to where they can find out more information regarding alternative curricula. Oak is not intended as a marketplace and its purpose is not to show teachers all available options. Teachers will still be free to use materials that are not signposted on the Oak website.

17th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, for what reasons her Department decided to review the impact of Oak National Academy on the educational publishing industry at two year intervals.

The Department will be carrying out a review of the Oak National Academy Arm’s Length Body (ALB) in 2024, as part of the wider Public Bodies Reviews programme. Government policy is that a new ALB should be reviewed within 24 months after the start of full operations. The review will act as a checkpoint to ensure that Oak is acting effectively and will include consideration of the effect on the educational publishing industry.

Monitoring market impact is a priority for the Department and will be factored into the ongoing evaluation of Oak National Academy. The Department carried out research and engaged with trade bodies representing relevant commercial suppliers, inviting submissions to inform the market impact assessment. The Department also conducted an informal survey of commercial providers on proposals for what the ALB would do.

Oak will work collaboratively to develop new content and will signpost users to a small number of other high quality curriculum sequences in each subject. The purpose of signposting is to demonstrate that there is more than a single approach to curriculum sequencing and to direct teachers to where they can find out more information regarding alternative curricula. Oak is not intended as a marketplace and its purpose is not to show teachers all available options. Teachers will still be free to use materials that are not signposted on the Oak website.

19th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of taking steps to require higher education providers to record student data by biological sex.

The department has not made any independent assessment of requiring higher education (HE) providers to record student data by biological sex.

As the Designated Data Body that collects and publishes statistics about HE providers, the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) specifies the information that is required from students.

HESA have consulted on how personal characteristics should be collected in future. This consultation was conducted in partnership with the UK governments, Office for Students and other UK funding bodies. This consultation considered the merits of different approaches to the recording of student sex.

Following the consultation, it was determined that the sex stated on one of the individual’s legal documents such as birth certificate, Gender Recognition Certificate, or passport ought to be recorded. If there is any conflict, the newest document should be referenced.

Details of HESA’s consultation are published here: https://www.hesa.ac.uk/innovation/records/reviews/consultation-outcomes-personal-characteristics-equality-data.Details of the information required from HE providers in 2022/23 are published here: https://codingmanual.hesa.ac.uk/22056/Student/field/SEXID.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
24th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has had discussions with (a) teachers and (b) eduction organisations on the potential merits of the Oak National Academy being a publicly funded body.

Oak National Academy is continuing to work with teachers across the country, giving them and their pupils access to high quality digital curriculum resources which are free, optional and adaptable. Oak is helping to tackle longstanding challenges, such as teacher workload, a significant driver of retention issues in the sector.

Over 30,000 teachers continue to use Oak each week. A significant proportion of the £43 million set aside to support Oak is expected to be provided directly to schools, publishers, and other organisations for the creation of resources. As an integral part of the process to set up Oak as an arm’s length body, the Department produced a business case, which included an assessment of potential market impact. This business case was published on GOV.UK, and can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/oak-national-academy-business-case.

Where Oak needs to use existing third party content, such as texts, Oak will seek to have an overarching licence with relevant licensing bodies wherever feasible so the copyright holder receives full payment for their work.

Oak’s future and operating model was discussed with teachers and others in the sector in multiple forums. Ministers held roundtable discussions with teachers and school leaders from a range of schools and multi academy trusts. The Department held a series of public webinars for teachers, school leaders and sector bodies. Plans for Oak’s future have also been discussed with teacher representatives, including school leaders and unions, and teacher viewpoints have been collected through surveys.

24th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate her Department has made of the 43 million funding for the Oak National Academy on revenue for teacher authors.

Oak National Academy is continuing to work with teachers across the country, giving them and their pupils access to high quality digital curriculum resources which are free, optional and adaptable. Oak is helping to tackle longstanding challenges, such as teacher workload, a significant driver of retention issues in the sector.

Over 30,000 teachers continue to use Oak each week. A significant proportion of the £43 million set aside to support Oak is expected to be provided directly to schools, publishers, and other organisations for the creation of resources. As an integral part of the process to set up Oak as an arm’s length body, the Department produced a business case, which included an assessment of potential market impact. This business case was published on GOV.UK, and can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/oak-national-academy-business-case.

Where Oak needs to use existing third party content, such as texts, Oak will seek to have an overarching licence with relevant licensing bodies wherever feasible so the copyright holder receives full payment for their work.

Oak’s future and operating model was discussed with teachers and others in the sector in multiple forums. Ministers held roundtable discussions with teachers and school leaders from a range of schools and multi academy trusts. The Department held a series of public webinars for teachers, school leaders and sector bodies. Plans for Oak’s future have also been discussed with teacher representatives, including school leaders and unions, and teacher viewpoints have been collected through surveys.

24th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if her Department will make an assessment of the potential merits of converting the Oak National Academy to an arms-length body producing publicly-funded material to support the curriculum.

Oak National Academy is continuing to work with teachers across the country, giving them and their pupils access to high quality digital curriculum resources which are free, optional and adaptable. Oak is helping to tackle longstanding challenges, such as teacher workload, a significant driver of retention issues in the sector.

Over 30,000 teachers continue to use Oak each week. A significant proportion of the £43 million set aside to support Oak is expected to be provided directly to schools, publishers, and other organisations for the creation of resources. As an integral part of the process to set up Oak as an arm’s length body, the Department produced a business case, which included an assessment of potential market impact. This business case was published on GOV.UK, and can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/oak-national-academy-business-case.

Where Oak needs to use existing third party content, such as texts, Oak will seek to have an overarching licence with relevant licensing bodies wherever feasible so the copyright holder receives full payment for their work.

Oak’s future and operating model was discussed with teachers and others in the sector in multiple forums. Ministers held roundtable discussions with teachers and school leaders from a range of schools and multi academy trusts. The Department held a series of public webinars for teachers, school leaders and sector bodies. Plans for Oak’s future have also been discussed with teacher representatives, including school leaders and unions, and teacher viewpoints have been collected through surveys.

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.

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.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
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.

6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will carry out a public consultation on the development of the new National Plan for Music Education.

The Department undertook a public consultation between 9 February 2020 and 15 March 2020, seeking views on music education to inform proposals for the refreshed National Plan for Music Education (NPME).

The Department received 5,191 responses from a range of individuals and organisations, including young people, parents and carers, teachers and music education hubs. Following a delay due to COVID-19, we have published our response to the call for evidence, the findings from which will inform the refreshed plan.

To further support the development of the plan, the Department has announced the appointment of an advisory panel made up of experts from across the music education sector, to build upon these findings.

The advisory panel includes teachers, representatives from the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, UK Music, as well as Darren Henley, Chief Executive, Arts Council England, whose independent Review of Music Education in England informed the original NPME.

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
Secretary of State for Education
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
Attorney General
18th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will take steps to build a railway line between Northampton and Market Harborough.

On behalf of sub-national transport body England's Economic Heartland, Network Rail previously prepared a feasibility study into reinstating a railway connection between the West Coast Main Line at Northampton and the Midland Main Line at Market Harborough. I encourage him to engage with England's Economic Heartland further on this.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
1st Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what definitions the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency uses for (a) gender and (b) sex.

GB law does not require either sex or gender to be displayed on the driving licence and they are not shown on the licence. The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) does record on the driving licence record whether a driver is male or female and this information is used to generate a driver number.

The process for licence holders to provide and change the information the DVLA holds is not limited by set definitions of sex or gender. In order to change gender on the driver record, the driver needs to provide either a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC), a deed poll or statutory declaration. If a driver wants to change both name and gender then the DVLA will accept a deed poll or statutory declaration. Alternatively, if they wish to use a GRC it must be supported by either a deed poll or statutory declaration. A GRC on its own is not accepted for a name and gender change.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
22nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the Lloyd’s Register Decarbonisation Hub’s Zero Carbon Fuel Monitor, if she will fund experimental research into the impact of liquid hydrogen in the context of the safety of its storage and transportation.

The Department for Transport is funding research and development into a range of technologies, fuels and projects to decarbonise maritime, including hydrogen.

The first two rounds of the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition have allocated funding to 86 projects to support the design and development of clean maritime solutions. 31 of those projects are exploring the use of hydrogen in maritime, including its safe storage and transportation. Hydrogen-related projects are also in scope of the £60m third round of the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition, which launched on 29 September and is open for applications until 9 November 2022.

Lucy Frazer
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
22nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the Lloyd’s Register Decarbonisation Hub’s Zero Carbon Fuel Monitor, what steps his Department has taken to help increase the readiness of (a) hydrogen, (b) ammonia and (c) methanol as future fuels in shipping.

The Clean Maritime Plan is the Government’s route map for the transition to a future of zero emission shipping. It sets out an ambitious path supporting the achievement of the legislative target for the UK to reach net zero emissions across the economy by 2050.

As set out in the 2021 Transport Decarbonisation Plan, the department is taking a two-pronged approach to maritime decarbonisation: a comprehensive policy and regulatory programme; and R&D funding and investment.

Hydrogen and hydrogen carriers have been identified as an important part of the solution for the maritime sector. In January 2022, we extended the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO), making renewable fuels of non-biological origin for marine use, such as hydrogen and ammonia, eligible for incentives under the RTFO.

Lucy Frazer
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
22nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the Lloyd’s Register’s report The Learning Curve: The state of artificial intelligence in maritime, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of the future use of artificial intelligence in shipping.

The value of AI has been identified in the Government’s Maritime 2050 Report (2019) and Technology and Innovation Route Map (2019). Our goal is to leverage the UK’s existing strengths in AI and the data-driven economy to ensure that the UK remains at the forefront of the data revolution. The Department has created a dedicated Emerging Technologies Team and is collaborating cross-government, and with leading institutions such as the Alan Turing Institute, to ensure that the benefits of AI are realised in the transport sector.

To support the development of artificial intelligence in shipping, the Department has, for example, provided £169,232 through the Maritime Research and Innovation UK (MarRI-UK) Technology and Innovation call to the University of Liverpool’s safe port navigation project.

Lucy Frazer
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
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 (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
30th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of the recent guidance issued by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists on not reporting alleged illegal abortions to the police.

No assessment has been made of the implications for the Department’s policies following the recent Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists guidance for healthcare staff on involvement of the police and external agencies following abortion, pregnancy loss and unexpected delivery. Clinicians and health care providers have existing duties to handle patient information sensitively. The Department’s focus is on ensuring all women have access to safe and legal abortions on the National Health Service. Decisions to prosecute in England and Wales are for the Crown Prosecution Service.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
23rd Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps she is taking to support voluntary sector providers of mental health services.

Since 2020, the Department provided £10.2 million of additional funding to support mental health charities, including Samaritans and the Campaign Against Living Miserably, and over £34 million to organisations supporting people who experience loneliness. The Department also invested £5.4 million to support suicide prevention through 113 voluntary and community sector organisations, through the Suicide Prevention Grant Fund. This was part of the Government's unprecedented £750 million package of support for the voluntary sector during the pandemic, which benefited over 14,000 charities. In addition, the Suicide Prevention Grant Fund will run from 2023 to March 2025 to support voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations to deliver suicide prevention activity.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
6th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if she will make an assessment of the potential impact of limiting vape flavours to tobacco-flavoured devices on levels of smoking; and if she will bring forward legislative proposals to implement such a limitation.

Due to nicotine content and the unknown long-term harms, vaping carries risks to health and lifelong addiction for children. The health advice is clear that young people and people who have never smoked should not vape.

This is why the Government consulted on measures to reduce the appeal and availability of vapes to children. These measures will need to balance having the biggest impact on youth vaping with ensuring vapes continue to support adult smokers to quit.

The consultation response will be published shortly.

Andrea Leadsom
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how soon after the closure of her Department's consultation entitled Creating a smokefree generation and tackling youth vaping on 6 December 2023 she plans to publish the draft Tobacco and Vapes Bill.

Smoking is responsible for around 80,000 deaths a year in the United Kingdom and causes around one in four cancer deaths in the UK. It also costs our country £17 billion a year and puts a huge burden on the National Health Service.

That is why we will introduce the Tobacco and Vapes Bill in this parliamentary session to create the first smokefree generation and enable us to further crack down on youth vaping. The consultation closed on 6 December 2023 and we will respond shortly ahead of the introduction of the Tobacco and Vapes Bill.

Andrea Leadsom
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the consultation entitled Creating a smokefree generation and tackling youth vaping, published on 12 October 2023, whether her Department has made an assessment of the potential impact of including heated tobacco products within these proposals on levels of smoking cessation.

Smoking is responsible for around 80,000 deaths a year in the United Kingdom and causes approximately one in four cancer deaths in the UK. It also costs our country £17 billion a year and puts a huge burden on the National Health Service. This is why the Government is planning to create a smokefree generation by bringing forward legislation so that children turning 14 years old or younger this year will never be legally sold tobacco products.

All tobacco products are harmful. The new legislation proposes to mirror existing age of sale legislation which includes any product containing tobacco, both smoked and smokeless, and intended for oral or nasal use, and cigarette papers.  Our consultation to gather views on our proposals and their implementation closed on 6 December 2023.

We will publish our Impact Assessment shortly.

Andrea Leadsom
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of Mental Health Support Teams in reducing levels of demand on Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services.

An independent early evaluation commissioned by the Department of the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Trailblazer programme was published in January and is available at the following link:

https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/research/brace/projects/children-and-young-people's-mental-health-trailblazer-programme.aspx

The evaluation examines the development, implementation, and early progress of the first wave of mental health support teams in the first 25 ‘trailblazer’ areas participating in the programme, which became operational from January 2020.

A second independent evaluation, which will consider the longer-term impacts of Mental Health Support Teams has also been commissioned through the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR). This project commenced in June 2023 and is due to complete June 2026. The findings will be published once a final report has been submitted and approved by the NIHR.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
29th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, which Ministers will form the UK’s delegation for the Tenth Conference of the Parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (COP10).

There are no plans for Ministers to attend the Tenth Conference of the Parties to the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (COP 10). The United Kingdom delegation will consist of officials from the Department’s as is usual practice.

The Government has regularly set out our position on vaping at the Conference of the Parties of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and will do so at the next conference in November 2023. The delegation will not agree to any decisions which would impact on our ability to make regulated vapes available for adult smokers who wish to quit smoking.

29th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what positions his Department will put forward on e-cigarettes at the Tenth Conference of the Parties to the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, COP10.

There are no plans for Ministers to attend the Tenth Conference of the Parties to the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (COP 10). The United Kingdom delegation will consist of officials from the Department’s as is usual practice.

The Government has regularly set out our position on vaping at the Conference of the Parties of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and will do so at the next conference in November 2023. The delegation will not agree to any decisions which would impact on our ability to make regulated vapes available for adult smokers who wish to quit smoking.

16th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 26 May 2023 to Question 186145 on Global Tobacco Regulators Forum, what issues were discussed at that Forum; what issues the UK delegate raised; and what the conclusions of the Forum were.

The World Health Organization’s (WHO) ‘No Tobacco Unit’ in the Health Promotion Department hosts and runs the Global Tobacco Regulators Forum (GTRF) meetings. Papers, discussions and conclusions from the meetings are not publicly available from the WHO.

However, we are able to disclose that the United Kindom delegate updated the GTRF about the 11 April Government announcements in achieving Smokefree 2030 including the launch of a world first vaping swap to stop scheme, the new illicit vape enforcement squad and work to tackle youth vaping.

16th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority as an independent regulator.

The Public Bodies Review Programme began its review of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) in March 2023, as part of its regular review process of all Government Arm’s Length Bodies. The review is due to conclude later this year. The Department will consider the report and its recommendations upon their publication.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
2nd Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, which hospital trusts (a) employ at least one and (b) do not employ a motor neurone disease clinical nurse specialist; and, of the trusts that employ at least one, how many each of them employed in the latest period for which information is available.

NHS England publishes Hospital and Community Health Services workforce statistics for England, which are available at the following link:

https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/nhs-workforce-statistics

The published data does not provide a breakdown by nurse specialty.

22nd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has made an assessment of the effectiveness of WHO's implementation of harm reduction strategies to help reduce smoking; and will he make a statement.

The Department has not made an assessment on the effectiveness of World Health Organization’s implementation of harm reduction strategies to help reduce smoking. We have no future plans to perform an assessment or issue a statement.

22nd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the members of the delegation which attended the Global Tobacco Regulators Forum in 2023.

One official from the Department’s tobacco control policy team attended to represent the United Kingdom as a lead and expert in tobacco control policy. It is not Department policy to publish the names below SCS1 that attend events.

9th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to his Department's press release, Crackdown on illegal sale of vapes, published on 9 April 2023, how much of the £3 million funding for tackling the illegal sale of vapes will be allocated to West Northamptonshire.

Details of funding allocated to specific localities has not yet been determined.

9th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether current employees of the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust Gender Identity Development Service will lead the replacement multi-disciplinary teams within the new provider.

NHS England’s new draft interim service specification that went out to consultation proposes that the new multi-disciplinary teams will only be led by a medical practitioner. They will also have a broader composition of expertise than under the previous service, including paediatricians and experts in neurodiversity and autism.

NHS England’s national transformation programme aims to ensure that relevant expertise is transferred to the new teams. The new providers and the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust are working together to establish a process that is consistent with employment law and with National Health Service human resources best practice.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
1st Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much from the public purse the Government spent on research into kidney disease in (a) 2019-20, (b) 2020-21 and (c) 2021-22; and whether the Government plans to increase that funding in future years.

Over the period of 2019/20 to 2021/22, the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) has invested more than £30 million in funding and support for kidney disease research with £14 million in 2019/20, £8 million in 2020/21 and £11 million in 2021/22. Research into kidney disease has included, but is not limited to, projects exploring why people with kidney disease are at increased risk of death and disability following a heart attack, the relationship between COVID-19 and kidney disease and whether aspirin reduces the risk of major vascular events in patients with chronic kidney disease.

NIHR welcomes funding applications for research into any aspect of human health, including kidney disease, it is not usual practice to ring-fence funds for particular topics or conditions. 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. Therefore, future spend on kidney disease research over future years is undetermined.

1st Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether employees of the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust Gender Identity Development Service will lead the replacement multi-disciplinary teams within the new providers.

NHS England’s new draft interim service specification that went out to consultation proposes that the new Multi-Disciplinary Teams will only be led by a medical practitioner. They will also have a broader composition of expertise than under the previous service, including paediatricians and experts in neurodiversity and autism.

NHS England’s national transformation programme aims to ensure that relevant expertise is transferred to the new teams. The new providers and the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust are working together to establish a process that is consistent with employment law and with National Health Service Human Resources best practice.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
19th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many full-time equivalent employees are in equality, diversity and inclusion roles in NHS Trusts in England.

This information requested is not held centrally.

9th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the data from the Office for National Statistics bulletin on adult smoking habits will be used to inform the Tobacco Control Plan.

The Government is considering the independent recommendations made in ‘The Khan review: making smoking obsolete’ and whether an updated Tobacco Control Plan is the most appropriate way to respond. Should a new Plan be published, it will be informed by the most recent Office for National Statistics information on adult smoking habits in the United Kingdom.

11th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment she has made (a) podiatry vacancy rates in the NHS in Northampton South and (b) the impact these vacancies will have on patient treatment for diabetic foot complications.

The information requested is not held centrally.

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.

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.

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.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
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.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
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.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
8th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the impact of placement measures on foods high in fat, sugar or salt on the cost of living.

The impact assessment for location promotions shows the placement of products within stores significantly affects household spending, with end of aisle displays increasing sales of soft drinks by over 50%.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
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.

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.

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

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

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.

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
Secretary of State for Education
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
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.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
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.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
30th Jan 2024
To ask the Minister of State, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, what assessment he has made of the accuracy of reports that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has provided (a) support and (b) funding to (i) Hamas, (ii) Hezbollah and (iii) the Houthis in the last 12 months.

We continue to condemn Iran's political, financial, and military support to several militant and proscribed groups, including Hamas, Hizballah and the Houthis. Such activity compromises the region's security and further escalates tensions. The Foreign Secretary raised Iran's ongoing support to its destabilising proxies and partners directly with the Iranian Foreign Minister on 31 December and 17 January. The UK's new sanctions regime designed to target Iran and its proxies' hostile activity came into force on 14 December and was immediately used to sanction individuals and one entity linked to Iran's support to Hamas.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Jan 2024
To ask the Minister of State, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, whether he has had recent discussions with his Venezuelan counterpart on the potential impact of not allowing the Opposition candidate to run on the export of its oil to the UK.

In line with several other countries, the UK continues not to accept the legitimacy of the administration put in place by Nicolás Maduro. The Venezuelan regime's decision to bar opposition leader, María Corina Machado, from holding public office is contrary to democratic principles. We believe it is vital for opposition candidates to be able to stand for election and continue to call for a more open political environment. We have registered our concern regarding the situation of Maria Corina Machado and other opposition candidates who remain barred from public office. We continue to encourage all parties concerned to do everything necessary to restore democracy and hold fair and competitive presidential elections in 2024, in line with the Bridgetown Agreement of October 2023. Venezuela's oil is currently not exported to the UK.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Jan 2024
To ask the Minister of State, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, if he will hold discussions with his Venezuelan counterpart on the potential impact of the Law on Control, Regularization, Operations and Financing of Non-Governmental and Related Organisation on independent NGOs in the country.

In line with several other countries, the UK continues not to accept the legitimacy of the administration put in place by Nicolás Maduro. The UK firmly supports the right of civil society to operate freely in all countries, including Venezuela. We remain concerned about the worrying deterioration of the human rights situation in Venezuela. The Maduro regime continues to stifle media freedom, carry out arbitrary detentions and harass journalists and human rights defenders. The UK is closely monitoring the proposed law on control, regularization, operations and financing of non-governmental and related organisations, which would limit further the civil and democratic space. We raised our concern about the proposed bill at the UN Human Rights Council in March 2023. We urge the Venezuelan regime to undertake constructive dialogue with civil society to ensure that the proposed law is compatible with freedom of association, freedom of expression and the right to political participation.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will make representations to his Venezuelan counterpart on the release of (a) Guillermo Zarraga, (b) Emirlendris Benítez, (c) Gabriel Blanco, (d) Maria Auxiliadora Delgado, (e) Juan Carlos Marufo, (f) Dario Estrada and (g) Robert Franco.

The UK continues to call for the unconditional release of all those unjustly detained in Venezuela. We regularly raise the human rights situation in Venezuela at the UN Human Rights Council, and our Embassy in Caracas supports local non-governmental organisations working on human rights. We continue to encourage the implementation of the Venezuelan-led political agreement reached on 17 October in Barbados, including the release of political prisoners. The regime's practice of regularly targeting those engaged in human rights work stands in the way of democracy and a resolution to Venezuela's humanitarian crisis. Human rights violations must stop.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will call for the provision of urgent medical care for Emirlendris Benítez.

The UK continues to monitor the ongoing imprisonment and mistreatment of Emirlendris Benítez, who was arbitrarily detained in August 2018 for political reasons. We regularly raise the human rights situation in Venezuela at the UN Human Rights Council, and our Embassy in Caracas supports local non-governmental organisations working on human rights. The regime's practice of regularly targeting those engaged in human rights work stands in the way of democracy and a resolution to Venezuela's humanitarian crisis.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will call for the removal of the Law for the audit, regularization, action and financing of non-governmental and related organizations proposed by the Venezuelan authorities.

The UK firmly supports the right of civil society to operate freely in all countries, including Venezuela. Recent years have seen a worrying deterioration of the human rights situation in Venezuela, where the Maduro regime has used force against peaceful protesters, stifled media freedom, carried out arbitrary detentions and harassed journalists and human rights defenders. The UK is closely monitoring the proposed Law on control, regularization, operations and financing of non-governmental and related organisations, which would limit further the civil and democratic space. We raised the proposed bill at the UN Human Rights Council in March. We urge the Venezuelan regime to undertake constructive dialogue with the international community to ensure this space is protected in accordance with International Law.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he has had recent discussions with his counterparts in (a) Brazil and (b) Colombia on tackling illegal mining in Venezuela.

UK ministers and senior officials regularly discuss regional security and environmental issues with the Brazilian and Colombian Governments. Whilst we have not recently discussed illegal mining in Venezuela, Secretary of State Thérèse Coffey met with the Brazilian Minister for Indigenous Peoples in January to discuss tackling illegal mining in the Amazon region, one of the key drivers of deforestation. During a recent visit to Colombia, I [Minister Rutley] met with President Petro and the Minister of Foreign Affairs to discuss shared priorities, including the UK's support to tackling environment and security issues. In my statement at the UN Security Council on 11 January, I [Minister Rutley] welcomed Colombian Government-led efforts to secure a ceasefire with armed groups, many of which are fighting for control of illicit economies, including illegal mining in Venezuela.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for his Department's policies of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom's hearing on 14 December 2022 entitled China's religious freedom violations.

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom's hearing on 14 December further highlights China's ongoing human rights violations.

The environment for freedom of religion or belief across China is very restrictive, including the persecution of Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Falun Gong practitioners and others on the grounds of their religion or belief.

We work within the UN, OSCE, Council of Europe, International Religious Freedom or Belief Alliance and other international organisations and networks to promote and protect FoRB for all where it is threatened.

More broadly, we regularly raise the human rights situation in China directly with the Chinese authorities at the highest levels. Most recently, the Foreign Secretary did so in a meeting with his Chinese counterpart on 20 September.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
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
Home Secretary
23rd Jan 2023
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions he has had with banks on ensuring that there is provision to address unresolved banking complaints following the planned closure of the Business Banking Resolution Service in December 2023.

The Business Banking Resolution Service (BBRS) is an independent non-governmental body that does not receive any public funding.

The Government has always been clear that the independence of the BBRS is vital, and as such it is not appropriate for the Government to comment on its future. According to the timelines agreed by the BBRS when it was set up, the scheme for historical complaints will close on 14 February 2023, while the contemporary scheme for cases from large SMEs is due to close at the end of 2023 unless an extension is granted by participating banks.

Andrew Griffith
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
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
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
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
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
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.

31st Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps he is taking to help ensure that the guidance on the implementation of Section 9 of the Public Order Act 2023 is applied consistently in relation to activities permitted within safe access zones.

Section 9 of the Public Order Act 2023 sets out that it is an offence for anyone within a Safe Access Zone to intentionally or recklessly influence any person’s decision to access, provide or facilitate the provision of abortion services; obstruct or impede any person accessing, providing, or facilitating the provision of abortion services at an abortion clinic; or cause harassment, alarm or distress to any person in connection with a decision to access, provide or facilitate the provision of abortion services.

The Government has recently consulted publicly on the guidance, which is designed to ensure that abortion service providers and everyone within Safe Access Zones are clear as to what is expected under the new law and that law enforcement agencies have a clear and consistent understanding around the enforcement of Safe Access Zones. We are currently analysing all responses to the consultation and will publish revised guidance in due course.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
20th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether her Department has made an assessment of the potential implications for her policies of the prosecution decision in the case of Adam Smith-Connor for praying near an abortion clinic; and what recent assessment she has made of the effectiveness of Section 9 of the Public Order Act and safe access zones on the protection of freedom of thought and assembly outside abortion clinics.

Ahead of the commencement of section 9 of the Public Order Act 2023, the College of Policing and the Crown Prosecution Service are updating relevant public order guidance and training to reflect the inclusion of the offence of interference with access to or provision of abortion services.

In accordance with human rights obligations, the College of Policing and the Crown Prosecution Service are required to consider the rights provided under Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), including the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, which is an absolute right under Article 9 of the ECHR, Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and directly linked to freedom of opinion in Article 10 of the ECHR. As an absolute right, there can be no legitimate justification on the part of the public authority to limit, interfere or otherwise penalise persons for their exercise of the right to freedom of thought.

Public bodies must also consider Article 11 of the ECHR (freedom of assembly and association), recognising this is a qualified right, which can sometimes be infringed upon to uphold other rights.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
1st Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will make it her policy to require all of an applicant’s previous names to be displayed on a DBS certificate.

The purpose of a criminal record certificate issued by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) is to assist employers and others to make safer recruitment decisions by providing details of an individual’s criminal history. A criminal record certificate will include and any other names that they may have used in the past.

The DBS also offers a sensitive applications route which takes into account both the Gender Recognition Act 2004 and the Equality Act 2010. This gives transgender applicants the choice not to have any gender or name information disclosed on their DBS certificate that could reveal their previous gender identity.

Those applying via the sensitive applications route are required by law to provide all name details to the DBS, including any previous identity, in the same way as applicants using the mainstream route. The criminal record certificate issued by the DBS will contain exactly the same criminal record information as a certificate obtained via the main route, including any relevant convictions, cautions or other information dating from when the applicant had a different gender identity.

1st Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many registered sex offenders have changed their (a) name and (b) gender in each of the last three years.

The UK has some of the toughest powers in the world to manage sex offenders and those who pose a risk, and we are committed to ensuring our system is as robust as it can be.

Registered sex offenders are required to notify their personal details to the police - including their name, date of birth and bank details - annually and whenever these details change. Failure to comply, including providing false information, is a criminal offence punishable by up to five years’ imprisonment.

Data on registered sex offenders is published in the Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA) Annual Report. The most recent report was published by the Ministry of Justice on 27 October. It shows that on 31 March 2022, there were 66,741 registered sex offenders in England and Wales. Data on the number of registered sex offenders who have changed their name or gender are not centrally collected.

We have strengthened police powers through the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022 with new provisions that came into force on 29 November. To help ensure our processes are as robust as possible, the Home Office has conducted an internal review into the issue of offenders changing their name and the name change process to ensure it as robust as possible.

1st Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the policy is of HM Passport Office on allowing people without a gender recognition certificate to change the sex registered on their passport.

HM Passport Office’s gender recognition policy includes guidance for customers regarding the evidence required when someone is changing their passport sex marker without a gender recognition certificate. The policy can be found at Gender recognition policy - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

19th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many full-time equivalent employees are in equality, diversity and inclusion roles in police forces in England.

The Home Office does not hold centrally information on how many police employees are in equality, diversity and inclusion roles in police forces in England.

The Home Office collects and publishes data annually on the number of full-time equivalent police officers and staff by function in the ‘Police Workforce, England and Wales’ statistical bulletin. These functions are based on the framework set out by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) as part of the Police Objective Analysis (POA) estimates. The POA framework does not include a specific function on diversity and inclusion roles.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
5th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of allowances to ensure continuity of education for armed forces families.

Continuity of Education Allowance (CEA) continues to be an important mechanism for assisting continuity of education for Armed Forces families.

The Ministry of Defence closely monitors all Armed Forces allowances to evaluate ways they may be refined to improve their effectiveness in supporting our personnel and their families. I am eager to ensure that the Continuity of Education Allowance remains fit for purpose and so I have tasked MOD officials to review the policy and report back with recommendations (where needed) by the end of the year.

Andrew Murrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
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) (Minister for the Armed Forces)
15th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether his Department consulted letting agencies on the Renters (Reform) Bill during the development of proposals for that Bill; and whether his Department has received representations from those agencies since the introduction of that Bill.

The Government worked with a broad range of stakeholders to develop the measures in the Renters (Reform) Bill and has continued to engage with stakeholders since the Bill was introduced. This includes groups who represent and work with letting agents.

Jacob Young
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
14th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, with reference to his written statement of 24 October 2023 on Building Safety Update, HCWS1090, when he plans to publish guidance on second staircase design; and whether he has made an assessment of the potential impact of the time taken to bring forward this guidance on levels of new housing supply.

I refer my Hon Friend to my answer to Question UIN 909 on 13 November 2023. The Government recognises that further detail is needed on staircase design to allow the construction and property development sector to understand how policy changes might affect project viability, further information will be made available by the end of the year.

Lee Rowley
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
8th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, with reference to the Written Statement of 24 October 2023 on Building Safety Update, UIN HCWS1090, what assessment his Department has made of the potential impact of changes to Approved Document B on second staircase design on the delivery of new homes.

The Written Statement confirms the government’s intended transitional arrangements as we make a gradual evolution of safety standards in the built environment. These arrangements will ensure there is minimal impact on housing supply; should help secure the viability of projects that are already underway and avoid delays.  They have been designed with engagement from the construction industry and other stakeholders. Policy implementation will continue to follow due process with design details and impact analysis published as soon as possible.

Lee Rowley
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
16th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, with reference to the speech of 20 September 2023 by the Prime Minister on Net Zero, what steps his Department is taking to help (a) tackle damp and mould in rented properties and (b) ensure the long-term availability of (i) high quality and (ii) energy-efficient social rented housing.

Government is committed to tackling damp and mould in rented homes. The government is reviewing the Decent Homes Standard and introducing it to the private rented sector for the first. We have introduced Awaab's Law into the Social Housing (Regulation) Act, committing to set strict time limits for social landlords to investigate and repair significant hazards in their homes, including damp and mould

We committed to increasing the supply of social rented homes in the Levelling Up white paper, the £11.5 billion Affordable Homes Programme will deliver thousands of affordable homes for both rent and to buy, and a large number of the new homes delivered through our Affordable Homes Programme will be for social rent.

We have committed to consult on energy efficiency in the social rented sector. The Social Housing (Regulation) Act has made energy efficiency a core objective of the Regulator of Social Housing and over £1 billion of Social Housing Decarbonisation funding has already been allocated to social housing landlords, with £3.8 billion by 2030 committed in our 2019 manifesto.

Jacob Young
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
13th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what recent discussions he has had with industry stakeholders on the Government's proposed reforms to the leasehold system.

In 2017, the Government asked the Law Commission to review the legislation on leasehold enfranchisement. Following extensive consultation, the Commission reported back to Government in July 2020.

On 7 Jan 2021, Government announced measures that will make it easier for leaseholders to buy their freehold or extend their lease, with significant discounts for those trapped with onerous ground rents.

On 11 January 2022, the Government launched a consultation on a number of recommendations made by the Law Commission aimed at broadening the rights of leaseholders, and reinvigorating commonhold. The consultation closed on 22 February 2022 and we received over 2000 responses. We are currently analysing the feedback and we will provide a response in due course.

As part of our programme of reform for the leasehold system, my ministerial colleagues and I have met with a range of parliamentarians from both Houses as well as representatives of both leaseholders and freeholders, and we will continue to do so.

We are due to bring forward further leasehold reforms later in this Parliament.

13th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will hold a consultation with leaseholders and industry before bringing forward legislative proposals for reforms to the leasehold system.

In 2017, the Government asked the Law Commission to review the legislation on leasehold enfranchisement. Following extensive consultation, the Commission reported back to Government in July 2020.

On 7 Jan 2021, Government announced measures that will make it easier for leaseholders to buy their freehold or extend their lease, with significant discounts for those trapped with onerous ground rents.

On 11 January 2022, the Government launched a consultation on a number of recommendations made by the Law Commission aimed at broadening the rights of leaseholders, and reinvigorating commonhold. The consultation closed on 22 February 2022 and we received over 2000 responses. We are currently analysing the feedback and we will provide a response in due course.

As part of our programme of reform for the leasehold system, my ministerial colleagues and I have met with a range of parliamentarians from both Houses as well as representatives of both leaseholders and freeholders, and we will continue to do so.

We are due to bring forward further leasehold reforms later in this Parliament.

26th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment his Department has made of the potential impact of the proposed 12-month transition period from the national fire door testing standard BS476 to the proposed new standard EN1634-1 on the (a) costs and (b) productivity of the timber fire door manufacturing sector; and if he will make a statement.

The consultation titled Sprinklers in care homes, removal of national classes, and staircases in residential buildings closed on 17 March 2023, with the department receiving over 270 responses. The department, alongside the Building Safety Regulator, is committed to working with the sector to bring about the changes highlighted in the consultation, at the earliest opportunity.

Lee Rowley
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
26th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether his Department has made an assessment of the required testing site capacity to carry out fire door tests for the new EN1634-1 classification within the proposed 12-month transition period as detailed in the consultation entitled Sprinklers in care homes, removal of national classes, and staircases in residential buildings consultation; and if he will make a statement.

The consultation titled Sprinklers in care homes, removal of national classes, and staircases in residential buildings closed on 17 March 2023, with the department receiving over 270 responses. The department, alongside the Building Safety Regulator, is committed to working with the sector to bring about the changes highlighted in the consultation, at the earliest opportunity.

Lee Rowley
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
26th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether he has held discussions with the timber fire door manufacturing sector on his Department's consultation entitled Sprinklers in care homes, removal of national classes, and staircases in residential buildings; and if he will make a statement.

The consultation titled Sprinklers in care homes, removal of national classes, and staircases in residential buildings closed on 17 March 2023, with the department receiving over 270 responses. The department, alongside the Building Safety Regulator, is committed to working with the sector to bring about the changes highlighted in the consultation, at the earliest opportunity.

Lee Rowley
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
2nd Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will make an assessment of the feasibility of (a) expanding the Unique Property Reference Number system to make it available for the wider property market and (b) encouraging the use of the Unique Property Reference Number system by the wider property market.

The Government has already mandated the use of Unique Property Reference Numbers for gathering and storing address data in government systems which is available for the wider property market to use and benefit from.

We continue to explore a number of digital solutions to create an accessible 21st century residential property market and are developing a detailed plan to take this work forward which will focus on property data.

14th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what estimate his Department has made of the cumulative cost for leaseholders of the new building safety regime since the Building Safety Act received Royal Assent.

The department published an impact assessment in July 2021 that accompanied the introduction of the Building Safety Bill to Parliament. This estimated the ongoing costs of the new building safety regime (excluding the costs of Part 5, protections for leaseholders), which could then be passed on to leaseholders.

We intend to publish a revised estimate of the cost to leaseholders in the Impact Assessment that will accompany proposed secondary legislation relating to Part 4 of the Building Safety Act.

Lee Rowley
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
20th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether the developer contract for the remediation of high risk buildings will ensure that buildings meet the same standards of (a) structural safety and (b) fire safety as those that will be required by the new Building Safety Regulator.

The developer contract is being finalised and will be published shortly. We expect developers to remediate or mitigate life-critical fire-safety defects. We expect developers to assess their buildings using the relevant standards, including the standard methodology for external wall construction and cladding set out in in PAS9980:2022 and we expect developers to obtain sign-off that the works meet the relevant standards and comply with Building Regulations.

The Building Safety Regulator will perform its statutory functions independently of the contract. The Regulator takes a risk-based approach to higher-risk buildings and will have regard to relevant industry standards.

Lee Rowley
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
23rd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether his Department intends to bring forward policies focused on hyper-local community regeneration.

The Levelling Up White Paper sets out the policy programme committed to empowering and investing in communities. The Pride in Place mission intends that, by 2030, people's satisfaction with their town centre and engagement in local culture and community will have risen in every area of the UK.


Government support already includes a £150 million UK-wide Community Ownership Fund. This gives communities the opportunity to take local institutions into their own hands, working with investors and the private sector to match funding.


On town centres, the High Streets Task Force continues to help communities regenerate their high streets to reflect evolving local needs. It supports local authorities with access to expert support in areas such as placemaking, planning and design.

21st Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of lowering the minimum square footage threshold for retail impact assessments on out-of-town development.

The Government has made clear that in the first instance, main town centre uses such as retail, should be located in town centres. When assessing planning applications for town centre uses in out of town locations that have not been identified in a local plan, a sequential test should be applied to help ensure development that would have an unacceptable impact on existing centres is not permitted. The National Development Management Policies are intended to cover generic planning considerations that apply regularly in decision-making, of the sort already found in national planning policy, such as the town centre first principles.

The Class E Commercial, Business and Service use class includes a mix of uses such as retail and leisure uses that attract people to local areas. To help support existing businesses to adapt and diversify more quickly to meet changing circumstances, businesses in the same use class are able to change use of their premises to other uses within the use class without the need for a planning application.

Lucy Frazer
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
21st Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether it is his Department's policy that Planning Use Class E enables out-of-town retail developments to proceed without full planning permission.

The Government has made clear that in the first instance, main town centre uses such as retail, should be located in town centres. When assessing planning applications for town centre uses in out of town locations that have not been identified in a local plan, a sequential test should be applied to help ensure development that would have an unacceptable impact on existing centres is not permitted. The National Development Management Policies are intended to cover generic planning considerations that apply regularly in decision-making, of the sort already found in national planning policy, such as the town centre first principles.

The Class E Commercial, Business and Service use class includes a mix of uses such as retail and leisure uses that attract people to local areas. To help support existing businesses to adapt and diversify more quickly to meet changing circumstances, businesses in the same use class are able to change use of their premises to other uses within the use class without the need for a planning application.

Lucy Frazer
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
21st Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if his Department will take steps to develop a National Development Management Policy to strengthen town centre first planning principles.

The Government has made clear that in the first instance, main town centre uses such as retail, should be located in town centres. When assessing planning applications for town centre uses in out of town locations that have not been identified in a local plan, a sequential test should be applied to help ensure development that would have an unacceptable impact on existing centres is not permitted. The National Development Management Policies are intended to cover generic planning considerations that apply regularly in decision-making, of the sort already found in national planning policy, such as the town centre first principles.

The Class E Commercial, Business and Service use class includes a mix of uses such as retail and leisure uses that attract people to local areas. To help support existing businesses to adapt and diversify more quickly to meet changing circumstances, businesses in the same use class are able to change use of their premises to other uses within the use class without the need for a planning application.

Lucy Frazer
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
24th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether it remains his Department's policy to award funding to Levelling Up Fund Round 2 applications; and when an announcement on those awards will be made.

All bids to the second round of the Levelling Up Fund are currently being assessed in line with our published guidance. The outcome of the second round bidding process will be announced in due course.

7th Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will make it his policy not to develop any forms of rent control in the private rented sector.

The Government does not support the introduction of rent controls in the private rented sector to set the level of rent at the outset of a tenancy. Historical evidence suggests that these would discourage investment in the sector and would lead to declining property standards as a result, which would not help landlords or tenants. Recent international examples also suggest that rent controls can have an inadvertent negative impact on the supply of housing and may encourage more illegal subletting.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, when his Department plans to notify councils of their 2023-24 funding allocation for the Domestic Abuse Duty.

The Government is committed to ensuring victims of domestic abuse receive the support they need. We will announce the funding for 2023/24 at the earliest opportunity.

So far, local authorities are in receipt of two years of new burdens funding for the delivery of their duties - £125 million in both 2021/22 and 2022/23. This has enabled local authorities to be able to plan for and commission support services to meet the needs of victims.

2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will make it his policy to (a) give local authorities at least three months’ notice of their 2023-24 funding allocations for the Domestic Abuse Duty or (b) provide local authorities with the minimum figure they can expect to receive for the purposes of supporting efficient planning and commissioning of services.

The Government is committed to ensuring victims of domestic abuse receive the support they need. We will announce the funding for 2023/24 at the earliest opportunity.

So far, local authorities are in receipt of two years of new burdens funding for the delivery of their duties - £125 million in both 2021/22 and 2022/23. This has enabled local authorities to be able to plan for and commission support services to meet the needs of victims.

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
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
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.

2nd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what the (a) cost to the public purse was of and (b) value of assets was in the Help to Buy scheme in each financial year since 2017-18.

The Help to Buy expenditure (equity loans made), redemptions (equity loans repaid) and value of the loan portfolio (loan book) are published each year in Homes England's Annual Report & Financial Statements and are summarised below for the financial years 2017-18 through to 2019-20 expressed in £000’s:

2017/18

Expenditure: £3,048,679 Valuation of assets: £8,314,304

Redemptions: (£492,394)

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/homes-england-annual-report-and-financial-statements

2018/19

Expenditure: £3,530,582 Valuation of assets: £11,083,941

Redemptions: (£714,925)

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/homes-england-annual-report-financial-statements-201819

2019/20

Expenditure: £3,592,940 Valuation of assets: £14,016,314

Redemptions: (£919,840)

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/homes-england-annual-report-financial-statements-201920

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.

19th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, whether HM Courts and Tribunals Service plan to recruit additional staff to support repossession cases in preparation for when Section 21 evictions end.

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) recently introduced the Renter’s (Reform) Bill to Parliament. This bill includes the provision to end Section 21, also known as ‘no fault’ evictions. DLUHC and MoJ are jointly working on the Justice Impact Test (JIT), an MoJ tool to identify, quantify and cost the impacts of the Renter’s Reform Bill on the civil justice system.

The scale of any resource requirement resulting from additional impacts on the justice system, will be subject to agreement between MoJ and the policy-owning department.

Mike Freer
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
19th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many possession notices issued by private residential landlords in England and Wales cited antisocial behaviour as a reason in the most recent period for which data is available; and what the average (i) mean and (ii) median time was between a private residential landlord in England and Wales applying to the courts to repossess a property to the repossession taking place in such cases.

The MoJ does not hold data on possession notices issued by landlords outside the court process. The MoJ publishes statistics here on the volume and timeliness of possession claims brought to court but we do not record the grounds for possession and therefore cannot extract claims relating to antisocial behaviour from other possession claims.

Mike Freer
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
24th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what discussions he has had with Leader of the House on the parliamentary timetable for legislative proposals to protect journalists from Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation before the end of the Parliament.

The Government has announced its intention to legislate on Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation when parliamentary time allows. We are engaging with all interested parties, including the Leader of the House, to find the best way forward to tackle this important issue via the most appropriate legislative vehicle and will announce the timetable in the usual way.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)