Andrew Mitchell Portrait

Andrew Mitchell

Conservative - Sutton Coldfield

Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
4th Sep 2012 - 19th Oct 2012
Secretary of State for International Development
12th May 2010 - 6th Sep 2012
Shadow Secretary of State (Home Office)
20th May 2005 - 6th May 2010
Shadow Minister (Home Affairs)
10th Sep 2004 - 20th May 2005
Draft Charities Bill (Joint Committee)
29th Apr 2004 - 15th Sep 2004
Shadow Minister (Treasury)
10th Nov 2003 - 10th Sep 2004
Modernisation of the House of Commons
4th Dec 2002 - 22nd Jan 2004
Work and Pensions Committee
16th Jul 2001 - 6th May 2003
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Social Security)
6th Jul 1995 - 1st May 1997
Members' Interests
20th Jun 1994 - 17th Jul 1995
Lord Commissioner (HM Treasury) (Whip)
20th Jul 1994 - 6th Jul 1995
Assistant Whip (HM Treasury)
11th Jan 1992 - 20th Jul 1994
Vice-Chair, Conservative Party
1st Jul 1992 - 1st Jul 1993


There are no upcoming events identified
Division Votes
Monday 6th December 2021
Armed Forces Bill
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 300 Conservative Aye votes vs 4 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 302 Noes - 221
Speeches
Tuesday 7th December 2021
Nationality and Borders Bill

My right hon. Friend is making an incredibly strong point. Does he think it is quite inappropriate for one of …

Written Answers
Monday 25th October 2021
Schools: Sutton Coldfield
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions his Department has had with Birmingham City Council on increasing …
Early Day Motions
Wednesday 9th September 2015
RELEASE OF SHAKER AAMER FROM GUANTANAMO
That this House calls on the US administration to release Shaker Aamer from his imprisonment in Guantanamo Bay; notes that …
Bills
Tuesday 17th November 2020
Doctors and Nurses (Developing Countries) Bill 2019-21
A Bill to require the Secretary of State to report on the merits of a scheme for the United Kingdom …
Tweets
None available
MP Financial Interests
Monday 1st November 2021
2. (a) Support linked to an MP but received by a local party organisation or indirectly via a central party organisation
Name of donor: Euro Packaging UK Ltd
Address of donor: 20 Brickfield Road, Yardley, Birmingham B25 8HE
Amount of donation …
EDM signed
Wednesday 1st July 2020
National Museum of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic History and Culture
That this House recognises the important role played by the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Andrew Mitchell has voted in 290 divisions, and 3 times against the majority of their Party.

2 Sep 2020 - Recall of MPs (Change of Party Affiliation) - View Vote Context
Andrew Mitchell voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 41 Conservative No votes vs 47 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 55 Noes - 52
17 Jun 2020 - Health and Personal Social Services - View Vote Context
Andrew Mitchell voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 104 Conservative Aye votes vs 124 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 253 Noes - 136
23 Nov 2021 - Health and Care Bill - View Vote Context
Andrew Mitchell voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 18 Conservative Aye votes vs 276 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 219 Noes - 280
View All Andrew Mitchell Division Votes

Debates during the 2019 Parliament

Speeches made during Parliamentary debates are recorded in Hansard. For ease of browsing we have grouped debates into individual, departmental and legislative categories.

Sparring Partners
Boris Johnson (Conservative)
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
(24 debate interactions)
Matt Hancock (Conservative)
(18 debate interactions)
David Davis (Conservative)
(13 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
HM Treasury
(35 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(26 debate contributions)
Home Office
(18 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Andrew Mitchell's debates

Sutton Coldfield 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).

Petition Debates Contributed

Now the hedgehog has been listed as vulnerable to extinction in the UK, we are calling on the Government to move hedgehogs to schedule 5 of the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 to allow them greater protection.


Latest EDMs signed by Andrew Mitchell

1st July 2020
Andrew Mitchell signed this EDM as a sponsor on Wednesday 1st July 2020

National Museum of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic History and Culture

Tabled by: Oliver Heald (Conservative - North East Hertfordshire)
That this House recognises the important role played by the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington DC since it opened its doors to the public on 24 September 2016, documenting and enabling the study of the life, history and culture of African Americans; notes that …
15 signatures
(Most recent: 15 Jul 2020)
Signatures by party:
Conservative: 9
Liberal Democrat: 2
Scottish National Party: 1
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Independent: 1
Labour: 1
10th June 2020
Andrew Mitchell signed this EDM on Wednesday 24th June 2020

Judge-led public inquiry into the Horizon scandal

Tabled by: Kevan Jones (Labour - North Durham)
That this House recognises the life-changing injustices experienced by subpostmasters throughout the Horizon scandal; notes with the deepest sadness that subpostmasters have served custodial sentences and suffered bankruptcy for offences they did not commit; recognises the role of the Government in prolonging this crisis through not fulfilling their role of …
151 signatures
(Most recent: 21 Apr 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 69
Scottish National Party: 45
Liberal Democrat: 11
Democratic Unionist Party: 8
Conservative: 7
Independent: 4
Plaid Cymru: 3
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 2
Alba Party: 2
Green Party: 1
Alliance: 1
View All Andrew Mitchell's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Andrew Mitchell, 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.


2 Urgent Questions tabled by Andrew Mitchell

Monday 26th April 2021
Tuesday 2nd March 2021

Andrew Mitchell has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

2 Bills introduced by Andrew Mitchell


A Bill to make provision about the keeping and maintenance of registers of births and deaths; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - Report Stage (Commons)
Friday 12th March 2021
(Read Debate)

A Bill to require the Secretary of State to report on the merits of a scheme for the United Kingdom to pay to train two doctors or nurses in developing countries for each doctor or nurse recruited to the National Health Service from those countries.


Last Event - 1st Reading (Commons)
Tuesday 17th November 2020
(Read Debate)

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


126 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
19th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what plans he has for the future use or disposal of No. 36 Whitehall, formerly the Paymaster General’s Office; when it was vacated by its last public service occupants; what the annual cost to the public purse has been of the building in (a) rates and (b) maintenance; what estimate he has made of its (a) rental and (b) freehold value; and if he will make a statement.

The Government Property Agency is currently developing plans to refurbish the building for use by civil servants.

Due to reasons of commercial sensitivity, I will write to my Hon. Friend separately with details of these costs.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many businesses have taken out loans under the Bounce Back Loan scheme in Sutton Coldfield constituency; and what the total value is of those loans.

As of 10 January 2021, 2,057 loans have been offered at a value of £62,409,360 in the Sutton Coldfield constituency, through the Bounce Back Loan Scheme.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much funding has been allocated through the (a) Small Business Grant Fund and (b) Retail Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund to businesses in the West Midlands.

In March 2020, the Government put forward an initial and unprecedented package of support to help businesses with their ongoing business costs in recognition of the disruption caused by Covid-19. This included the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants Fund (RHLGF). These schemes closed in August last year.

Over the lifetime of the two schemes, more than £11.12 billion was paid out to 906,620 businesses in England. In the West Midlands region, Local Authorities have reported to the department that a total of £1.11 billion was paid to 94,265 business premises under these schemes.


A full breakdown of grant funding allocated to and distributed by each Local Authority is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-grant-funding-local-authority-payments-to-small-and-medium-businesses.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to support the hospitality sector in (a) Sutton Coldfield and (b) England during the January 2021 covid-19 lockdown.

We are providing the hospitality sector with a wide package of support. On 5 January, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a one-off top up grant for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses worth up to £9,000 per property to help businesses. A £594 million discretionary fund is also being made available to Local Authorities to help them support other impacted businesses.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent steps she has taken to help tackle (a) age-bias in recruitment and (b) ageism in the workplace.

The Equality Act 2010 provides strong protection against direct and indirect age discrimination in employment and makes it unlawful for an employer or an employment service provider such as a recruitment agency, to discriminate against any employee or job applicant because of their age. This applies both to when the employer is making arrangements to fill a job and in respect of anything done during the course of a person’s employment. To be lawful, any differential treatment based on age must be objectively justified.

In order to tackle outdated perceptions about older workers, the Government has appointed Andy Briggs as Business Champion for Older Workers, to spearhead the Government’s work to support employers to retain, retrain and recruit older workers. His team will actively promote the benefits of older workers to employers across England, both strategically and through the provision of practical advice.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
13th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when his Department plans to publish its response to the consultation on corporate transparency and register reform.

The Corporate Transparency and Register Reform Consultation was launched on the 5th May 2019 and closed on the 5th August 2019. It received a significant number of responses. The Government plans to publish the response in due course.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
6th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps her Department is taking to support self-employed people in the West Midlands.

We want to make sure that the UK is the best place in the world to work and grow a business. Our long-term plan is to support entrepreneurs, including self-employed individuals who are running or considering starting up a business, not just in the West Midlands, but in all parts of the UK.

That’s why we are backing businesses right across the country, with 381,000 new businesses starting last year, and the government-owned British Business Bank supporting over 91,000 SMEs with £7 billion of finance.

The British Business Bank’s Start Up Loans programme provides?loans to entrepreneurs seeking to start and grow their own businesses. The British Business Bank delivered more than 69,000 Start-Up Loans?since 2012, providing more than £558m of funding, in every part of the United Kingdom

The West Midlands has received 5,788 loans totalling over £44.8m and your constituency of Sutton Coldfield has received 101 loans totalling over £878,000.

Additionally, self-employed business people can access tailored advice and support through the 38 local Growth Hubs. They can also access support?through our Gov.uk website and the Business Support Helpline (0300 456 3565).

The West Midlands Local Industrial Strategy, published in May 2019, sets out a shared ambition to build on the region’s distinctive strengths to drive growth and ensure that all communities benefit from that growth, including the self-employed.

Self-employed mothers who qualify for Maternity Allowance are also now able to share parental leave and pay with an employed father or partner.

In addition, the Government has increased the personal allowance from £11,500 to £12,500 (benefiting employed and self-employed taxpayers) and self-employed people are now able to build their entitlement to the new State Pension at the same rate as employed people.

16th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps her Department is taking to prevent pub closures in the West Midlands.

The Government recognises the importance of pubs to the economy and to community life in providing a place to socialise and encourage responsible drinking and welcomes recent data from the Office of National Statistics that suggest an increase in the number of pubs and bars in the UK for the first time in a decade. In order to provide support for pubs, the Government announced a freeze on beer duty at Budget 2018 which, together with previous cuts and freezes to alcohol duty, means a typical pint of beer is estimated to cost 14p less than it otherwise would have since ending the beer duty escalator in 2013.

Some 2,000 pubs have been listed as Assets of Community Value across the country in recognition of the positive role they play in their local areas and to allow the community to bid for those pubs should they be put up for sale. The Government has committed to help community groups to take over local community assets which are under threat, including pubs, by establishing a new £150m Community Ownership Fund.

In addition, many pubs will benefit from the business rates retail discount announced at Budget 2018, which cuts bills for eligible businesses by one third for two years from April 2019. The Government has committed to increasing the discount to 50% in 2020/21.

2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many applications to the Culture Recovery Fund from applicants in the West Midlands have been accepted.

Last year the government announced the unprecedented £1.57 billion support package for the culture sector, of which over £1 billion has now been allocated to over 3,000 arts and culture organisations across the country. This funding is supporting the arts and culture sector to survive the pandemic and continue operating.

We have now also announced a second round of the Culture Recovery Fund to support organisations to make the transition to full reopening.

So far 289 organisations in the West Midlands received funding through the recovery grants programme, the capital grants programme and via repayable finance. These include world-renowned organisations such as the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Birmingham Royal Ballet as well as those at the heart of their communities, such as the Black Country Living Museum, the People’s Orchestra in West Bromwich and Re-form Heritage in Stoke-on-Trent.

Overall, funding awarded through the first Round of the Culture Recovery Fund is supporting organisations which employ 69% of arts sector employees in the West Midlands.

22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what additional (a) business and (b) financial support for the (i) exhibition and (ii) events industry he has discussed with the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

We are in regular contact with Treasury colleagues regarding the impact of Covid-19 on the business events industry.

Events businesses can continue to make use of the broader support package available to them. This includes the Bounce Back Loans scheme, the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

We recognise that the events industry and its supply chain has been severely impacted by Covid-19. We continue to meet with the stakeholders, including through the Visitor Economy Working Group and the Events Industry Senior Leaders Advisory Panel, to discuss the specific issues facing the industry.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to support the tourism sector in the West Midlands.

The Government has also implemented a series of Covid-19 related financial measures that will assist tourism businesses, including those in the West Midlands. This includes the significant cut to VAT and business rates relief for hospitality, retail and leisure businesses, both of which will last until the end of March.

Between April and July, VisitEngland’s £1.3 million Destination Management Organisation Resilience Fund supported local tourism organisations in the West Midlands. The West Midlands Growth Company received £29,866 from the DMO Resilience Fund. Visit Shropshire received £25,066.


More broadly, the £45m Discover England Fund has supported the development of internationally marketed tourism products in the region, including the ‘England’s Waterways’ project. We are also working with regional partners to maximise the tourism benefits of hosting the UK City of Culture in Coventry and the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent steps his Department has taken to increase tourism in the West Midlands.

My Department has taken a number of steps to increase tourism in the West Midlands.

The £45m Discover England Fund supports the development of internationally marketed tourism products in the region. For example, the England’s Waterways project encourages visitors to explore the canals in and around Birmingham and the Midlands, while the England’s Originals project provides itineraries that include Worcester as a destination.

We are also working with regional partners to maximise the tourism benefits of hosting the UK City of Culture 2021 in Coventry and the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
6th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to help tackle loneliness in the West Midlands.

Government’s first annual report on tackling loneliness was published in January 2020. It highlighted the progress made so far across the country, including in the West Midlands.

This includes: action by frontline workers across the public sector to recognise and act on loneliness; the launch of the Let’s Talk Loneliness campaign; the commitment to include measures in the Public Health Outcomes Framework so we can understand local rates of loneliness; and the announcement of an additional £4m of grant-funding, in partnership with the National Lottery Community Fund, to help frontline grassroots organisations that bring people together.

The report also highlighted the good work of the 126 projects supported through the £11.5m Building Connections Fund to bring people and communities together. 14 grants, totalling £1.2million, have been made to projects in the West Midlands. This includes grants to the Chell Area Family Action Group to appoint volunteer social isolation champions to work with the people most at risk of loneliness and to Edward’s Trust to create and support a compassionate community of bereaved young people.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions his Department has had with Birmingham City Council on increasing the number of (a) primary and (b) secondary school places in Sutton Coldfield constituency.

Supporting local authorities to create sufficient school places is one of the government’s top priorities. Local authorities are responsible for providing enough school places for children in their area. Birmingham was allocated £23,208,348 of basic need funding earlier this year for places needed by September 2023.

Officials are in close liaison with Birmingham City Council and all other local authorities with regard to the sufficiency of local school provision. The department engages regularly to discuss local intelligence and offer advice and support to ensure sufficiency requirements are addressed.

In Birmingham, at a citywide level, a reduction in demand at primary phase is expected and, as a consequence, the department does not anticipate any local expansion plans in the primary phase in the short term. In contrast, during recent engagement with Birmingham City Council, it was identified that the local authority plans to uplift secondary phase capacity in Sutton Coldfield. We anticipate further engagement with Birmingham City Council about the detail of these expansion plans.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what Government funding has been provided for (a) respite care and (b) additional support for the families of disabled children in the West Midlands to help alleviate the impact of covid-19 on those families.

I refer the right hon. Member for Sutton Coldfield to the answer I gave on 2 June 2021 to Question 7328.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans his Department has to invest in improving the mental health of (a) primary school pupils, (b) secondary school pupils and (c) 18-25 year olds in further or higher education.

Children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing is a priority for this government. While education settings cannot provide specialist clinical care, the support that schools and colleges are providing to their pupils, following the return to face-to-face education, should include time devoted to supporting mental health and wellbeing, which will play a fundamental part in supporting recovery. We want schools to have the freedom to decide which wider pastoral and extra-curricular activity to put in place, based on the needs of their pupils and drawing on evidence of effective practice.

We are supporting recovery action with significant additional funding. In June 2021, we announced £1.4 billion of additional funding for education recovery. This is in addition to the £1.7 billion already committed, bringing total investment announced for education recovery over the past year to over £3 billion. The package provides support to children aged 2 to 19 in schools, 16-19 providers and early years. It will expand our reforms in 2 areas where the evidence is clear that our investment will have significant impact: high-quality tutoring targeted at those that need it most and high-quality training for teachers.

The one-off Recovery Premium for state-funded schools will help schools to provide their disadvantaged pupils with a boost to the support, both academic and pastoral, that has been proved most effective in helping them recover from the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. This is in addition to the £650 million catch-up premium shared across state-funded schools over the 2020 to 2021 academic year, which is also supporting education settings to put the right catch-up and pastoral support in place. The Education Endowment Foundation have published a COVID-19 support guide to support schools, which includes further information about interventions to support pupils’ mental health and wellbeing: https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/eef-support-for-schools/covid-19-resources/national-tutoring-programme/covid-19-support-guide-for-schools/.

Our Mental Health in Education Action Group has been looking further at what more can be done to help education settings support mental wellbeing as part of recovery. The department has recently brought together all its sources of advice for schools and colleges into a single site, which includes signposting to external sources of mental health and wellbeing support for teachers, school staff and school leaders: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/mental-health-and-wellbeing-support-in-schools-and-colleges#mental-health-and-wellbeing-resources. It also includes guidance to support relationships, sex and health education curriculum planning, covering the key issues children and young people have been concerned about throughout the COVID-19 outbreak: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/teaching-about-mental-wellbeing.

On 10 May, as part of Mental Health Awareness Week, we announced more than £17 million of mental health funding to improve mental health and wellbeing support in schools and colleges. This includes £9.5 million for up to 7,800 schools to train a senior mental health lead in the next academic year, and £7 million in additional funding for local authorities to deliver the Wellbeing for Education Recovery programme. This builds on Wellbeing for Education Return in the 2020/21 academic year, which offered schools in every local authority and reached up to 15,000 schools with free expert training, support and resources for staff dealing with children and young people experiencing additional pressures from the last year, including trauma, anxiety, or grief.

For further education, the College Collaboration Fund (CCF), a £5.4 million national programme of competitive grant funding delivered in the 2020/21 financial year, is helping to support learner and staff mental health and wellbeing through online programmes and remote support. One of the funded projects was Weston College’s ‘Let’s Chat’ programme, which delivered a number of wellbeing support packages accessible at any time to keep staff, students and their families safe and well during lockdown. We are now assessing bids for the CCF 2 for the 2021/22 financial year.

​With regards to higher education, student mental health and suicide prevention are key priorities for this government. We continue to work closely with the HE sector to promote good practice. Universities are not only experts in their student population, but also best placed to identify the needs of their student body. The Department of Health and Social Care has overall policy responsibility for young people’s mental health. We continue to work closely with them to take steps to develop mental health and wellbeing support.

We have also increased funding to specialist services. In March, we announced a £79 million boost to children and young people’s mental health support, which will include increasing the number of Mental Health Support Teams. The support teams - which provide early intervention on mental health and emotional wellbeing issues in schools and colleges - will grow from the 59 set up by last March to around 400 by April 2023, supporting nearly 3 million children. This increase means that millions of children and young people will have access to significantly expanded mental health services. In total, £13 million will be used to accelerate progress to support young adults aged 18 to 25. This group includes university students and those not in education or training, who have reported the worst mental health outcomes during the COVID-19 outbreak, and who sometimes fall through the gap between children and adult services.

While it is for HE providers to determine what welfare and counselling services they need to provide to their students to offer that support, the government is proactive in promoting good practice in this area. We continue to work closely with Universities UK on embedding the Stepchange programme within the sector. Stepchange calls on HE leaders to adopt mental health as a strategic priority and to take a whole-institution approach, embedding it across all policies, cultures, curricula, and practice. The Stepchange programme relaunched in March 2020 as the Mentally Healthy Universities programme. Further information on the programme is available here: https://www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/stepchange.

The University Mental Health Charter, announced in June 2018, is backed by the government and led by the HE sector. The Charter, developed in collaboration with students, staff and partner organisations, aims to drive up standards of practice, including leadership, early intervention, and data collection. Further information on the Charter is available here: https://www.studentminds.org.uk/charter.html.

The department has also worked with the Office for Students (OfS) to provide Student Space, a dedicated mental health and wellbeing platform for students. Student Space has been funded by up to £3 million from the OfS in the 2020/21 academic year. We have asked the OfS to allocate £15 million towards student mental health in the 2021/22 academic year through proposed reforms to Strategic Priorities grant funding, to help address the challenges to student mental health posed by the transition to university, given the increasing demand for mental health services. This will target students in greatest need of such services, including vulnerable and hard to reach groups.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what additional financial support his Department is allocating to schools to help with cleaning and testing costs incurred as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department has provided additional funding to schools, on top of existing budgets, to cover unavoidable costs incurred between March and July 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak that could not be met from their budgets. We have paid schools £102 million for all claims in the first claims window that were within the published scope of the fund, and we will shortly process claims made in the second window in December 2020.

Last term, the Department announced the COVID-19 workforce fund for schools and colleges, to help those with high staff absences and facing significant financial pressures to stay open. It funded the costs of teacher absences over a threshold from 1 November 2020 until the end of the autumn term. We expect the schools claims form to be launched in spring 2021.

The Department will also fund schools for costs relating to COVID-19 testing. We have published a workforce planning tool which illustrates the levels of funding available. Funding will be paid to schools who have conducted testing in respect of workforce costs and other incidental costs relating to testing, such as waste disposal.

The Government is delivering catch-up funding worth £1 billion, including a ‘Catch-Up Premium’ worth a total of £650 million to support schools to make up for lost teaching time. Alongside this, we have also announced a new £350 million National Tutoring Programme for disadvantaged pupils, including the National Tuition Fund for students age 16-19.

Finally, schools have continued to receive their core funding throughout the outbreak, regardless of any periods of full or partial closure, with this year marking the first year of a three-year increase to core funding - the biggest in a decade. This will ensure schools can continue to pay their staff and meet other regular financial commitments.

1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what financial support is available to (a) maintained and (b) private nurseries for additional costs that have been incurred as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The early years sector has benefitted from the continuation of early years entitlement funding during the summer and autumn terms in 2020.

According to the 2019 Provider Finances report, the biggest cost for early education providers is staff, comprising 70% of costs for private nurseries, 75% for voluntary, 81% for school-based nurseries and 79% for Maintained Nursery Schools. The report is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/providers-finances-survey-of-childcare-and-ey-providers-2019/.

Providers who have seen a drop in either their income from parents or the government, as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, can access support through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), as long as the staff meet the other criteria for the scheme. An early years provider can access the CJRS to cover up to the proportion of its salary bill which could be considered to have been paid for from that provider’s private income. This would typically be income received from ‘parent-paid’ hours that have not yet returned as a result of COVID-19.

Eligible nurseries can also benefit from a business rates holiday and can access the business loans as set out by my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

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

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what (a) practical and (b) financial support is available to families that rely on childcare provided by extended family members in areas with additional covid-19 restrictions in place which prevent the mixing of households unless they are in a support bubble.

We recognise that extended family members often provide informal childcare. In relevant areas where local restrictions are in place on household mixing, people cannot host others they do not live with, or who are not in their support bubbles, in their homes and gardens. Informal childcare is not exempt from these restrictions.

Nationally, our ‘Rule of Six’ guidance specifies the exceptions where groups can be larger than six people, which includes registered childcare and supervised activities provided for children, including wraparound care, youth groups and activities, and children’s playgroups.

Parents who need support to obtain suitable childcare to meet their circumstances can contact their local authority for information and guidance about what childcare is available in their area.

The government funds a significant package of free and subsidised childcare. All 3 year olds and 4 year olds in England are entitled to 15 hours of free childcare a week, with 30 hours of free childcare available for eligible working parents. The government has acted to protect families that have faced a reduced income as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. Parents who who were eligible for the 30 hours free childcare entitlement prior to the COVID-19 outbreak remain eligible until October even if they have experienced a change in income. Disadvantaged 2 year olds are also eligible for 15 hours of free childcare a week and eligible working parents may also be eligible for tax-free childcare. Parents can find out more about the free and subsidised childcare offers at: www.childcarechoices.gov.uk.

My right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced a series of policies to support people, jobs and businesses on 20 March 2020, during which he confirmed an increase to the Universal Credit standard allowance for 12 months, in addition to planned uprating of 1.7%. The Universal Credit childcare offer remains the same, and working families can claim back up to 85% of their registered childcare costs each month. This can be claimed up to a month before starting a job. For families with 2 children, this could be worth up to £13,000 a year.

Help with up-front childcare costs for starting work is available through a non-repayable Flexible Support Fund (FSF) award for eligible Universal Credit claimants. The FSF received an additional £150 million this financial year to help support Universal Credit claimants to move closer to, or into, work. Help with up-front costs for eligible Universal Credit claimants is available through Budgeting Advances.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to support additional expenditure on cleaning and hygiene measures in schools during the covid-19 outbreak.

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

Schools have continued to receive their core funding allocations throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. Following last year’s Spending Round, school budgets are rising by £2.6 billion in 2020-21, £4.8 billion in 2021-22 and £7.1 billion in 2022-23, compared to 2019-20. As stated in our guidance, schools should use their existing resources when making arrangements to welcome all children back for the autumn.

Schools have been able to claim additional funding for exceptional costs incurred due to COVID-19, between March and July 2020, such as additional cleaning required due to confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases and increased premises costs to keep schools open for priority groups during the Easter and summer half term holidays.

1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much funding his Department has allocated to Birmingham City Council for the refurbishment of schools for the 2020-21 calendar year; and whether that funding has been ringfenced.

In the financial year 2020-21, Birmingham City Council has been awarded £9,505,036 in capital funding to maintain and improve the condition of the schools for which it is responsible. Local authorities have the flexibility to prioritise capital projects to meet local needs. The responsible bodies for voluntary aided schools and academies are awarded separate capital funding.

In addition, individual schools are allocated Devolved Formula Capital (DFC) to invest in capital projects to meet their own priorities. Allocations are published on GOV.UK.

The government has also committed to providing £560 million of additional condition funding for the school system this year to support essential maintenance projects. This comes on top of over £1.4 billion capital funding already provided for school maintenance in the financial year 2020-21. We will set out details of how the additional capital funding will be allocated shortly.

6th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the level of take-up of the 30 hour childcare entitlement in the (a) West Midlands and (b) England.

The National Statistics release, 'Education provision for children under 5 years of age in England', estimates that around 4 out of 5 eligible children were taking up some extended hours in January 2019. It is not possible to reliably produce an equivalent estimate for the number of eligible children at a regional level due to the relatively small sample population within sub-national geographies in the data that the Department holds.

The release shows that 34,764 3 to 4 year olds in the West Midlands benefited from extended hours in January 2019, an increase from 31,610 in January 2018. The national figures show that 328,127 3 to 4 year olds across England benefited from extended hours in January 2019, compared to 296,924 in January 2018.

The release is available from: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/education-provision-children-under-5-years-of-age-january-2019.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to increase the number of places in (a) secondary and (b) primary schools in Sutton Coldfield after 2022.

The statutory duty to provide sufficient school places sits with local authorities. The Department provides basic need funding for every place that local authorities forecast is needed. Local authorities can use this funding to provide places in new schools or through expansions of existing schools, and can work with any school in their local area, including academies and free schools.

The Department does not collect information at Parliamentary constituency level, only at local authority and at sub-local authority planning area level. Birmingham has been allocated £294.7 million to provide new school places from 2011-2021, and there are now 30,872 more places than there were in 2010.

The next set of basic need allocations, for places needed in September 2022, will be announced in spring 2020.

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to increase the use of biodegradable plastic which can naturally biodegrade.

While biodegradable materials may be seen as a solution to reduce the impact of waste, they can also be more environmentally damaging than non-biodegradable materials if disposed of incorrectly. The Government is also concerned that, in the absence of robust standards, claims about the biodegradability of plastic-based products cannot be verified.

In order to consider impacts carefully, Defra and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy published a call for evidence to help us consider the development of standards or certification criteria for bio-based, biodegradable, and compostable plastics, and to better understand their effects on the environment and our current waste system. We are currently analysing responses to the call for evidence with a view to publication of a government response shortly.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate his Department has made of the recycling rates in Birmingham in 2019-20.

Recycling rates for 2019/20 for local authorities in England are not yet available. Reporting of waste and recycling data for local authorities in England for the year 2019/20 was delayed due to Covid-19.

Recycling rates for 2019/20 will be published on 3 March 2021 (https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/announcements/local-authority-collected-waste-management-for-england-for-201920)

The most recent publication of waste statistics shows that the recycling rate for Birmingham in 2018/19 was 22.0%

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans the Government has to reduce the amount of plastic pollution in public parks.

The Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan sets out our ambition to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste. We are making great strides to tackle plastic pollution. In December 2018 we published the Resources and Waste Strategy, which sets out how we want to achieve this and move towards a circular economy. We know more needs to be done, and for the most problematic plastics we are going faster, which is why we have committed to work towards all plastic packaging on the market being recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025.

We have made significant progress, by introducing one of the world’s toughest bans on microbeads in rinse-off personal care products and have significantly reduced the use of single-use carrier bags by the main supermarket retailers by 95% with our 5p charge. We have announced our plans to increase the minimum charge to 10p and to extend the charge to all retailers later this year. In October 2020, we introduced measures to restrict the supply of plastic straws, plastic drink stirrers, and plastic-stemmed cotton buds. We will continue to review the latest evidence on problematic products and/ or materials to take a systematic approach to reducing the use of unnecessary single-use plastic products, including problematic packaging materials.

As the hon. Member will be aware, it is an offence to drop litter (including in public parks), and councils have legal powers to take enforcement action against offenders. Anyone caught littering may be prosecuted in a magistrates’ court, which can lead to a criminal record and a fine of up to £2,500 on conviction.

Instead of prosecuting, councils may decide to issue a fixed penalty (on-the-spot fine) of between £65 and £150.

With regards to improving enforcement, we are seeking powers in the Environment Bill to ensure that enforcement powers are used with a high degree of professionalism, whether by council staff or private contractors, and to place our improved enforcement guidance on a firm statutory footing, giving those to which it applies a clear and explicit duty to have regard to it when exercising their enforcement functions.

We also continue to campaign to raise awareness of littering issues in public spaces. Last summer, in response to Covid-19, Defra developed a ‘Respect the Outdoors’ campaign to encourage people to follow the Countryside Code and to highlight the impacts of littering. This was promoted both online and in locations across the country near to urban parks, beaches and national parks. We also supported, and provided funding for, Keep Britain Tidy’s Love Parks campaign, which encouraged people to treat our parks with respect.

Preliminary evaluation of these campaigns indicated that they had a positive influence on the target audience’s intended disposal of PPE litter, with anecdotal reports from local authorities that the intervention resulted in a markedly beneficial outcome.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Zoo Animals Fund in supporting zoos and aquaria during the covid-19 outbreak.

We recognise this has been an extremely tough time for the sector and would like to assure zoos that we remain committed to ensuring the sector can deliver the best possible care for its animals. We have extended the application deadline for the Zoo Animals Fund from 29 January 2021 to 26 February 2021, and the fund provides support up until the end of March 2021. The Zoo Animals Fund is an envelope of funding which to provides for zoos which, due to a coronavirus-related drop in income are experiencing severe financial difficulties and need support in caring for their animals. The focus of the fund is on the welfare of zoo animals and if zoos are downsizing or rehoming their collections, including if they are closing, then the fund can also provide support for this to ensure the animals' welfare. The fund has been a lifeline for many zoos and has been accessible to all zoos which need funds to care for their animals, as evidenced by the success of small, medium and large zoos in securing grant funding. We stand ready to process applications and encourage any zoo in need to apply.

Beyond the Zoo Animals Fund, the Government has provided a package of temporary, timely and targeted measures to support businesses, including zoos, through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19 and we encourage zoos to explore these. Zoos are eligible to apply for a range of support schemes including the Job Retention Scheme, VAT deferral, Business Rates Relief, the Business Interruption Loan, the option to reclaim the costs of Statutory Sick Pay and grant funding.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to remove litter and flytipping from the river network.

The Litter Strategy for England was published in April 2017, setting out the Government’s aim to clean up the country, including our precious waterways, and deliver a substantial reduction in litter and littering within a generation.

The Government is committed to encouraging local solutions for local problems, and this is particularly relevant in dealing with litter and fly-tipping. Our role is to enable and support this local action by providing a clear legal framework of rights and responsibilities, setting national standards and, where possible, making sure that the costs of dealing with these issues are passed to those responsible.

Navigation authorities in England and Wales are responsible for ensuring the canals and rivers that they own and manage are properly maintained and navigable. Local authorities are responsible for clearing fly-tipping from public land, and navigation authorities work closely with them to remove fly-tipping that occurs on waterside land. Councils also have legal powers to take enforcement action. They can prosecute anyone caught fly-tipping or littering or, alternatively, issue a fixed penalty notice.

Navigation authorities may also take steps to remove litter from their waterways as part of routine maintenance with the assistance of their volunteers, as well as in some cases running awareness-raising publicity campaigns. An example of this is the recently re-launched Canal and River Trust ‘Plastics Challenge’ campaign, which encourages all users of their waterways to pick up a piece of plastic litter and take it home with them to dispose of properly.

It is encouraging to see that there are a growing number of public-spirited individuals and community groups tackling litter all over the country. We have been proud to support and endorse national clean-up days such as the Great British Spring Clean, and the Great British Beach Clean, and we will continue to use our influence to encourage as many people and businesses as possible to participate in these types of events, whilst following Government guidance on staying safe outside the home.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 20 July 2020 to Question 72166 on Animal Products: Imports, what steps he is taking to include lions in the definition of endangered species.

The Government takes the conservation of endangered species seriously and is committed to doing all we can to support wildlife and the environment, both in the UK and internationally.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is internationally recognised for its work in identifying the conservation status of species, known as the “Red List”. The IUCN currently classifies lions as ‘Vulnerable’. For the extinction risk of lions to be increased to ‘Endangered’ the species must meet several additional classification criteria.

The Government works with other countries, and through international conventions, such as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, to further the conservation of vulnerable species such as lions based on the latest available evidence.

The Government also supported the establishment of the Big Cats Task Force at the 18th CITES Conference of the Parties last year, which aims to bolster international cooperation against illegal trade in big cat specimens.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 20 July 2020 to Question 72166 on Animal Products: Imports, when he plans to make a decision on the import of trophy-hunted animals and animal parts.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow on 19 May 2020, PQ UIN 46697, which remains the current situation.

[www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2020-05-13/46697]

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to ban the import of trophy-hunted animals and if he will list which animals will be banned.

The Government is committed to doing all we can to support wildlife and the environment, both in the UK and internationally, including by delivering on our manifesto commitment to ban the import of hunting trophies from endangered species.

Our consultation on controls on the import and export of hunting trophies, which closed in February 2020, provided an opportunity for respondents to provide views on which species they considered needed further restrictions. No decisions have been made yet as the pace of this work was impacted by the Government’s need to focus on addressing the urgent issue of COVID 19. We will publish the summary of responses to the consultation and call for evidence in due course. The outcome will inform our next steps.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the proposed ban on the import of animal parts as trophies will include lions.

The Government is committed to doing all we can to support wildlife and the environment, both in the UK and internationally, including by delivering on our manifesto commitment to ban the import of hunting trophies from endangered species.

Our consultation on controls on the import and export of hunting trophies, which closed in February 2020, provided an opportunity for respondents to provide views on which species they considered needed further restrictions. No decisions have been made yet as the pace of this work was impacted by the Government’s need to focus on addressing the urgent issue of COVID 19. We will publish the summary of responses to the consultation and call for evidence in due course. The outcome will inform our next steps.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to increase the number of trees planted in (a) the West Midlands and (b) England.

To drive an unprecedented step-change in planting and reach net zero, the Government is investing in tree planting in England through the recently announced £640 million Nature for Climate Fund. This supports our commitment to increase planting across the UK to 30,000 hectares of trees per year by 2025.

The Government supports woodland creation through grants and incentives. These include the recently launched Woodland Carbon Guarantee, in addition to the existing Countryside Stewardship, Woodland Carbon Fund, Woodland Creation Planning Grant and the Urban Tree Challenge Fund. These grants are available to local authorities, land managers and community-led organisations across England, including those in the West Midlands.

While we do not set specific targets for individual constituencies, we are working hard to increase the uptake of grant schemes across England, and strongly encourage eligible organisations to take advantage of this support.

The Government continues to consider ways to further incentivise land managers and owners to plant more trees. Later this spring we will be consulting on the English Tree Strategy, to gather information to help us design policy to best increase planting.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to increase biodiversity in the Midlands.

Across England, the Government is investing in protected sites, restoring wildlife-rich habitats and supporting species recovery.

Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) provide legal protection for our most important wildlife and natural features in England. There are over 4000 SSSIs in England, covering around 7% of the land area in England. The East and West Midlands are home to some of the finest, with 848 of these sites covering an area of 190,205 hectares.

The Government also provides substantial public funding for managing protected sites and restoring wildlife habitats, spending £2.9 biilion on agri-environment schemes in England through our seven-year Rural Development Programme. Schemes are tailored to the specific biodiversity interests in the Midlands through our local targeting statements[1].

The Government supports species recovery through its agri-environment schemes and partnership projects. Natural England is working with conservation organisations and landowners on the Back from the Brink programme, a £7.7 million partnership funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and others to put over 100 priority species on the road to recovery. Two Back from the Brink projects are in the Midlands, both led by Butterfly Conservation. The Limestone’s Living Legacies project is restoring a network of limestone grassland sites across the Cotswolds. A second project in Rockingham Forest, Northamptonshire, is restoring and managing woodland to aid the local recovery of vulnerable species and the reintroduction of the Chequered Skipper, which last year become the first previously extinct butterfly to have bred successfully in an English woodland for more than 40 years.

Our Bees’ Needs Champions Awards has recognised a number of councils and community groups from across the Midlands for their own exemplary work to support pollinators.

Our 25 Year Environment Plan marked a step-change in ambition for the natural environment and we are determined to build on these successes.

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/countryside-stewardship-statements-of-priorities

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate her Department has made of the recycling rates in Birmingham in each year since 2015.

Year

Percentage of household waste sent for reuse, recycling or composting by Birmingham City Council

2014/15

26.6%

2015/16:

22.9%

2016/17:

24.4%

2017/18:

20.7%

2018/19

22.0%

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural affairs, what recent steps her Department has taken to support the food and beverage sector in the West Midlands.

The Government works closely with the full spectrum of food and drink businesses across the country to promote growth, jobs, productivity and exports. As elsewhere, we engage with businesses in the West Midlands, both directly and through trade associations and other businesses groups, to support them in their efforts to: address economic challenges; understand and mitigate regulatory and compliance issues and; prepare successfully for EU exit. This includes recent collaboration with Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) such as the Marches LEP, with which the Government has run a number of successful industry events.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has to improve the electric vehicle charging network in the West Midlands.

The Department is committed to ensuring consumers have reliable access to a comprehensive vehicle charging network so that they can easily and conveniently charge their vehicles wherever they live and travel. The Government has committed £1.3 billion to accelerate the roll out of charging infrastructure, targeting support on rapid charge points on motorways and major roads to dash any anxiety around long journeys, and installing more on-street charge points near homes and workplaces to make charging as easy as refuelling a petrol or diesel car.

The On-Street Residential Chargepoint Scheme (ORCS) is available to all UK local authorities and provides public chargepoints for residents without access to private parking. The ORCS has so far delivered 430 chargepoints in the West Midlands with funding in place for a further 73. This year, a further £20 million is available under the scheme to ensure more local authorities and residents can benefit. Government also committed at Spending Review 2020 a further £90 million to fund local EV charging infrastructure, to support the roll out of larger, on-street charging schemes in England.

In addition, the Workplace Charging Scheme, open to small and medium size enterprises and the charity sector has provided another 1,772 sockets with Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme and its predecessors seeing the delivery of another 17,141 domestic chargepoints, across the region.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the economic impact of the Midlands Rail Hub project.

Network Rail submitted the Strategic Outline Business Case (SOBC) for Midlands Rail Hub in August 2019, it was assessed in line with the HMT Green Book and approved by Ministers.

The next stage is the development of the Outline Business Case which is being progressed by Network Rail with input from Midlands Connect, the Department expects to receive initial reports in 2022.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department has plans to roll out flexible ticketing in the East and West Midlands to encourage passengers to use public transport.

We have introduced new flexible season rail tickets across England this year, including the East and West Midlands. Tickets were launched on the 21 June and became available for use on the 28 June.

We are also working with local authorities and the bus and technology sectors on establishing a model for multi-operator bus ticketing and on further developing existing smart card ticketing offers.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with officials in the Department for Health and Social Care on the challenges faced by people who have recently fully recovered from covid-19 who are unable to obtain a negative PCR test as a result of having residual traces of covid-19 in their system despite being no longer infectious.

Guidance on Gov.uk in relation to pre-departure testing to travel to the UK states that, if people have recently recovered from COVID but are no longer infectious, they should use a lateral flow device (LFD) that meets the minimum performance standards. LFD tests have a lower sensitivity than PCR or LAMP tests, so are less likely to return a positive result from a historic infection. All passengers are currently required to take a PCR test on arrival in the UK, so that positive results can be genomically sequenced.

We continue to work across Government to review testing measures in place, with the next checkpoint review taking place shortly.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to improve response times from the Driver and Vehicle Licencing Agency to correspondence from hon. Members.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) aims to answer 95 per cent of hon. Members correspondence within eight working days days. Given the impact of the pandemic and industrial action taking place at DVLA 90% correspondence is being answered within ten working days. The DVLA also offers hon. Members a dedicated phone line for their use. Relevant information is taken during the call and hon. Members receive a call back from a specialist team within three working days.

Additional resource is being utilised in the relevant teams and every effort is being made to direct resource to the most critical work to ensure that customers in the greatest need are dealt with as a priority.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how much funding he has allocated to Birmingham City Council for the repair of potholes in the last 12 months.

Birmingham City Council, as the local highway authority, is responsible for the maintenance of its local road network. Birmingham City Council has a Highways Maintenance Private Finance Initiative project for the comprehensive upgrade and maintenance, over 25 years, of their highway network.

The project commenced operation on 7 June 2010; the Department is providing over £1.2 billion towards the £2.7 billion total cost.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the review published by Public Health England on 2 June 2020 entitled Disparities in the risk and outcomes of covid-19, what steps he is taking to increase protections against covid-19 for (a) taxi drivers and (b) bus drivers in (i) the West Midlands and (ii) the UK.

On 12 May, the Government published guidance for passengers and transport operators to help them keep themselves and their staff safe, including how social distancing rules should be interpreted to do this. The Department is working with transport providers, their representative groups, and local authorities across England as they seek to implement this guidance. This guidance will be kept?up-to-date?as restrictions on travel change.

As the Prime Minister announced on 10 June, the Government will be expanding targeted testing of occupations and groups at higher risk, including those individuals working in front line jobs, which bring them regularly into close contact with the public. This will help us learn more about who is at higher risk and how the virus is spread.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
19th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how much funding his Department has allocated to the West Midlands for projects relating to his Department's cycling and walking investment strategy in the last three years.

Funding for cycling and walking comes from a variety of Government and non-Government sources. Government funding includes ringfenced and non-ringfenced funds. Over the last three years, local authorities in the West Midlands have received a total of approximately £56 million from ringfenced funds including the Cycle City Ambition fund, Bikeability and the Access Fund, and approximately £63 million from non-ringfenced funds including the Local Growth Fund, Transforming Cities Fund and National Productivity Investment Fund. The Department intends to publish further details of the funding that has been made available to local authorities for cycling and walking when it reports to Parliament later in 2020 on the progress that has been made in delivering the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many young people have applied for a Kickstart scheme placement in the Midlands.

Work Coaches refer suitable candidates to available vacancies, statistics on referrals is not currently available.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what additional skills support and training her Department offers to unemployed people in Royal Sutton Coldfield who are aged (a) over 50 years and (b) under 25 years.

Our Plan for Jobs is a Cross-Government initiative that will promote employment opportunities to people of all ages.

Our local jobcentres are now fully reopened and we will provide additional support to claimants by doubling the number of Work Coaches in this financial year. We are expanding our sector-based work academy programme (SWAP), which supports claimants aged 18+ into a wide range of current vacancies through a short period of training and work experience linked to a guaranteed job interview.

We have launched our ambitious Kickstart scheme, which will provide a vital first step on the jobs ladder for many young people. Funding for 6-month Kickstart placements covers the relevant National Minimum Wage rate for 25 hours a week, the associated employer National Insurance contributions, and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions, as well as £1500 of employability support.

Nine Small and Medium Employers in Sutton Coldfield are interested in taking part in the Kickstart Scheme. Each have under 30 vacancies to offer and we are waiting for intermediaries to be appointed, who will then make applications on their behalf via Gov.uk.

Jobcentre Plus Older Claimants Champions work with Work Coaches to deliver Jobcentre Plus’ commitment to support older people to find work and stay in work. Champions liaise with employers and providers to promote and raise the profile and benefits of employing older workers.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking with employers to help ensure as many young people as possible in Royal Sutton Coldfield benefit from the Kickstart scheme.

Jobcentre Plus staff are meeting employers and organisations in their area to promote Kickstart and encourage participation with the scheme.

Officials have also engaged with representatives from the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership to engage with their networks of local employers and organisations.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to offer tailored support to help unemployed people back into work in Sutton Coldfield constituency.

We are providing £1.2 billion to enhance work search support service in Great Britain which includes doubling the number of frontline Work Coaches in Jobcentre Plus before the end of the financial year. We are also increasing the flexible support fund which includes extending the Rapid Response Service, tripling the number of Sector-based Work Academy Placements in England, and expanding the work and health programme to deliver Job Entry: Targeted Support. Further, the Job finding support service will provide tailored one-to-one job finding support to the recently unemployed.

The Department is working closely with other government departments, external organisations and local partners to support people into work. The Kickstart scheme was recently announced to help young people aged 16-24 find 6-month work places and in Sutton Coldfield there are 9 Small and Medium Employers have expressed an interested in taking part in the Kickstart Scheme. We urge all those wishing to get involved to visit gov.uk.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to reduce the waiting time for people with Parkinson’s disease to receive personal independence payments.

There are no specific claim processes designed for individual health conditions such as Parkinson’s Disease. This is because PIP claims are assessed on the basis of individual functional need rather than health condition. We actively manage and review our PIP claim processes to ensure claims are assessed and paid as quickly and accurately as possible. Normal rules new claims are currently being dealt with in an average of 14 weeks from registration to initial decision. There is also a fast-track process for any claimants with a terminal illness.

23rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 22 September 2021 to Question 49038 on NHS: Coronavirus, what plans he has to make an assessment of the effect on NHS frontline staffing levels of the advice that from 28 weeks all NHS staff who are pregnant should work from home and if that is not possible take sick leave or be suspended on full pay; and if he will remove that provision in response to the ending of shielding guidance.

There are currently no plans to do so. However, the Department is currently reviewing the guidance ‘Coronavirus (COVID-19): advice for pregnant employees’.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the effect on NHS frontline staffing levels of the advice that from 28 weeks all NHS staff who are pregnant should work from home and if that is not possible take sick leave or be suspended on full pay.

The Department has made no such assessment.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to publish on a six-monthly basis the value for money calculations made on the additional health and social care expenditure for which money has been raised through the 1.25 per cent Health and Social Care Levy announced on 7 September 2021.

We have no plans to do so. HM Treasury and the Department will continue to scrutinise spending to ensure good value outcomes. Health and social care spending will also continue to be subject to scrutiny by the National Audit Office and through the Health and Social Care Select Committee and Public Accounts Committee.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to publish on a six-monthly basis the additional results achieved by the NHS through expenditure raised by the 1.25 per cent Health and Social Care Levy announced on 7 September 2021.

We will publish the delivery plan for tackling the electives backlog later this year.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to improve departmental response times to correspondence from hon. Members.

In 2020 the Department received 31,509 cases from hon. Members compared to 10,467 in 2019; the increase was overwhelmingly due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

We have taken steps to improve efficiency through the end-to-end correspondence process and have doubled the number of staff in the Department’s correspondence unit temporarily to cope with the extra demand.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent steps his Department has taken to improve the training GPs and other medical professionals receive on the treatment of perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms.

Each medical school in the England sets its own undergraduate curriculum which must meet the standards set by the General Medical Council (GMC) in its Outcomes for Graduates. The GMC updated the Outcomes for Graduates in 2018, following extensive engagement and consultation with medical education experts. The GMC would expect that, in fulfilling these standards, newly qualified doctors are able to identify, treat and manage any care needs a person has, including the menopause and perimenopause.

The training curricula for postgraduate trainee doctors is set by the relevant Royal College and must also meet the standards set by the GMC. The perimenopause and menopause are included in the curriculum set by the Royal College of General Practitioners and emphasised in the College’s clinical topic guides, which supplement the curriculum.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent steps the Department has taken to reduce the average waiting time was for accessing NHS mental health services in the West Midlands.

In the West Midlands, the Birmingham and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has received additional funding for mental health services during 2021/22. National planning guidance sets out the deliverables which are expected will be achieved with this funding and some of these relate to further improving access and reducing waiting times for patients.

Birmingham and Solihull CCG have undertaken modelling work to help understand and plan for an increase in demand for services to ensure that waiting times are maintained or improved.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking in the West Midlands to ensure that the backlog for cancer treatment is prioritised.

Cancer treatments in the West Midlands have continued throughout the pandemic with little reduction in capacity for chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments. Work is now ongoing to prioritise surgery and diagnostic procedures, including additional endoscopy resource, further development of rapid diagnostic centres and implementation of community diagnostic hubs. The implementation of breast pain pathways should reduce demand on cancer services and help focus capacity on where it is needed. The elective recovery programme is underway and is focussing on the reduction of backlogs in the highest priority categories of patients, which includes cancer patients.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent steps he has taken to help reduce waiting times for cancer screening and testing in Sutton Coldfield.

In Sutton Coldfield the bowel screening programme has increased colonoscopy capacity and the provider is currently sending invitations at 150% of weekly rates compared with before the pandemic. The cervical screening programme has also increased its invitation rate, with normal service expected to be resumed by May 2021. For breast screening a new mobile screening unit will be available within the next month, allowing an additional 720 women to be screened per month.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to improve mental health support to reduce levels of suicide in (a) Sutton Coldfield and (b) the West Midlands.

In January 2019, we published the first Cross-Government Suicide Prevention Workplan. It will see every local authority, mental health trust and prison in the country implementing suicide prevention policies. Every local authority now has a multi-agency suicide prevention plan in place and we are working with local government to assure the effectiveness of those plans.

Coventry and Warwickshire sustainability and transformation partnership (STP), which includes Sutton Coldfield, has received £352,000 in 2018/19, £352,000 in 2019/20 and £185,304 in 2020/21 for suicide prevention.

In 2020/21, Birmingham and Solihull STP received £252,595 for suicide prevention, Black Country and West Birmingham STP received £280,078, Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent STP received £300,000 and Herefordshire and Worcestershire STP received £152,187.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of exempting (a) golf clubs, (b) tennis clubs and (c) other outdoor sports facilities from the January 2021 covid-19 lockdown restrictions in England.

We have introduced national restrictions to reduce social contact to suppress the spread of the virus across England. It is therefore necessary for sports facilities, such as golf clubs, tennis clubs, to close. Whilst these facilities are closed, it remains important for wellbeing to be able to exercise and enjoy outdoor recreation safely, therefore individuals can continue to do this in public outdoor places under the new restrictions.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many doses of a covid-19 vaccine had been received by people in Sutton Coldfield constituency on the most recent date for which information is available.

NHS England and NHS Improvement publishes weekly data on vaccination totals, including by constituency, at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/covid-19-vaccinations/

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that everyone on the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation priority list is able to access covid-19 vaccines promptly in Sutton Coldfield constituency.

Work has taken place to ensure we have the logistical expertise, transport and workforce to roll out a vaccine according to clinical priority, at the speed at which it can be manufactured. The phased vaccination programme, which began on 8 December 2020, will be expanded over the coming weeks and months so that by the end of January, everyone will live within 10 miles of a vaccination centre. In a small number of highly rural areas, the vaccination centre will be a mobile unit.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps hospitals are taking before they discharge covid-19-positive patients into the nursing sector.

We are working with the Care Quality Commission and the National Health Service to ensure anyone who is likely to be infectious with COVID-19 is discharged to a designated care setting to complete a period of isolation before moving to a care home. These settings must meet a set of agreed standards to provide safe care for COVID-19 positive residents. This is to further support safe and timely discharge and protect care home residents and staff from COVID-19.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to increase the availability of covid-19 testing in Sutton Coldfield constituency.

There are two Regional Test Sites within 15 miles of Sutton Coldfield: Birmingham Airport and Kelvin Way as well as six Local Test Sites: 60 Villa Street, Mountford Lane Car Park, South Parade Car Park, Birmingham University South Gate Car Park, Saltley Wellbeing Centre Car Park and Summerfield Community Sports Centre Car Park. These sites form part of the extending national network, a total of over 500 by the end of October.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to increase the availability of covid-19 testing for (a) care home staff and (b) care home residents in the West Midlands.

Since the launch of whole care home testing, we have provided over 8 million test kits to over 17,000 care homes in the United Kingdom. We started rolling out regular retesting for residents and staff of care homes for over 65s and dementia from 6 July. This included weekly testing for staff, and every 28 days for residents. Each care home received enough test kits for a month. We are continuing to prioritise care home testing and we are issuing more than 100,000 tests a day to care homes across the country. We have met our 7 September target of providing testing kits to all care homes for older people and people with dementia who have registered for regular retesting kits. In addition, all other care homes have been able to place orders for test kits from 31 August. Since they were eligible to apply for regular repeat testing on 31 August, 4,576 specialist homes in England have applied for tests. Where an outbreak has been identified, we test all staff and residents as a priority, with all those who test negative being tested again four to seven days later.

We have continued to look for options that can reduce delays, such as encouraging care homes to carry out testing throughout the whole week, especially on weekends where this is possible. This will enable us to increase the amount of testing we can do and make full use of the available lab capacity.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to increase the availability of covid-19 testing for health professionals in the West Midlands.

All National Health Service staff are eligible for priority testing for COVID-19. For NHS staff access to testing is provided through pillar 1 testing and there is capacity within trusts to ensure staff can get tested. A number of tests are reserved for essential workers, including NHS workers, and they can book a visit to a test site, or order a home test kit if they cannot get to a site, through GOV.UK at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/apply-coronavirus-test-essential-workers

Essential workers can order five test kits for themselves and other symptomatic members of their households. However, for households of more than five the 119 contact centre raise on order on their behalf. A list of essential workers and those who are prioritised for COVID-19 tests is available at GOV.UK at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-getting-tested

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
14th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Education on the effect of local covid-19 restrictions on healthcare workers that rely on childcare provided by extended family members.

The Government is aware of the sacrifices that people in local lockdown are making and the important role key workers are making for our economy. We introduced childcare bubbles in areas where local COVID-19 restrictions are in place, to allow families to share caring responsibilities with another household for children under 14.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have worked with NHS Employers and Department for Education colleagues to publish guidance for National Health Service organisations during COVID-19 in respect to childcare. This guidance encourages employers to be as flexible as possible to support staff with childcare (and caring) responsibilities, utilising their existing local policies. The guidance is available on NHS Employers website at the following link:

www.nhsemployers.org/covid19/health-safety-and-wellbeing/supporting-staff-with-childcare-responsibilities

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish covid-19 testing data by postcode; and when he will be able to begin publishing that data.

Data on tests, cases, healthcare and deaths are published daily at 4pm. Positive cases and deaths are at upper tier local authority level.

Record level test and case data (including sex, age, occupation and postcode) is available to all upper tier local authorities who sign data sharing agreements. All now have access.

We are continuing to improve our regular publishing of localised COVID-19 data.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent progress his Department has made on achieving parity of esteem for mental and physical health.

We have committed at least a further £2.3 billion a year to mental health services by 2023/24, which will see spending for mental health services growing faster than the overall National Health Service budget.

For the first time, in 2018/19, all clinical commissioning groups increased the amount spent on mental health by at least as much as their overall budget increases.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of mental health care provision for transgender people in the West Midands.

Advancing mental health equalities, is a priority outlined in the Mental Health Implementation Plan 2019/20 to 2023/24. All local health systems are expected to set out how they will specifically reduce health inequalities by 2023/24.

Local clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) are responsible for commissioning health services which meet the needs of their communities. The majority of CCGs in the West Midlands are part of the Rainbow Badge initiative and actively encourage partners to engage as non-judgemental and inclusive places for people that identify as LGBTQ+. The CCGs are working with general practitioner practices and other partners, to ensure that people who identify as LGBTQ+ feel safe and supported when seeking out general medical care, including mental health support.

All providers and commissioners in the West Midlands are committed to undertaking Equality Impact Assessments as part of the service redesign and planning process. CCGs make decisions within a formal commissioning cycle that includes population needs analysis and public engagement.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure equality in (a) diagnosis and (b) treatment of mental health problems among the LGBT+ community.

Advancing mental health equalities is a priority outlined in the Mental Health Implementation Plan 2019/20 to 2023/24. All local health systems are expected to set out how they will specifically reduce health inequalities by 2023/24.

To support local Sustainability and Transformation Partnership and Integrated Care System areas in addressing inequalities in access and outcomes for groups with protected characteristics, including LGBTQ+ communities, within their plans, NHS England and NHS Improvement commissioned the Advancing Mental Health Equalities Resource. The resource is a guide for local commissioners and providers to identify and address inequalities in mental health care and is available at the following link:

https://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/docs/default-source/improving-care/nccmh/amhe/amhe-resource.pdf

The NHS Long Term Plan also set out a commitment that local Mental Health Support Teams which will be working with children and young people in schools and colleges will be trained to support the mental health needs of LGBTQ+ people.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the (a) availability and (b) average waiting times for therapeutic services for mental health conditions in Sutton Coldfield.

Birmingham and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which covers the Sutton Coldfield area, reports that waiting times for Improving Access to Psychological Therapies services remain above the national target for access. In quarter four of 2019/20 (the most recent published figures), across the CCG’s area, 94% of people received support within six weeks, against a national standard of 75%.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent steps his Department has taken to improve the provision of mental health support for young people who identify as transgender.

Our NHS Long Term Plan ambitions for service transformation and expansion include that, by 2023/24, an additional 345,000 more children and young people should have access to National Health Service funded mental health support. This includes for young people who identify as transgender.

The mental health support teams in and around schools, which we introduced through our children and young people’s mental health Green Paper, are part of this service expansion and transformation. As set out in the Plan, mental health support teams will receive information and training to help them support young people more likely to face mental health issues – such as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender individuals.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to improve access to mental health services in (a) primary and (b) secondary schools.

We remain committed to investing at least £2.3 billion of extra funding a year into mental health services by 2023-24 through the NHS Long Term Plan. This will see an additional 345,000 children and young people able to access support through National Health Service-funded services or school- and college-based mental health support teams.

Mental health support teams, which we are introducing in line with our children and young people’s mental health Green Paper, are part of this service expansion and transformation. We remain committed to delivering the other core proposals of the Green Paper, which will pilot a four-week waiting time for specialist NHS services, so that there is swifter access to specialist NHS services.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the report published by Public Health England on 2 June 2020 entitled Disparities in the risk and outcomes of covid-19, what steps he is taking to increase protections for BAME communities against covid-19.

The Minister for Equalities is working with the Race Disparity Unit and the Department for Health and Social Care to carry forward work to better understand the key drivers of the disparities outlined in the Public Health England report and the relationship between the risk factors. The terms of reference for this work were announced by the Minister on 4 June.

The terms of reference for this work can be accessed from the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/next-steps-for-work-on-covid-19-disparities-announced

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Disparities in the risk and outcomes of covid-19 review, what steps he is taking to increase protections against covid-19 for BAME healthcare workers in the West Midlands.

All National Health Service organisations will continue to make appropriate arrangements to support their black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) staff. NHS Employers updated its guidance on risk assessments on 28 May, advising organisations to consider issues such as pregnancy, disability, age and ethnicity.

NHS England and NHS Improvement Midlands are also linking with BAME networks to ensure that BAME staff have a voice and can raise their concerns. These concerns have been fed back to Human Resources Directors across the Midlands.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the review published by Public Health England on 2 June 2020 entitled Disparities in the risk and outcomes of covid-19, what steps he is taking to increase protections against covid-19 for BAME care home workers.

The Department is working with Skills for Care, and partners across the sector to understand the recent research findings, including that published by Public Health England, which have identified a range of characteristics, including ethnicity, which have been associated with an increased risk of adverse outcomes due to COVID-19. We are working with partners to respond to these findings, considering the most helpful approach for the sector.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to introduce covid-19 testing for patients prior to hospital outpatient appointments.

An operating framework has been published on NHS England’s website which advises on management of urgent and planned services within hospital. In the case of day interventions, testing and isolation is determined locally, based on patient and procedural risk. The framework is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-content/uploads/sites/52/2020/05/Operating-framework-for-urgent-and-planned-services-within-hospitals.pdf

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent steps his Department has taken to reduce waiting times for hospital appointments for mental health patients in Sutton Coldfield constituency.

We have committed at least a further £2.3 billion a year to mental health services by 2023/24, and, through the NHS Long Term Plan, the National Health Service commits to testing and rolling out waiting time standards for adults in selected areas.

In line with the aims of the Plan, Birmingham and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group is:

- Putting in place specialist perinatal mental health teams;

- Increasing access to psychological therapies for depression and anxiety;

- Placing mental health professionals in general practitioner (GP) practices; and

- Opening crisis cafes to support people in a mental health crisis.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent steps his Department has taken to reduce waiting times for NHS hospital appointments for cancer patients in Sutton Coldfield constituency.

There is an ongoing improvement programme focussing on the main cancer waiting time standards and pathways across Birmingham and Solihull. This, along with a number of initiatives funded by the West Midlands Cancer Alliance and transformation funding, aims to improve waiting times and patient experience and includes:

- introduction of the Faecal Immunochemical Test for bowel cancer screening; and

- implementation of a vague symptom pathway through a Rapid Diagnostic Centre.

Weekly oversight and assurance meetings are led by the Chief Operating Officer of University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust with all specialities attending. NHS Birmingham and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group continues to meet with the Trust each month to explore all avenues, including developing a trajectory for improving performance and waiting times.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to recruit more nurses in the West Midlands.

The Government will deliver 50,000 more nurses in the National Health Service in England. The Government has not set targets specific areas of the country. It is for individual employers to determine their workforce recruitment plans based on their local service needs.

The Government has already taken steps to deliver this national nursing commitment through providing a new financial support package. Eligible pre-registration nursing students will benefit from at least £5,000 per academic year which they will not need to pay back. This new grant will mean students have access to more money than under previous education funding systems and will encourage more people to apply, accept places and complete their courses.

A significant part of securing the future workforce, including nurses, will be through ensuring the NHS is the best place to work. A ‘new offer’ for all NHS staff will be released alongside the final NHS People Plan, which will detail the support that they can expect to receive from their employer.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent steps his Department has taken to raise awareness of the symptoms of pancreatic cancer.

In 2017, Public Health England (PHE) ran a pilot campaign in the East and West Midlands. The pilot focused on a range of abdominal symptoms, such as diarrhoea, bloating and discomfort that can be indicative of a number of cancers, including pancreatic cancer. Further information on the pilot is available at the following link:

https://campaignresources.phe.gov.uk/resources/campaigns/16-be-clear-on-cancer/Abdominal%20Symptoms%20Regional%20Pilot

PHE has run a number of ‘Be Clear on Cancer’ campaigns to help improve early detection of cancer. A number of factors are taken into account when deciding which campaigns to develop and run, with one of the main criteria being the scope to save lives through earlier diagnosis. This can only be effective through broad awareness campaigns if the cancer has a clear sign or symptom that the general public can act upon should it arise.

PHE is currently undertaking new data analysis and research to determine the future direction of Be Clear on Cancer activity.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure Parkinson's disease patients receive medication on time while in hospital.

National Health Service providers have worked hard to implement National Institute for Health and Care Excellence CE Quality Standard (QS164), published in February 2018, which recognises the importance of patients getting Parkinson’s disease medicines on time to prevent harmful effects on their health whether they are in a hospital or a care home.

Many hospitals have worked closely with Parkinson’s UK as part of its ‘Get it on time’ campaign, which aims to ensure that clinical staff in both hospitals and care homes understand the importance of timely availability of these medicines.

NHS England and NHS Improvement published further guidance in August 2019, in partnership with charities such as Parkinson’s UK, to help local NHS staff take practical steps to improve the care for patients with progressive neurological conditions. A copy of the guidance can be found at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/rightcare/wp-content/uploads/sites/40/2019/08/progressive-neuro-toolkit.pdf

We recognise that patients with Parkinson’s disease and other neurological conditions are among the most vulnerable in our society, and all parts of the NHS strive to provide them with the best care possible.

22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with his Spanish counterpart on the challenges faced in obtaining entry to Spain by some people who have recently recovered from covid-19 and still have residual traces of that disease in their system and who, despite being no longer infectious, cannot obtain a negative PCR test result.

The FCDO is in regular contact with the Spanish authorities about their COVID-19 entry requirements, and to ensure that any changes are reflected in our Travel Advice. If a traveller has proof of vaccination, the Spanish Government does not require a negative COVID-19 test for entry from the UK. Only arrivals to Spain from the UK (aged 12 years and older) who do not have proof of vaccination must present on entry a negative COVID-19 test. Spain is responsible for setting its entry requirements to protect public health. As stated on our Travel Advice, certificates of recovery are not currently accepted for arrivals to Spain from the UK.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the COP Presidency paper entitled Priorities for Public Climate Finance in the Year Ahead, published January 2021, whether his Department is planning to changing climate funding mechanisms to encourage adaptation and resilience programmes that remove barriers to family planning and girls’ education.

Coping with climate change is a challenge that faces us all. The poor in developing countries are likely to be hit first and hardest. Our International Climate Finance (ICF) reaches those most in need and we are committed to doubling our ICF to £11.6bn over the next five years. In our adaptation programming we prioritise locally-led action with a strong grounding in the local context and needs, targeting marginalised groups.

We do not need to change climate funding mechanisms to ensure that, through quality education, more girls are empowered and equipped as agents of change. Voluntary family planning programmes empower women and girls to choose whether and when to have children - this in turn supports the health, prosperity and resilience of their communities and countries.

12th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions his Department has had with the Eritrean Government on using their ports for humanitarian supplies to be transported to Tigray in Ethiopia.

The UK Government is deeply concerned about the grave humanitarian situation in Ethiopia and shares the concerns outlined in the report on 24 June by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Ensuring assistance gets to those who need it most remains our priority in Tigray. We continue to explore all options with partners to expand humanitarian access by both air and land. We have not discussed access for humanitarian supplies with the Government of Eritrea given the destabilising role their forces continue to play in the conflict . We are focussed on securing the complete, immediate and verifiable withdrawal of all Eritrean troops from Tigray in order to help humanitarian relief efforts.

On 14 June I [Minister Duddridge] announced that the UK will allocate a further £16.7 million to the crisis in Tigray. This will support civil-military coordination to help aid get to those in need and address famine risk through the provision of healthcare, sanitation, and nutritional support. This allocation is on top of the existing £27 million in 2020-21 already directed to the response, and an additional £4 million allocated to support nutrition and vaccinations in Tigray. This brings UK total funding to support response to the crisis to £47.7 million. We continue to urge all parties to the conflict to protect civilians and respect international humanitarian law.

12th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with his Sudanese counterpart on the viability of transporting aid through Sudan to the Tigray region of Ethiopia.

The UK Government is deeply concerned about the grave humanitarian situation in Ethiopia and shares the concerns outlined in the report on 24 June by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Ensuring assistance gets to those who need it most remains our priority in Tigray. We continue to explore all options with partners to expand humanitarian access by both air and land. During his visit to Sudan the Foreign Secretary commended Sudan's leaders for their efforts to press for a peaceful resolution to the situation in Tigray and for their support for refugees entering Sudan from Ethiopia. There is currently no viable land route from Sudan into Tigray due to ongoing fighting in Western Tigray although we continue to monitor the logistical and political viability of this route and are engaging the Government of Sudan to support any route that becomes available.

On 14 June I [Minister Duddridge] announced that the UK will allocate a further £16.7 million to the crisis in Tigray. This will support civil-military coordination to help aid get to those in need and address famine risk through the provision of healthcare, sanitation, and nutritional support. This allocation is on top of the existing £27 million in 2020-21 already directed to the response, and an additional £4 million allocated to support nutrition and vaccinations in Tigray. This brings UK total funding to support response to the crisis to £47.7 million. We continue to urge all parties to the conflict to protect civilians and respect international humanitarian law.

12th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Defence on the potential merits of deploying RAF coordinated airdrops of food and other essentials into the Tigray Region in Ethiopia.

The UK Government is deeply concerned about the grave humanitarian situation in Ethiopia and shares the concerns outlined in the report on 24 June by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Ensuring assistance gets to those who need it most remains our priority in Tigray. We continue to explore all options with partners to expand humanitarian access by both air and land including the possibility of air bridges into Tigray. At this point the FCDO assess that airdrops would not be a viable response to the current situation.

On 14 June I [Minister Duddridge] announced that the UK will allocate a further £16.7 million to the crisis in Tigray. This will support civil-military coordination to help aid get to those in need and address famine risk through the provision of healthcare, sanitation, and nutritional support. This allocation is on top of the existing £27 million in 2020-21 already directed to the response, and an additional £4 million allocated to support nutrition and vaccinations in Tigray. This brings UK total funding to support response to the crisis to £47.7 million. We continue to urge all parties to the conflict to protect civilians and respect international humanitarian law.

1st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the letter to the President of COP26 of 30 June 2021 from 66 organisations in the human and environmental health sector, if the Government will take steps to adapt UK Government supported climate funding mechanisms to encourage climate adaptation and resilience building programmes that remove barriers to family planning and girls’ education.

Voluntary family planning and girls' education have wide-ranging benefits for individuals and societies, including supporting their adaptive capacity and resilience to climate change. The UK is fulfilling our pledge to provide £5.8 billion in international climate finance (ICF) to developing countries, and we are committed to doubling our ICF to £11.6 billion over the next five years. Our recently published COP Presidency paper 'Priorities for Public Climate Finance' sets out gender-responsive climate finance as a UK priority, which we are championing as COP26 Presidency and through the G7.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations his Department has made to the Monaco Authorities on the potential conducting of virtual or online proceedings relating to the whistleblower Jonathan Taylor’s case.

As set out in the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, we cannot interfere in the internal affairs of other countries, or bypass their laws, just as we would not accept similar interference here. The FCDO cannot seek to interfere in Monegasque court processes. Any concerns about the way in which Mr Taylor might be able to give evidence are a matter for the Monegasque legal system and Mr Taylor's lawyers. As part of our consular assistance to British nationals overseas we can raise concerns about individuals on diplomatic channels. I raised Mr Taylor's case with the Monegasque Foreign Secretary on 13 November 2020 to seek assurances that he would be treated fairly. Monaco provided direct assurances to Croatia in January.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations he has made to the (a) French and (b) Monegasque Governments about the extradition of whistleblower Jonathan Taylor in relation to the European Convention on Extradition 1957.

As set out in the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, we cannot interfere in the internal affairs of other countries, or bypass their laws, just as we would not accept similar interference here. The FCDO cannot seek to interfere in Monegasque court processes. Any concerns about the way in which Mr Taylor might be able to give evidence are a matter for the Monegasque legal system and Mr Taylor's lawyers. As part of our consular assistance to British nationals overseas we can raise concerns about individuals on diplomatic channels. I raised Mr Taylor's case with the Monegasque Foreign Secretary on 13 November 2020 to seek assurances that he would be treated fairly. Monaco provided direct assurances to Croatia in January.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent support his Department and the UK consulate in Croatia have provided to whistleblower Jonathan Taylor.

I raised Mr Taylor's case with the Monegasque Foreign Secretary and the Croatian State Secretary for European Affairs on 13 November 2020 and sought assurances that both authorities would treat Mr Taylor fairly. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) officials are providing ongoing consular support to Mr Taylor. Consular officials continue to seek updates from the Croatian courts. In December 2020, the British Ambassador in Zagreb met Mr Taylor to discuss his concerns and explain how the FCDO could assist him, and the Acting Deputy Head of Mission spoke to Mr Taylor on 10 March.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, how much funding was spent in Africa on (a) family planning and (b) reproductive health programmes by the former Department for International Development in (i) 2015, (ii) 2016, (iii) 2017, (iv) 2018, (v) 2019 and (vi) 2020.

The table below provides total bilateral Official Development Assistance (ODA) spend by former Department for International Development in Africa on family planning and reproductive health between 2015 and 2019.

£Millions

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

Family planning

38.7

26.7

76.3

111.0

183.4

Reproductive health care

96.4

146.7

124.4

121.9

105.0

Source: Statistics on International Development: Final UK Aid spend 2019

In the Autumn, FCDO will publish "Statistics on International Development: Final UK Aid Spend 2020". This publication will contain detailed breakdowns including finalised UK bilateral ODA by sector.

15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether his Department has plans to maintain the same level of spending on family planning beyond 2022 as previously committed to by the Department for International Development as part of FP2020.

An estimated 218 million women of reproductive age (15-49) in low and middle income countries want to avoid or delay pregnancy but for a range of reasons are not currently using modern contraception. That is why the UK is a major stakeholder in the FP2020 global partnership and its follow-on partnership, FP2030.

The UK is proud to advance universal access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and rights, including access to modern family planning methods in the world's poorest countries. Between 2019-2020 alone, UK aid helped over 25 million women and girls use modern methods of contraception. We are working through the implications of the ODA reductions for individual programmes and activities. No decisions on individual country or sectoral budgets have been made yet.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether his Department has plans to continue until 2022 with the five-year family planning spending commitments made in 2017 to FP2020, shortly to be renamed FP2030.

An estimated 218 million women of reproductive age (15-49) in low and middle income countries want to avoid or delay pregnancy but for a range of reasons are not currently using modern contraception. That is why the UK is a major stakeholder in the FP2020 global partnership and its follow-on partnership, FP2030.

The UK is proud to advance universal access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and rights, including access to modern family planning methods in the world's poorest countries. Between 2019-2020 alone, UK aid helped over 25 million women and girls use modern methods of contraception. We are working through the implications of the ODA reductions for individual programmes and activities. No decisions on individual country or sectoral budgets have been made yet.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, which Department will incur the cost of the donation of the UK’s surplus covid-19 vaccine doses to COVAX.

The Prime Minister has confirmed that the UK will share the majority of any surplus COVID-19 vaccines with the COVAX international vaccine procurement pool. As the multilateral facility responsible for ensuring global equitable access to vaccines, COVAX is best able to distribute vaccines where they are needed most.

Our current priorities are ensuring the safety of the UK population, and supporting COVAX as it starts distributing vaccines to the most vulnerable populations around the world. We will set out more details on funding mechanisms in due course.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 1 March 2021 to Question 155190 on the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission, whether the UN Food and Agriculture Commission has accepted the UK application for membership of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission as a coastal state; and what assessment he has made of the positions taken in relation to the UK’s claim to act as a coastal state by the UN General Assembly, International Court of Justice and the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.

The UK deposited an instrument of accession to the Agreement for the Establishment of the Indian Ocean Commission Tuna Commission (IOTC) with the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) on 14 December 2020. The Agreement entered into force for the United Kingdom on 22 December 2020 as confirmed by IOTC Circular 2021-02 on 7 January (https://tinyurl.com/vvthj86k) and by the FAO on 14 January (https://tinyurl.com/vp3vrbad).

The UK is aware of the judgment delivered on 28 January by the Special Chamber of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. This judgement was formed to deal with the dispute concerning delimitation of a maritime boundary claimed by Mauritius to exist between Mauritius and Maldives in the Indian Ocean. The UK is not a party to these proceedings, which can have no effect for the UK or for maritime delimitation between the UK (in respect of the British Indian Ocean Territory) and the Republic of the Maldives. The International Court of Justice's opinion on the Chagos Archipelago is advisory and not legally binding. The UK voted against General Assembly resolution 73/295 and we remain firmly of the view that the International Court of Justice and General Assembly are not the appropriate fora for resolving what is fundamentally a bilateral matter of disputed sovereignty between two UN member states. The resolution is non-binding.

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 8 February 2021 to Question 148829 on British Indian Ocean Territory, what his policy is on the application to the UK of the principles and rules (a) of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and (b) referenced in the UK Note Verbale (UK NV No 162/20), dated 16 September 2020, to the United Nations.

The United Kingdom is fully committed to upholding the rules of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and securing the implementation of its rights and obligations. This commitment was reaffirmed in our statement to the UN General Assembly on the adoption of the UNGA Resolution (A/RES/75/239) on the oceans and law of the sea on 8 December 2020. The Government has placed a paper setting out our legal position on the issues in the South China Sea in the Libraries of both Houses of Parliament and we reaffirmed our position in a Note Verbale (UK NV No 162/20) to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf on 16 September 2020.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
11th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, when he will publish the Order in Council in relation to public registers of beneficial ownership of companies registered in British Overseas Territories.

On 14 December the Government published a draft Order in Council which has been prepared under Section 51 of the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/overseas-territories-adopting-publicly-accessible-registers-of-beneficial-ownership

The draft Order sets minimum requirements for what the UK Government expects of publicly accessible registers of company beneficial ownership in the Overseas Territories. This includes the form that the register must take and that the information that must be made available such that it would be broadly equivalent to that available in accordance with the provisions of Part 21 A of the UK Companies Act 2006.

All of the inhabited Overseas Territories have now committed to adopt public accessible registers, and as such are showing that they are responsible jurisdictions and a collaborative partner to the UK. This is also evident from the cooperation the UK gets from the Overseas Territories via the Exchange of Notes Arrangements, where confidential information on company beneficial ownership and tax information is shared with UK law enforcement bodies in real time.

The draft Order has been published on Gov.uk with an accompanying note, and a Written Ministerial Statement was laid on 14 December. The Government is now helping the Overseas Territories to implement the policy; on the technical aspects we already held workshops and have secured the support of Open Ownership, and we are helping others with the procurement of their registers.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
2nd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, how much his Department has spent on tackling malnutrition and starvation in the developing world in each of the last five years; and what his Department's budget will be to tackle malnutrition and starvation in each of the next three years.

According to independent analysis, the department spent £667 million in 2015, £629 million in 2016, £693 million in 2017 and £699 million in 2018 on programmes to address the direct and underlying causes of malnutrition. Analysis of our 2019 spend will be published in June 2021 when data is available publicly through the OECD DAC Creditor Reporting System.

The department spent £308 million in 2015, £338 million in 2016, £365 million in 2017, £349 million in 2018 and £395 million in 2019 specifically on food assistance and food security programming.

In September 2020, the Foreign Secretary announced a £119 million package of support to combat famine and acute hunger. This includes a new 5-year partnership with UNICEF to improve prevention and treatment of acute malnutrition.

Addressing malnutrition and acute food insecurity remain important for our objectives on global health and humanitarian preparedness and response. The Department is beginning a rigorous internal prioritisation process in response to the spending review announcement and we will update on this in due course.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what the timetable is for the scope of the Magnitsky regime to be extended to encompass corruption abuses; and if he will make a statement.

On 6 July the UK Government established the Global Human Rights ('Magnitsky') sanctions regime by laying regulations in Parliament under the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018. This sanctions regime enables the UK to hold to account those involved in serious human rights violations or abuses.

As the Foreign Secretary announced to the House, work is underway to consider how a corruption regime could be added to our armoury. Sanctions are powerful tools, capable of having a significant impact, and complex to design. We are taking the time to ensure we get them right.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, for what reasons his Department has declined to refer to the genocide in Rwanda in 1992 as being perpetrated against Tutsis.

The UK Government remains committed to supporting Rwanda's recovery from the genocide in 1994, including holding perpetrators to account. We recognise the genocide was committed against the Tutsi and condemn any genocide denial. However we believe it is also important to recognise all victims during the period of the genocide in 1994, during which tens of thousands of Hutus and others were also killed.

19th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps his Department has taken to support the investigation into the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia on 16 October 2017.

​The United Kingdom has made very clear its condemnation of the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia and that all those responsible must be held to account. We remain closely engaged with the Maltese authorities and our international partners concerning this murder.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent assessment he has made of the level of need for Government support during summer 2021 for businesses in the travel agency industry that are affected by covid-19 travel restrictions.

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

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

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

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
19th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department plan to take during the G7 Presidency to work with international partners to ensure that private creditors participate in multilateral debt restructuring agreements for developing countries in the context of the Common Framework.

We regularly work with our international partners in the G7, G20 and Paris Club on debt issues, including private sector participation in debt restructurings. We also engage directly with the private sector, including through the Institute of International Finance.

Support for Low-Income Developing Countries is a key priority for the UK’s G7 presidency this year and we have made clear our expectation that the private sector will offer debt treatment on at least as favourable terms as the official sector under the Common Framework agreed by the G20 last November.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to regulate company formation agents.

Company formation service providers are regulated entities under the UK’s Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017. The Regulations set out the high-level requirements on regulated firms to combat money laundering and ensure that key professionals identify their customers, understand the purpose behind transactions including the source of funds and have policies, controls and procedures in place to mitigate against the risks of money laundering and terrorism financing they face.

As a regulated entity under the Regulations, company formation service providers must be registered with an anti-money laundering supervisor. Anti-money laundering supervisors must effectively monitor the compliance of regulated entities they supervise. In December 2018, the Financial Action Task Force, the global standard-setter for anti-money laundering and counter terrorism financing (AML/CTF), published its Mutual Evaluation Report of the United Kingdom. It recognised that the UK’s AML/CTF regime is the strongest of over sixty countries assessed by FATF and its regional bodies to date.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
6th Feb 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what fiscal steps he is taking to grow the digital economy in the Midlands.

The government is committed to making the UK the best place to start and grow a digital business, and to ensuring the benefits of digital are felt across the country.

The Midlands is well-placed to make the most of the digital revolution, with its leading universities and strengths in advanced manufacturing and engineering. It is already home to more than 20,000 digital technology businesses.

We are driving further growth in the region’s digital economy through:

  • The £250m Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF), which enables effective collaboration between lenders, local bodies and the British Business Bank to help local firms access the investment they need to thrive. The MEIF complements other British Business Bank programmes to give small and medium-sized businesses increased flexibility in the types of funding available to them.
  • A Skills deal with West Midlands Combined Authority, which will unlock up to £69m to boost digital and technical skills, job opportunities and productivity across the region.
  • Committing over £20m for large-scale testing of new 5G applications in urban areas across the West Midlands, helping local people and businesses to benefit from new digital technologies. This builds on the £4.8m invested in the 5G testbed in Worcestershire, putting the Midlands at the forefront of 5G developments.

The region is also benefitting from:

  • Our investment of £21m in Tech Nation’s regional network, which is helping tech entrepreneurs across the UK to scale their businesses.
  • The government’s commitment since 2016 to invest an additional £7bn by 2022 in R&D – the largest increase on record and demonstrable progress towards our goal of increasing economy-wide R&D investment to 2.4% of GDP by 2027.
  • Support for businesses through R&D tax reliefs, which has more than tripled overall since 2010 and totalled £4.4bn in 2016-17.

Simon Clarke
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill, in what circumstances her Department envisages that undercover Food Standards agents will need authorisation to participate in criminal activity in the course of their duties.

The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act lists a range of public authorities who use Covert Human Intelligence Sources (CHIS) for general investigative purposes. The CHIS (Criminal Conduct) Bill restricts the number of public authorities able to authorise participation in criminal conduct to only those public authorities who have demonstrated a clear operational need for the tactic. Authorisations will be subject to a robust set of safeguards and an authorisation can only be granted where it is necessary and proportionate to the criminality it is seeking to prevent.

The Food Standards Agency is tasked with protecting consumers and the food industry from crime within food supply chains. Examples of such criminality include the use of stolen food in the supply chain, unlawful slaughter, diversion of unsafe food, adulteration, substitution or misrepresentation of food and document fraud.

An example of where they might need to authorise participation in criminal conduct is where an individual working within a food business, contacts handlers to pass on intelligence. This relates to the ongoing misrepresentation of meat as being of premium quality and the extension of meat durability dates, leading to out of date meat being consumed.

The continuing presence of the individual within the workplace necessitates them actively participating in presenting, packaging and re-labelling produce in order to misrepresent its quality and fitness for consumption, which are criminal offences. This provides opportunities for the evidential seizure of unfit produce and to identify those complicit in, and responsible for, directing fraudulent activity. As a result, evidence is available to support a successful prosecution.

29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether it is his policy that Food Standards agents will receive training if they are authorised to participate in criminal activity in the course of their duties under Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill.

All authorisations are granted by an experienced and highly trained authorising officer who will ensure that the authorisation has strict parameters and that this is communicated to the ‘agent’ or CHIS. Authorising Officers receive robust training to ensure they understand necessity, proportionality and risk considerations.

Public authorities each have in place their own training processes for their authorising officers to reflect the specialist remit in which they operate.

The authorisation of CHIS participation in criminal conduct is, and will continue to be, subject to robust and independent oversight by the Investigatory Powers Commissioner.

The Commissioner has wide-ranging statutory responsibilities for the oversight of investigatory powers, including this power, which are set out in Part 8 of the Investigatory Powers Act 2016. The Bill sets out particular requirements in relation to participation in criminal conduct. It amends the Investigatory Powers Act to provide a requirement for the Investigatory Powers Commissioner to pay particular attention to public authorities’ use of the power to grant criminal conduct authorisations under new section 29B.It also requires the Investigatory Powers Commissioner to include information about public authorities’ use of criminal conduct authorisations in his annual report. This will include information such as statistics on relevant public authorities’ of the power, the operation of safeguards in relation to authorisations, and errors.

As part of this, we anticipate that the IPC and his office will identify if any public body is failing to train and assess their officers to a sufficiently high standard.

29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether officials of her Department engaged with their US counterparts on the FBI’s policy expressly limiting the crimes which its covert human intelligence sources may commit when preparing the Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill.

A covert human intelligence source (CHIS) will never be given authority to commit any and all crime. All authorisations must be necessary and proportionate to the criminality they are seeking to prevent and the Authorising Officer must ensure that the level of criminality authorised must be at the lowest level of intrusion possible to achieve the aims of the operation.

There are limits to the activity that can be authorised under this Bill and these are contained in the Human Rights Act. This includes the right to life, and prohibition of torture or subjecting someone to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

The Bill does not list specific crimes which may be authorised, or prohibited, as to do so would place into the hands of criminals, terrorists and hostile states a means of creating a checklist for suspected CHIS to be tested against. This would threaten the future of the CHIS capability, and result in an increased threat to the public.

With regards to international comparisons, different countries have different legal systems, threat pictures and operational practices which means that simply comparing respective legislation gives only a very partial picture. In the course of developing this Bill, officials have engaged with a variety of stakeholders, including US counterparts.

20th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps his Department is taking to tackle rough sleeping in the Birmingham City Council area.

In 2020/21, we are providing over £700 million to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping across England.

Birmingham City Council have been allocated more than £2.5 million through rough sleeping programmes in 2020/21. This includes:

  • Rough Sleeping Initiative funding to support the establishment or enhancement of coordinated local services for rough sleepers or those at risk of sleeping rough;
  • Next Steps Accommodation funding to prevent those bought in during the COVID-19 pandemic returning to the streets and long term funding through the Rough Sleeper Accommodation Programme, from 2020/21 – 2023/24;
  • Cold Weather Funding to bring forward COVID-secure accommodation this winter and to keep vulnerable people safe;
  • Protect Programme funding, which provides targeted support to local authorities with higher numbers of rough sleepers to meet the specific challenges they faced;
  • Drug and alcohol misuse funding for those with drug and alcohol support needs to get the help they need to rebuild their lives, and;
  • Funding for Housing First is also providing accommodation for up to 130 individuals in the city by the end of June 2021.

Birmingham City Council have been closely supported by our MHCLG Rough Sleeping Initiative and homelessness advisers. These expert advisers are pro-actively working with local areas as they adapt to the new restrictions and will continue to support these authorities beyond COVID-19.

This Government is committed to ending rough sleeping and we have taken unprecedented steps to protect rough sleepers during the pandemic. This work has not stopped, and through Everyone In, by November we had supported around 33,000 people with nearly 10,000 in emergency accommodation and over 23,000 already moved on into longer-term accommodation.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what plans his Department has to ensure that planning guidance issued by her Department takes into account the need to preserve biodiversity.

The Government’s support for biodiversity is made clear in the National Planning Policy Framework and accompanying planning guidance. The Framework says that to protect and enhance biodiversity, planning policies and decisions should minimise impacts on and provide net gains for biodiversity, and it contains a number of policies in support of this. The accompanying planning guidance was updated on 21 July 2019 and provides advice on how development can achieve biodiversity net gains. The Environment Bill will take biodiversity net gain a stage further by making it a mandatory requirement for development.

3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if he will publish the Government document outlining the call for evidence on assisted dying that was prepared in 2019.

We have no plans to publish a draft document prepared for the previous government which was not issued, and no plans to review the law on assisted suicide or issue a call for evidence.

The government’s view remains that that any change to the law in this area must be for individual Parliamentarians to consider as an issue of conscience, rather than a decision for Government.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
8th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to the Answer of 24 June 2020 to the Question 60692, what assessment he has made of whether the two-year timescale in scheduling the legally mandated review of secret court proceedings remains in line with the requirement under the Justice and Security Act 2013 to conduct that review as soon as reasonably practicable after the end of the period to which the review relates.

I note the Rt. Hon. Member’s ongoing interest in this matter, and would reassure him that discussions are taking place at official level on the statutory review.

The right to a fair trial is a fundamental part of our society and the Closed Material Procedures contain strong procedural and judicial safeguards.

We will bring forward the statutory review as soon as possible.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
17th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, whether he has appointed a reviewer to undertake the review of the operation of sections 6 to 11 of the Justice and Security Act 2013, as required by section 13 of that Act.

I can advise that discussions are still ongoing and an announcement will be made in due course.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
17th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, when he plans to announce the review of the operation of sections 6 to 11 of the Justice and Security Act 2013, as required by section 13 of that Act to be begun as soon as reasonably practicable five years after section 6 of that Act came into force in 2013.

I can advise that discussions are still ongoing and an announcement will be made in due course.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
17th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, whether he will accord the review of sections 6 to 11 of the Justice and Security Act 2013 the status of a full public consultation.

I can advise that discussions are still ongoing and an announcement will be made in due course.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
13th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, when his Department plans to respond to the corporate liability for economic crime: call for evidence consultation, which closed on 31 March 2017.

The Government is considering the case for reforming the law on corporate criminal liability for economic crime and will publish a response to the Call for Evidence in due course.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
19th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what recent steps his Department has taken to ensure sufficient numbers of criminal duty solicitors are available in the West Midlands.

The Government is clear that there are sufficient solicitors to undertake criminal legal aid-funded cases and will make sure this continues to be the case in the West Midlands. The Government commenced a review of all criminal legal aid fee schemes in December 2018, including the criminal duty solicitor fee scheme.

In June 2019 the Government took the decision to accelerate certain key areas of the Criminal Legal Aid Review that were highlighted to be of immediate concern to defence practitioners

In addition to monitoring duty solicitor coverage on an ongoing basis where issues are identified, the Government continues to take action to ensure there is ongoing availability of criminal legal advice for the public.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)