Anthony Mangnall Portrait

Anthony Mangnall

Conservative - Totnes

First elected: 12th December 2019


Finance (No. 2) Bill
10th May 2023 - 18th May 2023
International Trade Committee
9th Nov 2020 - 26th Apr 2023
Down Syndrome Bill
19th Jan 2022 - 26th Jan 2022
Regulatory Reform
2nd Mar 2020 - 20th May 2021
Procedure Committee
9th Mar 2020 - 20th Jul 2020


Department Event
Monday 26th February 2024
18:00
Department for Business and Trade
Second Delegated Legislation Committee - Debate - General Committee
26 Feb 2024, 6 p.m.
The draft Limited Liability Partnerships (Application of Company Law) Regulations 2024
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Department Event
Monday 26th February 2024
18:00
Department for Business and Trade
Second Delegated Legislation Committee - Debate - Select & Joint Committees
26 Feb 2024, 6 p.m.
The draft Limited Liability Partnerships (Application of Company Law) Regulations 2024
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Department Event
Tuesday 27th February 2024
09:25
Department for Business and Trade
Third Delegated Legislation Committee - Debate - General Committee
27 Feb 2024, 9:25 a.m.
The draft Paternity Leave (Amendment) Regulations 2024
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Department Event
Tuesday 27th February 2024
09:25
Department for Business and Trade
Third Delegated Legislation Committee - Debate - Select & Joint Committees
27 Feb 2024, 9:25 a.m.
The draft Paternity Leave (Amendment) Regulations 2024
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Department Event
Thursday 7th March 2024
09:30
Department for Business and Trade
Oral questions - Main Chamber
7 Mar 2024, 9:30 a.m.
Business and Trade (including Topical Questions)
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Department Event
Thursday 2nd May 2024
09:30
Department for Business and Trade
Oral questions - Main Chamber
2 May 2024, 9:30 a.m.
Business and Trade (including Topical Questions)
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Division Votes
Tuesday 20th February 2024
Trade (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership) Bill [ Lords ] (Second sitting)
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 10 Conservative No votes vs 0 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 6 Noes - 10
Speeches
Tuesday 20th February 2024
Trade (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership) Bill [ Lords ] (First sitting)
I am sorry for interrupting the hon. Gentleman, but this debate is about the clause and the meaning of “CPTPP”. …
Written Answers
Tuesday 6th February 2024
Aquaculture: Shellfish
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the answer of 30 January 2024 …
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
Wednesday 19th April 2023
Dartmoor National Park (Access) Bill 2022-23
A Bill to require the Secretary of State to publish proposals for a scheme to incentivise owners of land within …
MP Financial Interests
Monday 30th October 2023
3. Gifts, benefits and hospitality from UK sources
Name of donor: Alliance for Responsible Citizenship Limited
Address of donor: 78 Pall Mall, London SW1Y 5ES
Amount of donation …
EDM signed
Wednesday 21st February 2024
No confidence in the Speaker
That this House has no confidence in Mr Speaker.
Supported Legislation
Wednesday 17th June 2020
Sexual Offences (Sports Coaches) Bill 2019-21
A Bill to amend the Sexual Offences Act 2003 to make sports coach a position of trust for the purposes …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliament, Anthony Mangnall has voted in 848 divisions, and 8 times against the majority of their Party.

1 Dec 2020 - Public Health - View Vote Context
Anthony Mangnall voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 53 Conservative No votes vs 290 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 291 Noes - 78
13 Oct 2020 - Public Health: Coronavirus Regulations - View Vote Context
Anthony Mangnall voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 42 Conservative No votes vs 298 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 299 Noes - 82
17 Jun 2020 - Health and Personal Social Services - View Vote Context
Anthony Mangnall 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
10 Mar 2020 - Telecommunications Infrastructure (Leasehold Property) Bill - View Vote Context
Anthony Mangnall voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 36 Conservative Aye votes vs 301 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 282 Noes - 306
14 Dec 2021 - Public Health - View Vote Context
Anthony Mangnall voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 38 Conservative No votes vs 271 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 441 Noes - 41
14 Dec 2021 - Public Health - View Vote Context
Anthony Mangnall voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 97 Conservative No votes vs 224 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 369 Noes - 126
14 Dec 2021 - Public Health - View Vote Context
Anthony Mangnall voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 60 Conservative No votes vs 258 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 385 Noes - 100
30 Mar 2022 - Health and Care Bill - View Vote Context
Anthony Mangnall voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 72 Conservative Aye votes vs 175 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 215 Noes - 188
View All Anthony Mangnall 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)
(21 debate interactions)
Rachel Maclean (Conservative)
(12 debate interactions)
Rishi Sunak (Conservative)
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
(12 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Department for International Trade
(74 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(58 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Anthony Mangnall's debates

Totnes 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

We want the Government to amend the Grocery Supply Code of Practice (GSCP) to require retailers, without exception, to:

- Buy what they agreed to buy
- Pay what they agreed to pay
- Pay on time

We believe the current GSCP is inadequate and doesn't protect farmers from unfair behaviour.


Latest EDMs signed by Anthony Mangnall

21st February 2024
Anthony Mangnall signed this EDM as a sponsor on Wednesday 21st February 2024

No confidence in the Speaker

Tabled by: William Wragg (Conservative - Hazel Grove)
That this House has no confidence in Mr Speaker.
66 signatures
(Most recent: 22 Feb 2024)
Signatures by party:
Conservative: 38
Scottish National Party: 27
Independent: 1
View All Anthony Mangnall's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Anthony Mangnall, 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.


Anthony Mangnall has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Anthony Mangnall has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

2 Bills introduced by Anthony Mangnall


A Bill to require the Secretary of State to publish proposals for a scheme to incentivise owners of land within Dartmoor National Park to allow enhanced access to that land in certain circumstances; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Wednesday 19th April 2023
(Read Debate)

A Bill to enable the recall of Members of the House of Commons who voluntarily change their political party affiliation; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Wednesday 2nd September 2020
(Read Debate)

220 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
1 Other Department Questions
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what steps the Government has taken to tackle (a) homophobic, (b) biphobic and (c) transphobic bullying in schools.

This government is clear that no child should be bullied for any reason at all. Since 2016, we have invested £4m to support schools in preventing and addressing homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying, reaching 2,250 schools in England.

We are currently evaluating this programme to increase our evidence base on what works in schools. In June, the Department for Education announced it was extending its anti-bullying programme until March next year.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
11th Jan 2024
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the Answer of 22 December 2023 to Question 6924 on UK Integrated Security Fund, what assessment he has made of the potential impact of the White Paper on International Development entitled, International development in a contested world: ending extreme poverty and tackling climate change, published November 2023, on the operation of the UK Integrated Security Fund.

The Integrated Security Fund (ISF) is designed to complement HMG Departmental activity, including on themes that are covered by the International Development White Paper, such as the impact of transnational threats, cyber-related issues and serious and organised crime. The White Paper sets out how development activity will continue to be an important tool for the UK to address security issues and to improve stability around the world. The ISF will expand upon the existing Conflict, Stability and Security Fund and will continue to deliver on fragile and conflict-affected locations as part of this overall effort to tackle some of the greatest threats to global development and to bolster UK security and resilience.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
13th Dec 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether his Department plans to retain conflict prevention and stability as a key fund-level (a) outcome and (b) priority for the new UK Integrated Security Fund following its replacement of the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund in 2024.

The UK Integrated Security Fund (ISF) was created to help address the security challenges identified in the Integrated Review Refresh, and it will retain tackling conflict and instability as a key priority.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
30th Apr 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, when his Department will be releasing the Infected Blood Compensation Framework Study; and whether that report will be released in full.

I refer the Hon. Member to the Written Ministerial Statement HCWS681 made on 15 March.

18th Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will commit to publishing the report by Sir Robert Francis QC in respect of the Infected Blood Compensation Framework Study on or by 14 March 2022 and as soon as the Government receives it.

The study will report to the Paymaster General no later than 14 March 2022. The Government will give full consideration to Sir Robert's study - which is separate from the independent public inquiry. The Government's response and Sir Robert's study will be published.

20th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 22 September 2020 to Question 90271, when the Government plans to publish the findings of the Dunlop Review into UK Government Union capability.

In reference to the answer on 22 September 2020, we had intended to publish the Dunlop report by the end of last year, however, in the context of wider events, this was not possible. We will publish Lord Dunlop’s review, alongside a full response, in due course.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what progress the Government has made on publishing the findings of the Dunlop Review into UK Government Union capability.

As the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office stated to the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee on 10 September, we will publish the Dunlop Review before the end of the year.

We are in the process of implementing many of Lord Dunlop’s recommendations and we will set out this work when we publish the report.

15th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what progress the Government has made on its review of intergovernmental relations between the UK Government and the devolved Administrations.

Substantial progress is being made on the review of intergovernmental relations.

I have met with Ministers from the devolved administrations in both August and earlier this month to discuss proposals for dispute avoidance and resolution, future intergovernmental machinery and measures to improve transparency of intergovernmental relations. We agreed to work on a final package of recommendations in the coming weeks.

15th Sep 2020
G7
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will invite India, Australia and South Korea to attend the G7 summit in the UK in 2021.

The UK is preparing an ambitious and unifying G7 agenda that will promote international leadership and collaboration as we respond to and recover from Covid-19. No decision has been taken on which guest nations to invite to the 2021 Leaders Summit.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if the Government will allow the reopening of private physiotherapy practices in line with the reopening of non-essential shops as covid-19 restrictions are eased.

Private physiotherapy practices were not required to close by law as part of the restrictions introduced to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
24th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, when his department will publish its response to the public consultation on improving the energy performance of privately rented homes.

The consultation on improving the energy performance of privately rented homes closed on 8th January 2021. We are refining the policy design to ensure the costs and circumstances relating to energy efficiency improvements are fair and proportionate for landlords and tenants. We will publish a summary of responses by the end of this year.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
17th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what steps the Government are taking to facilitate the domestic use of Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil; and when he expects home owners to be able to convert existing fossil fuel and kerosene oil to Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil for domestic use.

The Government expects heat pumps will be the primary technology for decarbonising off-grid buildings. The Government recognises that not all off-grid properties will be suitable for a heat pump and there will be a role for alternative low carbon technologies where heat pumps cannot be used.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
13th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of including the public leisure sector in the Energy and Trade Intensive Industries scheme.

The Energy Bill Relief Scheme review assessed a range of qualitative and quantitative evidence and contributions from businesses and other stakeholders, on sectors that may be most affected by price increase based on energy and trade intensity (ETII). The public leisure sector does not fall within the trade intensive category and therefore not included in the ETII scheme.

However, and recognising the vital role that swimming pools and leisure facilities play in our communities, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced in the budget additional funding of over £60 million for public swimming pool providers to help with immediate cost pressures and make facilities more energy efficient.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
1st Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, if he will make an estimate of the number of homeowners who have been issued Boiler Upgrade Scheme vouchers for biomass-related heating technology who will not be able to complete work as a result of amendments to Ofgem's approved product eligibility list.

Ofgem have made us aware that there are 4 live applications affected by changes to the product eligibility list. The Government is working closely with Ofgem to ensure a fair and proportionate decision is made regarding these cases.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
6th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether his Department is planning to taking to steps to help ensure that those households switching from a prepayment meter to a credit meter do not incur (a) an associated financial charge or (b) a period without energy.

Consumers will not have to pay to have an old-style credit meter or a smart meter installed. Before a supplier installs an old-style credit meter or turns off a customer’s smart meter's prepayment setting, the customer might have to have a credit check or pay a deposit. A supplier usually will not replace a customer’s meter or change the smart meter setting if the customer is in debt to them.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
20th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that people in rural areas are able to contact emergency services in instances when (a) power and (b) mobile masts are not working and (c) Voice over Internet Protocol has replaced landlines.

We recognise the importance of 999 and contacting emergency services as an essential part of public safety and particularly so in rural areas. Therefore, the Government works in partnership with operators, Ofcom and the Emergency Authorities to strengthen the resilience of the Public Emergency Call Service, to ensure it meets the needs of the UK public. DSIT works closely with the telecommunications industry and Ofcom to ensure the sector remains resilient to all risks that may affect services, including technological transformation. The Department also works together with the telecoms industry through the Electronic Communications Resilience & Response Group to agree methods to strengthen resilience and establish best practice across the sector.

The analogue landline network, also called the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN), is a privately-owned network. The ongoing work to upgrade it to digital voice services is an industry-led process. The decision to upgrade the PSTN was taken as the technology it relies upon is now outdated and prone to failure, with companies finding it increasingly difficult to source the spare parts needed for repairs. The upgrade process is currently ongoing and all consumers will be migrated to digital voice services by 2025.

The Government also recognises the importance of both fixed (landlines) and the mobile telephone network in the UK. In particular in rural and isolated areas, for the elderly and other vulnerable users and customers of technology enabled care services. We expect industry to ensure that all consumers, including the most vulnerable, are protected and prepared for the upgrade of the PSTN. DSIT receives regular updates from telecoms providers about the progress of their migration and any emerging challenges they face

Ofcom is responsible for the monitoring and enforcement of any regulatory obligations as the providers themselves are responsible. Communication Providers are required by obligations set out in the General Conditions of Entitlement, made under the Communications Act 2003, to ensure the continuity of access to the Public Emergency Call Service, via the telephone numbers 999 and 112. Compliance with these obligations is monitored and enforced by Ofcom

In 2018, Ofcom published guidance on the measures telecoms companies should take to ensure compliance with this General Condition in light of the industry’s decision to retire the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) and replace it with Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology. The guidance states that in the event of a power outage at least one solution must be available for consumers, providing access for a minimum of one hour. The solution should be suitable for customers’ needs and should be offered free of charge to those who are at risk as they are dependent on their landline, because for example, they have disability or accessibility requirements that mean they are more reliant on their landline and/or they do not have an alternative method of calling emergency organisations (including those who own a mobile but have limited or no mobile signal (on any network). These are minimum standards, and in practice many providers are offering solutions which exceed them.

8th Jun 2023
What steps she is taking with Cabinet colleagues to encourage young people into STEM jobs.

We are delivering on the Science and Technology Framework’s vision to support a world-class STEM workforce.

We support schemes that encourage young people into STEM jobs including the STEM Ambassadors programme which has over 30,000 volunteers who go out to schools across the UK, inspiring young people to consider careers in research.  

And the British Science Association’s CREST awards, the largest and longest running project-based science engagement programme in the UK.

1st Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will take steps to help the hospitality industry to tackle shortages in the workforce.

This Department is working with the Hospitality Sector Council to deliver on our Hospitality Strategy to improve the resilience of hospitality businesses.

To help address the immediate challenges of labour shortages in the hospitality sector, the Department for Work and Pensions has been working hard to fill ongoing vacancies by using work coaches to help find local talent and Plans for Jobs programmes, such as Kickstart and Sector-based Work Academy Programmes.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
1st Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that elderly people living in park homes who do not have internet access are able to access the £400 energy bills discount.

The Government will ensure that households without internet access can apply for the Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Funding over the phone.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department plans to publish further information on the operation of the Energy Price Guarantee for (a) single fuel and (b) other customers.

The Government is engaging with energy suppliers, industry payment bodies, and Ofgem to ensure that suppliers are accurately compensated for their actual energy usage during the Energy Price Guarantee’s reconciliation period. The Government has considered which data flows will most accurately reflect total energy use and will publish more details in due course.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with his international counterparts on best practice for preventing business takeovers by hostile state actors.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 14th July 2020 to Question 69694. The Government engages frequently with its closest allies on a range of subjects, including investment screening.

14th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what progress his Department has made on introducing a UK emissions trading scheme.

We intend to establish a UK Emissions Trading System (UK ETS), which will increase our ambition on carbon pricing.

The Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading Scheme Order 2020 draft Order in Council required to set up the UK ETS was laid on 13 July 2020 in the UK and Scottish Parliaments, and on 15 July 2020 in the Welsh Parliament and Northern Ireland Assembly. Further UK ETS legislation is on track to be laid by the end of 2020, in all four legislatures.

Work on the technical systems required for a UK ETS is also proceeding as planned.

in order to ensure a carbon price remains in place in all scenarios, the UK published a consultation in July 2020 on the design of a Carbon Emission Tax as an additional alternative to a UK ETS.

21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to reduce the reliance on China for (a) pharmaceuticals, (b) microchips and (c) cobalt batteries.

The Government is working hard to ensure we have resilient and diverse supply chains in place to ensure the continued flow of essential goods for UK consumers. This includes looking at our trading relationships with a range of international partners, as well as considering domestic initiatives to promote our economic recovery.

The Government committed £146 million through the first Life Sciences Sector Deal to grow medicines manufacturing in the UK. We have established the Medicines Manufacturing Industry Partnership with industry to ensure that the UK is recognised as a world-class advanced centre for medicines manufacturing.

The Government has also committed £274 million to the Faraday Battery Challenge to support the research, development, and scale-up of world-leading battery technology in the UK. The Faraday Battery Challenge is funding research to reduce our dependency on raw mineral supply and make better use of global resources such as cobalt.

6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Written Statement of 22 June 2020, Official Report, HCWS305, Business Update, what discussions he has had with his counterparts in (a) Australia, (b) Canada, (c) New Zealand and (d) the United States on best practice for preventing business takeovers by potentially hostile state actors.

The Government engages frequently with its closest allies on a range of subjects, including investment screening. A number of our Five Eyes partners, including Australia, Canada and New Zealand have – like the UK – made changes to their investment screening regimes in response to Covid-19.

22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to support households to improve their energy efficiency.

In the Clean Growth Strategy, the Government set an aspiration for as many homes as possible to be Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) Band C by 2035 and is developing a suite of mutually supporting policies and measures that will help deliver this:

Our current Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme and its successors will drive over £6bn of additional investment to support energy improvements in low-income, vulnerable and fuel poor households between 2018 and 2028. Government is currently considering what the objectives and overall ambition of a successor ECO scheme should be, from 2022 to 2026.

In order to improve rented properties, we introduced the Private Rented Sector Minimum standard regulations on 1?April 2018. The regulations require landlords to bring their properties to EPC Band E or above. We will consult on tightening the minimum energy standards in due course.

We have also committed to consult on requirements for mortgage lenders to help households improve the energy efficiency of the homes they lend to and last summer we launched the £5m Green Home Finance Innovation Fund to support the development of green finance products.

There are 21.5 million smart and advanced meters across Great Britain, as of the end of March 2020. As part of a smart meter installation, households are offered an In-Home Display which provides near-real time information on energy consumption and costs, enabling consumers to easily understand how they can use less energy and save money on their bills. Research shows that 73% of people with smart meters have taken steps to reduce their energy use.

In addition, we have launched Simple Energy Advice, a digital platform offering impartial and tailored advice for consumers on how to make their homes more energy efficient.

18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the findings of the Telecommunications Diversification Taskforce, what plans he has to create an international digital infrastructure recommendations and standards alliance.

Increasing UK representation and participation in the international standards setting environment is vitally important in promoting secure, open and interoperable standards. To achieve these objectives, the Government is working closely with industry, the NCSC, Ofcom and a wide range of international partners.

Through the UK’s G7 Presidency, the Government led positive conversations on standards with international partners, and will continue to work closely with like-minded partners in order to forge a consensus on these issues.

The Telecommunications Diversification Taskforce has provided detailed recommendations to government as it takes forward this work, and we will set out next steps in due course.

18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the findings of the Telecommunications Diversification Taskforce, what steps he plans to take to attract small-scale vendors to the UK market.

The Government is working with mobile operators and suppliers to build an open, flexible, and diverse telecoms supply market, following the recommendations of the Diversification Taskforce, published on 20 April on GOV.UK.

The Taskforce recommendations are helping to guide our approach delivering the Diversification strategy, including its central pillar of attracting new suppliers. The Government is designing a programme of targeted R&D to level the playing field for smaller suppliers, and we continue to consider all options.

Suppliers are themselves taking positive steps to support this agenda and a number of smaller suppliers have already announced new research facilities in the UK.

18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to ensure couriers can resume regular shipments of (a) retail art and (b) antiques currently suspended due to customs complications in several EU states.

We are working closely with businesses in the art and antiques sector to support them in trading with, and shipping goods to and from, EU member states.

We recognise that leaving the EU means a period of change for businesses, at a time when everyone has been responding to the unprecedented coronavirus pandemic, but this is an unparalleled opportunity for the UK to do things differently and better, and create the blueprint for our growing prosperity through the 21st century.

The deal we have negotiated secures preferential market access to the EU for UK businesses whilst securing the UK’s status as an independent and sovereign country. It ensures that there will be no tariffs or quotas for trade in goods with the EU.

We have taken steps to facilitate the export of cultural goods to EU countries. We developed a new inland pre-clearance process for export licences for works of art, and we are in the process of digitising the export licencing system for cultural goods. These steps reduce border friction and avoid delays and security risks.

We will continue to engage with businesses in sectors that are affected by our changing relationship with the EU to help them adjust and continue to successfully compete on the global stage.

5th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 30 September 2020 to Question 94546, and with reference to the report entitled Video Unavailable: Social Media Platforms Remove Evidence of War Crimes, published by Human Rights Watch in September 2020, what steps he is taking to ensure that online platforms preserve evidence of alleged war crimes when taking down extremist and hateful social media content.

The Government is not working specifically on this issue, however it is committed to increasing online safety. As outlined in the Online Harms White Paper, this Government intends to introduce a duty of care on online companies to ensure they have appropriate systems and processes in place to deal with harmful content on their services, overseen by an independent regulator. The regulator will need to build strong working relationships with law enforcement and other bodies in order to ensure effective action against a range of illegal harms.Further details on online harms will be set out in the Full Government Response to the Online Harms White Paper, which will be published shortly.

29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the Foreign Secretary’s Oral Statement of 28 January 2020, what progress he has made on attracting established telecommunications vendors to the UK.

We are continuing to work at pace to deliver a targeted diversification strategy to rebalance the supply chain. We will be bringing this strategy forward in the autumn, alongside the Telecoms Security Bill.

The strategy will be based around three core elements; securing incumbent vendors, attracting new vendors and accelerating the development of open interface solutions. It will also focus on building UK capability and influence within the supply chain.

To support the development of the strategy, the Government has recently announced the establishment of a Telecoms Diversification Taskforce. The Taskforce, which is composed of leading figures from industry and academia, will provide independent and expert advice to the Government - turbocharging our work on these three core elements of our strategy.

Throughout the development of the strategy, we have continued to look for opportunities to make progress on market diversification. In the coming weeks we will set out plans and details of some of the first Government supported ‘OpenRAN’ 5G trials in the UK. These will accelerate the delivery of the strategy and create opportunities for disruptive new entrants in the UK market.

We are also continuing to speak with a range of vendors about how we can support them to enter the market and accelerate diversification. We have actively engaged with major players and emerging vendors and we will continue to work with any vendor - big or small - who can help us achieve our aim to rebalance the supply chain.

23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the report entitled Video Unavailable: Social Media Platforms Remove Evidence of War Crimes, published by Human Rights Watch in September 2020, what recent discussions he has had with social media companies on preserving evidence of war crimes.

Ministers and officials have regular meetings and discussions with a wide range of stakeholders, including social media companies, on a variety of issues. Details of Ministerial meetings are published quarterly on the Gov.uk website.

6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to support the Connecting Devon and Somerset scheme to ensure that all parliamentary constituencies in that area gain improved broadband coverage.

Good progress has been made in Devon and Somerset, with 93% of premises having access to superfast broadband. To date, Connecting Devon and Somerset (CDS) have directly provided superfast access to more than 300,000 homes and businesses. Their current live contract with Airband will have delivered connectivity to c.21,000 premises across the two counties by the end of summer.

Building Digital UK (BDUK) officials are in regular contact with CDS, and are committed to delivering connectivity to those parts of the two counties that are currently unserved as quickly as possible. A £38 million procurement to target up to 89,000 premises is underway, with initial bids for this procurement now received. BDUK will continue to provide support and guidance to CDS during this procurement process, as well as during the delivery stages.

In the meantime for those still struggling, the Universal Service Obligation (USO) gives eligible premises in the UK the right to request a decent and affordable connection. For those rural areas across Devon and Somerset, voucher funding may be available to rural SMEs and residents where they can claim up to £3,500 and £1,500 respectively.

30th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to improve nutrition education in schools.

The government wants to support the health and wellbeing of everyone. The department understands the importance of education in delivering this aim and the department is supporting schools in a number of ways to provide high quality nutrition education for their students.

Nutrition is a discrete strand of the national curriculum for Design and Technology (D&T). This was introduced as part of the 2014 D&T curriculum and is compulsory for key stages 1 to 3. The curriculum aims to teach children how to cook and how to apply the principles of healthy eating and nutrition. It recognises that cooking is an important life skill that will help children to feed themselves and others healthy and affordable food.

A food preparation and nutrition GCSE was introduced in September 2016. It requires pupils to understand and apply the principles of food science, nutrition and healthy eating when preparing and cooking food.

The importance of nutrition is also included in the science curriculum for both primary and secondary schools. Nutrition through healthy eating is covered through topics relating to nutrition and digestion, which cover the content of a healthy diet and the impact of diet on how the body functions.

The statutory guidance for Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education, and Health Education includes content on the importance of daily exercise, good nutrition and the risks associated with an inactive lifestyle, including obesity.

Throughout the guidance, there is an emphasis on empowering young people to make choices and adopt lifestyles that will increase their chance of living happy and healthy lives to support the agenda on tackling obesity. To support teachers to deliver the healthy eating topic, the department has developed a teacher training module which can be accessed at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/teaching-about-relationships-sex-and-health#train-teachers-on-relationships-sex-and-health-education.

The government also supports the provision of nutritious food in schools, which ensures pupils are well nourished, develop healthy eating habits and can concentrate and learn.

The standards for school food are set out in the Requirements for School Food Regulations 2014. The School Food Standards are part of the government’s drive to help children adopt healthy eating habits from a young age. The department provides a number of resources for schools, which are available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-food-standards-resources-for-schools.

The School Fruit and Vegetables Scheme also provides over 2.2 million children in reception and key stage 1 with a portion of fresh fruit or vegetables each day at school. Schools are encouraged to use it as an opportunity to educate children and to assist a healthy, balanced diet.

The Oak National Academy will be providing a fully resourced curriculum for key stages 1 to 3 for food and nutrition. This will align with the national curriculum and Oak’s guiding principles, which focus on the knowledge and skills specific to food and nutrition.

Oak have assured the department that pupils will be able to cook more than six savoury dishes by the end of key stage three by following their food curriculum.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
23rd Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to support local authorities to reduce the time taken to complete education, health and care plans.

The department wants to ensure that Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans, where required, are issued as quickly as possible, so that children and young people can access the support they need.

In March 2023, the government set out its plans to reform and improve the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) system through its SEND and Alternative Provision Improvement Plan. It commits to establishing a single national system that delivers for every child and young person with SEND so that they enjoy their childhood, achieve good outcomes, and are well prepared for adulthood and employment.

As part of these reforms, the department is currently testing measures to deliver a nationally consistent EHC plan system to improve the quality and speed with which support is put in place.

Where local authorities are failing to deliver consistent outcomes for children and young people with SEND, the department works with them using a range of improvement programmes and SEND specialist advisors to address weaknesses.

Following the joint SEND local area revisit by Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission in 2022, an Improvement Notice was issued to Devon County Council with a requirement to develop an Accelerated Progress Plan (APP) that addressed the four areas of weakness including one relating to EHC plans. In line with the Improvement Notice, the APP is subject to rigorous monitoring by the department and NHS England and the department continues to work closely with the local area to ensure they are supported in addressing issues and driving improvements to services.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
11th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to support students whose multi year college and university courses are cancelled prior to their completion.

The government established the Office for Students (OfS) as the independent regulator for higher education (HE) in 2018. As a pre-condition for registration, the OfS requires all HE providers to submit student protection plans for approval. This means that all HE providers registered with the OfS must have a student protection plan in place.

Student protection plans set out what students in HE can expect to happen should a course, campus, or institution close. The purpose of a plan is to ensure that students can continue and complete their studies, or can be compensated if this is not possible.

In the event of a change in a provider’s circumstances, such as a significant course closure or a campus closure, the OfS will work closely with the provider and its students to ensure that students’ interests continue to be protected. Universities have previously worked to reduce the impact on students in a variety of ways, many universities have awarded degrees when they have enough evidence of a student’s prior attainment to do so. Others have assigned provisional grades to students to allow them to progress.

Where a student complaint cannot be resolved through the institution’s own complaint processes, the student can ask for their complaint to be reviewed by the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education in England (OIA), which was set up to review student complaints about higher education providers in England. The OIA's website gives details about eligibility criteria and how to make a complaint.

Further education colleges are autonomous organisations, therefore they are responsible for the management of their operations. If a college has to withdraw a course, or if there is a change to the course provision, we would expect college course leaders to give affected students as much help and support as possible to find a suitable alternative course.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
20th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what proportion of students who have received chemistry or physics bursaries for undertaking a PGCE accept a job in a state school at the end of their training; and what proportion of those teachers who remain in such employment after five years.

The Department’s published data shows that the rate of progression into teaching for those who receive a bursary is very similar to the rate of progression for all trainees. Of those who trained in 2020/21, the Department provisionally estimates that 74% of chemistry postgraduate trainees and 73% of physics postgraduate trainees who were awarded Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) and were eligible for a bursary will be employed as a teacher in a state funded school in England within 16 months of the end of the academic year. The equivalent employment rate for all postgraduate trainees, whether they received a bursary or not, is 73%.

The Department does not currently hold data showing the employment rate of bursary recipients after five years.

For trainees starting Initial Teacher Training in the 2023/24 academic year, the Department is providing a £27,000 tax free bursary and a £29,000 scholarship in mathematics, physics, chemistry and computing. The Department is also providing a Levelling Up Premium of up to £3,000 tax free annually for mathematics, physics, chemistry, and computing teachers in the first five years of their careers who work in disadvantaged schools, including in Education Investment Areas. These incentives are designed to support the recruitment and retention of teachers in these subjects, and to encourage them to work in the schools and areas that need them most.

20th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many primary schools in England use literacy resources at Key stage 1 designed specifically for (a) deaf children and (b) other visual learners that include visual languages to support access and inclusion in early literacy as of July 2023.

​​The department recognises the importance of supporting all children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), including deaf children and those with a hearing impairment.

On the Get Information About Schools service, there are 197 primary schools and five all-through schools listed as providing for children with hearing impairments. This information is available at: https://get-information-schools.service.gov.uk/.

The government does not collect local authority level data on specialist education services for children with sensory impairments. The Children and Families Act 2014 requires all local authorities to publish a local offer of services for children and young people with SEND in their area, to ensure that families are aware of services that are available in their area and are able to contribute to shaping the services to meet local needs. Information about the support available for children with sensory impairment should be included within that local offer.

In the SEND and Alternative Provision Improvement Plan, published in March 2023, the department set out a mission for more children and young people to have their needs met effectively in mainstream settings, reducing reliance on Education, Health and Care plans to access support.

The department will improve mainstream education through setting standards for early and accurate identification of need, and timely access to support to meet those needs. The standards will include clarifying the types of support that should be ordinarily available in mainstream settings, who is responsible for securing the support and from what budgets.

On 11 July 2023, the department published an updated version of our Reading Framework, available at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1168960/The_Reading_Framework_July_2023.pdf. This provides best practice guidance for improving early reading teaching, including for pupils with SEND.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
12th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many deaf children reached their age related reading score for their year 1 phonic screening check assessment in the last five years for which figures are available.

The department publishes data on the attainment of pupils recorded as having a hearing impairment in the phonics screening check within the ‘Key Stage 1 and phonics screening check attainment’ statistics publication, which is available at: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/key-stage-1-and-phonics-screening-check-attainment/2021-22.

The attached table includes the number of pupils recorded as having a hearing impairment who met the expected standard in Year 1 in the phonics screening check between 2016 and 2022. In addition, the number of such pupils eligible to take the check and the number and proportion working towards the standard, were absent or disapplied from the check are included to provide context. Data for 2020 and 2021 is not available due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

These statistics include pupils with special educational needs in state-funded schools where hearing impairment was recorded as their primary type of need on the school census. Therefore, these statistics will not capture all pupils in Year 1 with a hearing impairment.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
12th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to attract STEM teachers to schools in Devon.

The number of teachers remains high, with more than 468,000 across the country, which is 27,000 more than in 2010. In November 2022, the latest available data, there were 5,667 full-time equivalent teachers in state funded schools in Devon. This is an increase of 1.7% from last year (5,571) and an increase of 4.6% since 2010, when the school workforce census began (5,419).

The Department recognises that recruitment and retention in some subjects, including science, technology, engineering and mathematics subjects, remains more challenging and the Department has put additional targeted initiatives in place.

​In October 2022, the Department announced an Initial Teacher Training (ITT) financial incentives package worth up to £181 million for those starting ITT in 2023/24, which is a £52 million increase on 2022/23. The package includes bursaries worth £27,000 tax free and scholarships worth £29,000 tax free, to encourage talented trainees to teach in key subjects, such as physics, chemistry and computing. More information on the financial incentives package can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/funding-initial-teacher-training-itt/funding-initial-teacher-training-itt-academic-year-2023-to-2024.

​For the 2023/24 academic year, the Department has also extended bursary and scholarship eligibility to all non-UK national trainees in physics.

​ The Department is offering a Levelling Up Premium (LUP) worth up to £3,000 tax free for mathematics, physics, chemistry and computing teachers in the first five years of their careers who choose to work in disadvantaged schools. In Devon, there are 25 secondary schools that are eligible for the LUP. Specialist teachers in these schools can claim up to £2,000 tax free annually. More information is available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/levelling-up-premium-payments-for-teachers.

​In spring 2022, the Department launched ‘Engineers teach physics’, an ITT course which was piloted as a step to encourage engineering graduates and career changers with an engineering background to consider a career as a physics teacher. Following the pilot year, the Department has now rolled ‘Engineers teach physics’ out nationally, with 18 providers currently offering this course.

17th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether her Department has made an assessment of the adequacy of enabling an Ukrainian student who is taking English language exams for the first time an additional 10 per cent of time to complete their papers; and what steps her Department is taking to help ensure that those taking exams in a second language have sufficient time to complete exam papers.

Many awarding organisations and qualifications, including all GCSEs, AS and A levels and those awarding them, are regulated by the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual). Ofqual sets the standards and rules that awarding organisations need to meet when they design, deliver and award regulated qualifications.

Ofqual’s General Conditions of Recognition (Condition G2) states that an awarding organisation must ensure that all pupils taking its qualifications in England are assessed in English, except where use of another language is permitted, for example, because it is one of the primary objectives of the qualification for the pupil to gain knowledge of, skills in, and understanding of that language. The full list of General Conditions is available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/ofqual-handbook/section-g-setting-and-delivering-the-assessment.

Access arrangements may be appropriate for pupils with limited fluency in English, for example, the use of a bilingual dictionary. Applications for access arrangements are approved by awarding organisations ahead of the examination or assessment. The Joint Council for Qualification’s Access Arrangements and Reasonable Adjustments regulations sets out the assessment criteria and evidence required for different types of arrangements which examination centres can apply for on behalf of a pupil. The regulations are available at: https://www.jcq.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2023/05/AA_regs_22-23_May23_revision_FINAL.pdf.

Schools and colleges are responsible for deciding which qualifications they enter pupils for, based on what is in their best interests. Schools will want to carefully consider the individual circumstances of pupils before deciding the appropriateness of an examination entry and will make these decisions on a case-by-case basis. Schools and colleges should also contact the relevant awarding organisation(s) to discuss the arrangements that may be suitable for individual pupils.

22nd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether she is taking steps to work alongside (a) headteachers and (b) other school leaders to help reduce vaping in schools.

Schools are required by law to have a behaviour policy that sets out what is expected of all pupils. This should include listing items that are banned from school premises, the sanctions that will be imposed for misbehaviour, and rewards for good behaviour. This should be communicated to all pupils, parents, and school staff. Schools have the autonomy to decide which items should be banned from their premises, and these can include vapes and e-cigarettes. Items banned by the school can be searched for, as outlined in the Department’s ‘Searching, screening and confiscation at school’ guidance: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/searching-screening-and-confiscation.

The relationships, sex and health education statutory guidance states that, in both primary and secondary school, pupils should be taught the facts regarding legal and illegal harmful substances and associated risks, including smoking, alcohol use, and taking drugs.

To support schools to deliver this content effectively, the Department published a suite of teacher training modules, including one on drugs, alcohol and tobacco, which makes specific reference to vapes and e-cigarettes.

The Department believes that this will help head teachers to manage vaping on school premises and to inform young people of the risks, with a view to reducing the numbers of young people who are currently vaping, or who might be tempted to try it in the future.

14th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, for what reason only four schools of the 161 in the Schools Rebuilding Programme were located in the South West.

Schools selected have been prioritised based on the condition of their buildings. Location was not a factor in the prioritisation process.

The department will select up to 300 schools in 2022 for the programme from the 1,105 nominations received from local authorities, academy trusts, and dioceses. We announced 61 of the 300 schools in July to maintain the pace of delivery and begin to address some of the schools in the poorest conditions. The department is still assessing all of the other nominations received, including those which showed evidence of exceptional need.

The 100 schools selected in February and July 2021 were also prioritised based on condition. An explanation of the methodology for each round is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-rebuilding-programme.

29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that schools have clear guidance on exams in summer 2021 before students have to submit applications to UCAS.

The Government is working hard to minimise the impact of COVID-19 and the disruption it has caused to young people’s education, including those who will be taking exams and applying to university next year.

The Department is working closely with Ofqual, the exam boards, regulators in the devolved administrations, and groups representing schools, colleges and higher education to consider the best approach to ensure that students taking exams next summer receive the qualifications they deserve and that next year’s exam series proceeds fairly and efficiently and commands public confidence.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, has set out that a further announcement on 2021 exams will be made in October.

23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of permitting UK-based school residential trips to take place where the venues hosting those trips are able to provide evidence that they are covid-19 secure.

The guidance for full school opening enables schools to resume educational day visits but continues to advise against overnight educational residential visits. The Department’s educational visits advice is in line with guidance from Public Health England, the Cabinet Office and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and will be reviewed again in November 2020.

The full guidance can be viewed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that all pupils are able to access physical education outdoors.

It is important that children continue to remain fit and active and take part in the 60 minutes of daily physical activity recommended by the Chief Medical Officers wherever possible. The Department encourages schools to offer outdoor opportunities for physical activity, but it is for them to decide whether they are satisfied that it is safe to do so given their circumstances and facilities.

Schools have the flexibility to decide how physical education (PE), sport and physical activity will be provided for their own students, following the measures in their system of controls. The Department has published guidance on how schools can provide outdoor PE and opportunities for pupils to be active, including links to detailed advice from subject organisations. Schools can offer outdoor curricular and extra-curricular team sport, including contact sport, where there is approved guidance from national governing bodies. Further guidance is available at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to support (a) Outward Bound, (b) the Field Studies Council and (c) other school residential providers during the covid-19 outbreak while those providers are unable to function in their usual capacity.

As of 4 July providers offering out-of-school activities to children have been able to open for both indoor and outdoor provision with safety measures in place. Providers are also able to resume non-overnight domestic educational visits and the Department has updated our protective measures guidance for these providers to support them to do so as safely as possible, which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/protective-measures-for-holiday-or-after-school-clubs-and-other-out-of-school-settings-for-children-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

We continue to advise against domestic overnight or overseas educational visits and residential provision for the time being. This is consistent with the latest government guidance on meeting people from outside your household, which advises that you should not stay overnight away from your home with members of more than 2 households. We continue to keep this position under review, and will continue to be guided by the best scientific and medical advice, to ensure that the right decisions are taken at the right time. This guidance can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/meeting-people-from-outside-your-household-from-4-july.

The Government has also made financial support available to employers and the self-employed, including sole traders and limited company directors. Residential providers that have been adversely affected by COVID-19 can find out what financial support is available for their business here: https://www.gov.uk/business-coronavirus-support-finder.

They may be eligible for the Job Support Scheme, tax relief, loans or cash grants depending on their circumstances. Information on the Job Support Scheme can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/job-support-scheme.

2nd Mar 2020
What steps his Department is taking to ensure a balance between academic and vocational training in the development of further education courses.

This Department takes very seriously the need to deliver further education courses that serve the needs of learners and employers alike.

New employer-designed T Levels will launch in September, combining classroom learning with a meaningful industry placement. The Department is also taking steps to improve other qualifications available to students post-16, ensuring that they will have access to high quality provision that is truly valued by employers.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
31st Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the answer of 30 January 2024 to Question 11649 on Aquaculture: Shellfish, what steps his Department is taking to challenge the EU's restrictions on undepurated Class B live bivalve molluscs; and (b) through what mechanism those challenges are made.

We have challenged the EU's restrictions on undepurated Class B live bivalve molluscs through the mechanisms provided by the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA). These include the TCA SPS Committee, TCA Partnership Council and Trade Partnership Committee. Minutes of these Committees can be found at Trade and Cooperation Agreement Governance - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
26th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to support the shellfish aquaculture industry.

Since 2021, the Government has awarded £22.3 million to support the shellfish aquaculture industry in areas such as improving sustainability, preventing shellfish disease, and better skills and training.

The Government's Storm Overflows Discharge Reduction Plan prioritises action to improve the water quality of 63 of the largest shellfish waters in England by 2030.

The Government continues to challenge the EU's restrictions on undepurated Class B live bivalve molluscs which we believe are unjustified and disproportionate to the risk under the terms of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment she has made of the adequacy of the outcomes of the Fisheries and Seafood Scheme.

The FaSS is currently undergoing an independent evaluation lasting initially for two years. The evaluation will assess the scheme’s administration and management, impact of the funding and the value for money of the scheme.

The evaluation is ongoing, but preliminary reporting shows the FaSS has had a broad contribution to increasing economic sustainability and resilience across the fisheries and seafood sectors. Feedback from the evaluation has already been acted upon by fund managers to ensure delivery is effective as possible and to maximise benefits. A full report with a detailed assessment will be published in 2024.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many applications were received to the Fisheries and Seafood Scheme; what proportion of applications were successful; and how much funding was (a) allocated and (b) remains for allocation.

The Fisheries and Seafood Scheme (FaSS) has had two distinct phases. Initially, we launched FaSS in April 2021 for one year, during which 529 applications were received, 98% (522) of which were successful and £8.5 million was allocated and spent. The scheme was relaunched in April 2022 and since then 815 applications have been received, 99% (808) of which were successful and £18 million has been allocated. This is in excess of the c. £12 million we originally allocated as a result of our efforts to keep the scheme open as long as possible. Unfortunately, we were still unable to fund new FaSS applications throughout 2023-24 and the scheme has now closed to new applications. FaSS will reopen in 2024 with a budget of £5 million to be allocated.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the paragraph on Meetings in the Storm Overflows Taskforce Terms of Reference, how many times the Storm Overflows Taskforce has met since its introduction; and when the taskforce (a) last met and (b) is due to meet next.

The Storm Overflows Task Force was set up in 2020 with the objective of developing proposals to reduce the frequency and impact of sewage discharges. The Taskforce supported the design and development of the Government’s Storm Overflows Discharge Reduction Plan. This was published in August 2022. The Task Force has therefore not met since as it has met its initial goal in the publication of the Plan. We intend to seek the input of the Taskforce in future when reviewing the delivery programme of the Plan as part of the next water industry Price Review which will commence in 2025.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to improve the quality of shellfish harvesting waters.

Shellfish harvesting waters are included in protected areas within the Environment Agency’s River Basin Management Plans. They can be affected by a number of different microbial sources like sewage discharges and agricultural land run off.

The Government is prioritising action to improve the water quality of the largest shellfish waters in England by 2030. This will require action (improvement, prevention of deterioration or investigation) at 63 shellfish waters between 2025-2030.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment she makes of the potential impact of discharge from storm overflows on the quality of shellfish harvesting waters.

The Environment Agency will require water companies to review what action is needed in the identified 63 priority shellfish areas, whether that is improvement, prevention of deterioration or investigation. This will lead to reductions in sewage discharges from storm overflows and disinfection of treated sewage.

Where the results of monitoring indicate any event which has increased faecal contamination in an area, prompt action is taken to protect public health either by pausing harvesting or introducing additional controls on shellfish from the area.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether her Department plans to take steps to compensate shellfish aquaculture businesses impacted by poor water quality.

There are currently no plans to take steps to compensate shellfish aquaculture businesses impacted by poor water quality. However, the Government is prioritising action to improve the water quality of the largest shellfish waters in England by 2030. This will require action (improvement, prevention of deterioration or investigation) at 63 shellfish waters between 2025-2030.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what response she has provided to the letter dated 22 February 2023 from Dr Dilys Roe, Chair of the International Union for Conservation of Nature Sustainable Use and Livelihoods Specialist Group, on the Hunting Trophies (Import Prohibition) Bill; and if she will place a copy of that response in the Library.

A reply to the letter in question is being prepared and will be issued shortly.

13th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions she has had with (a) Natural England and (b) the Duchy of Cornwall on the aquaculture sector in England.

Defra officials are in regular contact with Natural England about a wide range of policy matters including the aquaculture sector in England. There have been no recent discussions with the Duchy of Cornwall on this issue.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment she has been made of the potential merits of using shellfish aquaculture as a means of carbon sequestration in UK waters.

In 2022 Defra commissioned at 3 year, £200k project to understand better the carbon sequestration potential of seaweed and bivalve aquaculture in English waters. This project is due to complete in Spring 2025, after which a final report will be published.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which African nations have expressed support for the UK Hunting Trophies (Import Prohibition) Bill; and if she will make a statement.

The Hunting Trophies Bill has now completed its passage through the House of Commons, meaning that we are one step closer to delivering the commitment we made in our manifesto. I am grateful to the governments of all the countries that have engaged with Defra on this issue, including during the consultation and call for evidence and throughout the development of policy and legislation. Partners have given a range of views, in particular on the potential costs, benefits and impacts of the policy options considered.

6th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if she will make an estimate of the proportion of common land that is not used for (a) commoners' rights and (b) public access.

An estimation of common land that is not used for commoners’ rights is not available.

Approximately 370,000 hectares of land has been mapped as Registered Common Land, in accordance with Section 4 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, the majority of which is publicly accessible. Approximately 3,700 hectares (1%) is considered to be excepted land for defence or security reasons. Data on other common land including any local byelaws or regulations that may restrict public access is not readily available.

1st Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps she is taking to increase prosecution rates for gangs taking part in illegal fishing along the UK coastline.

Defra works closely with the Marine Management Organisation, Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities, and other organisations to make sure the appropriate arrangements to enforce fisheries regulations are in place to protect English waters. In response to concerns about the targeting of bass in the South West, MMO has stepped up routine compliance and assurance checks. We vehemently condemn any illegal fishing taking place in English waters and work actively with the Joint Maritime Security Centre to provide fisheries enforcement input and share resources such as data and assets in partnership with other departments and agencies with a maritime security remit.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how much of his Department’s £30 million Big Nature Impact Fund will be allocated to protecting and restoring Britain’s temperate rainforests.

We are working to design a new Big Nature Impact Fund, which aims to develop environmental markets by investing in projects capable of generating revenue from ecosystem services.

The Fund should focus investments on the creation or restoration of carbon-rich biodiverse habitats, primarily native woodlands and restored peatlands. This could also fund projects which support and expand England's temperate rainforests. This was set out in our procurement document:

https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Notice/1b46e6f5-c2ec-4d9b-8504-b77c4eb3f112

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will take steps to protect and restore Britain’s temperate rainforests.

This government recognises the importance of trees and woodlands, and has ambitious targets to treble tree planting in England as part of a UK wide commitment to establish 30,000 hectares per year by the end of this Parliament. This sits alongside our work to protect existing woodland, particularly ancient woodland. The England Trees Action Plan will help to deliver this by seeing an unprecedented number of trees planted, protected and managed to deliver more for society, nature, the climate and the economy.

The international importance of temperate rainforests (also termed Atlantic woodland) in supporting rare and threatened species has been recognised in domestic biodiversity policy for many decades. Many temperate rainforests are protected by existing policy. Many are ancient woodlands, which are protected from development in all but wholly exceptional circumstances; we have committed in the England Trees Action Plan to increase protections in the planning system for long established woodland in situ since 1840. Many of our temperate rainforests support rich assemblages of species and are in our series of Sites of Special Scientific Interest. SSSI selection guidelines for woodlands are focussed on securing a representative series rather than protecting every example.

This government has made a world-leading commitment to halt the decline in nature by 2030, which will rely on the restoration and creation of habitats across the country. This will be supported by funding from the Nature for Climate Fund, future farming schemes including Landscape Recovery, and new funds such as the Big Nature Impact Fund. We will consider, while designing and rolling out these schemes, how they might support the protection and restoration of certain types of woodlands including ‘temperate rainforest’. We also provide financial support the buffering and expansion of valuable woodlands such as temperate rainforests through the England Woodland Creation Offer, and funding for the improvement and restoration of temperate rainforest sites through the Regional Restoration Funds.

Forestry policy is devolved, so the protection and restoration of temperate rainforests outside England is a matter for the devolved authorities.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to improve water quality in shellfishing areas to meet class A standards.

A review of shellfish waters undertaken by the Food Standards Agency has resulted in 15 sites securing seasonal Class A status for between three and ten months of the year, and an additional 3 harvesting areas were upgraded to a year-round Class A status. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is also considering changes to the classification system to ensure that classifications are awarded in a proportionate and pragmatic way while continuing to ensure high levels of public health protection. The FSA’s focus is on proposals that could impact harvesting areas that would allow more businesses to export live bivalve molluscs to the EU from Class A waters.

Longer term improvements to the quality of shellfish waters are set out in Environment Agency’s Shellfish Action Plans. The EA assesses the reason for waters not achieving the microbial standard and develops a programme of appropriate measures to address the failures. These improvement measures are then taken forward by working with water companies and the agricultural sector in the relevant catchment.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
20th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent steps his Department has taken to increase domestic consumption of UK-caught seafood

We are committed to encouraging consumers to buy and eat more locally caught fish and shellfish from UK waters, thereby increasing domestic consumption.

Through the Domestic Seafood Supply Scheme, we provided funding for projects that helped to increase the supply of local seafood to domestic markets and help to increase consumption of locally caught seafood in the UK.

Additionally, we have worked in partnership with Seafish on the 'Sea for Yourself' consumer facing campaign to inspire the UK to eat more locally caught seafood. The launch of their 'Love Seafood' brand in October 2020 will help consumers across the UK reconnect with the enjoyment of seafood by promoting the choice, convenience and balanced living that it provides. 'Love Seafood' represents an ambitious long-term initiative to reframe the nation's view of seafood and encourage consumers in the UK to eat more seafood over the next 20 years.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
20th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what safeguards he is putting in place to prevent the overuse of neonicotinoids.

The Government remains committed to the neonicotinoid restrictions put in place in 2018 to protect bees and other pollinators. We will only consider exceptions in special circumstances where emergency authorisation for limited and controlled use appears necessary because of a danger that cannot be contained by any other reasonable means and where the risk to people, animals and the environment is considered acceptably low.

The emergency authorisation that was recently granted for Cruiser SB (containing the neonicotinoid thiamethoxam) meets all these requirements. It only allows use on the 2021 sugar beet crop to address a serious threat from viruses transmitted by aphids. The use of this product will be tightly limited and controlled. A threshold of predicted disease level must be met before the use of treated seeds is allowed and the application rate of the product will be below the previously authorised commercial rate. There is also a prohibition on any flowering crop being planted within 22 months of the drilling of the sugar beet crop. This period is extended to 32 months for oilseed rape, which is attractive to bees and other pollinators.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what progress he has made on developing his policies for the Environmental Land Management scheme.

In February, we published our ELM policy Discussion Document. This sought views on how the ELM scheme would work, including the proposition of a three-tier scheme design. In parallel, our stakeholder-led ELM Test & Trials Programme, which comprises 67 tests and trials to date, is continuing. Lessons from the tests and trials and the responses we received to the policy discussion document are informing scheme design decisions, ahead of the national pilot which is due to launch in late 2021. A summary of responses received along with our follow up actions will be published in the coming months.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the Prime Minister’s speech to the UN General Assembly of 26 September 2020, what steps his Department plans to take to use the UK G7 presidency to tackle the illegal wildlife trade.

The UK plays a leading role in driving the global response to eradicate illegal wildlife trade. We intend to invest over £66 million between 2014 and 2024 on work to directly tackle the illegal wildlife trade in animals and plants, including to reduce demand, strengthen enforcement, ensure effective legal frameworks and develop sustainable alternative livelihoods.

We are working across Government to define the objectives for the UK’s G7 Presidency in 2021. These objectives will be shared in due course.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 6 March 2020 to Question 21397 on Waste Management, when he plans to announce the two waste streams for which his Department will consult on introducing extended producer responsibility schemes by 2022.

We are continuing to review our evidence base to inform our prioritisation of these waste-streams for consultation on the basis of environmental impact. We will confirm our priorities in due course.

We also continue to progress extended producer responsibility reform for packaging and will undertake a second consultation on proposals in 2021.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to support upskilling in the fishing sector.

Defra works with a range of organisations on supporting upskilling, including Seafish who provide opportunities such as skills and compliance training courses. Defra also strongly supports the ‘Seafood 2040: A Strategic Framework for England’ initiative, which aims to deliver a single cross-sector seafood training and skills plan. The purpose of this plan is to support businesses in the seafood supply chain to recruit and retain workers with suitable skills.

The Government has also committed to putting in place new funding after the end of the Transition Period comparable to the European Maritime & Fisheries Fund which will go towards funding skills training and supporting economic regeneration.

As skills policy is a devolved matter, the Northern Ireland Executive, Scottish Government and Welsh Government are responsible for taking forward actions in their jurisdictions on this policy area.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what progress the Government has made on undertaking a consultation on food labelling requirements relating to animal welfare standards.

The Government has committed to a serious and rapid examination of what can be done through labelling to promote high standards and high welfare across the UK market. The consultation is currently being drafted for a planned launch at the end of the transition period.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the implications for his policies of the recommendations set out in the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Ethics and Sustainability in Fashion's report, Making the UK a Global Leader in Sustainable Fashion, published in September 2020.

We have noted the report published by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Ethics and Sustainability in Fashion on 15 September, and we are considering its recommendations carefully in line with our Resources and Waste Strategy.

Our existing plans for textiles were outlined in the answer I gave my hon. Friend on 17 June 2020 [PQ UIN 58081]. We intend to set out our detailed plans in a new Waste Prevention Programme to be published for comment later this year.

[https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-06-10/58081]

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to help prepare the farming sector for the possibility of the transition period ending with the UK trading with the EU on World Trade Organisation terms.

The UK Government intends to achieve an FTA with the EU by December 2020. We therefore do not expect the UKGT to apply to EU imports. The Political Declaration sets an aim for “a zero tariff and zero quota FTA”. We would like to achieve that. Reducing the cost pressures and processes associated with trade is in the interests of people and businesses across the UK.

On 31 December 2020, the transition period will end and there will be a guaranteed series of changes and opportunities for which business and the Government need to prepare. Many of these changes will be required regardless of the agreement we reach with the European Union on our future trade relationship because the UK will be leaving the single market and customs union and regaining its political and economic independence.

Through the UK Agriculture Market Monitoring Group (UKAMMG), Defra and the Devolved Administrations continue to monitor the market situation across various agricultural commodities. The group will enable us to remain agile and to identify, and respond as required, to any unforeseen impacts at the end of the transition period.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 2 September 2020 to Question 77811, whether his Department holds the data supporting the WRAP’s claim on their Sustainable Clothing Action Plan website that the 2020 commitment currently has over 90 signatories and supporters representing more than 48 per cent of UK retail sales by volume.

WRAP keeps Defra informed of the overall proportion of UK fashion retail sales by volume covered by the fashion retailers who are part of the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan. The data used by WRAP was collected by Kantar Wordpanel and is commercially available from them. Defra does not hold the data.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he has taken to support populations of water voles in the South West.

Water vole are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 meaning it is an offence to kill, injure or take a wild water vole as well as damage or destroy places it uses for shelter, as well as disturb them while occupying these. In addition water vole are a priority conservation species listed under Section 41 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 which requires public authorities to have regard to the species when carrying out their day to day functions.

Natural England published ‘A Review of the Population and Conservation Status of British Mammals’, which identifies and confirms areas of work where continued resource should be placed to conserve and enhance water vole populations.

The Environment Agency works with partners to deliver water vole recovery projects at a number of sites across the South West, including habitat improvements, mink control, surveying and reintroductions. The Agency has partnered with the Westland Countryside Stewards and Biffa to repopulate the Bude catchment. Since summer 2012, approximately 550 water voles have been released. The reintroduction programme is promising with sightings in almost all release sites, as well as sites where they have moved into. Field sightings suggest that the water vole population is stable and the project has been successful. In addition, the River Tale in East Devon now also supports a stable population of water vole following a recovery project in the area.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what proportion of Official Development Assistance is being made available to help reduce the reliance of communities in developing countries on poaching.

The UK Government is at the forefront of international efforts to protect endangered animals and plants from poaching and illegal trade. Defra’s current Illegal Wildlife Trade (IWT) budget is approximately 7% of Defra’s SR15 ODA budget. This includes an uplift of £2.5m from FCDO in 2019 and 2020.

In addition, at the UN Climate Action Summit (UNCAS) in September 2019, the PM announced a new £220 million international biodiversity fund, which will include £30 million in further funding to tackle the Illegal Wildlife Trade. This commitment almost doubles Defra’s IWT budget over the next three years. FCDO have also committed a further £3.5m uplift to Defra’s IWT budget over the next Spending Review period.

Defra has also invested £92m into the Global Environment Facility (GEF) during the SR15 period. The GEF is a multilateral organisation that delivers a wide range of programmes to tackle global environmental issues including the Global Wildlife Program which is a global partnership on wildlife conservation and crime prevention for sustainable development.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will publish the names of the retailers that have least 1 per cent of UK retail sales by volume who are not signatories to the WRAP Sustainable Clothing Action Plan 2020 commitment.

Defra does not hold the information requested. The signatories to the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan 2020 are listed on the WRAP website.

We believe that addressing the environmental impacts of the sector requires collective action on the part of brands, manufacturers and retailers, and Government. We are working with WRAP on a new phase of the voluntary agreement for 2021-2030. We encourage all brands, manufacturers, and retailers to get involved.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of a reduction in the rate of VAT on clothing repair services on trends in the level of the reuse of clothing.

The Government is committed to working towards reducing textiles and clothing sent to landfill and incineration. For all materials, including textiles and clothing, prioritising waste prevention, reuse, and recycling ahead of landfill and incineration is embedded in the waste hierarchy and legislation is in place to support this.

In our Resources and Waste Strategy (RWS, 2018), we highlighted our commitment to support reuse, recycling and the diversion of clothing from landfill and incineration. We are working with the Waste and Resources Action Plan (WRAP) and industry on a new voluntary agreement and are seeking enabling powers in the Environment Bill to introduce product design and information requirements. The RWS also identified textiles as one of five priority waste streams to consult on for an Extended Producer Responsibility scheme. VAT and taxation are matters for HM Treasury (HMT) and Defra will continue to work with other Government Departments, including HMT, on the development of policies.

We are supporting the textiles reuse and recycling sector, which has experienced challenges due to the Covid-19 pandemic, through the WRAP-administered Resource Action Fund. The textiles fund makes a total of £1.5 million available, for small grants of £20 000 to £170 000.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to prevent the use of (a) incineration and (b) landfill for unsold clothing suitable for (i) reusing and (ii) recycling.

The Government is committed to working towards reducing textiles and clothing sent to landfill and incineration. For all materials, including textiles and clothing, prioritising waste prevention, reuse, and recycling ahead of landfill and incineration is embedded in the waste hierarchy and legislation is in place to support this.

In our Resources and Waste Strategy (RWS, 2018), we highlighted our commitment to support reuse, recycling and the diversion of clothing from landfill and incineration. We are working with the Waste and Resources Action Plan (WRAP) and industry on a new voluntary agreement and are seeking enabling powers in the Environment Bill to introduce product design and information requirements. The RWS also identified textiles as one of five priority waste streams to consult on for an Extended Producer Responsibility scheme. VAT and taxation are matters for HM Treasury (HMT) and Defra will continue to work with other Government Departments, including HMT, on the development of policies.

We are supporting the textiles reuse and recycling sector, which has experienced challenges due to the Covid-19 pandemic, through the WRAP-administered Resource Action Fund. The textiles fund makes a total of £1.5 million available, for small grants of £20 000 to £170 000.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the Benyon Review into Highly Protected Marine Areas, published on 8 June 2020, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that historic fishing rights are maintained.

We welcome the publication of the Review into Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs) on 8 June 2020, which is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/highly-protected-marine-areas-hpmas-review-2019. We will consider Richard Benyon’s report and issue a formal response to him in due course.

We recognise the importance of fishing especially to coastal communities and we are seeking thriving and sustainable fisheries. HPMAs would not affect historic fishing rights as these rights can be exercised outside of any HPMAs. In considering the recommendations of the review, we will be engaging extensively with the fishing industry.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his European counterparts on best practice for food labelling schemes for the provision of information on animal welfare standards.

During the recent Finnish EU Council presidency, we responded to a questionnaire on the issue of a pan-European animal welfare label sent to all Member States’ Chief Veterinary Officers. Voluntary animal welfare labelling systems that had already been established in some countries had been well received by consumers and enabled consumers to base their purchasing decisions on compliance with animal-welfare criteria. The Council concluded that, at the same time, animal welfare labels had opened up a market to producers for products produced to higher animal welfare standards.

We already have some of the highest welfare standards in the world, as well as a number of voluntary labelling schemes which provide assurances as to the welfare of the animals. The Government has committed to a serious and rapid examination of what can be done through labelling, to promote high standards and high welfare across the UK market, and to consult on this.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if his Department will make an assessment of the potential merits of requiring that consumer information is provided to promote the sale of durable, repairable and recyclable textiles.

The Government committed in the Resources & Waste Strategy to support ecodesign standards for products and to improve labelling schemes, as well as to address challenges in the textiles sector.

We are seeking powers in the Environment Bill that will enable the Government to mandate the provision of relevant information to help consumers make more sustainable purchasing decisions. This information must be relevant to a product’s impact on the natural environment and can include information relating to a product’s durability, reparability and recyclability, as well as its recycled content.

The textiles sector remains a priority area for potential future regulations, including but not limited to making use of those powers.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if his Department will conduct a public consultation on the potential merits of bringing forward legislative proposals to ban the commercial sale of fur in the UK after the end of the transition period.

The Government shares the British public's high regard for animal welfare. There are restrictions on some skin and fur products, which cannot be legally imported into the UK. These include fur from cats and dogs, seal skins and products from commercial hunts. Legislation has prohibited farming of animals for their fur since 2000 in England and Wales, and 2002 in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

In addition, we do not allow imports of fur from wild animals caught using methods which are non-compliant with international humane trapping standards. Where fur is from an endangered species protected through the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), its import or trade will be subject to CITES controls.

During the transition period it is not possible to introduce restrictions relating to the fur trade. Once our future relationship with the EU has been established, we will have the opportunity to consider further steps we could take in relation to fur sales.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits on enabling (a) sheep and (b) goat farmers to access the Dairy Response Fund 2020.

We continue to monitor the impact of the Covid-19 disruption on all sectors and dairy producers and are committed to providing support. Dairy producers are eligible for a range of support, including the Covid-19 Business Interruption Loan Scheme, the Bounce Back Loan Scheme, deferral of VAT payments, and the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme. The Bounce Back Loan Scheme will ensure that the smallest businesses can access up to £50,000 loans with a Government 100% guarantee on each loan, to give lenders the confidence they need to support the smallest businesses in the country. We will also cover the first 12 months of interest payments and fees charged to the business by the lender.

Businesses in England can also apply for the Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund, which supports small and micro businesses with fixed property costs that are not eligible for other grant schemes, and which have suffered a significant fall in income due to Covid-19.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to support environmental sustainability in the fashion and textile industries.

In the landmark Resources and Waste Strategy for England (2018), the Government committed to develop policy measures to promote sustainable practices in the clothing and textiles industries. We are continuing to work with industry through WRAP on the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan (SCAP), and are currently engaged in developing an ambitious new phase of the voluntary agreement for 2021-2030. The most recent figures show that between 2012 and 2018 signatories to the SCAP reduced their water and carbon footprints by 18.1% and 13.4% respectively.

We are seeking enabling powers in the Environment Bill to introduce ecodesign and product information requirements, subject to consultation. Through secondary legislation these requirements could be applied to support durable, repairable, and recyclable textiles. We also identified textiles in the Resources and Waste Strategy as a priority area on which to consult for an Extended Producer Responsibility scheme.

We are supporting the textiles reuse and recycling sector, which has experienced particular challenges due to the Covid-19 pandemic, through the WRAP-administered Resource Action Fund. The textiles fund makes a total of £1.5 million available, for small grants of £20 000 to £170 000. Our plans to promote sustainable practices in the textiles sector will be built on and enhanced in a new Waste Prevention Programme, which is currently in development.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to encourage the practice of regenerative agriculture.

Countryside Stewardship is delivering on the Government’s ambition of protecting and improving the natural environment by supporting 30,000 farmers, foresters and land owners to carry out environmental works.

The focus of the scheme is on conserving and restoring wildlife habitats, managing flood risk, reducing water pollution and planting woodland.

As of December 2019, 2.83 million hectares of land was under an agri-environment agreement and 2,700 hectares of new woodland had been planted under the scheme.

Farmers and other land managers who sign up to new Countryside Stewardship agreements during the Transition Period will be well-placed in the future to participate in the new Environmental Land Management (ELM) scheme, subject to successfully applying.

ELM will be the cornerstone of our new agricultural policy. Founded on the principle of “public money for public goods”, ELM is intended to provide a powerful vehicle for achieving the goals of the 25 Year Environment Plan and commitment to net zero emissions, while supporting our rural economy.

Farmers and other land managers may enter into agreements to be paid for delivering the following public goods set out in the 25 Year Environment Plan:

  • clean air
  • clean and plentiful water
  • thriving plants and wildlife
  • protection from and mitigation of environmental hazards
  • mitigation of and adaptation to climate change
  • beauty, heritage and engagement with the natural environment

Beyond agriculture, nature-based solutions are key to tackling climate change and averting its impacts. The UK Government is deploying such solutions to improve our natural environment.

Where nature-based solutions contribute towards the delivery of these public goods, they may be funded by ELM. We will determine in more detail what ELM will pay for as we further develop the scheme and are engaging with stakeholders to inform this.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what his Department's timetable is for the implementation of the provisions of the Ivory Act 2018.

We welcome the Court of Appeal’s ruling last month upholding the world-leading Ivory Act against a claim brought by a part of the antiques industry. The Government is committed to bringing the ivory ban into force as soon as practicable.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to his Department's consultation entitled Non-elephant ivory trade: call for evidence which closed on 22 August 2019, what progress his Department has made on responding to that consultation.

We received 35 responses to the call for evidence on the non-elephant ivory trade. We are currently considering the evidence on the non-elephant ivory trade. A summary of the responses will be published in due course.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he plans to take to support fishermen who have missed out on the Fisheries Response Fund as a result of delays caused with registering boats due to new software at the Registry of Shipping and Seaman.

We are in the process of finalising an appeals process with the Marine Management Organisation (MMO), which is responsible for delivering the scheme. The appeals process will allow those who meet the eligibility criteria but who have not been identified in the original contact period, due to data being unavailable, to contact the MMO and request their case be reviewed.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to allocate covid-19 funding to charter-boat businesses.

The Government has provided an unprecedented package of support measures to help businesses across the UK impacted by COVID-19, and at this stage we do not feel that specific support for the waterways sector would be appropriate. However, because the COVID-19 impacts felt in some sectors may be, or become, more acute than others, we are monitoring the impact that measures are having in supporting public services, businesses and individuals. We are also keeping all decisions under review.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what plans the Government has to raise the matter of gender-based violence at the next meeting of the G7.

COVID-19 has reinforced the urgency of the need to tackle the pervasive and endemic “shadow pandemic” of violence against women and girls, including conflict-related sexual violence. We have been working closely with our G7 partners on this important agenda and will continue to do so.

22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assessment her Department has made of the effect of the covid-19 pandemic on girls’ education in developing countries.

The COVID-19 crisis has removed 1.3 billion children - 650 million girls - from primary and secondary education, putting the most disadvantaged girls at risk of dropping out of school permanently. As the effects of the COVID-19 crisis play out, the socio-economic impact on girls’ education in developing countries is becoming increasingly clear. From a learning perspective, closures – even with mitigating actions - will significantly reduce learning hours. School closures in Sierra Leone during the Ebola crisis resulted in the loss of roughly 780 hours per pupil. We also understand that the effects of school closures in developing countries are much wider than reduced learning. For many disadvantaged children in developing countries, school closures expose them to increased hunger and malnutrition as well as increased risk of violence against women and girls.

The UK’s response to the pandemic is two-fold, firstly to ensure preventative measures are taken to keep girls learning and returning to education, mitigating short term risks by focussing on safety, nutrition, wellbeing and the continuity of learning whilst schools are closed. Secondly, by supporting countries to protect and maintain their education budgets and ensuring that we build back better. DFID is adapting its bilateral education programmes in 18 countries. The Global Partnership for Education, to which the UK is the largest donor, is flexing over £200 million to support education sector stability in response to the pandemic. The UK has also announced £20 million for UNICEF’s crisis appeal, which includes education, and a further £5 million to the Education Cannot Wait fund to support emergency education in fragile contexts.

22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps her Department is taking to prevent female genital mutilation in countries overseas.

The UK leads the world in our support to the Africa-led movement to end FGM. In 2018 we announced a £50 million UK aid package – the biggest single donor investment worldwide to date – to tackle this issue across the most-affected countries in Africa.

UK aid is continuing to support efforts to tackle FGM during the COVID-19 pandemic, including through increased remote working and using media platforms. For example, our £15 million programme in Sudan continues to support advocacy and in April we saw a significant step towards the outlawing of FGM in Sudan.

13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how much and what proportion of the UK’s Official Development Assistance was spent on projects tackling gender-based violence in each financial year since 2009-10.

The UK Official Development Assistance (ODA) data is collected and reported in line with internationally agreed OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) definitions and standards. These standards include sector codes that are allocated to programmes.

In 2015, following lobbying by the UK and others, the DAC introduced a new sector code to improve the tracking of ODA that contributes to ending of violence against women and girls (VAWG). The UK started reporting on the new code for 2016 ODA spend. Before changes were made to our aid management platform in 2018, however, there were several technological barriers which meant that it was very difficult to track spend accurately.

Our Statistics on International Development: Final Aid Spend 2018 publication shows that we tracked £32.6 million bilateral aid on ending VAWG for 2018. We also estimated a further £12.4 million UK ODA was spent on ending VAWG through our partnerships with multilaterals. This amounts to 0.31% of UK ODA for that year.

We are doing more to improve the quality and transparency of our data on VAWG spend. For example, we are working to improve the way we track the impact of other sectoral programming, such as humanitarian, health, economic or education programmes that also contribute to ending VAWG, and which may not yet be fully captured as part of our published data.

We are also continuing to scale up our investment in tackling VAWG, for example our new £67.5 million programme What Works to Prevent Violence: Impact at Scale, is the largest investment by any donor government in programming and research to prevent VAWG globally.

Note: Imputed Multilateral Shares are estimates of how multilaterals spent the UK’s core contributions to multilaterals. For more detail on these estimates please see the ‘Statistics at DFID’ gov.uk page

24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps she plans to take to ensure that adequate funding is allocated to the protection of women and girls and gender-based violence services, as part of her Department’s response to the covid-19 pandemic.

The UK is deeply concerned about the surge in violence against women and girls (VAWG) during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are using?significant investment?and influence within the?international system?to?ensure that women and girls have access to the vital services they need.

We have already provided £10 million of UK aid to the UN Population Fund and £20 million to UN Children’s Fund to scale up protection and support services for women and girls. We have contributed £20 million of UK aid to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees’s COVID-19 response for refugees and internally displaced people, which includes support for essential VAWG and child protection services. We launched a call for proposals under our Rapid Response Facility, which required all projects to mainstream gender, protection and safeguarding. This year we will also launch a new £67.5 million programme to scale up violence prevention, which is the largest investment by any donor government in programming and research to VAWG globally.

We are also urgently reorienting existing bilateral programmes to ensure that women and girls can continue to access support during the lockdown. For example, in Nepal, the UK is financing 14 Women’s and Children Service Centres across the country and 62 One Stop Crisis Centres.

18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent assessment she has made of the potential of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership to help influence future global trade standards.

Joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) will see the UK secure its place in a network of countries committed to free trade as part of the rules-based international system. Accession will demonstrate the UK’s place as a nation that champions the removal of barriers in world trade.

CPTPP is designed for expansion, meaning that its rules have the potential to become even further established across key economies in the Asia-Pacific region. This will allow the UK to play a key role in shaping standards for an ambitious agreement that has the potential to increase in global prominence over time.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps she is taking to strengthen the UK's trade relationship with Taiwan.

The UK remains committed to strengthening its rich and wide-ranging trading relationship with Taiwan. Total trade in goods and services between the UK and Taiwan was £7.0 billion [in the four quarters to the end of Q3 2020]. We are working with Taiwan to increase this further, including through our annual Trade Talks, ministerial engagement, and through engagements by the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Taiwan.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
20th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps she is taking to strengthen investment ties between the UK and the Indo-Pacific region.

Strengthening investment ties forms a strategic pillar of the Government’s strategy towards the Indo-Pacific region and will build upon the existing c. £180bn of UK investment in the region, and c. £151bn of Indo-Pacific investment in the UK, both of which deliver jobs and opportunity across the United Kingdom.

Alongside the existing network of dedicated investment support officers, the new Office for Investment provides an improved level of service for the most impactful and complex inward investments from the region. In addition, the UK’s ambitious Free Trade and Market Access activities in the region will foster a more favourable bilateral investment environment.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what progress she has made on negotiating the UK’s accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Pursuing potential accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) is a priority for the HM Government and is a key part of our trade negotiations programme. We have engaged with all eleven member countries, at both ministerial and official level. Most recently, on 9th September 2020, my Rt Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade addressed a United Kingdom-CPTPP Senior Officials’ meeting and all CPTPP members have welcomed our interest in accession. Prior to that, on 10th July 2020, the Secretary of State convened Heads of Mission from all CPTPP countries to discuss the United Kingdom’s potential accession. We will continue to engage all members as we consider our application, an approach that aligns with the accession process for new CPTPP members, which encourages countries to engage informally with every CPTPP member.

6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps she is taking to improve trading links between the UK and other Commonwealth countries.

The Commonwealth includes some of our closest friends and greatest allies. We share many bonds and I hope the Hon. Gentleman will welcome our commitment to work closely with Commonwealth countries to remove barriers and liberalise the global trading environment.

At the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in 2018, chaired by the United Kingdom, we committed to boosting intra-Commonwealth trade beyond $2 trillion (approximately £1.5 trillion) by 2030. Commonwealth leaders also adopted the ‘Commonwealth Connectivity Agenda for Trade and Investment’ to enhance cooperation amongst ourselves.

In October 2019, the Secretary of State chaired the sixth Commonwealth Trade Ministers Meeting, which reaffirmed the Commonwealth’s support for free trade and the rules based multilateral trading system. HM Government is also funding several projects including the Commonwealth Trade Facilitation Programme, the Commonwealth Standards Network and the SheTrades Commonwealth Programme.

My department aims to go further in the months and years ahead.

10th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what the Government's timetable is for bringing forward legislative proposals to end the practice of conversion therapy for members of the LGBT community.

The Government takes this issue very seriously and fundamentally disagrees with attempts to forcibly change someone’s sexuality.

In order to end conversion therapy practice for good, we are thoroughly considering all legislative and non-legislative options. As my honourable friend will know, there are certain abhorrent and violent practices which may be classed as conversion therapy, which are already covered by existing criminal offences. Where such practices are already unlawful, we will ensure the law is clear, well understood and enforced. Where dangerous conversion therapy practices are not already unlawful, we are examining the best ways to prevent them being conducted, without sending such practices underground.

We have also commissioned research that looks at the scope of practices and experiences of those subjected to conversion therapy. Once the findings have been reviewed, we will continue engaging other key stakeholders, and ensure we quickly progress an effective approach.

My officials are working at pace on the matter, and we will outline plans to end its practice in due course.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what plans her Department has to explore UK labelling approaches that could be used to promote the standards of agricultural import produce.

HM Government is committed to world-class food standards. We will consider the full range of measures available to maintain our current levels of protection for consumers and the environment – and enhance consumer choice, including the possibility of labelling, where appropriate. In doing so, we will respect our WTO obligations to make sure that any technical regulations do not create unnecessary obstacles to international trade. British food regulators, such as the Food Standards Agency, will continue to make sure that all food imports comply with British standards.

14th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how much and what proportion of the Rescue Boat Grant fund has been allocated as of 14 November 2023; and which lifeboat charities received funding.

A total of £5,663,211.89 was allocated to 104 different independent inshore and inland rescue boat charities by the Rescue Boat Grant Fund in six annual rounds between 2014 and 2020. The charities that received funding from the Rescue Boat grant Fund can be found in the attached document.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
20th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what further steps his Department plans to take to reduce the backlog in driving tests, in the context of current waiting times.

Since April 2021, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency has created over one million extra car test appointments by recruiting new examiners, conducting out-of-hours testing, such as on public holidays and weekends, asking all those qualified to conduct tests but who do not do so as part of their current day job, to return to conducting tests, and asking recently retired driving examiners to return. On average, this has created approximately 40,000 extra car test appointments each month.

As of 17 July 2023, there were 544,028 car practical driving tests booked, and 36,523 driving tests available within the 24-week booking window.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
20th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of adding independent lifeboat launch vehicles to the list of emergency vehicles that can use blue lights.

The Department and HM Coastguard are working with UK Search and Rescue (UKSAR) to create guidance and governance for SAR teams on the use of blue lights and warning devices.

When approved, this will allow voluntary sector SAR bodies recognised by UKSAR and operating under the UKSAR safety framework, including independent lifeboat launch vehicles, to be lawfully fitted with blue flashing lamps and audible warning devices.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
12th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of offering a reduced fee rate for the D1 driving licence training and exam for drivers who are only using the licence for volunteering with a community bus service.

There is no provision within the regulations to vary a test fee for any vehicle category in response to varying different kinds of usage.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
12th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 25 May 2023 to Question 185600 on Shipping: Rescue Services, how many and what proportion of the serious injuries and deaths on UK registered fishing vessels with a registered length of less than or equal to 10m have occurred as the result of a medical incident, condition or illness in each of the last five years.

I refer the Hon. Member to the Answer given on 25th May 2023.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
17th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many (a) deaths, (b) serious injuries and (c) emergency service call outs for medical emergencies have been recorded for incidents at sea among the inshore fishing fleet in the last five years.

In the past five years (2018 – 2022), 18 serious injuries and 12 deaths occurred on UK registered fishing vessels with a registered length of less than or equal to 10m have been reported to the Marine Accident Investigation Branch. These statistics do not include deaths or injuries that resulted from medical illnesses and the definition of serious injury is in accordance with the Merchant Shipping (Accident Reporting and Investigation) Regulations 2012, as amended.

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch does not record data for emergency service call outs for medical emergencies, as these are not reportable marine accidents in accordance with The Merchant Shipping (Accident Reporting and Investigation) Regulations 2012, as amended.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
27th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effectiveness of the rural mobility fund pilot projects on provision of bus services.

The majority of the demand responsive transport pilots involved in the Government’s £20 million Rural Mobility Fund have now launched. A monitoring and evaluation process is in place. We expect to publish interim findings in the first half of 2023, further findings in late 2023/early 2024, and the final findings in 2025 in the form of written reports. However, the exact timings and dissemination approach will be determined closer to the time.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions she has had with the Civil Aviation Authority on taking steps to help ensure that renewal decisions for Air Travel Organiser's Licences (ATOL) are made with consideration to the financial impact of the covid-19 pandemic on international travel operators.

The Civil Aviation Authority is the independent regulator responsible for the administration of the ATOL scheme. It would therefore not be appropriate for the Government to intervene in CAA licence renewal decisions.

6th Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the implications for its policies of the results of the mobility fund projects; and whether he plans to release further funding to support demand responsive transport in rural areas.

Our £20m Rural Mobility Fund is supporting 17 innovative, demand-led minibus trials in rural and suburban areas. These pilots are exploring whether Demand Responsive Transport (DRT) can serve these communities more effectively than traditional public transport solutions alone. It is too early to assess the full impact of the pilots. Each scheme is taking part in a detailed monitoring and evaluation process. This will provide a strong base of evidence and good practice for DRT and a better understanding of both the role it can play and the challenges associated with introducing it.

There are not currently plans for further bespoke DRT funding. Whilst it is for Local Transport Authorities (LTAs) to determine and prioritise investment in local transport, the Government’s National Bus Strategy asked all LTAs outside London to publish a Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) covering the full area, including parts with differing needs, such as rural elements. The Strategy encourages new forms of bus provision in areas that are currently not adequately served by conventional timetabled buses. It is clear that DRT can play a part in delivering this.

Funding has recently been allocated to 34 LTAs following assessment of their BSIPs, some of which include proposals for DRT.

Lucy Frazer
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
20th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what further discussions he plans in 2022 with his Italian counterpart to help ensure that UK citizens, resident in Italy before the end of 2020, will be able to exchange their UK driving licences for those of Italy without the need to take an Italian driving test.

The Government remains committed to securing an agreement for UK licence holders resident in Italy, to exchange their UK driving licences for those of Italy without the need to take an Italian driving test. The UK already has similar arrangements in place with 24 other EU countries.

Department for Transport officials will continue to negotiate exchange arrangements for UK licence holders resident in Italy as a matter of priority. While those discussions are ongoing, UK licence holders can continue to use their UK licence until 31 December 2022, or for 12 months from becoming a resident in Italy, whichever is later.

20th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with his Italian counterpart on helping to ensure that UK citizens, resident in Italy before the end of 2020, can exchange their UK driving licences for those of Italy without the requirement to take an Italian driving test.

The Government remains committed to securing an agreement for UK licence holders resident in Italy, to exchange their UK driving licences for those of Italy without the need to take an Italian driving test. The UK already has similar arrangements in place with 24 other EU countries.

Government officials have engaged frequently in discussions with Italy on the terms and nature of arrangements for UK licence holders resident in Italy since the UK’s exit from the EU. While those discussions are ongoing, UK licence holders can continue to use their UK licence until 31 December 2022, or for 12 months from becoming a resident in Italy, whichever is later.

21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if his Department will reimburse independent lifeboats for costs incurred during the covid-19 outbreak.

I recognise the valuable services provided by independent lifeboats in ensuring the safety of local communities, and appreciate the scale of the challenge facing smaller maritime operators from Covid-19.

The financial impact of the global Covid-19 pandemic cannot be underestimated. To support businesses and employees, HMG has responded with an unprecedented £330 billion of financial measures.

Charities, including independent lifeboats, are playing a crucial role in the national fight against Covid-19, backed up by an army of volunteers. In recognition of the vital services that charities provide, HMG has also made substantial funding available to ensure they can continue to deliver key services that many people rely upon.

Comprehensive guidance has been published to highlight these grant opportunities for charities, and to ensure that volunteers can continue to undertake their roles safely.

6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to support and develop the UK's shipping sector.

The maritime sector plays an important role for the UK economy, facilitating 95% of our global trade, and has continued to do so throughout the Covid-19 pandemic by enabling the delivery of critical goods, including medicine and personal protective equipment. However, it has also faced significant disruption and the government has provided financial support to ensure that lifeline services and critical freight services continue to operate.

Maritime 2050, which was published in January 2019, sets out an ambitious joint plan between the government and the maritime industry for how the UK will continue to be a world leading maritime nation and develop to meet the challenges and opportunities of the future.

Given the changes that Covid-19 has caused, we are working with the maritime sector to consider where new recommendations could be made in addition to Maritime 2050, or existing recommendations accelerated, to help the maritime sector recover from Covid-19 and continue to grow. We will publish a route-map setting out these actions later in the year.

22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the effect on rural communities of reductions in the level of rural bus services during the covid-19 outbreak.

On 23 May, the Transport Secretary announced a further £254 million to help increase bus services across England as quickly as possible as we begin to re-open our economy. This is in addition to the £397 million the Government announced on 3 April 2020 to keep England’s buses running to serve those who need to rely on them.

In addition, the Government allowed local authorities to use the extra £30 million in 2020/21 to support essential bus services and provided £20 million through the Rural Mobility Fund to support demand responsive services in rural communities.

13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the financial effect on garages of the six-month extension to MOT tests in the event that the covid-19 lockdown is lifted.

The loss of MOT fee income has been estimated at £664 million, which is based on the average cost of an MOT of £40 multiplied by the number of MOTs due over the next 6 months. This will be mitigated in part by Government support for industries affected by the ongoing pandemic.

6th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to further encourage cycling as a form of commuting.

On the 9th May the Government announced a £2bn package of funding for cycling and walking. This includes £250m which will encourage cycling to work through the provision of pop up bike lanes with protected space for cycling, safer junctions as well as vouchers for cycle repairs and greater provision for bike fixing facilities. This builds on the refreshed Cycle to Work Scheme Guidance published in 2019 which made it easier for employers to provide bicycles and equipment including e-bikes and adapted bikes worth over £1,000.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what progress she has made in evaluating the findings of her Department’s pilot on video recording personal independence payment assessments.

The evaluation of the VR pilot has shown the importance of improving trust and transparency in the assessment process, and DWP remains committed to this. We had begun work to develop an approach to provide consistency for claimants across audio recording of Work Capability Assessments and PIP assessments. However, due to the impact of Covid-19, staff across DWP have been redeployed to support claimants and as a result, this work has been paused.

6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to improve the service personal independence payment claimants receive.

In response to the Covid crisis, DWP put in place significant easements to support customers, including pausing reviews, stopping face to face assessments, introducing telephony assessments and providing customers with more time to return their PIP 2 forms. We are constantly seeking to improve the service further, currently testing a new digital claim form option with a view to wider implementation later this year.

9th Mar 2020
What assessment she has made of the effectiveness of personal independence payment assessors.

We set our assessment providers challenging targets, we monitor performance closely and manage contracts robustly. All Health Professionals are subject to on-going quality checks to ensure they continue to deliver high quality assessments. A quality assurance audit process, following the consultation, is in place. The department is continually working alongside assessment providers to further improve the quality of assessments.

12th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 23 May to Question 185601 on Dentistry: Qualifications, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of offering people living in the UK priority assess to the Overseas Registration Exam for Non-European Economic Area nationals.

No assessment has been made. The General Dental Council (GDC), as an independent regulator, is responsible for the Overseas Registration Exam (ORE) application process. All ORE Part 1 and Part 2 exams open for booking eight to ten weeks prior to the exam taking place. Every candidate on the relevant candidate list is emailed when a new exam date becomes available for booking. All places on exams are booked on a first come, first served basis.

17th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to improve access to the Overseas Registration Exam for Non-European Economic Area nationals wanting to practice dentistry in the UK.

We have recently introduced legislation that enables the General Dental Council (GDC) to increase the capacity of its Overseas Registration Exam (ORE) and improve its international registration processes. It will be for the GDC, as an independent regulator, to decide how best to use the flexibility that the legislation allows to increase the capacity of the ORE assessment.

The current legal framework for the ORE will remain in place until the GDC introduces new rules on the operation of the ORE 12 months after the legislation comes into force, in March 2024. In the meantime, the GDC has announced that it has tripled the number places for Part 1 of the ORE in response to the current demand, meaning there will be 600 places available for the August 2023 sitting of the ORE Part 1, instead of the usual 200.

13th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the review by Seafish entitled Review of the application of the Official Control Regulations for shellfish, published June 2021, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of that review's findings; and what progress has been made by the Food Standards Agency on implementing the Review's recommendations.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has assessed the recommendations set out in the Seafish Review and in collaboration with shellfish stakeholders has prioritised those considered workable within the existing legal framework. Proposals which require legislative change are not considered feasible at the present time. To date, the FSA has introduced two new criteria for handling high results, updated protocols to confirm that appropriately validated alternative test methods can be used for official control purposes and communicated that local authorities can delegate official control sampling to third parties.

The FSA is also working on further revisions to its approaches, including reviewing the timeframe for resampling and reopening production areas after high results. This work is complex and takes time. It is imperative that any changes introduced ensure continued food safety and maintain the confidence of consumers and trading partners.

15th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent steps his Department has taken to provide support for children's mental health in rural communities.

Integrated care boards (ICBs) are responsible for ensuring appropriate provision to meet the health and care needs of local populations. Adjustments are made in the core ICB allocations formula to allow for variation in the costs of providing health care between rural and urban areas.

The NHS Long Term Plan commits to investing an additional £2.3 billion a year in mental health services by 2023/24. This increased investment will improve access to mental health services, including in rural communities. By 2023/24, a further 345,000 children and young people will be able to access National Health Service-funded mental health support. In 2021/22, we provided an additional £79 million to allow a further 22,500 more children and young people to access community health services and accelerate the coverage of mental health support teams in schools and colleges. These teams are now available for 26% of pupils and will increase to nearly 400 teams for approximately 35% of pupils by April 2023.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
20th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps she is taking to help reduce disparities in dementia diagnosis rates between Integrated Care Systems.

NHS England has commissioned the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities’ Dementia Intelligence Network to investigate the underlying variation in dementia diagnosis rates in targeted areas in England. This includes the assessment of underlying population characteristics such as rurality, ethnicity, and age to provide context for variation and enable targeted investigation and provision of support locally.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the NHS Blood and Transplant algorithm which decides how organs are allocated has been updated since the new drug Trikafta was introduced for cystic fibrosis sufferers.

NHS Blood and Transplant has a selection and allocation policy for each organ, ensuring a transparent process to balance reducing mortality on waiting lists and matching donor lungs with recipients to provide the best outcome for all listed patients. The algorithm is not dependent on the primary disease and patients are only placed on the transplant list after maximal therapy.

NHS Blood and Transplant’s Lung Advisory Group would regard a trial of Trikafta (Kaftrio) as an important pre-referral step and most cystic fibrosis physicians would prescribe this prior to the referral of patients for transplantation.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to reopen town-based minor injuries units that were closed in the initial response to the covid-19 outbreak.

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, a number of type 3 and 4 services have been temporarily closed or reconfigured due to a number of issues related to the outbreak. For example, reduction in footfall, requirement to redeploy staff due to system pressures elsewhere or sites unable to comply with social distancing guidelines.

Taking into consideration pressures associated with the COVID-19 outbreak, the re-opening and reconfiguration of services is being led locally and reviewed on an ongoing basis, supported by NHS England and NHS Improvement regions.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to improve vaccination rates in areas of the UK where they are below the national average.

Public Health England and NHS England and NHS Improvement are undertaking a range of actions to improve vaccination coverage across all the routine immunisation programmes in England. This includes targeted initiatives where rates are below the national average, informed by data that identifies underserved populations, as well as improvements being rolled out nationally, such as improved access to appointments, better communication with the public, and additional training for healthcare professionals.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to tackle disinformation about vaccinations.

We take the issue of disinformation and misinformation about vaccines extremely seriously and are working across Government to tackle this. There is high confidence in the routine vaccine programmes, and we know that the National Health Service rightfully remains the most trusted source of information on immunisation. However, the influence of anti-vaccine misinformation on vaccine uptake rates is hard to quantify, so we are working to address this with colleagues from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and Public Health England.

The Department continues to work closely with Public Health England and with NHS England and NHS Improvement to promote the positive value of vaccines in social media campaigns.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the trends in the level of (a) closures and (b) reduction in the opening hours of rural pharmacies; and what assessment he has made of the effect on access to pharmacy services of reductions in the level of public transport services.

Whilst the Department does not track closures of rural pharmacies, we track the closure of those pharmacies that are more than a mile from their next nearest pharmacy. Since 2017, there have been 18, with no discernible trend in the closures. No assessment has been made of reduced opening hours or the effect of any reduction in public transport on access. NHS England and NHS Improvement closely monitor closures to ensure that National Health Service pharmaceutical services continue to be provided. Depending on the area, this maybe through other pharmacies that patients can access in the area, dispensing doctors and/or distance selling pharmacies.

The Government also paid for a medicines delivery service for people while shielding and, during the peak of the pandemic, enabled pharmacies to close to the public for two hours a day to help deal with the increased number of telephone calls, for advice on health and medicines, from the public, who preferred not to visit the pharmacy in person.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if the Government will allow the reopening of dental practices in line with the reopening of non-essential shops as covid-19 restrictions are eased.

To meet the Government social distancing measures and to contain the spread of COVID-19 all routine dentistry was suspended at the start of the pandemic.

NHS England and NHS Improvement announced on 28 May that National Health Service dentistry outside urgent care centres could begin to gradually restart from 8 June where practices assess that they have the necessary personal protective equipment and infection prevention and control. The aim is to increase levels of service as fast as is compatible with maximising safety.

A copy of the letter that was published can be found at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-content/uploads/sites/52/2020/03/Urgent-dental-care-letter-28-May.pdf

We still expect all NHS dental practices to provide urgent telephone advice and triage. Dentists are giving urgent advice remotely and, if needed, prescriptions for painkillers or antibiotics. All urgent face to face treatment that is clinically necessary will still be available for patients who are triaged by their dentist or NHS 111 into one of over 600 urgent dental centres set up by NHS England and NHS Improvement.

To support dentists and teams to reopen safely NHS England and NHS Improvement and the Chief Dental Officer have published a standard operating procedure covering the recovery transition.

This can be found at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/publication/dental-standard-operating-procedure-transition-to-recovery/

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will allow the reopening of dental practices in line with the reopening of non essential shops as restrictions are eased due to the covid-19 outbreak.

To meet the Government social distancing measures and to contain the spread of COVID-19 all routine dentistry was suspended at the start of the pandemic.

NHS England and NHS Improvement announced on 28 May that NHS dentistry outside urgent care centres will begin to gradually restart from 8 June where practices assess that they have the necessary personal protective equipment and infection prevention and control. The aim is to increase levels of service as fast as is compatible with maximising safety.

A copy of the letter that was published can be found at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-content/uploads/sites/52/2020/03/Urgent-dental-care-letter-28-May.pdf

We still expect all NHS dental practices to provide urgent telephone advice and triage. Dentists are giving urgent advice remotely and, if needed, prescriptions for painkillers or antibiotics. All urgent face to face treatment that is clinically necessary will still be available for patients who are triaged by their dentist or NHS 111 into one of over 600 urgent dental centres set up by NHS England and NHS Improvement.

To support dentists and teams to reopen safely NHS England and NHS Improvement and the Chief Dental Officer have published a standard operating procedure covering the recovery transition.

This can be found at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/publication/dental-standard-operating-procedure-transition-to-recovery/

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to provide mental health support to people who are living alone during the covid-19 outbreak.

On 22 April 2020, the Government announced a guaranteed £5 million boost for national loneliness organisations to help them continue and adapt their work to ensure that staying at home does not lead to loneliness. A number of charities, businesses and public figures will join the Government’s ‘Tackling Loneliness Network’ to help connect those at risk of isolation. Volunteers from the NHS Volunteer Responder programme are also available to support people isolating at home, including making regular check in and chat phone calls.

Mental health services remain open and are working around the clock to support people. We have published official guidance on mental health and wellbeing on GOV.UK and are promoting this through Every Mind Matters. For those with severe needs or in crisis, NHS England has instructed all National Health Service mental health trusts to establish 24 hours a day, seven days a week mental health crisis lines.

5th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that the covid-19 tracing app will work in rural areas with poor access to mobile networks and broadband.

The National Health Service COVID-19 app uses Bluetooth technology to detect proximity contacts between app users, access to a mobile network or broadband is not required for this. The times when the user is required to use mobile data or broadband are downloading and registering the app, submitting symptoms if the user becomes symptomatic, and receiving alerts for self-isolation. We expect the vast majority of the population will be able to use the app using their existing mobile network or home broadband service. Mobile coverage is improving, with 91% of the United Kingdom landmass covered by a good 4G signal from at least one operator. The recently announced Shared Rural Network programme will go further and see Government and industry jointly invest to increase 4G mobile coverage throughout the UK to 95% by the end of 2025.

21st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that rural communities have adequate access to health care facilities.

Although overall health outcomes are better in rural than urban areas, the Government recognises the specific challenges that rural areas face and the potential for certain health inequalities to develop. The Department continues to take a systematic approach to tackling health inequalities and is committed to engaging with a range of stakeholders including the devolved administrations; encouraging spread of best practice and considering the wider drivers of ill-health in remote settings.

Within England, the NHS Long Term Plan sets out how the National Health Service will develop over the coming years and take stronger action surrounding health inequalities, including eliminating variation in quality of care across the country, building a workforce for the future, and embracing the opportunities of technology for rural communities.

NHS England has committed to continuing to ensure a higher share of funding goes towards geographies with high health inequalities than would have been allocated using solely the core needs formulae. This funding is estimated to be worth over £1 billion by 2023/24. Clinical commissioning groups benefiting from this health inequalities adjustment have been asked to report on how they are targeting that funding to improve the equity of access, experience and outcomes, and they will start to report later this year. As part of the Long Term Plan process all local health systems have been asked, as part of their overall delivery plans, to set out how they will specifically reduce health inequalities by 2023/24 and 2028/29 and their plans will be published shortly.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations he has received from High Commissioners from (a) Namibia, (b) South Africa, (c) Tanzania, (d) Acting High Commissioner Zambia, and (e) Ambassador of Zimbabwe on the UK Hunting Trophies (import prohibition) Bill; and if he will place a copy of his responses in the Library.

Trudy Harrison, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, as HMG lead on the Hunting Trophies bill, has offered to meet with High Commissioners from Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Acting High Commissioner Zambia and the Ambassador of Zimbabwe to discuss the UK Hunting Trophies (import prohibition) Bill. FCDO Africa Directorate is actively engaged and will be present at this meeting.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
24th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what funding his Department plans to provide to the Global Mine Action Programme.

The Department is in the process of deciding the distribution of Official Development Assistrance (ODA) allocations over the remainder of our Spending Review period. This will be focussed according to the priorities set out in the International Development Strategy. We are committed to transparency with the public and predictability with our partners, and will update on planned ODA allocations, including for the Global Mine Action Programme, in due course.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he will support Taiwan’s attendance at the forthcoming 74th session of the World Health Assembly as an observer.

The UK has been consistently clear that it supports Taiwan's meaningful participation in international organisations where statehood is not a prerequisite. This includes at the World Health Assembly, where Taiwan can make a valuable contribution.

23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what progress his Department has made in delivering a three-year strategy to support the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative.

The Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative remains a top priority for the FCDO. We continue to develop a three-year strategy, with clear deliverables and performance indicators, which will be underpinned by an evidence-based Theory of Change, with embedded monitoring, evaluation, and learning.

23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the oral contribution of the Minister for European Neighbourhood and the Americas of 28 January 2021, Official report, col 655, what his objectives are for the forthcoming G7 summit, in relation to the UK’s Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative.

The Foreign & Development (F&D) Track will have three key priorities: to promote open societies; to lead a sustainable recovery; and to renew global outreach. Gender equality will fall under the second of these priorities, and we are clear that success is a recovery that leaves no one behind, and places gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls at its core. To do this, the F&D Track will be guided by the framework of the '3 Es' - Educating girls, Empowering women, and Ending violence against women and girls. Within the Foreign & Development track, we will seek to strengthen the G7's commitment to women's political and economic empowerment and ending violence against women and girls. We also aim to secure G7 agreement on ambitious new access and learning targets for girls' education, demonstrating the continued importance we place upon tackling gender inequality, one of the root causes of Conflict-related Sexual Violence.

23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 1 October 2020 to Question 94544 on Armed Conflict: Sexual Offences, what progress has been made on rescheduling the postponed Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative conference, Time for Justice: Putting Survivors First.

The Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative (PSVI) International Conference, Time for Justice: Putting Survivors First, was postponed in early 2020 due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. We will revisit our plans when the international situation allows.

23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, how much and what proportion of the UK’s Official Development Assistance was spent on projects tackling gender-based violence in 2019.

We estimate that in 2019, the UK spent roughly 0.4% of its ODA budget on projects dedicated to tackling gender-based violence and violence against women and girls. To break down further, UK bilateral spend on such projects in 2019 was at least £47.1 million, and UK imputed multilateral share of spend was £12.4 million for 2018. We estimate that in 2018, roughly 0.31% of the UK's ODA budget was spent on tackling gender-based violence and violence against women and girls (£32.6 million bilateral and £12.4 million multilateral). Figures are likely to be underestimations due to programme recording under additional codes, such as humanitarian. Figures for the UK Imputed Multilateral Share 2019 will be published shortly.

20th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of the UK Government seeking participation within the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue.

As part of preparation to deliver a meaningful tilt towards the Indo-Pacific through the Integrated Review, the Government has been looking at options for closer dialogue and practical cooperation with the countries part of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Australia, India, Japan and the US). The UK deep partnerships already established with these countries covering security issues and many other sectors that we will build on. The Foreign Secretary's visit to India in December, for example, enabled agreement on the key elements of a 10 year UK-India roadmap so that we can deliver a step change in ambition for the relationship between our two countries, including our commitment to building a stronger defence and security partnership with India. No decisions have yet been made on the form UK engagement with the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue could take.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the extent of Chinese interference in the internal affairs of Commonwealth nations.

China plays an important role as a development partner for some Commonwealth nations. However, we are also clear-eyed about the risks this poses in terms of China's economic and political influence. It has always been the case that where we have concerns we raise them. We continue to work with Commonwealth member states in close partnerships bilaterally, within the Commonwealth, and in other international fora across a wide range of issues. This work includes protecting and promoting the rule of law, democracy and human rights, addressing global challenges such as climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic, and advocating for small and vulnerable states.

29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what proportion of the UK’s Official Development Assistance spending went to Commonwealth nations in each year since 2010.

Information on annual UK bilateral aid to Commonwealth nations over the period 2009 to 2019 is contained in table A4g of the 2019 UK Statistics on International Development, published on Gov.UK (www.gov.uk/government/statistics/statistics-on-international-development-final-uk-aid-spend-2019).

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will support the Government of the Netherland's attempt to hold the Syrian Government responsible under the United Nations Convention against Torture for gross human rights violations and torture.

The UK welcomes the action taken by the Netherlands Government to hold the Assad regime responsible for human rights violations under international law. We are deeply concerned about the ongoing gross human rights violations in Syria and support all efforts on accountability for the regime's crimes. The UK has provided £11 million to support accountability work for war crimes committed in Syria since 2012.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what his timescale is for rescheduling the postponed Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative conference, Time for Justice: Putting Survivors First.

The Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative (PSVI) International Conference, Time for Justice: Putting Survivors First, was postponed in light of the global COVID-19 pandemic. We will revisit plans when the international situation allows.

23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to support negotiations between the United States and the Russian Federation on the extension of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.

The Foreign Secretary holds regular discussions with his US counterpart on a range of issues, including on arms control and strategic stability. These discussions are reflected and supported by daily cooperation at official level between the UK and the US, as well as by wider cooperation with NATO Allies.

US strategic arms, along with those of Russia, are limited by the New START Treaty. We recognise the contribution New START has made to international security and strategic stability by increasing transparency and mutual confidence among the two largest Nuclear Weapons States. As we have stated publicly, both in multilateral fora and in this House, we support its continued implementation and have encouraged the US to extend New START while negotiating a successor agreement.

However, we recognise that New START has its limits. It does not include new Russian systems, nor does it place any limits on China's growing nuclear arsenal. We therefore urge China to engage seriously with US calls for a new trilateral arms control agreement.

15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to help reform OECD guidance on the use of Official Development Assistance in funding peacekeeping operations.

Peace and security are the basis for all development - as recognised in Sustainable Development Goal 16 on peace, justice and strong institutions. Peacekeeping plays a vital role.

In 2017, UK leadership at the OECD Development Assistance Committee helped deliver important reforms on the use of Official Development Assistance (ODA) for peacekeeping. This included doubling the percentage of contributions to UN peacekeeping missions in ODA eligible countries that count as ODA.

We continue to review potential for reform and are looking at how our aid budget can be used most effectively and strategically through the Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether it remains Government policy to spend 0.7 per cent of gross national income on Official Development Assistance.

The Government is committed to spending 0.7% of our national income on development assistance. It is a manifesto commitment and is enshrined in law.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the Amnesty International report on torture in Iran, published on 2 September 2020, what steps he is taking to help reduce human rights abuses in that country.

The findings in Amnesty International's report about the November 2019 protests are deeply worrying. Iran's human rights record continues to be of serious concern to the UK. As we said at the time, we unreservedly support the right to peaceful protest, and call on Iran to uphold its commitments under international law to protect freedom of assembly and speech. The UK is committed to holding Iran to account on a wide range of human rights issues, through contact with the Iranian Government and internationally through the UN and our likeminded partners. We regularly raise human rights with the Iranians at all levels and we continue to take action with the international community to press Iran to improve its poor record on all human rights issues.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the US Department of Defense report entitled, Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China, published 1 September 2020, what steps the UK is taking to support nuclear arms controls on China.

While US and Russian strategic arms are limited by the New START Treaty, China's growing nuclear arsenal is not. We recognise the contribution New START has made to international security by increasing transparency and mutual confidence among the two largest Nuclear Weapons States. We support its continued implementation and have encouraged the US to extend New START while negotiating a successor agreement. However, New START does not place any limits on China's growing nuclear arsenal. We therefore urge China to engage seriously with the US calls for a new trilateral arms control agreement.

15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to support freedom of navigation in the South China Sea.

In the South China Sea, our commitment is to international law, particularly the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and to freedom of navigation and overflight. We encourage all parties to settle their disputes peacefully through the existing legal mechanisms, particularly UNCLOS.

Given the importance we attach to UNCLOS, on 3 September, I (Minister Adams) set out in full our legal analysis on the South China Sea for the first time. I (Minister Adams) made clear that the group of rights generally considered under "freedom of navigation", including innocent passage and overflight, apply in the South China Sea, regardless of sovereignty claims. On 16 September, we issued a joint Note Verbale with France and Germany to the UN Secretary General in response to assertions in Chinese Notes Verbale that we consider inconsistent with UNCLOS. We underlined the importance of unhampered freedom of navigation in the South China Sea.

As part of the UK's consistent presence in the region, five Royal Navy ships have transited the South China Sea since April 2018, most recently HMS Enterprise in early 2020. These deployments serve to reinforce our commitment to regional security and to upholding UNCLOS. Wherever the Royal Navy operates, it does so in full compliance with international laws, norms and rights to freedom of navigation provided for by UNCLOS.

21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps he is taking to co-ordinate the use of the Global Human Rights sanction regime with his counterparts overseas.

The UK is a global leader on sanctions, based on the smart, targeted use of sanctions, as part of wider political and diplomatic strategies. The UK will look to coordinate with international partners, like the US and Canada, who use sanctions to address human rights issues, to ensure there is no safe haven for torturers, killers, enslavers, and their enablers. As sanctions are most effective when applied in concert with partners, we look forward to continuing to coordinate with partners in the future.

6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps he is taking to improve the quantity and quality of evidence collected to secure prosecutions related to sexual violence in conflict.

The UK remains at the forefront of global efforts to tackle conflict-related sexual violence through our Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative (PSVI). The UK launched the draft Murad Code on documenting conflict-related sexual violence to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict, on 19 June. Developed together with Nobel Peace Laureate and campaigner against sexual violence, Nadia Murad, this code of conduct will respect survivors' rights and ensure investigation of sexual violence crimes is safer, more ethical, and more effective. By adhering to the Code, governments, international organisations, civil society, and other actors will uphold international standards, which in turn will strengthen the collection of evidence in order to secure prospections.

The Murad Code is part of the UK's commitment to strengthening justice for all survivors of conflict-related sexual violence, also demonstrated by UK-funded efforts of TRIAL International to improve access to legal support for survivors in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the work of UNITAD in gathering evidence of Daesh crimes in Iraq.

6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps he plans to take to increase the involvement of British embassies in humanitarian work as part of the merger if the Department for International Development with his Department.

Merging the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and the Department for International Development (DFID) will bring together the best of what we do in development and diplomacy. As the world becomes ever more complex, we need single cross-government strategies implemented on the ground by the Ambassador or High Commissioner heading all of HMG's work in-country. There is already very close co-ordination between the DFID's provision of life-saving humanitarian aid and the FCO's work to enable humanitarian responses politically and support humanitarian processes, and we expect this to continue and improve in the new structure.

22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what plans the Government has to raise the matter of gender-based violence at the next meeting of the UN Security Council.

COVID-19 has reinforced the urgency to tackle pervasive and endemic gender-based violence. The UN Security Council will be an important platform to demonstrate the UK's continued leadership on Violence against Women and Girls and Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict as part of our broader ambitions on gender equality. This includes the upcoming UN Security Council Open video-conference on Women, Peace and Security on 17 July, which will focus on conflict-related sexual violence.

The UK has led efforts to strengthen language on conflict-related sexual violence through UN Security Council Peacekeeping Mandates and Resolutions. In April 2019, we advocated and voted for UN Security Council Resolution 2467 on sexual violence in conflict. This specified the importance of a survivor-centric approach in response to conflict-related sexual violence, highlighted the need to support children born of sexual violence, promoted specific language on sexual violence in sanction regimes, and also referenced the Mukwege Foundation/Nadia Initiative Global Survivors Fund.

22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what plans the Government has to raise the matter of gender-based violence at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Rwanda.

Unfortunately, in light of Covid-19, the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Rwanda 2020 has been postponed. The Prime Minister's Special Representative on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon looks forward to attending the next CHOGM when it takes place in Kigali. Gender equality remains as important as ever in these times given the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on women and girls. We are working hard to ensure that they are at the forefront of our response. The UK is proud to be a world leader on efforts to prevent Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG), and we are committed to eliminating it in all its forms.

10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of introducing sanctions against those committing human rights abuses in Hong Kong through the Government's proposed global human rights sanctions regime.

We have announced our intention to establish a UK autonomous Global Human Rights ('Magnitsky-style') sanctions regime. The regulations will come into force once secondary legislation is laid in Parliament in the coming months.

The purpose of a global human rights sanctions regime will be to promote compliance with international human rights law and respect for human rights and in particular, to provide accountability for and deter serious violations or abuses of human rights. It would not be appropriate to speculate on who may be designated under the sanctions regime; to do so could reduce the impact of designations under the regime.

13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions officials of his Department have had with the UN Department of Peace Operations on increasing the proportion of female UN peacekeepers.

The UK strongly supports efforts to increase the proportion of female uniformed peacekeepers, as directed by the UN Department of Peace Operations' Uniformed Gender Parity Strategy. Through negotiations on mandates in the Security Council and in other fora, such as this year's Special Committee on UN Peacekeeping Operations, we ensure the UN works to increase the numbers of women peacekeepers in its missions. In the last financial year the UK provided £1m from the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund for the Elsie Initiative to help troop-contributing countries overcome practical barriers preventing further deployment of uniformed female peacekeepers to operations. UK officials also raise this regularly with the UN Secretariat. More broadly, the UK is a leader among UN Member States championing Women, Peace and Security issues in peacekeeping, and encourages all troop contributors to fulfil their commitments made under the UN Secretary-General's Action for Peacekeeping initiative.

13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 4 May 2020 to Question 39744, on Armed Conflict: Sexual Offences, whether his Department’s forthcoming strategy will include specific measures to support male survivors of conflict-related sexual violence.

The UK is fully committed to supporting all survivors of conflict-related sexual violence. As stated in my [Minister Adams] answer to PQ 39744, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's forthcoming three-year strategy on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative (PSVI) will be a priority for the UK Government. We are committed to ensuring that this strategy is survivor-centred throughout, and will work closely with the UK's PSVI Survivor Champion Kolbassia Haoussou to ensure that the needs of all survivors and children born of conflict-related sexual violence, including men and boys, remain at the centre of PSVI policy and programming.

13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations he plans to make to the recently appointed Prime Minister of Iraq on support for Yazidi people in Iraq.

We welcome the appointment of Mustafa al-Kadhimi as Prime Minister of Iraq. The UK is committed to supporting the new Government to address the significant economic, security, health and human rights challenges facing Iraq. As part of this we will urge the protection of minorities, including the Yezidi people, in our engagements with the new Government and emphasise the importance of reconstruction and reconciliation in those areas liberated from Daesh.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent representations he has made to his Chinese counterparts on the Chinese Government’s use of so-called exit bans.

FCO Travel Advice highlights the possibility of travel bans being imposed on those suspected of committing a crime. If an individual is subject to a travel ban, the level of assistance the Foreign and Commonwealth Office can provide is set out in our publically available guidance 'Support for British nationals abroad'. This includes raising individual cases with the Chinese authorities.

6th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, with reference to the Independent Commission for Aid Impact's report, The UK’s Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative, published on 9 January 2020, whether he plans to waive his Department's rule that 80 per cent of programme funds must be spent by December of the financial year of disbursement in respect of that initiative.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office published a response to the recommendations of the Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI)'s review of the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative (PSVI) on 20 February. The UK is committed by law to spending 0.7% of its gross national income (GNI) each year on Official Development Assistance (ODA). To ensure this target is met, HM Treasury requires all ODA-spending government departments to spend at least 80% of their ODA funding by the end of a calendar year (i.e. 31 December). The FCO is therefore required to spend 80% of its ODA allocation before the end of December, and all funds (ODA and non-ODA) must be spent by the end of the financial year.

6th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, with reference to the January 2020 report of the Independent Commission for Aid Impact, what steps he is taking to support a longer-term funding cycle for Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative projects.

Funding for Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative (PSVI) projects comes from a variety of sources. FCO-funded programmes within PSVI moved to a two-year programming cycle between 2018/19 and 2019/20 to allow for more strategic programming, although individual projects were contracted for one financial year to ensure effective learning and deliver value for money. Conflict Stability and Security Fund PSVI projects on the FCO baseline already operated multi-annually. The FCO will consider future funding cycles for FCO funded programmes as part of its preparation for the Spending Review, when that resumes.

28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, how much financial support the Government has made available for projects relating to China’s Belt and Road Initiative in each financial year since 2012-13.

The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a Chinese foreign policy initiative. There is no formal definition of what is or is not a 'BRI' project, but it is generally seen as comprising Chinese-led infrastructure projects in Asia, Eurasia, and Africa. I can confirm the UK government has not directly funded Chinese-led infrastructure projects in Asia, Africa or Eurasia since 2012-13. The UK government contributes to overseas infrastructure development in many ways, including direct financial support, and export credits for UK companies, and funding for multilateral development banks. The UK's engagement with China on overseas infrastructure development is focused on practical steps and collaboration to help ensure that projects are delivered in line with the highest economic, environmental, social and financial standards in order to deliver sustainable development outcomes and deliver opportunities for UK and international businesses.

24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations he plans to make to his international counterparts to secure a global ban on wet markets.

Research into COVID-19's origins is ongoing, and the UK is working with the international scientific community to determine the source of the outbreak. The sale of wildlife has been suspected as the source, but conclusive evidence about the mode of transmission is not yet available. Wet markets can be found globally and the majority of such markets do not sell wild animals. We agree with the advice of the World Health Organisation that strict food hygiene and health standards should apply to wet markets and that they should be closed if those standards are not met. The UK is at the forefront of international efforts to regulate global trade in wild animals. Once the immediate challenge presented by the virus has been overcome, we will be looking to make use of all relevant fora and opportunities to press for international action to avoid a repeat of this pandemic, including within the G7/G20, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), CITES. The World Animal Health Organisation, of which the UK is a member, will be addressing wildlife trade at the next general session in October 2020.

24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if his Department will make an assessment of the potential merits of a longer-term funding cycle for Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative projects.

Funding for Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative (PSVI) projects comes from a variety of sources. Foreign and Commonwealth Office-funded programmes within PSVI moved to a two-year programming cycle between 2018/19 and 2019/20 to allow for more strategic programming, although individual projects were contracted for one financial year to ensure effective learning and deliver value for money. Conflict Stability and Security Fund PSVI projects on the FCO baseline already operate multi-annually. The FCO will consider future funding cycles for FCO funded programmes as part of its preparation for the Spending Review when it resumes.

24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what progress he has made on developing a three-year strategy for the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative.

The Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative (PSVI) is part of the UK's Women, Peace and Security National Action Plan (NAP), which includes our strategy for tackling and preventing conflict-related sexual violence. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) will be developing an additional three-year strategy on PSVI, which remains a top priority for the British Government.

The FCO, Department for International Development (DFID) and the Ministry of Defence (MOD) will all contribute to this strategy, not only in London but across the network of Embassies in countries where conflict-related sexual violence issues are acute, and in doing so will closely consult civil society organisations and other key stakeholders. This work will be overseen by the joint FCO-DFID Minister of State for South Asia and the Commonwealth and Prime Minister's Special Representative on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon.

Our PSVI objectives will remain to champion wider restorative justice for survivors and hold perpetrators to account; support all survivors and children born of conflict-related sexual violence, and tackle the stigma they face; and prevent sexual violence in conflict. The Government will ensure the three-year strategy is survivor-centred, working closely with the UK's PSVI Survivor Champions throughout its development.

13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, when the next Prevention of Sexual Violence Initiative conference is planned to take place; and if he will make a statement.

The Foreign Secretary will host the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative International Conference, Time for Justice: Putting Survivors First, in 2020, alongside the Prime Minister's Special Representative on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon. We will confirm the exact date with the House in due course.

13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what funding his Department has allocated to grassroots organisations for the (a) prevention and (b) tackling of sexual violence in (i) conflict and (ii) post-conflict countries; and if he will make a statement.

Since 2012, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has committed over £46million to end sexual violence in conflict. This funding has supported civil society and international organisations in conflict and post conflict countries to further Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative objectives. These include strengthening justice and support for survivors and holding the perpetrators to account; tackling the stigma faced by survivors; and preventing sexual violence in conflict.

11th Jan 2024
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of extending the Insurance Premium Tax exemption to lifeboat services that operate on inland waterways, lakes and reservoirs.

IPT is forecast to raise £8 billion in 2023/24 and this revenue helps to fund vital public services including the NHS and social care.

Insurance pricing is a decision which is affected by a wide range of factors, and the taxes that insurers pay are just one part of this. It is hard to predict the impact of an IPT reduction on inland lifeboats pricing because this largely depends on how the insurers react.

The government keeps all tax policy under review

Bim Afolami
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made as to the potential merits of designating Northern Ireland as a freeport.

We want to ensure that the whole of the UK can benefit. We continue to work with the Northern Ireland Executive to establish a Freeport in Northern Ireland as soon as possible.

Our priority is to ensure we design a Freeport model which meets our international legal obligations and provides an attractive and competitive offer for ports, businesses and communities in Northern Ireland.

Steve Barclay
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the number of businesses in the hospitality and tourism sectors that have benefited from the temporary cut in Value Added Tax.

The Government has temporarily applied a reduced rate of VAT (5 per cent) to tourist attractions and goods and services supplied by the hospitality sector. It came into effect on 15 July 2020 and will end on 12 January 2021 and applies across the UK.

The temporary reduced rate will support over 150,000 businesses and protect 2.4 million jobs following the lifting of the COVID-19 lockdown.

2nd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what her planned timetable is for publishing a Government response to the final report of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse.

The Government is truly grateful to victims and survivors who bravely came forward to share their perspectives and experiences with the Inquiry. Their testimony has helped to shed further light on the horrific sexual abuse suffered by children, and the extent to which children across England and Wales have been failed by institutions that should have protected them.

We owe it to the victims and survivors to give the Inquiry’s recommendations proper time, consideration, and attention, so the Government will now carefully consider all of the findings and recommendations, before responding fully within the Inquiry’s six-month timeframe.

21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 19 April 2021 to Question 176048 on Modern Slavery Act 2015, when she plans to bring forward legislative proposals to update the Modern Slavery Act 2015.

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

Victoria Atkins
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether the new Emergency Services Network will include lifeboats.

The option to join the Emergency Service Network (ESN) will be available to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI). ESN will be available up to12 nautical miles out to sea and will provide air coverage up to 10,000 feet making it a viable option for the organisation. The RNLI already use the existing Airwave system, which is organised locally or regionally, either through the Resilience Forum or directly with the Emergency Services. We are currently engaging with the RNLI and will work with them to prepare them for transition to the network, however the ultimate decision to join the network will sit with the RNLI based on their organisational requirements.

25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the report of the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, Preventing modern slavery and human trafficking - An agenda for action across the financial services sector, published on 18 January 2021, what steps the Government is taking to support businesses to undertake due diligence on modern slavery as part of their investment decisions.

The UK was the first country in the world to require businesses to report on the steps they have taken to tackle modern slavery. The landmark provision in section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 requires businesses, with a turnover of £36m or more, to report annually on the steps they have taken to prevent modern slavery in their operations and supply chains.

The Government expects businesses to determine the most appropriate methods to assess and tackle modern slavery based on the nature of their operations and supply chains. We encourage businesses to be transparent about the instances or indicators of modern slavery and prioritise their due diligence activity based on risk, and on where they can have most impact. To support businesses in reporting on their modern slavery risks, the Government has produced guidance on the Transparency in Supply Chains legislation, which is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/transparency-in-supply-chains-a-practical-guide.

On 11 March 2021, the Home Office launched the Government-run registry for modern slavery statements. The new registry will enhance transparency by making modern slavery statements available in one place for the first time. It will provide greater visibility of the steps businesses are taking to prevent modern slavery in supply chains and will empower investors, consumers and civil society to scrutinise the action businesses are taking.

To improve the quality and detail of reporting and accelerate action to prevent modern slavery, the Government has committed to introduce a range of measures to strengthen the reporting requirements on businesses. These measures require legislative change and will be introduced when parliamentary time allows. Following legislative change, organisations in scope of the Act will be required to report against specific areas, including due diligence. The Government will publish updated guidance to support businesses in meeting the new reporting requirements, in line with the timing of these measures coming into force.

The UK Government also supports ShareAction’s Workforce Disclosure Initiative (WDI), providing £200,000 of funding to support this in 2020/21. The initiative has mobilised investors with $6.5 trillion of assets under management to call for transparency from multinational companies on how they manage workers.

Victoria Atkins
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when she plans to bring forward proposals to update the Modern Slavery Act 2015.

The Government is committed to continuously strengthening our approach to modern slavery and building on the world-leading legislation introduced in 2015.

In 2018, the Home Office commissioned an Independent Review of the Modern Slavery Act to look at where the Act has worked well and where it could be more effective. The Government published a detailed response to the Review and accepted the majority of the recommendations (see https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/government-response-to-the-independent-review-of-the-modern-slavery-act).

As part of its response to the Independent Review, the Home Office conducted a public consultation on potential changes to the Modern Slavery Act’s transparency legislation (section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act). As a result, the government committed to introducing an ambitious package of measures to strengthen and future-proof the legislation. In particular, the Government has committed to extending the reporting requirement to public bodies with a budget of £36 million or more; mandating the specific reporting topics that statements must cover; requiring statements to be published on the new Government-run registry for modern slavery statements; setting a single reporting deadline; and introducing financial penalties for organisations that fail to meet their obligations under section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act. These measures require primary legislation and will be introduced when parliamentary time allows.


The Home Secretary announced a New Plan for Immigration on 24 March, which is available at the gov.uk website. This included a range of proposals on modern slavery. The New Plan for Immigration consultation is now open, after which the Government will look to introduce relevant legislation.

The proposals included a commitment to review the 2014 Modern Slavery Strategy. A revised strategy will allow us to build on the considerable progress we have made to date, adapt our approach to the evolving nature of these terrible crimes, and continue our international leadership in tackling modern slavery.

Victoria Atkins
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment her Department has made of the potential merits of using isotope analysis to increase the transparency of textiles supply chains and help prevent modern slavery.

The UK was the first country in the world to require businesses to report on the steps they have taken to tackle modern slavery. The landmark provision in section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 requires businesses, in all sectors, including the textiles industry, with a turnover of £36m or more to report annually on the steps they have taken to prevent modern slavery in their operations and supply chains. To improve the quality and detail of reporting and accelerate action to prevent modern slavery, the Government has committed to strengthen the reporting requirements on businesses and to introduce financial penalties for those that fail to meet their obligations under section 54.

The Government expects businesses to determine the most appropriate methods to assess and tackle modern slavery based on the nature of their operations and supply chains. We encourage businesses to be transparent about the instances or indicators of modern slavery and prioritise action based on risk, and where they can have most impact. Our guidance suggests that they should include the risk assessment and due diligence they undertook to prevent and tackle modern slavery in their modern slavery statements and demonstrate their progress by setting and reporting against clear targets.

The Government regularly engages with businesses, civil society and industry experts in the sector to understand emerging best practice, evidence and innovations which might support businesses in their efforts to tackle modern slavery

Victoria Atkins
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the 2019 Independent review of the Modern Slavery Act, what plans she has to introduce penalties for non-compliance with Section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015.

The Government accepted the majority of the recommendations of the Independent Review of the Modern Slavery Act. The details are set out in the Government response to the Independent Review, published on 9 July 2019 at www.gov.uk/government/publications/government-response-to-the-independent-review-of-the-modern-slavery-act.

As part of its response to the Independent Review, the Home Office launched a public consultation on potential changes to the Modern Slavery Act’s transparency legislation on 9 July 2019. The Government response to the consultation, published on 22 September 2020, committed to introducing an ambitious package of measures to strengthen and future-proof the legislation, including:

extending the reporting requirement to public bodies with a budget of £36 million or more;

mandating the specific reporting topics that statements must cover

requiring statements to be published on the new Government digital reporting service

setting a single reporting deadline; and

taking forwards options for penalties for non-compliance in line with the ongoing development of the Single Enforcement Body for employment rights.

These measures require legislative change and as such will be introduced when parliamentary time allows.

Victoria Atkins
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the 2019 Independent review of the Modern Slavery Act, if she will amend the Companies Act 2006 to include a requirement for companies to refer to their modern slavery statement in their annual reports.

The Government accepted the majority of the recommendations of the Independent Review of the Modern Slavery Act. The details are set out in the Government response to the Independent Review, published on 9 July 2019 at www.gov.uk/government/publications/government-response-to-the-independent-review-of-the-modern-slavery-act.

As part of its response to the Independent Review, the Home Office launched a public consultation on potential changes to the Modern Slavery Act’s transparency legislation on 9 July 2019. The Government response to the consultation, published on 22 September 2020, committed to introducing an ambitious package of measures to strengthen and future-proof the legislation, including:

extending the reporting requirement to public bodies with a budget of £36 million or more;

mandating the specific reporting topics that statements must cover

requiring statements to be published on the new Government digital reporting service

setting a single reporting deadline; and

taking forwards options for penalties for non-compliance in line with the ongoing development of the Single Enforcement Body for employment rights.

These measures require legislative change and as such will be introduced when parliamentary time allows.

Victoria Atkins
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the 2019 Independent review of the Modern Slavery Act, if she will bring forward legislative proposals to (a) fulfil modern slavery statement reporting requirements or (b) act when instances of slavery are found an offence under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986.

The Government accepted the majority of the recommendations of the Independent Review of the Modern Slavery Act. The details are set out in the Government response to the Independent Review, published on 9 July 2019 at www.gov.uk/government/publications/government-response-to-the-independent-review-of-the-modern-slavery-act.

As part of its response to the Independent Review, the Home Office launched a public consultation on potential changes to the Modern Slavery Act’s transparency legislation on 9 July 2019. The Government response to the consultation, published on 22 September 2020, committed to introducing an ambitious package of measures to strengthen and future-proof the legislation, including:

extending the reporting requirement to public bodies with a budget of £36 million or more;

mandating the specific reporting topics that statements must cover

requiring statements to be published on the new Government digital reporting service

setting a single reporting deadline; and

taking forwards options for penalties for non-compliance in line with the ongoing development of the Single Enforcement Body for employment rights.

These measures require legislative change and as such will be introduced when parliamentary time allows.

Victoria Atkins
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to ensure that companies consider the entirety of their supply chains when fulfilling their obligations under section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015.

The Government accepted the majority of the recommendations of the Independent Review of the Modern Slavery Act. The details are set out in the Government response to the Independent Review, published on 9 July 2019 at www.gov.uk/government/publications/government-response-to-the-independent-review-of-the-modern-slavery-act.

As part of its response to the Independent Review, the Home Office launched a public consultation on potential changes to the Modern Slavery Act’s transparency legislation on 9 July 2019. The Government response to the consultation, published on 22 September 2020, committed to introducing an ambitious package of measures to strengthen and future-proof the legislation, including:

extending the reporting requirement to public bodies with a budget of £36 million or more;

mandating the specific reporting topics that statements must cover

requiring statements to be published on the new Government digital reporting service

setting a single reporting deadline; and

taking forwards options for penalties for non-compliance in line with the ongoing development of the Single Enforcement Body for employment rights.

These measures require legislative change and as such will be introduced when parliamentary time allows.

Victoria Atkins
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 6 July 2020 to Question 69698, what estimate he has made of the number of extradition requests made by the USA to the UK during the period 1 January 2004 to 31 July 2020, and of those requests what was the (a) nationality of the defendant for each extradition request (b) number of successful extraditions by the nationality of the defendant and (c) number of rejected requests by the nationality of the defendant.

As a matter of long-standing policy and practice, we do not disclose whether an extradition request has been made or received until such time as a person is arrested in relation to the request. We therefore cannot provide the total number of extradition requests made by the USA to the UK or vice versa.

Statistics showing the nationality of the subject of requests which led to an extradition are available from January 2010 as nationality was not centrally recorded for all cases before this time. Statistics showing the nationality of the subject of requests which were refused are available from 1 January 2004 and are set out below.

US EXTRADITION REQUESTS TO THE UK LEADING TO EXTRADITION (Jan 2010 – July 2020)

NATIONALITY

NUMBER

British *

51 (*includes 10 individuals with dual nationality)

US *

20 (*includes 5 individuals with dual nationality)

Somali

2

South African

1

Jamaican

3

Indian

1

Irish

2

Mexican

1

Egyptian

2

Saudi Arabian

1

Romanian

5

Pakistani

5

Chinese

1

Ghanaian*

2 (*includes 1 individual with dual nationality)

Colombian

2

Ukrainian

3

Iranian

1

Lithuanian

1

Italian

1

Latvian

1

Nigerian

3

Vietnamese

1

Dutch

1

German

1

Danish

1

Bangladeshi / Belizean (Dual national)

1

UK REFUSALS OF US EXTRADITION REQUESTS BY NATIONALITY SINCE 2004

NATIONALITY

NUMBER

British *

11

US *

6

Chinese

2

Iranian

1

Israeli

1

Total

21

* includes individuals who hold dual nationality

In relation to the difference in the numbers of unsuccessful requests, the Answers given to Questions 4307 and 69698 covered different time periods. All figures are taken from local management information and are not quality assured to the level of published National Statistics. As such they should always be treated as provisional and therefore subject to change as officials refresh and revise the available data. The figures do not include Scotland, which deals with its own extradition cases.

15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 6 July 2020 to Question 69698 on Extradition: USA, for what reason the number of refused extradition requests from the US to the UK is different to the number of unsuccessful requests given in the Answer of 26 June 2020 to Question 4307.

As a matter of long-standing policy and practice, we do not disclose whether an extradition request has been made or received until such time as a person is arrested in relation to the request. We therefore cannot provide the total number of extradition requests made by the USA to the UK or vice versa.

Statistics showing the nationality of the subject of requests which led to an extradition are available from January 2010 as nationality was not centrally recorded for all cases before this time. Statistics showing the nationality of the subject of requests which were refused are available from 1 January 2004 and are set out below.

US EXTRADITION REQUESTS TO THE UK LEADING TO EXTRADITION (Jan 2010 – July 2020)

NATIONALITY

NUMBER

British *

51 (*includes 10 individuals with dual nationality)

US *

20 (*includes 5 individuals with dual nationality)

Somali

2

South African

1

Jamaican

3

Indian

1

Irish

2

Mexican

1

Egyptian

2

Saudi Arabian

1

Romanian

5

Pakistani

5

Chinese

1

Ghanaian*

2 (*includes 1 individual with dual nationality)

Colombian

2

Ukrainian

3

Iranian

1

Lithuanian

1

Italian

1

Latvian

1

Nigerian

3

Vietnamese

1

Dutch

1

German

1

Danish

1

Bangladeshi / Belizean (Dual national)

1

UK REFUSALS OF US EXTRADITION REQUESTS BY NATIONALITY SINCE 2004

NATIONALITY

NUMBER

British *

11

US *

6

Chinese

2

Iranian

1

Israeli

1

Total

21

* includes individuals who hold dual nationality

In relation to the difference in the numbers of unsuccessful requests, the Answers given to Questions 4307 and 69698 covered different time periods. All figures are taken from local management information and are not quality assured to the level of published National Statistics. As such they should always be treated as provisional and therefore subject to change as officials refresh and revise the available data. The figures do not include Scotland, which deals with its own extradition cases.

21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of bringing forward legislative proposals for a foreign agents registration Act.

The risks posed to the UK from hostile state activity have both grown and diversified. We are committed to providing our law enforcement and security services with the tools they need to tackle the evolving threats to the UK, both domestically and overseas.

The Home Office is working at pace to review the legislation relating to hostile state activity to assess whether additional powers are required to clamp down on the activities of hostile states which threaten the UK.

As part of this review we are examining the different laws that govern foreign agent registration in like-minded countries to understand whether these have been effective in tackling the threats they face from hostile states. We will use this learning to ensure that any new legislation is effective and addresses the threats we face in the UK.

This work is ongoing and has not yet reached its conclusions.

6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of renegotiating the UK-US Extradition Treaty to require the US Administration to provide greater evidence when requesting extradition.

There is no current intention to renegotiate the UK-US Extradition Treaty.

6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 26 June 2020 to Question 4307, on Extradition: USA, what assessment he has made of the reasons for the difference in the level of successful extradition requests by the (a) UK and (b) US.

The US sends more extradition requests to the UK than the UK does to the US - in the UK, the decision whether to send a request is a matter for the prosecuting authority. Requests to the UK are dealt with in accordance with extradition law, and the decisions on most issues are taken by the courts. There is also a difference in the number of unsuccessful requests. Since 2004, the UK has refused 21 requests from the US, while the US has refused one request from the UK.

6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to prevent human trafficking.

Government is committed to tackling the heinous crime of modern slavery. We are identifying more victims of modern slavery and doing more to bring perpetrators to justice than ever before.

The Home Office works with range of partners to deliver effective prevention activity including successful awareness raising initiatives like the ‘Hidden in Plain Sight’ campaign which targeted frontline professionals in healthcare, recruitment and financial sectors to spot the signs of modern slavery.

We are committed to improving our understanding of this rapidly evolving threat. In July 2019 the Government announced a £10 million investment to create a new Policy and Evidence Centre for Modern Slavery and Human Rights to transform the evidence base underpinning our policy response to modern slavery.

In May, at the Prime Minister’s Virtual Summit on Hidden Harms, the Government reiterated the absolute priority that we prevent and protect those at risk from hidden harms. This year we have provided a further £1.4 million funding to the Modern Slavery and Organised Immigration Crime Unit to support the police to tackle modern slavery and build capacity to crack down on organised immigration crime.

We are also continuing work to prevent modern slavery in public and private sector supply chains. On 26 March 2020, we became the first country to publish a Government Modern Slavery Statement setting out the steps we have taken to identify and prevent modern slavery in our own supply chains. To make it easier for consumers, investors and others to scrutinise the steps that businesses are taking address their risks the Home Office is creating a new gov.uk registry for modern slavery statements. We have also consulted on proposals to strengthen the transparency in supply chains legislation and will publish a response to this consultation in the Summer.

Victoria Atkins
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to ensure that (a) police and (b) local authorities have adequate enforcement powers to disperse illegal encampments.

On 5 November 2019, the Government launched a consultation seeking views on measures to strengthen police powers to tackle unauthorised encampments. The consultation closed on the 5 March. We will announce the outcome of this consultation in due course.

Local authorities are best-placed to determine when it is appropriate to use their powers to evict unauthorised encampments under Sections 77 and 78 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act (1994) and should work with the police and magistrates’ courts in their local areas.

12th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, if he will take steps to improve retention figures across the armed forces.

We closely monitor where skills shortages impact on the ability to deliver Operational outputs and the impact on specific “Pinch Point” cadres.

These include financial incentives, flexible service, and an improved accommodation offer.

We have also frozen daily food charges, limited accommodation charge increases to 1%, are ensuring council tax rebates reach those in military accommodation and are increasing availability of free wraparound childcare.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, with reference to his departmental press release of 24 May 2019 on UN peacekeeping operations, what progress he has made in (a) conducting and (b) acting on the results of a study to identify barriers to women joining peacekeeping operations.

The Department continues to explore ?options for conducting the UK study into the barriers preventing women from deploying on UN Peacekeeping Operations. The UK currently meets or is close to meeting the UN Secretary-General's Gender Parity targets for 2020. We remain committed to acting fully on our policy commitment; the Gender Barrier Study will provide an evidence base for future initiatives as we work to meet the year-on-year increases for the participation of uniformed women peacekeepers set out by the UN.

James Heappey
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Minister for the Armed Forces)
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of bringing forward the date of the next Submariner remuneration, which is next planned to be undertaken in 2024, to help improve the retention of Submarine Watch Leaders.

The Royal Navy assesses that there is no merit in bringing forward the date of the next Submariner remuneration review.

Johnny Mercer
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister for Veterans' Affairs)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, if he will bring back charge pay for Submarine Watch Leaders to help improve retention of those personnel.

Recruitment and Retention Pay (Submariner) Level 5, which is sometimes referred to as 'charge pay', is currently paid to suitably qualified officers who meet the qualifying criteria.

The eligibility criteria for the allowance are periodically reviewed and will be part of the Submariner remuneration review which is next planned to be undertaken in 2024.

Johnny Mercer
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister for Veterans' Affairs)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps he is taking to (a) speed up and (b) streamline the recruitment process of military personnel.

The Armed Forces have recently introduced measures to improve recruiting performance. These include improved candidate relationship management, a review of medical procedures and policies, and prioritisation of recruitment for key areas. Our re-joiner programmes also aim to expedite the return of skilled and experienced personnel. Officer recruitment is healthy in all three Services and the Financial Year 19/20 has seen an improvement on the previous year in Other Ranks intake by 14% for the Naval Service, 77% for the Army and 25% for the RAF. At Single Service level, we are exploring initiatives to streamline and accelerate recruitment from Commonwealth countries.

James Heappey
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Minister for the Armed Forces)
6th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what support his Department provides to veterans that are waiting for pension decisions during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Veterans UK website has been recently updated to make it easier and clearer for claimants to seek the help and assistance they require. Welfare Managers continue to provide advice, information and support to their respective client groups, in response to contact and referrals, utilising telephone calls, emails and Skype. Face-to-face visits are organised only where it is absolutely necessary to do so. Welfare Managers are proactively keeping in touch with known vulnerable veterans to offer support and reassurance and are working closely with local and national business partners in the 3rd sector and statutory providers of services, to ensure those in need of additional support are linked into services that they may require.

Where terminally ill veterans or those suffering particular hardship are identified, Veterans UK has in place a small team which is able to safely access the office to take action on urgent cases where the case evidence needed to do so is available.

In addition, the Veterans' Gateway, a 24-hour point of contact for veterans' support, launched a new app enabling any ex-Service personnel in need of support to get help using a smartphone or tablet. The new app, funded by the Ministry of Defence and the Armed Forces Covenant Trust Fund, helps veterans find organisations within their local area to help with issues such as finances, housing, employment, relationship, physical and mental health. The directory, which is intuitive and easy to use, groups all NHS facilities across the country, and over 2,000 charitable organisations, allowing veterans and their families to access local support quickly and easily.

Johnny Mercer
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister for Veterans' Affairs)
17th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he has made an assessment of the potential merits of permanently extending the 28 day planning rule to 56 nights for pop-up campsites.

We have recently consulted on the introduction of a new permitted development right to support temporary recreational campsites for up to 60 days per year. The consultation closed on Tuesday 25 April 2023 and further announcements will be made in due course. Further details can be found at the following link.

19th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, when his Department plans to allocate funding from the Faith New Deal Pilot Fund.

The £1 million Faith New Deal Pilot Fund focuses on strengthening engagement between national government, local government and faith groups. The fund was formally launched on 9 September 2021 and bids closed on 14 October 2021.


We received a large number of applications for the fund and officials are in the final stages of the assessment and moderation process. The results and subsequent funding allocations will be announced in due course.

I encourage applicants to monitor the Government’s web pages for further updates: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-levelling-up-housing-and-communities.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps he is taking to strengthen the role of neighbourhood plans in planning decisions.

The National Planning Policy Framework is clear about the important role that neighbourhood plans play in our plan-led system and neighbourhood plans continue to have real statutory weight in planning decisions. The Government is committed to retaining neighbourhood planning as an important part of the reformed planning system, and we will set out our decisions on the proposed way forward.

19th Apr 2021
What steps he is taking to ensure that neighbourhood plans continue to be prioritised as part of the reformed planning system.

Neighbourhood plans are a valuable tool that empower communities to proactively shape what their areas will look like.

As we set out in the Planning White Paper – neighbourhood plans will continue to play a key role in our reformed planning system.

Indeed under the new system neighbourhood planning groups will have a stronger role in producing local design codes – setting out the preferences of the local community and the high standards that new development will be expected to meet.

10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, when coastal communities will be able to reapply for the (a) Coastal Communities Fund and (b) Coastal Revival Fund.

The Government is committed to levelling up all parts of the UK. Coastal communities will be able to benefit from funding announced in the recent budget. This includes £220 million funding for UK Community Renewal and the £4.8 billion Levelling Up Fund which will invest in infrastructure that improves everyday life across the UK. In addition, the UK Government is launching a new £150 million Community Ownership Fund to help ensure that communities across the UK are prepared for the introduction of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

4th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what further support he will allocate to Parish Councils who have used a large proportion of their budgets responding to the covid-19 outbreak.

We applaud the assistance that many parish councils are providing to their local communities in the current crisis. The government does not have powers to offer financial support to parish councils, which are funded through a precept collected from within the overall council tax paid by the residents of the parish. We encourage parish councils to speak to their principal authority.

24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the number of second homes that are (a) liable to pay council tax and (b) liable to pay business rates.

Second homes are liable for council tax rather than business rates. 253,000 properties were treated as second homes for council tax purposes as at September 2019. 56,000 properties that are available commercially as self-catering holiday accommodation are subject to business rates.

24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will extend the Community Housing Fund for a further five years.

The Community Housing Fund closed at the end of March. Ministers are considering all budgets in the round and allocations for 2020/21 will be confirmed at Main Estimates later in the Spring. Allocations for future years will be considered at the next Spending Review.

The Government recognises that the community-led housing sector offers significant potential for helping to meet housing need across England. In addition to helping increase the rate of delivery of new housing, it can help deliver a range of benefits including diversifying the housebuilding sector, improving design and construction quality, developing modern methods of construction, and sustaining local communities and local economies. The support and close involvement of the local community enables the community-led approach to secure planning permission and deliver housing that may not be brought forward through speculative development.

24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what progress he has made on considering responses to the 2018 consultation on the business rates treatment of self-catering accommodation.

The Government is considering the responses to the consultation and what further steps might be appropriate, taking into account a range of factors including the impact of coronavirus on the UK's tourism industry.

30th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps his Department is taking to assist the recruitment and retention of magistrates.

The recruitment of more magistrates is the Government’s top priority for the magistracy. The MoJ has invested over £1 million in a programme of work to increase and improve magistrates’ recruitment. In January we launched a digitised and more inclusive recruitment process which seeks to improve data collation, alongside an inclusive marketing strategy which aims to target a wider, more diverse audience, attract more applicants and recruit more from under-represented groups. In the first nine weeks since the marketing launch, we received over 30,000 registrations of interest to the magistracy.

Additionally, we have increased the judicial mandatory retirement age to 75 via the Public Service Pensions and Judicial Offices Act 2022, which we expect to retain around an additional 2,000 magistrates annually when compared with the previous mandatory retirement age of 70.

James Cartlidge
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)