Apsana Begum Portrait

Apsana Begum

Labour - Poplar and Limehouse

First elected: 12th December 2019



Department Event
Monday 11th March 2024
14:30
Department for Education
Oral questions - Main Chamber
11 Mar 2024, 2:30 p.m.
Education (including Topical Questions)
Save to Calendar
View calendar
Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Department Event
Monday 29th April 2024
14:30
Department for Education
Oral questions - Main Chamber
29 Apr 2024, 2:30 p.m.
Education (including Topical Questions)
Save to Calendar
View calendar
Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Division Votes
Tuesday 20th February 2024
Offshore Petroleum Licensing Bill
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 155 Labour No votes vs 0 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 286 Noes - 221
Speeches
Friday 23rd February 2024
Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation Bill
I commend my hon. Friend the Member for Caerphilly (Wayne David) for his work in bringing this Bill to the …
Written Answers
Wednesday 17th January 2024
Gaza: Israel
To ask the Minister of State, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, what information his Department holds on the number of …
Early Day Motions
Monday 19th February 2024
International Mother Languages Day 2024
That this House pays tribute to International Mother Language Day 2024, which was the initiative of Bangladesh and was approved …
Bills
None available
MP Financial Interests
Monday 7th August 2023
3. Gifts, benefits and hospitality from UK sources
Name of donor: Women's Aid Federation of England
Address of donor: PO Box 3245, Bristol BS2 2EH
Amount of donation …
EDM signed
Wednesday 21st February 2024
Use of artificial intelligence in journalism
That this House supports the National Union of Journalists' (NUJ) Artificial Intelligence (AI) campaign and its concerns over rapid advancements …
Supported Legislation
Tuesday 13th December 2022
Free School Meals (Primary Schools) Bill 2022-23
A Bill to extend eligibility for free school meals to all children in state primary schools; and for connected purposes.

Division Voting information

During the current Parliament, Apsana Begum has voted in 670 divisions, and 4 times against the majority of their Party.

25 Mar 2021 - Coronavirus - View Vote Context
Apsana Begum voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 21 Labour No votes vs 176 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 484 Noes - 76
14 Dec 2021 - Public Health - View Vote Context
Apsana Begum voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 8 Labour No votes vs 142 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 369 Noes - 126
14 Dec 2021 - Public Health - View Vote Context
Apsana Begum voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 22 Labour No votes vs 124 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 385 Noes - 100
10 Jan 2022 - Nuclear Energy (Financing) Bill - View Vote Context
Apsana Begum voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 6 Labour No votes vs 148 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 458 Noes - 53
View All Apsana Begum 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
Jacob Rees-Mogg (Conservative)
(9 debate interactions)
Robert Jenrick (Conservative)
(8 debate interactions)
Rishi Sunak (Conservative)
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
(6 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Home Office
(27 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(11 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
Legislation Debates
Illegal Migration Act 2023
(2,557 words contributed)
Fire Safety Bill 2019-21
(1,952 words contributed)
Victims and Prisoners Bill 2022-23
(1,619 words contributed)
View All Legislation Debates
View all Apsana Begum's debates

Poplar and Limehouse Petitions

e-Petitions are administered by Parliament and allow members of the public to express support for a particular issue.

If an e-petition reaches 10,000 signatures the Government will issue a written response.

If an e-petition reaches 100,000 signatures the petition becomes eligible for a Parliamentary debate (usually Monday 4.30pm in Westminster Hall).

Petitions with highest Poplar and Limehouse signature proportion
Petition Debates Contributed

We want the UK to be neutral in the conflict between Israel and Palestine, and withdraw offers of support for Israel.

We want the Government to seek a ceasefire and also seek to address the root cause of the current conflict by promoting dialogue and advocating for the end of Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The UK Government should urge the Israeli Government to stop the blockade of Food, Fuel and Electricity to the already impoverished city of Gaza

There has been a significant increase in heart attacks and related health issues since the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccines began in 2021. This needs immediate and full scientific investigation to establish if there is any possible link with the Covid-19 vaccination rollout.

Make specialist training mandatory for all police and other government agencies that support black women and girls affected by domestic abuse. Police and agencies should have culturally appropriate training to better understand the cultural needs of black women affected by domestic abuse.

Call on the government to consider holding debates in Parliament between MPs and university students to raise/discuss issues that affect them. It will allow students to voice their opinions and concerns about tuition fees of £9250 a year which are too high, particularly as grants have been removed


Latest EDMs signed by Apsana Begum

21st February 2024
Apsana Begum signed this EDM on Wednesday 21st February 2024

Use of artificial intelligence in journalism

Tabled by: Grahame Morris (Labour - Easington)
That this House supports the National Union of Journalists' (NUJ) Artificial Intelligence (AI) campaign and its concerns over rapid advancements in AI technologies using journalistic content without consent or permission; recognises the risk of grave harm to journalism and the subsequent undermining of democracy should public trust in journalism erode; …
18 signatures
(Most recent: 23 Feb 2024)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 11
Independent: 3
Scottish National Party: 2
Plaid Cymru: 1
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
7th February 2024
Apsana Begum signed this EDM on Monday 19th February 2024

Jagtar Singh Johal

Tabled by: Martin Docherty-Hughes (Scottish National Party - West Dunbartonshire)
That this House notes that Jagtar Singh Johal, a Sikh activist and resident of Dumbarton, will be marking his 37th birthday on 9 February, his sixth in arbitrary detention in India since being abducted from the street during his honeymoon by unidentified assailants who turned out to be undercover police …
36 signatures
(Most recent: 21 Feb 2024)
Signatures by party:
Scottish National Party: 13
Labour: 9
Liberal Democrat: 4
Independent: 3
Plaid Cymru: 3
Democratic Unionist Party: 2
Alba Party: 1
Alliance: 1
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 1
View All Apsana Begum's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Apsana Begum, 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.


Apsana Begum has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Apsana Begum has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

Apsana Begum has not introduced any legislation before Parliament


602 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
5 Other Department Questions
23rd Nov 2022
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on the potential impact of not including transgender people in the ban on conversion therapy practices on the health and wellbeing of transgender people.

Equality Ministers are fully aware of their responsibilities under the public sector equality duty to factor equality impacts into decision-making and do so on all policy including as regards conversion practices, where we are closely considering responses to the public consultation. Such assessments are not generally published.

Equality Hub Ministers and officials have engaged widely on the issue of conversion practices with victims, LGBT groups, healthcare professionals, faith groups, groups advocating for sex-based rights and parliamentarians, as well as other Government departments including the Department of Health and Social Care. This engagement has been a key part of developing proposals and we continue to work closely with stakeholders.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
23rd Nov 2022
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, if he will publish an equalities impact assessment of the Government's policy on conversion therapy for transgender people.

Equality Ministers are fully aware of their responsibilities under the public sector equality duty to factor equality impacts into decision-making and do so on all policy including as regards conversion practices, where we are closely considering responses to the public consultation. Such assessments are not generally published.

Equality Hub Ministers and officials have engaged widely on the issue of conversion practices with victims, LGBT groups, healthcare professionals, faith groups, groups advocating for sex-based rights and parliamentarians, as well as other Government departments including the Department of Health and Social Care. This engagement has been a key part of developing proposals and we continue to work closely with stakeholders.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what meetings she has had to discuss trans rights with organisations that have specific services supporting trans people.

We want transgender people to be free to live and to prosper in modern Britain. Myself and the Equality Hub Ministerial team on equality issues engage with a range of organisations and stakeholders who support LGBT people and have specific services supporting trans people, including most recently Stonewall, UK Black Pride and the National LGBT Health Adviser, Dr Michael Brady.

Officials in the Government Equalities Office also engage broadly with interested parties, feeding the insights gathered into policy advice. They regularly meet with LGBT organisations, for example most recently Galop and the LGBT Foundation, as well as devolved administrations and the National LGBT Health Advisor to discuss trans rights, amongst other issues.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what steps she is taking to ensure that providers of women-only domestic and sexual violence support services abide by the Equality Act 2010 by supporting transgender women.

The Government is committed to supporting all victims of sexual assault and domestic abuse, including through the provisions of the Domestic Abuse Bill. We continue to work closely with domestic abuse organisations, including those representing LGBT victims, to assess ongoing needs and ensure that commissioning of services is fully inclusive.

The government believes that the protection of single-sex spaces, as provided for in the Equality Act, is important. The Equality Act makes it clear that providers have the right to restrict use of spaces on the basis of sex, and to exclude transgender people from those spaces, where this is justified. This position is unchanged since 2010 and we believe it strikes the right balance. All victims, regardless of their gender, have the right to access victim support services and be treated with respect, dignity, sensitivity and compassion.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
17th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Women and Equalities, with reference to Public Health England's report, Beyond the data: understanding the impact of covid-19 on BAME groups, published June 2020, what plans he has to to implement the recommendations on reducing the risk to black Asian Minority Ethnic, BAME, people catching and dying of covid-19.

On 4 June the Government announced its next steps following the Public Health England (PHE) Report, ‘Disparities in the risk and outcomes of COVID-19’, which was published on 2 June.

PHE also engaged with a significant number of individuals and organisations within the BAME community to hear their views about the impact of COVID-19. This work informed a separate report, ‘Beyond the Data: understanding the impact of COVID-19 on BAME groups’, which was published on 16 June 2020.

Many of the recommendations from the second report are already in train. For example, NHS Employers has published – and continues to update – robust occupational risk assessment tools; and the Race Disparity Unit continues to work to with Covid teams across Departments to improve communications, outreach and engagement with ethnic minority communities. Furthermore, many of the recommendations are being taken forward through the terms of reference published on 4 June. This includes steps to assess and improve the quality of data collected by ethnicity; and further strengthening and improving public health communications to ensure they can reach and inform all communities across the country.

It's critical that Government takes into account the voices of people who are impacted by our actions. It's also critical that Departments base their actions on robust evidence, so that we can be sure that they will have a positive impact.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
13th Jul 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether his Department has held meetings with representatives of CK Hutchison in the last 12 months.

Details of Ministers’ and Permanent Secretaries' meetings with external individuals and organisations are published quarterly in arrears on GOV.UK. Published declarations include the purpose of the meeting and the names of any additional external organisations or individuals in attendance.

Nusrat Ghani
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade) (jointly with the Cabinet Office)
14th Jun 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment their Department has made of the potential effect of the merger between Three and Vodafone on their Department's contracts with Vodafone.

As an open economy, we welcome investment where it supports UK growth and jobs, meets our stringent legal and regulatory requirements, and does not compromise our national security. The Government has robust powers under the National Security & Investment Act to block or impose remedies on transactions that pose a national security risk.

As you will appreciate, we cannot comment on specific acquisitions nor the applicability of the National Security and Investment regime.

It is the responsibility of Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to assess the impact on consumers and competition in the market, with input from sectoral regulators.


The Investment Security Unit works closely with the Competition and Markets Authority on cases that are being considered for both national security and competition reasons. A memorandum of understanding has been agreed between the Investment Security Unit and the CMA to assist joint working. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/operation-of-the-national-security-and-investment-act-2021-memorandum-of-understanding/mou-between-beis-and-the-cma-on-the-operation-of-the-national-security-and-investment-act-2021

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on levels of domestic abuse.

The information requested falls under the remit of the UK Statistics Authority. I have therefore asked the Authority to respond.

3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment his Department has made of the level of domestic abuse and violence in Poplar and Limehouse constituency.

The information requested falls under the remit of the UK Statistics Authority. I have therefore asked the Authority to respond.

9th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether Government departments can apply to the Living Wage Foundation to become a Living Wage Accredited Employer; and if he will make a statement.

Cabinet Office employment practices are in compliance with the monitoring requirements set out in the EHRC Statutory code of practice of employment. All permanent external recruitment within the Cabinet Office is based on the Civil Service recruitment principles which is done on merit and on the basis of fair and open competition. The information on promotions is not held centrally.

The Crown is the legal employer of civil servants but, practically, as a result of delegation, the employment relationship for all civil servants is with their department or agency.

Government departments have delegated authority to set pay arrangements to allow them to put in place reward arrangements for civil servants that best suit their business needs.

The Government will always award contracts on the basis of value for money for the taxpayer. Employers must pay at least the National Minimum Wage, or the National Living Wage for workers over 25.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
9th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether officials in (a) his Department, and (b) the wider Civil Service have been advised not to destroy covid-19-related records that could be considered relevant in the event of a potential public inquiry.

Advice and guidance on record keeping in the context of Covid-19 was first issued to officials in the Cabinet Office on 25 March. Staff were asked to “ensure that the record of what we do at this time, which is of vital importance to our nation, is preserved for future inquiries, and valuable knowledge is preserved.” Each department is responsible for its own record keeping processes.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
9th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will publish the legal employers of all categories of civil servants by Government department.

Cabinet Office employment practices are in compliance with the monitoring requirements set out in the EHRC Statutory code of practice of employment. All permanent external recruitment within the Cabinet Office is based on the Civil Service recruitment principles which is done on merit and on the basis of fair and open competition. The information on promotions is not held centrally.

The Crown is the legal employer of civil servants but, practically, as a result of delegation, the employment relationship for all civil servants is with their department or agency.

Government departments have delegated authority to set pay arrangements to allow them to put in place reward arrangements for civil servants that best suit their business needs.

The Government will always award contracts on the basis of value for money for the taxpayer. Employers must pay at least the National Minimum Wage, or the National Living Wage for workers over 25.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
9th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 4 October 2019 to Question 292944 on Cabinet Office: Ethnic Groups, what assessment he has made of the compatibility of his Department’s employment practices with monitoring requirements set out in the EHRC Statutory Code of Practice on Employment.

Cabinet Office employment practices are in compliance with the monitoring requirements set out in the EHRC Statutory code of practice of employment. All permanent external recruitment within the Cabinet Office is based on the Civil Service recruitment principles which is done on merit and on the basis of fair and open competition. The information on promotions is not held centrally.

The Crown is the legal employer of civil servants but, practically, as a result of delegation, the employment relationship for all civil servants is with their department or agency.

Government departments have delegated authority to set pay arrangements to allow them to put in place reward arrangements for civil servants that best suit their business needs.

The Government will always award contracts on the basis of value for money for the taxpayer. Employers must pay at least the National Minimum Wage, or the National Living Wage for workers over 25.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
9th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 4 October 2019 to Question 292944 on Cabinet Office: Ethnic Groups, what recent assessment he has made of equal opportunities for people who have identified as BAME in his Department's promotion system.

Cabinet Office employment practices are in compliance with the monitoring requirements set out in the EHRC Statutory code of practice of employment. All permanent external recruitment within the Cabinet Office is based on the Civil Service recruitment principles which is done on merit and on the basis of fair and open competition. The information on promotions is not held centrally.

The Crown is the legal employer of civil servants but, practically, as a result of delegation, the employment relationship for all civil servants is with their department or agency.

Government departments have delegated authority to set pay arrangements to allow them to put in place reward arrangements for civil servants that best suit their business needs.

The Government will always award contracts on the basis of value for money for the taxpayer. Employers must pay at least the National Minimum Wage, or the National Living Wage for workers over 25.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
9th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 4 October 2019 to Question 292944 on Cabinet Office: Ethnic Groups, whether his Department has since collected equality data on promotions in his Department.

Cabinet Office employment practices are in compliance with the monitoring requirements set out in the EHRC Statutory code of practice of employment. All permanent external recruitment within the Cabinet Office is based on the Civil Service recruitment principles which is done on merit and on the basis of fair and open competition. The information on promotions is not held centrally.

The Crown is the legal employer of civil servants but, practically, as a result of delegation, the employment relationship for all civil servants is with their department or agency.

Government departments have delegated authority to set pay arrangements to allow them to put in place reward arrangements for civil servants that best suit their business needs.

The Government will always award contracts on the basis of value for money for the taxpayer. Employers must pay at least the National Minimum Wage, or the National Living Wage for workers over 25.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
9th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many and what proportion of staff who applied for promotion opportunities run by the Government Recruitment Service between 1 September 2019 to 31 August 2020 and who identified as (a) BAME and (b) White were successful by each grade; and if he will make a statement.

Cabinet Office employment practices are in compliance with the monitoring requirements set out in the EHRC Statutory code of practice of employment. All permanent external recruitment within the Cabinet Office is based on the Civil Service recruitment principles which is done on merit and on the basis of fair and open competition. The information on promotions is not held centrally.

The Crown is the legal employer of civil servants but, practically, as a result of delegation, the employment relationship for all civil servants is with their department or agency.

Government departments have delegated authority to set pay arrangements to allow them to put in place reward arrangements for civil servants that best suit their business needs.

The Government will always award contracts on the basis of value for money for the taxpayer. Employers must pay at least the National Minimum Wage, or the National Living Wage for workers over 25.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
11th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what risk assessment has been undertaken by the Government Property Agency on the requirement for externally-contracted support staff to return to work in multi-hub office locations; and if he will publish that risk assessment.

Government advice and guidance is clear that people should work from home wherever possible to reduce the risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19. Advice has been provided to departments on how to support all workers performing roles which require them to be in the workplace, in line with the government guidance on safer working during COVID-19. Assessments are being completed in line with relevant guidance.

The Government Property Agency is working with contractors to promote social distancing and to seek assurance from contractors that necessary mitigating measures are taken to manage identified risks, including in respect of PPE.

Staff - including ethnic minority individuals - are supported based on their particular circumstances and have the right to challenge a proposed return to the workplace if they have concerns. Contractors are completing individual discussions with staff that are deemed to be at greater risk, including where relevant BAME colleagues or those with declared underlying health conditions.

11th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment the Government Property Agency has made of the disproportionate effect on BAME employees of contracting covid-19 in requiring externally-contracted support staff return to work in multi-hub office locations.

Government advice and guidance is clear that people should work from home wherever possible to reduce the risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19. Advice has been provided to departments on how to support all workers performing roles which require them to be in the workplace, in line with the government guidance on safer working during COVID-19. Assessments are being completed in line with relevant guidance.

The Government Property Agency is working with contractors to promote social distancing and to seek assurance from contractors that necessary mitigating measures are taken to manage identified risks, including in respect of PPE.

Staff - including ethnic minority individuals - are supported based on their particular circumstances and have the right to challenge a proposed return to the workplace if they have concerns. Contractors are completing individual discussions with staff that are deemed to be at greater risk, including where relevant BAME colleagues or those with declared underlying health conditions.

11th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps have been taken by the Government Property Agency to ensure that externally-contracted support staff in multi-hub office locations have access to personal protective equipment.

Government advice and guidance is clear that people should work from home wherever possible to reduce the risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19. Advice has been provided to departments on how to support all workers performing roles which require them to be in the workplace, in line with the government guidance on safer working during COVID-19. Assessments are being completed in line with relevant guidance.

The Government Property Agency is working with contractors to promote social distancing and to seek assurance from contractors that necessary mitigating measures are taken to manage identified risks, including in respect of PPE.

Staff - including ethnic minority individuals - are supported based on their particular circumstances and have the right to challenge a proposed return to the workplace if they have concerns. Contractors are completing individual discussions with staff that are deemed to be at greater risk, including where relevant BAME colleagues or those with declared underlying health conditions.

11th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps the Government Property Agency is taking to ensure that externally-contracted support staff in multi-hub office locations have access to personal protective equipment.

Government advice and guidance is clear that people should work from home wherever possible to reduce the risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19. Advice has been provided to departments on how to support all workers performing roles which require them to be in the workplace, in line with the government guidance on safer working during COVID-19. Assessments are being completed in line with relevant guidance.

The Government Property Agency is working with contractors to promote social distancing and to seek assurance from contractors that necessary mitigating measures are taken to manage identified risks, including in respect of PPE.

Staff - including ethnic minority individuals - are supported based on their particular circumstances and have the right to challenge a proposed return to the workplace if they have concerns. Contractors are completing individual discussions with staff that are deemed to be at greater risk, including where relevant BAME colleagues or those with declared underlying health conditions.

13th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, whether her Department has had discussions with CK Hutchison Holdings in the last year.

Details of Ministers' and Permanent Secretaries' meetings with external individuals and organisations are published quarterly in arrears on GOV.UK. Published declarations include the purpose of the meeting and the names of any additional external organisations or individuals in attendance.

Nusrat Ghani
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade) (jointly with the Cabinet Office)
14th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what assessment their Department has made of the potential effect of the merger between Three and Vodafone on their Department's contracts with Vodafone.

As an open economy, this Government welcomes and encourages investment where it supports the Prime Minister’s goal of boosting UK growth and jobs, meets our stringent legal and regulatory requirements, and does not compromise our national security. The Government has robust powers under the National Security & Investment Act, which it introduced, to block or impose remedies on transactions that pose a national security risk.

As you will appreciate, we cannot comment on specific acquisitions nor the applicability of the National Security and Investment regime.

It is the responsibility of Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to assess the impact on consumers and competition in the market, with input from sectoral regulators.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
14th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what assessment their Department has made of the potential effect of the merger between Three and Vodafone on their Department's contracts with Vodafone.

The Department does not currently hold any contracts with Vodafone or Three.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
13th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, whether her Department has held meetings with representatives of CK Hutchison in the last 12 months.

Details of Ministers’ and Permanent Secretaries' meetings with external individuals and organisations are published quarterly in arrears on GOV.UK.

Published declarations include the purpose of the meeting and the names of any additional external organisations or individuals in attendance.

14th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what assessment she has made of the potential effect of the merger between Three and Vodafone on her Department's contracts with Vodafone.

Ministers and Departmental officials regularly meet with Ofcom to discuss a range of telecoms issues.

It is the responsibility of the Competition and Markets Authority to assess the impact on consumers and competition in the market of the proposed merger between Vodafone and Three, with input from sectoral regulators.

The Government does not comment on specific mergers or acquisitions, which are subject to the UK’s stringent legal and regulatory requirements.

14th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, whether her Department has made an assessment of potential security implications of the proposed merger between Vodafone-Three.

Ministers and Departmental officials regularly meet with Ofcom to discuss a range of telecoms issues.

It is the responsibility of the Competition and Markets Authority to assess the impact on consumers and competition in the market of the proposed merger between Vodafone and Three, with input from sectoral regulators.

The Government does not comment on specific mergers or acquisitions, which are subject to the UK’s stringent legal and regulatory requirements.

14th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what discussions she has had with Ofcom on the proposed Vodafone-Three merger.

Ministers and Departmental officials regularly meet with Ofcom to discuss a range of telecoms issues.

It is the responsibility of the Competition and Markets Authority to assess the impact on consumers and competition in the market of the proposed merger between Vodafone and Three, with input from sectoral regulators.

The Government does not comment on specific mergers or acquisitions, which are subject to the UK’s stringent legal and regulatory requirements.

14th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what recent discussions the Government has had with Ofcom on the potential merger between Three and Vodafone.

Ministers and Departmental officials regularly meet with Ofcom to discuss a range of telecoms issues.

It is the responsibility of the Competition and Markets Authority to assess the impact on consumers and competition in the market of the proposed merger between Vodafone and Three, with input from sectoral regulators.

The Government does not comment on specific mergers or acquisitions, which are subject to the UK’s stringent legal and regulatory requirements.

23rd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential impact of the minimum wage on the gender pay gap since 2019.

The Government has repeatedly increased the National Living Wage, with black and minority ethnic individuals, women, and disabled people among those more likely to benefit from these increases. The LPC evidence suggests that this has reduced the gender and ethnicity pay gaps since its introduction in 2016.

In April 2023, the Government will increase the National Living Wage (NLW) for workers aged 23 years and over by 9.7% to £10.42, remaining on track to achieve its manifesto commitment for the NLW to equal two-thirds of median earnings by 2024. We will publish an updated Impact Assessment next year when laying the relevant legislation.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
23rd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the implications for his policies of trends in the level of the ethnicity pay gap since 2017.

This Government remains committed to tackling all areas of disparities in this country, including in employment. It is crucial that everyone is treated fairly in the workplace, so that they can thrive and reach their full potential and we want to ensure that everyone has access to the same employment opportunities.

In March 2022 we published the Inclusive Britain action plan which includes over 70 actions to improve outcomes across education, health, employment and criminal justice for ethnic minority groups.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
22nd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the potential impact of the level of the minimum wage on (a) child, (b) fuel, (c) food and (d) other forms of poverty in the next three years.

In April 2023, the Government will increase the National Living Wage by 9.7% to £10.42, remaining on track to achieve the manifesto commitment for it to reach two-thirds of median earnings by 2024. The National Minimum Wage rates, designed for younger workers, will increase by a similar amount.

We expect the increases to the National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage to give a pay rise to over 2.5 million workers, supporting the lowest paid and most vulnerable in our society. For example, a full-time worker on the National Living Wage will see their annual earnings rise by over £1,600.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
22nd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the potential impact of the level of the minimum wage on (a) women, (b) ethnic minorities, (c) disabled people and (d) young people in the next three years.

The Government has repeatedly increased the National Living Wage, with black and minority ethnic individuals, women, and disabled people among those more likely to benefit from these increases. The LPC evidence suggests that this has reduced the gender and ethnicity pay gaps since its introduction in 2016.

In April 2023, the Government will increase the National Living Wage (NLW) for workers aged 23 years and over by 9.7% to £10.42, remaining on track to achieve its manifesto commitment for the NLW to equal two-thirds of median earnings by 2024. We will publish an updated Impact Assessment next year when laying the relevant legislation.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
22nd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of the level of the minimum wage on the ethnicity pay gap.

The Government has repeatedly increased the National Living Wage, with black and minority ethnic individuals, women, and disabled people among those more likely to benefit from these increases. The LPC evidence suggests that this has reduced the gender and ethnicity pay gaps since its introduction in 2016.

In April 2023, the Government will increase the National Living Wage (NLW) for workers aged 23 years and over by 9.7% to £10.42, remaining on track to achieve its manifesto commitment for the NLW to equal two-thirds of median earnings by 2024. We will publish an updated Impact Assessment next year when laying the relevant legislation.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
31st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, for what reasons the energy price cap is higher for those in prepayment meters than default tariffs.

Ofgem, as the independent regulator, is responsible for setting the level of the price cap.

Ofgem have set out that the infrastructure that sits behind prepayment meters has higher operating costs than for customers on credit meters paying via direct debit.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
10th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether district heating customers will be included in the £200 discount available to households.

The Energy Bills Rebate scheme will see all energy suppliers provide a £200 discount to the electricity bills of over 28 million British households, including customers using district heating to heat their homes.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
12th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he plans to include people living in properties with district or communal heating systems in Ofgem's review of the energy price cap.

The Default Tariff Act requires Ofgem, as the gas and electricity markets regulator, to put licence conditions in place for a cap on domestic default gas and electricity tariffs. District or communal heating systems typically buy their energy through commercial contracts which are not covered by the Act.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
12th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the effect of energy price increases on the bills of people living in properties with district or communal heating systems.

The Default Tariff Act requires Ofgem, as the gas and electricity markets regulator, to put licence conditions in place for a cap on domestic default gas and electricity tariffs. District or communal heating systems typically buy their energy through commercial contracts which are not covered by the Act.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many and what proportion of tenants on heat networks experience (a) per kWh tariffs and (b) standing charges for heat that are more than 1.5 times the capped price for gas.

It is challenging to directly compare gas and heat network bills. This is because heat network bills tend to include additional system costs such as system maintenance, whereas these additional costs are typically paid by gas consumers through other means.

Whilst there is currently no requirement for heat networks owners or operators to formally report details on their pricing practices, studies have been carried out which provide useful insight into heat network pricing from a sample of the market, namely the 2017 Heat Networks Consumer Survey (HNCS) and the 2018 CMA heat networks market study (CMA).

Government is committed to implementing the Heat Networks Market Framework, which will introduce price transparency requirements on heat network operators. The future heat networks regulator will also have powers to protect consumers from disproportionately high pricing and monopoly power.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the number of customers of heat networks that pay for heat at more than double the price of fuel if using a gas boiler at prices governed by the cap on standard variable tariffs.

It is challenging to directly compare gas and heat network bills. This is because heat network bills tend to include additional system costs such as system maintenance, whereas these additional costs are typically paid by gas consumers through other means.

Whilst there is currently no requirement for heat networks owners or operators to formally report details on their pricing practices, studies have been carried out which provide useful insight into heat network pricing from a sample of the market, namely the 2017 Heat Networks Consumer Survey (HNCS) and the 2018 CMA heat networks market study (CMA).

Government is committed to implementing the Heat Networks Market Framework, which will introduce price transparency requirements on heat network operators. The future heat networks regulator will also have powers to protect consumers from disproportionately high pricing and monopoly power.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the number of homes allocated to social housing under section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 that are on heat networks where the social landlord has no mechanism for control in relation to performance, reliability and pricing.

We do not hold data on the exact number of social homes under Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 that are on a heat network. However, the results of the 2017 Heat Networks Consumer Survey (HNCS) found that heat network consumers were more likely to be renting from a housing association or local authority (32% and 34%) compared with the wider population (8% and 9%).

The ability for landlords to have control over the performance, reliability and pricing of a heat network will in part depend on the network’s delivery model. This is based on whether it is the leaseholder or the heat supplier who holds the right to use the network. The CMA heat networks study found that where the consumers have the right to use the network as part of their leaseholder or tenancy agreement, this provides them with more protection and control. In addition, leases can state that supply of heating and hot water is the responsibility of the landlord, and the Landlord and Tenant Act places requirements on landlords to maintain a property and its associated assets, such as heating. The CMA report found that the types of business models found in the heat networks market vary significantly.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will change the classification of travel agents to strand two of the restart grant in the context of ongoing restrictions being placed on international travel and the emergence of novel covid-19 variants in India.

Travel agents are eligible for strand 1 of Restart Grants as they are classified as non-essential retail.

Strand 2 of Restart Grants is for hospitality, leisure, accommodation, personal care and gym & sport businesses, most of which will not fully reopen until step 3 of the Roadmap out of lockdown and which are likely to continue to be most significantly affected by social distancing rules, cleaning protocols and other measures in place to tackle Covid-19.

There are currently no plans to change the eligibility criteria for the Restart Grant scheme.

24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many and what proportion of applications to the Future Fund scheme have been processed by the British Business Bank as at 24 March 2021; and how many and what proportion of those applicants have been notified of the decision taken by the British Business Bank on their applications as at that date.

As of 24 March 2021, 1,851 applications to the Future Fund had been received of which 100% had been processed. On that same date, 1,766 applicants (96% of the total) had been notified. ‘Processed’ in this context means that an application has been completed by a lead investor and the proposed investee company and has entered the next stage of checks.

30th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 29 June 2020 to Question 61822 on Coronavirus: Ethnic Groups, what recent assessment the Government has made of the effect of the easing of covid-19 lockdown restrictions on people from (a) Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds and (b) other groups with protected characteristics.

The Government continues to monitor the impact of easing Covid-19 lockdown restrictions on Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds, and other groups with protected characteristics.

Guidance to help employers, employees and the self-employed understand how to work safely during the coronavirus pandemic has been developed by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) with input from firms, unions and industry bodies, and in consultation with Public Health England (PHE) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE): www.gov.uk/workingsafely

The Government has also developed a tool to help businesses in England to reopen safely during coronavirus. The tool encourages businesses to carry out a risk assessment and helps to identify the workplace adjustments that they should make. Employees can also use the tool to check what their workplace needs to do to keep people safe: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-reopening.

19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what proportion of people working in sectors that have had covid-19 lockdown restrictions eased are from Black, Asian and minority ethic backgrounds.

The Government continues to monitor the impact of easing Covid-19 lockdown restrictions on Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds, and other groups with protected characteristics. The Race Disparity Unit’s Ethnicity Facts and Figures website publishes data on the percentage of workers in each ethnic group employed by different sectors.

This can be found at:

https://www.ethnicity-facts-figures.service.gov.uk/work-pay-and benefits/employment/employment-by-sector/latest.

11th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans his Department has to hold meetings with (a) employer organisations and (b) trade unions on a strategy to manage the potential effect on workers of further covid-19 infection.

The Government is closely monitoring the impacts on the UK economy, including on individuals, businesses, supply chains, and for consumers. We are working with key industry partners, employer organisations, and trade unions to understand the effect of Covid-19 on employees, employers, and businesses, and to share the latest guidance and information.

On 17 March, the Government announced an unprecedented package of Government-backed and guaranteed loans to support businesses,?making available an initial £330 billion of guarantees – equivalent to 15% of GDP.

13th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, whether her Department has held meetings with representatives of CK Hutchison in the last 12 months.

Details of Ministers and Permanent Secretaries meetings with external individuals and organisations are published quarterly in arrears on GOV.UK.

Published declarations include the purpose of the meeting and the names of any additional external organisations or individuals in attendance.

10th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of the finding of the Swim England report, published September 2021, that 2,000 swimming pools could be lost by the end of the decade.

We recognise the importance of ensuring public access to indoor and outdoor pools and that swimming is a great way for people of all ages to stay fit and healthy. The responsibility of providing this access lies at Local Authority level, and the government continues to encourage Local Authorities to invest in swimming facilities.

The Government has provided a range of support for swimming pools during the pandemic. The £100 million National Leisure Recovery Fund supported the reopening of local authority swimming pools throughout the country, with 1,176 separate pools supported across 701 sites. In addition, Sport England have made 139 Covid support awards to the Swimming & Diving community (totalling £1,178,198).

Beyond Covid, Sport England have awarded £24,575,700 to swimming and diving projects since January 2017, which includes £16,119,002 of funding directly to Swim England.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if she will make it her policy to develop a plan for how compensation will be guaranteed for people affected by the collapse of the Football Index.

The government appreciates the significant impact that the collapse of the novel gambling product Football Index had on former customers. BetIndex, the company which operated Football Index, went into liquidation on 5 November. The process is continuing and it is likely that this will result in some amounts being reimbursed to creditors. There is no compensation scheme for losses caused by a gambling firm ceasing to operate and the government does not think it would be appropriate to use public funds for these purposes.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when his Department plans to publish the results of the Gambling Act Review.

The Review of the Gambling Act 2005 was launched on 8 December with a wide-ranging Call for Evidence, which closed on 31 March. We received c.16,000 submissions from a range of stakeholders and members of the public, which we are considering carefully. The government aims to publish a white paper setting out and consulting on next steps by the end of the year.

19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans he has to give powers to local authorities to introduce a mandatory short-term lets registration scheme.

Published in June, the Tourism Recovery Plan states that the Government will launch a consultation on the introduction of a Tourist Accommodation Registration Scheme in England.

The Government is committed to hearing the views of all interested parties on the merits and drawbacks of a Registration Scheme, and how any potential scheme could be implemented proportionately to avoid placing a significant regulatory burden on the sector or risking a reduction in supply.

Further details of the timescale for this consultation will be announced in due course.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
11th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digtal, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to ensure that musicians are able to continue to tour in EU countries and that additional costs do not stop that practice being financially viable.

In negotiations with the EU we fought for a great proposal for our world-leading creative industries. I deeply regret that the EU rejected our proposals. Our proposals remain on the table and our door is open if the EU is willing to reconsider its position.

DCMS has established a Working Group to bring together sector representatives and other key government departments to look at the issues facing the creative and cultural sectors when touring the EU. The group will work together to provide clarity regarding the practical steps that need to be taken by creative professionals when touring the EU, including around carnets and customs declarations, and it will explore how these sectors can be supported to work and tour in the EU with confidence.

11th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he plans to support musicians who have purchased ATA Carnets to travel and work in EU countries.

In negotiations with the EU we fought for a great proposal for our world-leading creative industries. I deeply regret that the EU rejected our proposals. Our proposals remain on the table and our door is open if the EU is willing to reconsider its position.

DCMS has established a Working Group to bring together sector representatives and other key government departments to look at the issues facing the creative and cultural sectors when touring the EU. The group will work together to provide clarity regarding the practical steps that need to be taken by creative professionals when touring the EU, including around carnets and customs declarations, and it will explore how these sectors can be supported to work and tour in the EU with confidence.

11th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he plans to negotiate with the EU fast-track visas for musicians to work and tour in the EU.

In negotiations with the EU we fought for a great proposal for our world-leading creative industries. I deeply regret that the EU rejected our proposals. Our proposals remain on the table and our door is open if the EU is willing to reconsider its position.

DCMS has established a Working Group to bring together sector representatives and other key government departments to look at the issues facing the creative and cultural sectors when touring the EU. The group will work together to provide clarity regarding the practical steps that need to be taken by creative professionals when touring the EU, including around carnets and customs declarations, and it will explore how these sectors can be supported to work and tour in the EU with confidence.

17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what estimate he has made of the number of properties in (a) Poplar and Limehouse constituency and (b) Tower Hamlets that have broadband speeds of less than 10Mbps.

According to Ofcom’s Connected Nations 2020 report, with data collected in September 2020,

  1. Poplar and Limehouse constituency contains 459 premises which are unable to receive 10Mbps via a fixed line connection.

  2. Tower Hamlets contains 723 premises which are unable to receive 10Mbps via a fixed line connection.

The average fixed line download speed is:

  1. 59.3Mbps in Poplar and Limehouse and;

  2. 53.7Mbps in Tower Hamlets.

This only accounts for the speeds premises receive via a fixed line broadband connection and therefore does not take into account those premises which are able to access a faster connection via a 4G or 5G mobile data service.

Most of these premises are likely to be able to access Superfast speeds via 4G (and some via 5G) with a mobile broadband data service.

According to Ofcom’s Connected Nations 2020 report with data collected in September 2020, accounting for mobile broadband data services,

  1. Poplar and Limehouse constituency contains 134 premises which are unable to receive a connection that meets the requirements of the broadband Universal Service Obligation.

  2. Tower Hamlets contains 335 premises which are unable to receive a connection that meets the requirements of the broadband Universal Service Obligation.

7th Dec 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, whether she has made an assessment of the role of Islamophobia in the events leading to the (a) death of 12-year-old Shukri Abdi and (b) subsequent investigation.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by the Minister of State at the Home Office, to PQ126154.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans his Department has to ensure the retention of highly skilled workers in the creative industries.

We recognise the crucial role that highly skilled workers play in making our creative industries world-leading, and the Government is providing extensive support to workers in these sectors. The £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund provides targeted support to critical cultural, arts and heritage organisations to help them, and the skilled workers that work in them, survive and recover from the Covid pandemic. In addition Arts Council England has made £119 million available to individuals (including freelancers) and in July, the Government also announced a UK-wide £500m Restart scheme to support film and TV production companies that have been unable to film due to the lack of insurance covering Covid-related risks. As of 19 November, the scheme is supporting over 4,500 jobs.

The Government also recently announced the extension of both the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme until March 31 2021. This support will help creative businesses across the country to protect their employees’ jobs during this difficult winter period.

Government continues to engage regularly with stakeholders such as the BFI, the Creative Industries Federation and the Creative Industries Council to ensure we understand the impact of Covid-19 on the skills and talent needed to keep the UK’s creative industries a global success.

3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential economic effect of the English covid-19 tiers system on the performing arts sector.

The Government fully recognises the disruptive impact that Coronavirus and restrictions has on the performing arts sector and how devastating it will be where events are cancelled.

That is why we have already extended the Job Retention Scheme until March, alongside the unprecedented £1.57bn Culture Recovery package which has already benefited thousands of organisations and the individuals supported by them.

The Government continues to work with the performing arts sector to assess the impact of the tiers and to develop proposals for how venues can open for fuller audiences when it is safe to do so.

9th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans he has to ensure that people who work and live in Poplar and Limehouse constituency can access full-fibre broadband internet.

The government has the ambition of providing nationwide gigabit-capable connectivity as soon as possible, and will continue to take action to remove barriers to commercial network rollout.

Broadband rollout in Poplar and Limehouse has been undertaken commercially, with 63% of premises now able to access full fibre broadband - this is up from 1% in March 2016. This 63% figure is nearly four times the UK figure of 16%. Openreach are responsible for 12.5% of full fibre connections, and Hyperoptic are also playing a significant role in delivering full fibre connectivity across the constituency.

9th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of access to full-fibre broadband internet for people who live and work in Poplar and Limehouse constituency.

The government has the ambition of providing nationwide gigabit-capable connectivity as soon as possible, and will continue to take action to remove barriers to commercial network rollout.

Broadband rollout in Poplar and Limehouse has been undertaken commercially, with 63% of premises now able to access full fibre broadband - this is up from 1% in March 2016. This 63% figure is nearly four times the UK figure of 16%. Openreach are responsible for 12.5% of full fibre connections, and Hyperoptic are also playing a significant role in delivering full fibre connectivity across the constituency.

9th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 1 July 2020 to Question 64332 on Broadband and Mobile Phones, what assessment his Department has made of the efficacy of the strategy to ensure access to full fibre broadband through promoting network competition and commercial investment.

The government set out its high level strategy for delivering nationwide coverage of gigabit capable broadband in the Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review (FTIR), published in July 2018. As part of the review, the government commissioned an independent report by Frontier Economics to consider different competitive models for achieving these aims against a set of criteria including overall coverage, pace of deployment, quality of service delivered, total cost and feasibility.

The FTIR concluded that the best way to achieve the government’s aims was to promote competition and commercial investment where possible, and intervene where necessary. The review estimated that c.80% of the country could support competitive networks, and that the remaining c.20% may need further intervention to deliver gigabit-capable networks.

Since the FTIR, the government has supported measures to enhance competition in the telecoms market, including Ofcom regulations to open up access to Openreach’s ducts and poles network. The government has also focused on reducing barriers to commercial deployment, including through the Telecommunications Infrastructure (Leasehold Property) Bill currently before Parliament. In addition, we have committed a record £5 billion to support the deployment of gigabit-capable broadband in the hardest to reach 20% of the country.

We have seen a considerable increase in gigabit capable coverage since the FTIR was published. Full fibre coverage has increased from 5% of the UK in May 2018 to 14% as of May 2020, according to Ofcom’s latest Connected Nations figures. Gigabit-capable coverage is even higher as a result of Virgin Media’s upgrades to its cable network, with ThinkBroadband now reporting that over a quarter of the UK can access gigabit-capable broadband.

22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking with local councils to increase support for activities for young people over the 2020 summer holiday.

The Government recognises the important role out-of-school settings play in providing young people with enriching opportunities to support their wellbeing. DCMS and the Department for Education have supported local councils and the youth sector by publishing guidance on gov.uk about how to safely run activities for young people over the summer 2020 holidays.

The Government's £9m Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme has directly supported up to 50,000 disadvantaged children across 17 local authority areas to stay healthy and active over the summer.

In collaboration with the Department for Education, National Citizen Service is providing a further education support offer for 16-17 year olds over the summer. This is free to further education (FE) providers and will include sessions on ; employability, health and wellbeing, careers guidance, citizenship and skills for independent living.

19th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment she has made of the potential impact of schools on the mental health of young people identifying as LGBTQ+.

The department has not made a specific assessment of the potential impact of schools on the mental health of LGBTQ+ young people, but the department is aware that bullying in school can have a profound effect on a child’s mental health and collect regular information.

To support schools, the department is providing over £3 million of funding, between 10 August 2021 and 31 March 2024, to five anti-bullying organisations to support schools to tackle bullying. This includes projects targeting bullying of particular groups, such as those who are victims of hate related bullying and homophobic, bi-phobic and transphobic based bullying.

The department is taking actions to tackle bullying as part of the commitment to ensuring schools are safe, supportive, inclusive environments where all pupils feel they belong. The department’s programme of senior mental health lead training is further supporting schools to promote the mental health and wellbeing of all pupils through effective whole-school approaches. This approach should include creating an environment that promotes respect and values diversity, having robust processes for identifying individuals or groups of pupils in need of further support, and ensuring all staff can recognise and understand how to respond to mental health concerns. The department has committed to offer all schools and colleges funding to train a senior mental health lead by 2025. Over 14,000 settings, including more than 7 in 10 state secondary schools, have taken up the offer so far.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
19th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether she has made an estimate of the proportion of pupils identifying as LGBTQ+ who have been bullied in the last 12 months.

The department has not made a specific assessment of the potential impact of schools on the mental health of LGBTQ+ young people, but the department is aware that bullying in school can have a profound effect on a child’s mental health and collect regular information.

To support schools, the department is providing over £3 million of funding, between 10 August 2021 and 31 March 2024, to five anti-bullying organisations to support schools to tackle bullying. This includes projects targeting bullying of particular groups, such as those who are victims of hate related bullying and homophobic, bi-phobic and transphobic based bullying.

The department is taking actions to tackle bullying as part of the commitment to ensuring schools are safe, supportive, inclusive environments where all pupils feel they belong. The department’s programme of senior mental health lead training is further supporting schools to promote the mental health and wellbeing of all pupils through effective whole-school approaches. This approach should include creating an environment that promotes respect and values diversity, having robust processes for identifying individuals or groups of pupils in need of further support, and ensuring all staff can recognise and understand how to respond to mental health concerns. The department has committed to offer all schools and colleges funding to train a senior mental health lead by 2025. Over 14,000 settings, including more than 7 in 10 state secondary schools, have taken up the offer so far.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
19th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether she had discussions with (a) teachers' trade unions and (b) LGBTQ+ organisations on her Department's draft guidance on Gender questioning children: draft schools and colleges guidance, published on 19 December 2023.

The department is keen to consider the full range of views from all stakeholders and the public consultation on the draft guidance which is open until 12 March 2024 to allow all organisations and individuals to comment.

During this 12-week consultation period, the department plans to engage with a range of interested organisations, including organisations that represent LGBT groups.

In forming the guidance the department and Ministers engaged with experts, including Dr Hilary Cass, school leaders and Parliamentarians, including those who represent LGBT groups.

Departmental officials spoke to a range of groups and organisations to help inform the guidance.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
14th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment their Department has made of the potential effect of the merger between Three and Vodafone on their Department's contracts with Vodafone.

As an open economy, the Government welcomes and encourages investment where it supports the Prime Minister’s goal of boosting UK growth and jobs, meets the stringent legal and regulatory requirements, and does not compromise our national security. The Government has robust powers under the National Security and Investment Act 2021, which it introduced, to block or impose remedies on transactions that pose a national security risk.

The Department cannot comment on specific acquisitions nor the applicability of the National Security and Investment regime.

It is the responsibility of Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to assess the effect on consumers and competition in the market, with input from sectoral regulators.

The Investment Security Unit works closely with the CMA on cases that are being considered for both national security and competition reasons. A memorandum of understanding has been agreed between the Investment Security Unit and the CMA to assist joint working. This memorandum of understanding is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/operation-of-the-national-security-and-investment-act-2021-memorandum-of-understanding/mou-between-beis-and-the-cma-on-the-operation-of-the-national-security-and-investment-act-2021.

24th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether forthcoming guidance for schools on supporting trans pupils will include guidance on protecting pupils from transphobic bullying.

The Government is clear that bullying should never be tolerated, and the Department is committed to supporting schools to tackle it. The Department provides advice for schools outlining schools’ responsibilities. The ‘Preventing bullying’ guidance makes clear that schools should make appropriate provision for a bullied child's social, emotional, and mental health needs. The guidance is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/preventing-and-tackling-bullying.

The Department knows that gender is a complex and sensitive issue. The Department is working with my right hon. Friend, the Minister for Women and Equalities, to develop guidance to support schools in relation to gender questioning pupils. A draft for consultation will be published later in the summer term.

The Department is providing over £2 million of funding between 10 August 2021 and 31 March 2023 to five anti-bullying organisations to support schools to tackle bullying. This includes projects targeting bullying of particular groups, such as those who are victims of hate related bullying and homophobic, biphobic, and transphobic bullying.

The Department is also ensuring that all pupils in England are taught content on respectful relationships, in person and online, as part of new mandatory relationships, sex and health education (RSHE). These subjects are designed to give pupils the knowledge they need to lead happy, safe, and healthy lives and to foster respect for other people and difference.

All schools are required by law to have a behaviour policy that outlines measures to encourage good behaviour and prevent all forms of bullying amongst pupils. The policy should set out the behaviour expected of pupils, the sanctions that will be imposed for misbehaviour, and rewards for good behaviour. This should be communicated to all pupils, school staff, and parents. This is supported by ‘Respectful School Communities’, a self review and signposting tool to support schools to develop a whole school approach which promotes respect and discipline. This tool can combat bullying, harassment, and prejudice of any kind, including hate based bullying, and is available at: https://educateagainsthate.com/resources/respectful-school-communities-self-review-signposting-tool-2/.

28th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the removal by the family courts of the children of survivors of domestic abuse.

The government wants every child to be in a stable, loving home that is right for them. One of the key principles of the law is that children are best looked after within their families. However, in situations where a child is at risk of significant harm, the local authority has a statutory duty to take action to safeguard and promote the child’s welfare.

We recognise that domestic abuse can impact on children’s health, wellbeing and development, with lasting effects into adulthood. The Domestic Abuse Act, which received Royal Assent on 29 April 2021, exemplifies this government’s commitment to ensuring the needs of victims and children are at the forefront of tackling domestic abuse.

The government has recently consulted on draft Domestic Abuse statutory guidance, which emphasises the importance of social workers working in partnership with children, families and professionals, and highlights effective features of practice such as multi-disciplinary working and adopting a strengths-based approach.

The system of family justice in England is based firmly on the principle that children should not be taken into care without a court independently assessing and carefully scrutinising all the evidence first. The court can only make an order where it concludes that there is reasonable cause to believe that the child is suffering from, or is likely to suffer, significant harm if the order were not made - and that taking the child from their family’s care will be in the child’s best interests.

12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the Office for Students' plans to exclude the London allowance factor in the calculation for relevant London-based higher education providers on the quality of teaching at London universities.

The Strategic Priorities Grant, formerly referred to as the Teaching Grant, plays an important role in supporting providers and students to develop the skills and knowledge needed locally, regionally, and nationally to support the economy.

We have asked the Office for Students (OfS) to reform the Grant for the 2021-22 financial year. These reforms include the reallocation of high-cost subject funding towards the provision of high-cost subjects that support the NHS and wider healthcare policy, high-cost STEM subjects, and subjects meeting specific labour market needs.

The London weighting accounts for a small proportion of London-providers’ income. Providers in London received around £64 million London Weighting in the 2020-21 academic year, which is less than 1% of their estimated total income.

London universities will be able to benefit from the significant uplifts we are making to elements of the Strategic Priorities Grant, including the first real terms increase in years in per capita funding for high-cost subjects in grant funding, as well as being able to bid for capital investment to support the delivery of strategic subjects.

We have also asked the OfS for a £10 million increase to the specialist provider allocation, to support these institutions which are particularly reliant on Strategic Priorities Grant funding, many of whom are London-based. We want to ensure that our small and specialist providers, including some of our top music and arts providers, receive additional support, and that grant funding is used to effectively support students.

The OfS has now publicly consulted on these proposals, and responses from universities, students and others will be taken into account before any final decisions on allocations are made.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to increase provision of low carbon vocational training.

The department is taking a number of steps to help deliver the provision needed to boost skills for green jobs.

The Green Jobs Taskforce, following its launch on 12 November last year, has aims to help the UK build back greener and deliver the skilled workforce needed to reach net zero emissions by 2050. This is a joint initiative between the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Department for Education.

Details of the taskforce including a full list members can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-government-launches-taskforce-to-support-drive-for-2-million-green-jobs-by-2030.

With help from the taskforce, we will ensure that our existing skills programmes (such as those set out in the recent Skills for Jobs White Paper and my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister’s recent Lifetime Skills Guarantee) can be directed to support the net zero agenda and help to identify where the evidence tells us we might need to go further or faster.

For example, the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education has convened a Green Apprenticeships Advisory Panel (GAAP) to guide the continued alignment of apprenticeships with net zero and wider sustainability objectives. The GAAP is employer-led and includes stakeholders with an interest in climate change and sustainability. It aims to help identify which apprenticeships directly support the green agenda and which may need to be refocused. The panel will also crucially identify where there are potential opportunities to create new green apprenticeships and identify employers to help take this work forward.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he plans to make sustainability and climate crisis compulsory subjects for schoolchildren following August 2020 research which found that only 4 per cent of students reported being well informed about climate change.

Climate change and related topics, such as sustainability, are included throughout both the science and geography curricula and GCSEs. In primary science and geography, pupils are given a foundation for the further study of the environment in secondary school. For example, in primary science pupils are taught about how environments can change as a result of human actions. In geography at primary, pupils will be taught about seasonal and daily weather patterns, climate zones and human geography, including land use, economic activity, and the distribution of natural resources.

In secondary science, pupils are taught about the production of carbon dioxide by human activity and the effect this has on the climate. This is expanded on in GCSE science where pupils will consider the evidence for additional anthropogenic causes of climate change. In secondary geography pupils will look at how human and physical processes interact to influence and change landscapes, environments and the climate. As part of GCSE geography pupils will look at the causes, consequences of and responses to extreme weather conditions and natural weather hazards. In 2017, the Department also introduced a new environmental science A level. This will enable students to study topics that will support their understanding of climate change and how it can be tackled. Schools and teachers can go beyond the topics set out in the National Curriculum, or do more in-depth teaching of these topic areas, if they so wish.

6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what scientific evidence has been provided to the Government on the transmission of covid-19 in early years settings.

Ensuring the safety of children, the workforce and families is our overriding priority.

Early years settings remain low risk environments for children and staff. Current evidence suggests that pre-school children (0 to 5 years) are less susceptible to infection and are unlikely to be playing a driving role in transmission. There is no evidence the new strain of the virus causes more serious illness in either children or adults and there is no evidence that the new variant of coronavirus disproportionately affects young children.

Public Health England (PHE) advice remains that the risk of transmission and infection is low if early years settings follow the system of controls, which reduce risks and create inherently safer environments. The following report, from PHE, shows that, at present, under 5s have the lowest confirmed case rate of all age groups: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/national-flu-and-covid-19-surveillance-reports.

Early years settings have been open to all children since 1 June 2020 and there is no evidence that the early years sector has contributed to a rise in COVID-19 cases within the community. Early modelling evidence from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies showed that early years provision had a smaller relative impact on transmission rate when modelled with both primary schools and secondary schools.

Guidance for early years settings is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures.

6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to review the decision to keep early years settings open prior to the lockdown review planned for mid-February 2021.

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister announced on 4 January 2021 that early years settings remain open for all children during the national lockdown. Details can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/national-lockdown-stay-at-home.

Schools have been restricted because additional measures are needed to contain the spread of the virus. The wider significant restrictions in place as part of the national lockdown to contain the spread of the virus in the community enable us to continue prioritising keeping nurseries and childminders open, supporting parents and delivering the crucial care and education needed for our youngest children.

Early years settings remain low risk environments for children and staff. Current evidence suggests that pre-school children (0 to 5 years) are less susceptible to infection and are unlikely to be playing a driving role in transmission. There is no evidence the new strain of the virus causes more serious illness in either children or adults and there is no evidence that the new variant of coronavirus disproportionately affects young children.

PHE advice remains that the risk of transmission and infection is low if early years settings follow the system of controls, which reduce risks and create inherently safer environments.

Early years settings have been open to all children since 1 June 2020 and there is no evidence that the early years sector has contributed to a rise in virus cases within the community. Early modelling evidence from SAGE showed that early years provision had a smaller relative impact on transmission rate when modelled with both primary schools and secondary schools.

Early years childcare providers were one of the first sectors to have restrictions lifted last summer, in recognition of the key role they play in society. Childminders and nursery staff across the country have worked hard to keep settings open through the COVID-19 outbreak so that young children can be educated, and parents can work. The earliest years are the most crucial point of child development and attending early education lays the foundation for lifelong learning and supports children’s social and emotional development. We continue to prioritise keeping early years settings open in full because of the clear benefits to children’s education and wellbeing and to support working parents. Caring for the youngest age group is not something that can be done remotely.

These plans are being kept under review in the light of emerging scientific evidence. We are working with the scientific community to understand the properties and dynamics of the new variant VUI-202012/01 in relation to children and young people.

The department has been working closely with local authorities to assess the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, setting up dedicated regional teams that are in frequent contact. Bringing together expertise from across the department, these teams monitor the challenges local authorities are facing. Our London regional team is in close contact with Havering and will be assessing the situation for early years settings in the authority.

6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what processes are in place to ensure the regular testing of (a) staff and (b) children attending early years settings.

We are continuing to work closely with other government departments and local authorities to secure the most effective approach to asymptomatic testing for the whole of the early years sector. This includes ongoing discussions about providing testing via the education testing programme, as well as encouraging local authorities to consider prioritising appropriate testing for early years staff via community testing programmes, which is now available to all local authorities.

We have urged all local authorities to consider prioritising early years staff in their community testing programme.

The Department for Education is rolling out our asymptomatic testing programme to primary schools, schools-based nurseries and maintained nursery schools. The asymptomatic testing programme will offer all primary school, schools-based nursery and maintained nursery school staff home lateral flow device test kits for twice-weekly testing. This will help to break the chains of transmission of COVID-19 in education settings by identifying asymptomatic positive cases. Those who test positive will then self-isolate, helping to reduce transmission of the virus.

Anyone who displays symptoms of COVID-19 can and should get a test. Tests can be booked online through the NHS website, or ordered by telephone via NHS 119 for those without access to the internet. All children can be tested if they have symptoms, including children under 5, but children under 11 will need to be helped by their parents or carers if using a home testing kit. Relevant guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-getting-tested and https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test.

The Department for Education has published the ‘Actions for early years and childcare providers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak’ which provides further information about how early years staff and children can access testing, and on what to do when an individual develops COVID-19 symptoms or has a positive test. The guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures#track.

6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether staff working in early years settings will be considered a priority for covid-19 vaccination.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) are the independent experts who advise the Government on which vaccine/s the UK should use and provide advice on who should be offered them.

JCVI advises that the first priorities for the COVID-19 vaccination programme should be the prevention of mortality and the maintenance of the health and social care systems. As the risk of mortality from COVID-19 increases with age, prioritisation is primarily based on age.

Regarding the next phase of vaccine rollout, JCVI have asked that the Department of Health and Social Care consider occupational vaccination in collaboration with other Government departments. The Department for Education will input into this cross governmental exercise, and I hope that educational staff, including in early years settings, will be vaccinated as soon as possible.

10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many laptops the Government planned to provide to schools in Tower Hamlets (a) prior to 23 October 2020 and (b) after 26 October 2020.

At the start of autumn term, each school was allocated a number of laptops and tablets based on the estimates of disadvantaged children in Years 3 to 11 without access to a suitable device. On 23rd October, the Department adjusted school allocations. Adjusting allocations ensured that devices reached as many children as possible when they needed them most, and as a result we have been able to continue delivering laptops and tablets to those young people throughout this term.

Schools, local authorities and academy trusts were able to request additional devices if their original allocation did not meet their needs.

During the period that device allocations have been adjusted, schools that fully close for a sustained period have been able to work with their Regional Schools Commissioner to ensure they receive enough devices to meet the needs of all disadvantaged children in Years 3 to 11 who do not already have one.

Now schools can order the number of devices they were originally allocated, where these have not already been ordered by the school.

The Department does not publish data on the number of devices allocated to schools, given that it is for the school to decide what proportion of their allocation they need.

10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many (a) primary and (b) secondary schools have newly attained Academy status since 16 March 2020.

Since 16 March 2020, 212 primary schools and 30 secondary schools have converted to academy status. In September, a further 23 primary and 13 secondary schools newly opened as Free Schools and University Technical Colleges (UTCs). Table 1 shows the breakdown of primary and secondary academy conversions (excluding Free Schools and UTCs) in the months following 16 March 2020.

Table 1: Breakdown of primary and secondary academy openers by month since 16 March 2020 (excluding Free Schools and UTCs)

Month

Primary Openers

Secondary Openers

April

43

5

May

15

2

June

10

2

July

16

1

August

2

1

September

45

8

October

15

2

November

24

5

December

42

4

Total

212

30

Source: Get Information About Schools, taken from 1 December 2020.

7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will undertake an investigation into the actions of (a) public bodies and (b) staff that fall under his remit relating to the death of 12-year-old Shukri Abdi.

The death of Shukri Abdi was a tragedy. On 4 December 2020, the Coroner concluded that Shukri’s death was an accident. Public bodies and their staff will have their own responsibilities for undertaking processes in response to recommendations made from the Coroner’s Report and indeed any other recommendations from any review into Shukri’s death. If this report finds recommendations for my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, or the Department, we will of course respond appropriately.

30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what (a) financial and (b) mental health support he will put in place in the event that students are required to remain at university during Christmas 2020-21 as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The safety and wellbeing of staff and students in higher education (HE) is always our priority. The government is doing all it can to minimise the risks to those working and studying in our HE institutions in this unprecedented situation, whilst mitigating the impact on education.

The department is working with universities to make sure that all students are supported to return home safely and spend Christmas with their loved ones, if they choose to do so. Where students choose to stay in their university accommodation over Christmas, universities should continue making sure that they are well looked after. The department is working with the sector to publish guidance on students returning home safely at Christmas.

The government has worked closely with the Office for Students (OfS) to help clarify that providers can draw upon existing funding to provide hardship funds and support disadvantaged students impacted by the COVID-19 outbreaks. Providers can use OfS Student Premium funding, worth around £256 million for academic year 2020/21, towards student hardship funds, including the purchase of IT equipment and mental health support, as well as to support providers’ access and participation plans.

I wrote to Vice Chancellors in October outlining that student welfare should remain a priority and have convened a taskforce on mental health and wellbeing to address the current and pressing issues that students are facing during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The OfS funded Student Space platform bridges gaps in support for students arising from this unprecedented situation and is designed to work alongside existing services.

Students struggling with their mental health at this time can also access support via the NHS and online resources from Public Health England, along with support from mental health charity Mind. NHS mental health support is available here: https://www.nhs.uk/apps-library/category/mental-health/.

Online resources from Public Health England are available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-the-public-on-mental-health-and-wellbeing.

Support from mental health charity Mind is available here: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/tips-for-everyday-living/student-life/about-student-mental-health/.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of not allowing university students to return home for Christmas on preventing the transmission of covid-19.

The safety and wellbeing of staff and students in higher education is always our priority. The government is doing all it can to minimise the risks to those working and studying in our higher education institutions during this unprecedented situation, whilst mitigating the impact on education.

As my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, announced to the House on Tuesday 29 September, the department is working with universities to make sure that all students are supported to return home safely and spend Christmas with their loved ones, if they choose to do so.

We are working through measures to mitigate transmission risks and we are planning to publish guidance on students returning home safely at Christmas shortly.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to support smaller higher education institutes who may have difficulty repaying loans during the covid-19 outbreak.

The government recognises that the COVID-19 outbreak is bringing significant financial challenges to the higher education (HE) sector and we have been working closely with the sector, including with smaller specialist providers, the Office for Students (OfS), and other government departments to monitor the likely impacts.

The OfS as the independent regulator of HE in England monitors their financial sustainability. The OfS provides targeted allocations for world-leading specialist providers, which was £43 million for 2020/21. The OfS hopes to undertake a review of the current specialist provider funding arrangements later this year and will release further details at the earliest opportunity.

The government has also announced a package of measures which combines different ways to give further support to providers at this time of financial pressure. We have pulled forward an estimated £2.6 billion worth of forecast tuition fee payments to ease cashflow pressure this autumn. In the last academic year, we also brought forward £100 million quality-related research funding support for HE providers in England.

This is on top of the unprecedented package of support for businesses already announced by my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and a range of business loan schemes, to help pay wages, keep staff employed and support businesses whose viability is threatened by the outbreak. HE providers are eligible to apply for these schemes.

The government has also announced a further package of support to universities, and other research organisations, to enable them to continue their research and innovation activities. This includes £280 million of government funding as well as a package of low-interest loans with long pay-back periods, supplemented by a small amount of government grants. In sharing responsibility for the future of science and research with our world-leading university system, from the autumn, the government will cover up to 80% of a university’s income losses from international students for the academic year 2020/21, up to the value of their non-publicly funded research activity.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, announced further information about the Higher Education Restructuring Regime on 16 July. This may be deployed as a last resort, if a decision has been made to support a provider in England, when other steps to preserve a provider’s viability and mitigate the risks of financial failure have not proved sufficient. The overarching objectives, which will guide the department’s assessment of cases, will be protecting the welfare of current students, preserving the sector’s internationally outstanding science base and supporting the role that HE providers play in regional and local economies by offering high quality courses aligned with economic and societal needs. We will consider providers’ circumstances on a case-by-case basis, supported by expert advice, to ensure there is a robust value for money case for intervention. Public funds in the form of repayable loans to support restructuring will be as a last resort with strict conditions that align with wider government objectives.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential for (a) higher education institutes to go into insolvency during the covid-19 outbreak and (b) job losses as a result of that insolvency.

The government recognises that the COVID-19 outbreak is bringing significant financial challenges to the higher education (HE) sector and we have been working closely with the sector, including with smaller specialist providers, the Office for Students (OfS), and other government departments to monitor the likely impacts.

The OfS as the independent regulator of HE in England monitors their financial sustainability. The OfS provides targeted allocations for world-leading specialist providers, which was £43 million for 2020/21. The OfS hopes to undertake a review of the current specialist provider funding arrangements later this year and will release further details at the earliest opportunity.

The government has also announced a package of measures which combines different ways to give further support to providers at this time of financial pressure. We have pulled forward an estimated £2.6 billion worth of forecast tuition fee payments to ease cashflow pressure this autumn. In the last academic year, we also brought forward £100 million quality-related research funding support for HE providers in England.

This is on top of the unprecedented package of support for businesses already announced by my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and a range of business loan schemes, to help pay wages, keep staff employed and support businesses whose viability is threatened by the outbreak. HE providers are eligible to apply for these schemes.

The government has also announced a further package of support to universities, and other research organisations, to enable them to continue their research and innovation activities. This includes £280 million of government funding as well as a package of low-interest loans with long pay-back periods, supplemented by a small amount of government grants. In sharing responsibility for the future of science and research with our world-leading university system, from the autumn, the government will cover up to 80% of a university’s income losses from international students for the academic year 2020/21, up to the value of their non-publicly funded research activity.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, announced further information about the Higher Education Restructuring Regime on 16 July. This may be deployed as a last resort, if a decision has been made to support a provider in England, when other steps to preserve a provider’s viability and mitigate the risks of financial failure have not proved sufficient. The overarching objectives, which will guide the department’s assessment of cases, will be protecting the welfare of current students, preserving the sector’s internationally outstanding science base and supporting the role that HE providers play in regional and local economies by offering high quality courses aligned with economic and societal needs. We will consider providers’ circumstances on a case-by-case basis, supported by expert advice, to ensure there is a robust value for money case for intervention. Public funds in the form of repayable loans to support restructuring will be as a last resort with strict conditions that align with wider government objectives.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of support available to smaller specialist higher education institutes.

The government recognises that the COVID-19 outbreak is bringing significant financial challenges to the higher education (HE) sector and we have been working closely with the sector, including with smaller specialist providers, the Office for Students (OfS), and other government departments to monitor the likely impacts.

The OfS as the independent regulator of HE in England monitors their financial sustainability. The OfS provides targeted allocations for world-leading specialist providers, which was £43 million for 2020/21. The OfS hopes to undertake a review of the current specialist provider funding arrangements later this year and will release further details at the earliest opportunity.

The government has also announced a package of measures which combines different ways to give further support to providers at this time of financial pressure. We have pulled forward an estimated £2.6 billion worth of forecast tuition fee payments to ease cashflow pressure this autumn. In the last academic year, we also brought forward £100 million quality-related research funding support for HE providers in England.

This is on top of the unprecedented package of support for businesses already announced by my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and a range of business loan schemes, to help pay wages, keep staff employed and support businesses whose viability is threatened by the outbreak. HE providers are eligible to apply for these schemes.

The government has also announced a further package of support to universities, and other research organisations, to enable them to continue their research and innovation activities. This includes £280 million of government funding as well as a package of low-interest loans with long pay-back periods, supplemented by a small amount of government grants. In sharing responsibility for the future of science and research with our world-leading university system, from the autumn, the government will cover up to 80% of a university’s income losses from international students for the academic year 2020/21, up to the value of their non-publicly funded research activity.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, announced further information about the Higher Education Restructuring Regime on 16 July. This may be deployed as a last resort, if a decision has been made to support a provider in England, when other steps to preserve a provider’s viability and mitigate the risks of financial failure have not proved sufficient. The overarching objectives, which will guide the department’s assessment of cases, will be protecting the welfare of current students, preserving the sector’s internationally outstanding science base and supporting the role that HE providers play in regional and local economies by offering high quality courses aligned with economic and societal needs. We will consider providers’ circumstances on a case-by-case basis, supported by expert advice, to ensure there is a robust value for money case for intervention. Public funds in the form of repayable loans to support restructuring will be as a last resort with strict conditions that align with wider government objectives.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the financial viability of smaller, specialist higher education institutes.

The government recognises that the COVID-19 outbreak is bringing significant financial challenges to the higher education (HE) sector and we have been working closely with the sector, including with smaller specialist providers, the Office for Students (OfS), and other government departments to monitor the likely impacts.

The OfS as the independent regulator of HE in England monitors their financial sustainability. The OfS provides targeted allocations for world-leading specialist providers, which was £43 million for 2020/21. The OfS hopes to undertake a review of the current specialist provider funding arrangements later this year and will release further details at the earliest opportunity.

The government has also announced a package of measures which combines different ways to give further support to providers at this time of financial pressure. We have pulled forward an estimated £2.6 billion worth of forecast tuition fee payments to ease cashflow pressure this autumn. In the last academic year, we also brought forward £100 million quality-related research funding support for HE providers in England.

This is on top of the unprecedented package of support for businesses already announced by my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and a range of business loan schemes, to help pay wages, keep staff employed and support businesses whose viability is threatened by the outbreak. HE providers are eligible to apply for these schemes.

The government has also announced a further package of support to universities, and other research organisations, to enable them to continue their research and innovation activities. This includes £280 million of government funding as well as a package of low-interest loans with long pay-back periods, supplemented by a small amount of government grants. In sharing responsibility for the future of science and research with our world-leading university system, from the autumn, the government will cover up to 80% of a university’s income losses from international students for the academic year 2020/21, up to the value of their non-publicly funded research activity.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, announced further information about the Higher Education Restructuring Regime on 16 July. This may be deployed as a last resort, if a decision has been made to support a provider in England, when other steps to preserve a provider’s viability and mitigate the risks of financial failure have not proved sufficient. The overarching objectives, which will guide the department’s assessment of cases, will be protecting the welfare of current students, preserving the sector’s internationally outstanding science base and supporting the role that HE providers play in regional and local economies by offering high quality courses aligned with economic and societal needs. We will consider providers’ circumstances on a case-by-case basis, supported by expert advice, to ensure there is a robust value for money case for intervention. Public funds in the form of repayable loans to support restructuring will be as a last resort with strict conditions that align with wider government objectives.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the accessibility of higher education for part-time mature students.

Many mature students need to study flexibly and we have taken a number of steps over recent years to encourage more flexible learning. These include greater support for part-time learners through maintenance support, and removing restrictions which had prevented students getting loan funding for part-time science, technology, mathematics and engineering undergraduate degrees if they were equivalent or lower qualifications.

The number of part-time students undertaking full undergraduate degrees has increased in recent years, but the numbers of part-time students overall (including those taking shorter courses) has declined. Therefore, we need to take much more radical steps to support lifelong learning. This is why my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, announced that we will introduce a flexible lifelong loan entitlement to 4 years of post-18 education, providing incentives for people to build the skills the economy needs. This will provide finance for shorter-term studies, rather than people having to study in 1, 3 or 4-year blocks. People will be able to break up their study into segments, transfer credits between colleges and universities, and take on more part-time study.

As the economy recovers from the COVID-19 outbreak, it will be even more important that individuals have opportunities to develop their skills over the course of their lifetimes. We will be consulting on the introduction of a lifelong loan entitlement in due course. This will set out proposals for how and when we will be introducing it. Where necessary, we will bring forward legislation in this Parliament.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that jobs involving recruiting, retaining and supporting students in their studies are protected in higher education.

During and after the COVID-19 outbreak, our aim is for higher education (HE) providers to continue to deliver HE provision and support the needs of students, both on and off campus.

Since my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced this government’s unprecedented package of support to help keep staff employed and support businesses, the department has provided guidance for HE providers so that they are aware of the support that is available to them. This includes guidance on how they may access the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS).

On 24 September the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced additional government support to provide certainty to businesses and workers impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. This package includes the new Job Support Scheme (JSS). This is designed to protect viable jobs in businesses which are facing lower demand over the winter months due to COVID-19. Like the CJRS, the government expects that the JSS will not be used by many public sector organisations. Where employers receive public funding for staff costs, and that funding is continuing, we expect employers to use that money to continue to pay staff in the usual fashion. This also applies to non-public sector employers that receive public funding for staff costs.

We recognise that many students are facing additional challenges due to the disruption and uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. Protecting students’ health and wellbeing is a priority and we expect providers to ensure that students are well looked after by staff with the right skills and experience to deliver the support they need. This includes the cleaning and security staff keeping campus safe and the catering staff providing meals, particularly for students self-isolating in halls, as well as staff providing mental health, wellbeing and pastoral support. However, HE providers are independent institutions and are responsible for their own decisions on staffing and employment issues. They should make employment decisions according to their own operational needs and the needs of their wider staff and student community.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of (a) the potential for job losses in the higher education sector in the event that institutes close as a result of the covid-19 outbreak and (b) the potential effect of those job losses on the higher education sector.

COVID-19 has had a significant impact on both students and higher education (HE) providers, and we welcome the resilience, innovation and dedication from staff and students over these months.

It is our aim for HE providers to continue to deliver HE provision and support the needs of students, both on and off campus. We have also committed to work with HE providers to help them access the range of measures on offer to support jobs and financial sustainability.

The government is clear that we do not want to see any students miss out on the opportunity to benefit from our excellent HE system as a result of COVID-19. We expect that access to the business support schemes and the reprofiling of public funding should help stabilise most providers’ finances, and that should certainly be the first port of call for providers.

The department provided sector-specific guidance in April to help providers understand and access the range of government support on offer. This guidance confirmed that HE providers could access the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) to help safeguard jobs.

Furthermore, on 4 May, we announced a package of measures to give further support to HE providers at this time of financial pressure. This included pulling forward an estimated £2.6 billion worth of forecast tuition fee payments to ease cashflow pressures and bringing forward quality-related research funding for HE providers in England in the current academic year by £100 million.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, announced further information about the Higher Education Restructuring Regime on 16 July. This may be deployed as a last resort, if a decision has been made to support a provider in England, when other steps to preserve a provider’s viability and mitigate the risks of financial failure have not proved sufficient. The overarching objectives, which will guide the department’s assessment of cases, will be protecting the welfare of current students, preserving the sector’s internationally outstanding science base and supporting the role that HE providers play in regional and local economies, through the provision of high-quality courses aligned with economic and societal needs.

We will consider HE providers’ circumstances on a case-by-case basis, supported by expert advice, to ensure there is a robust value-for-money case for intervention, with support for restructuring in the form of repayable loans coming from public funds as a last resort, and with strict conditions attached that align with wider government objectives.

On 24 September, my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced additional government support to provide certainty to businesses and workers impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. This package includes the new Job Support Scheme? (JSS). This is designed to protect viable jobs in businesses which are facing lower demand over the winter months due to COVID-19. Like the CJRS, the government expects that the JSS will not be used by many public sector organisations. Where employers receive public funding for staff costs, and that funding is continuing, we expect employers to use that money to continue to pay staff in the usual fashion. This also applies to non-public sector employers that receive public funding for staff costs.

However, regardless of the unprecedented levels of government support available, HE providers are autonomous of government and they are ultimately responsible for their own staffing decisions, which we expect them to make according to their own operational needs.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department plans to make available additional online learning resources for children during the 2020 summer holiday.

The Government recognises that pupils will have missed a critical period of their education in the 2019/20 academic year due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The Government has announced a catch-up package worth £1 billion, including a £650 million ‘Catch Up Premium’ to support schools to make up for lost teaching time. The expectation is that this funding will be spent on the additional activities required to support children and young people to catch up after a period of disruption to their education.

To support schools to make the best use of this funding, the Education Endowment Foundation published a support guide for schools with evidence-based approaches to catch up for all students, including summer support: https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/covid-19-resources/national-tutoring-programme/covid-19-support-guide-for-schools/#nav-covid-19-support-guide-for-schools1.

Alongside this, the Government is launching a new £350 million National Tutoring Programme for disadvantaged pupils. This will increase access to high-quality tuition during the 2020/21 academic year for the most disadvantaged young people, helping to accelerate their academic progress and tackling the attainment gap between them and their peers.

Oak National Academy continued to make available all of their lessons, Oak Activity Clubs and assemblies from the summer term on their website over the school holidays. Parents and pupils were able to access these, and Oak National Academy also developed an 'Oak Acorn Chart' to help pupils record their progress over the summer. Further information about Oak National Academy can be found at: https://www.thenational.academy/.

The BBC also developed a comprehensive new education package, which was available during the summer holiday on TV (via the red button), BBC iPlayer, and online at BBC Bitesize. The BBC has since adapted their education support with a new BBC Bitesize package for the academic year 2020/21. In addition, the Department published a list of high-quality online resources, which have been assessed with support from some of the country’s leading educational experts and could be used during the summer: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-online-education-resources.

22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he plans to allocate additional resources to local councils for the provision of support for families with SEND children.

We are aware that local authorities have experienced pressures on their high needs budgets. That is why we are putting £730 million of additional funding into high needs next year, which represents a 10% increase. Coming on top of the additional £780 million in 2020-21, that means that high needs budgets will have grown by over £1.5 billion, or 24%, in just two years.

The London Borough of Tower Hamlets has a provisional high needs funding allocation of £66 million next year, which is a £6.3 million increase compared to this year. Provisional allocations for every local authority can be found at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-funding-formula-tables-for-schools-and-high-needs-2021-to-2022.

Alongside additional funding, we are continuing the review of the system of support for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities to see what improvements are needed. We are also working with local authorities that have the largest deficits to make sure that they have realistic recovery plans and the support they need to implement them.

22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department plans to deliver equivalents to holiday play schemes for children with special educational needs.

Supporting the most vulnerable children, young people and adults is a priority for us, especially at this time. This is a challenge unlike any we have faced in our lifetimes. We know that this period is particularly hard for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), their families and those who support them. Co-production with families, partnership and communication remain critical.

Short breaks (or ‘respite care’) are funded opportunities for disabled children and young people to be cared for away from the family homes, which local authorities have a statutory duty to provide. Local authorities are best placed to understand the needs of their local area and to commission provision appropriately. We have published guidance to support providers in operating safely and emphasised the importance of prioritising the delivery of service which support disabled children and young people.

On 2 July 2020, the government announced that an additional £500 million funding will be available for additional expenditure across local government services, taking the total additional funding made available to local authorities to £3.7 billion. This can support local authorities to deliver their respite offers (in line with their existing duties) and to address increased costs.

On 19 May 2020, the department announced that the family fund will receive funding of £37.3 million in 2020-21 to help low income families with seriously ill or disabled children (over 75,000 families). £10 million of the total has been committed specifically in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Our Holiday Activities and Food Programme is integral to our approach to provide healthy food and activities to children over the summer. On 22 June, we announced 17 local authority areas that will benefit from our holiday activities and food programme this summer 2020, providing thousands of children with access to healthy meals and enriching activities, building on the success of the 2018 and 2019 programmes. This programme is open all children eligible for free school meals in those areas, including those with SEND.

22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what support he will make available to parents of children with special educational needs over the summer holidays 2020.

Supporting the most vulnerable children, young people and adults is a priority for us, especially at this time. This is a challenge unlike any we have faced in our lifetimes. We know that this period is particularly hard for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), their families and those who support them. Co-production with families, partnership and communication remain critical.

Short breaks (or ‘respite care’) are funded opportunities for disabled children and young people to be cared for away from the family homes, which local authorities have a statutory duty to provide. Local authorities are best placed to understand the needs of their local area and to commission provision appropriately. We have published guidance to support providers in operating safely and emphasised the importance of prioritising the delivery of service which support disabled children and young people.

On 2 July 2020, the government announced that an additional £500 million funding will be available for additional expenditure across local government services, taking the total additional funding made available to local authorities to £3.7 billion. This can support local authorities to deliver their respite offers (in line with their existing duties) and to address increased costs.

On 19 May 2020, the department announced that the family fund will receive funding of £37.3 million in 2020-21 to help low income families with seriously ill or disabled children (over 75,000 families). £10 million of the total has been committed specifically in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Our Holiday Activities and Food Programme is integral to our approach to provide healthy food and activities to children over the summer. On 22 June, we announced 17 local authority areas that will benefit from our holiday activities and food programme this summer 2020, providing thousands of children with access to healthy meals and enriching activities, building on the success of the 2018 and 2019 programmes. This programme is open all children eligible for free school meals in those areas, including those with SEND.

1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 24 June 2020 to Questions 61818, 61819 and 61820 on Children: Ethnic Groups and with reference to his statement in that Answer that his Department does not centrally hold that information, for what reasons the information is not held centrally; and whether his Department plans to gather and hold that information in the future.

When making decisions about asking schools to welcome back more children, Ministers have had due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination and to advance equality of opportunities and foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not, as required by section 149 of the Equality Act 2010.

We continue to keep our assessment of those matters under review. This has been an in depth and ongoing assessment of the impacts of the Government’s policy, including on groups with protected characteristics such as race. The assessments continue to form an active part of the decision-making process.

Importantly, we know that some staff, parents and pupils may be anxious about returning to school. Where individuals are concerned about their comparatively increased risk from coronavirus, due to factors including ethnicity, age, sex and comorbidities, we are asking school leaders to discuss concerns and provide reassurance of the measures they are putting in place to reduce the risk, in line with our guidance.

30th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 24 June 2020 to Questions 61818, 61819 and 61820 on Children: Ethnic Groups and with reference to his statement in that Answer that his Department does not centrally hold that information, how his Department has assessed the effect of schools' policies on BAME people; and if he will place a copy of the methodology and conclusions of that assessment in the Library.

When making decisions about asking schools to welcome back more children, Ministers have had due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination and to advance equality of opportunities and foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not, as required by section 149 of the Equality Act 2010.

We continue to keep our assessment of those matters under review. This has been an in depth and ongoing assessment of the impacts of the Government’s policy, including on groups with protected characteristics such as race. The assessments continue to form an active part of the decision-making process.

Importantly, we know that some staff, parents and pupils may be anxious about returning to school. Where individuals are concerned about their comparatively increased risk from coronavirus, due to factors including ethnicity, age, sex and comorbidities, we are asking school leaders to discuss concerns and provide reassurance of the measures they are putting in place to reduce the risk, in line with our guidance.

19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of his Department's decision to reopen schools on 1 June 2020 following the covid-19 outbreak on (a) BAME children and adults and (b) people with other protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010; and if he will place a copy of that assessment in the Library.

When making decisions about asking schools to welcome back more children, we have had due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination and to advance equality of opportunities and foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not as required by section 149 of the Equality Act 2010. We continue to keep our assessment of those matters under review.

In respect of BAME children and adults specifically, we continue to assess the emerging evidence, including Public Health England’s review into disparities in COVID-19 outcomes and the report on the impact of COVID-19 on BAME groups, and consider what this means for the education system.

There is further work to do to understand the key drivers of these disparities and the relationships between the different risk factors. In the meantime, we continue to encourage schools to be particularly sensitive to the needs and concerns of BAME pupils, parents and carers, and staff, considering if any additional measure or reasonable adjustments may need to be put in place to mitigate those concerns.

19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what proportion of the children who have continued to attend school during the covid-19 outbreak are from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds.

The information requested is not held centrally.

19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many and what proportion of children who have reattended school from 1 June 2020 following the covid-19 outbreak are from BAME backgrounds.

The information requested is not held centrally.

19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what proportion of the staff who have continued to work onsite in schools during the covid-19 outbreak are from Black, Asian and minority ethic backgrounds.

The information requested is not held centrally.

19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many and what proportion of staff working in schools since 1 June 2020 are from BAME backgrounds.

The information requested is not held centrally.

19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of his Department's initial decision not to implement the national voucher scheme during the 2020 school summer holiday on (a) BAME children and adults and (b) people with other protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010; and if he will place a copy of that assessment in the Library.

Owing to the COVID-19 outbreak, the government understands that children and parents face an entirely unprecedented situation over the summer. To reflect this, we will be providing additional funding for a Covid Summer Food Fund that will enable families with children who are eligible for free school meals to receive food vouchers covering the six-week holiday period. This is a specific measure to reflect the unique circumstances of the outbreak. As we have announced this provision will take place, we will not publish an assessment of any alternative scenarios.

19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of potential effect of the decision to reopen schools following the covid-19 lockdown on the number of acute respiratory outbreaks in schools reported by Public Health England on 18 June 2020 in its Weekly coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) surveillance report; and if he will place a copy of that assessment in the Library.

In its weekly coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) surveillance report, Public Health England (PHE) provides information on the number of acute respiratory outbreaks in schools. The Department continues to engage with PHE and other organisations to ensure our guidance reflects the most up to date scientific advice.

We want to get all children and young people back into education as soon as the scientific advice allows because it is the best place for them to learn, and because we know how important it is for their mental wellbeing to have social interactions with their peers, carers and teachers. Children returning to educational and childcare settings in greater numbers will also allow more families to return to work.

In all schools and nurseries, preventing the spread of COVID-19 involves dealing with direct and indirect transmission. Our guidance sets out a range of approaches and actions to do this. These can be seen as a hierarchy of controls that, when implemented, creates an inherently safer system, where the risk of transmission of infection is substantially reduced.

19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many and what proportion of the number of acute respiratory outbreaks in schools as reported by Public Health England in its Weekly coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) surveillance report on 18 June 2020 included people from BAME backgrounds.

In its weekly coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) surveillance report, Public Health England provides information on the number of acute respiratory outbreaks in schools. They do not have detail on the proportion of this number who are from BAME backgrounds.

11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the reports published in May 2020 by Barnardo's, the Children's Society, Action for Children, the NSPCC and the National Children's Bureau entitled Children’s and young people’s services: funding and spending 2010-11 to 2018-19 and Pressures on children’s and young people’s services: a deep dive, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of funding for children's services in response to the findings of those reports.

The government announced at the Local Government Finance Settlement that English councils' core spending power is rising by over £2.9 billion this financial year. This includes £1 billion of new grant funding that can be used flexibly by local authorities to deliver adult and children’s social care services. Further to this, the government has provided over £3.2 billion of additional funding to support local authorities in meeting COVID-19 related pressures including on children’s services. We will keep this under very close review over the coming weeks and months.

Longer term funding considerations are a matter for the next Spending Review.

18th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to ban electronic shock collars for pets.

The Animal Welfare (Electronic Collars) (England) Regulations will make it an offence to attach an electronic shock collar to a cat or dog, or to be in possession of a remote-control device capable of activating such a collar when attached to a cat or dog. The regulations have been considered in the House of Lords and will be considered by the House of Commons in due course. Parliamentary business will be announced in the usual way.

14th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment their Department has made of the potential effect of the merger between Three and Vodafone on their Department's contracts with Vodafone.

As an open economy, this Government welcomes and encourages investment where it supports the Prime Minister’s goal of boosting UK growth and jobs, meets our stringent legal and regulatory requirements, and does not compromise our national security. The Government has robust powers under the National Security & Investment Act, which it introduced, to block or impose remedies on transactions that pose a national security risk.

As the hon. Member will appreciate, we cannot comment on specific acquisitions nor the applicability of the National Security and Investment regime.

It is the responsibility of Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to assess the impact on consumers and competition in the market, with input from sectoral regulators.

The Investment Security Unit works closely with the CMA on cases that are being considered for both national security and competition reasons. A memorandum of understanding has been agreed between the Investment Security Unit and the CMA to assist joint working. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/operation-of-the-national-security-and-investment-act-2021-memorandum-of-understanding/mou-between-beis-and-the-cma-on-the-operation-of-the-national-security-and-investment-act-2021

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of lowering the threshold for statutory noise nuisance for commercial properties.

The Government is committed to ensuring that noise is managed effectively in order to promote good health and quality of life.

We do not consider it appropriate to issue guidance on resolving noise nuisance complaints about commercial properties. Local authorities are the main enforcers of the statutory noise nuisance regime under Environmental Protection Act 1990, and decisions around resolving noise nuisance complaints are best taken by them using their knowledge of the specific context.

There is no formal threshold in place for assessing noise nuisance from commercial properties. It is not possible to have a single objective noise-based measure that is applicable to all sources of noise in all situations, as effect levels are likely to be different for different noise sources, different people and at different times. However, owners of industrial, trade and business premises are expected to use the best practicable means available to minimise noise from their premises and operations.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether her Department has issued recent guidance on resolving noise nuisance complaints about commercial properties when the local authority finds that criteria for statutory noise nuisance is not being met.

The Government is committed to ensuring that noise is managed effectively in order to promote good health and quality of life.

We do not consider it appropriate to issue guidance on resolving noise nuisance complaints about commercial properties. Local authorities are the main enforcers of the statutory noise nuisance regime under Environmental Protection Act 1990, and decisions around resolving noise nuisance complaints are best taken by them using their knowledge of the specific context.

There is no formal threshold in place for assessing noise nuisance from commercial properties. It is not possible to have a single objective noise-based measure that is applicable to all sources of noise in all situations, as effect levels are likely to be different for different noise sources, different people and at different times. However, owners of industrial, trade and business premises are expected to use the best practicable means available to minimise noise from their premises and operations.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to identify dog owners with control challenges; and what early interventions his Department is encouraging local authorities and Police forces to take to tackle that matter.

The Government takes the issue of dog attacks extremely seriously and is determined to crack down on irresponsible dog ownership.

Under section 3 of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, it is an offence to allow a dog to be dangerously out of control in any place. Section 2 of the Dogs Act 1871 also allows for a complaint to be made to a magistrates' court by any individual or authority that a dog is "dangerous and not kept under proper control". Additionally, the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 includes specific measures to enable the police and local authorities to tackle irresponsible dog ownership before a dog attack occurs. The main tool to tackle irresponsible dog ownership is the Community Protection Notice (CPN). These notices can be issued by local authority officers or the police on dog owners, or anyone temporarily in charge of the dog at the time, whose dogs are behaving in an unruly way. To breach a CPN is a criminal offence and could lead to a significant penalty. To that end we are encouraging police forces across the country to use these tools.

Defra has also commissioned research in collaboration with Middlesex University into ways to reduce dog attacks and promote responsible ownership amongst dog owners. The research considers different approaches and the effectiveness of current dog control measures. The report, which will be published shortly, identifies the police Local Environmental Awareness on Dogs (LEAD) initiative as a model of preventative best practice for low level dog control issues and early intervention. The Government supports these local preventative approaches to encourage responsible ownership of all breeds of dog. Defra is giving careful consideration to the report and its recommendations, which will provide the basis for potential further reform in this area.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when his Department plans to publish the research undertaken in collaboration with Middlesex University on dog attacks.

Defra commissioned Middlesex University to examine measures to reduce dog attacks and promote responsible ownership. The research considers different approaches and the effectiveness of current dog control measures. The report will be published shortly and will provide the basis for the consideration of further reform in this area.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what communication his Department has had with Tower Hamlets Police following the dog attack in Bartlett Park on 26 August 2021.

Defra officials are in regular contact with the police to discuss issues relating to dog attacks, including seeking information on specific incidents. I can confirm that officials have been in contact with the Metropolitan Police seeking further information on this tragic incident. I cannot comment further on this incident as it is the subject of an ongoing police investigation.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he has plans to issue national guidance to all Police forces on following the Local Environmental Awareness on Dogs initiative.

The Government takes the issue of dog attacks extremely seriously and we are determined to crack down on irresponsible dog ownership. The Government supports local preventative approaches to encourage responsible dog ownership of all breeds of dog, such as the Local Environmental Awareness on Dogs (LEAD) initiative.

The Middlesex University report on responsible dog ownership, which will be published shortly, identified the LEAD initiative as a model of preventative best practice for low level dog control issues. Defra liaises regularly with the police on dog control issues, and is giving careful consideration to the report and its recommendations, which will provide the basis for potential further reform in this area.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of air quality in Poplar and Limehouse constituency.

The Mayor of London is responsible for air quality in the capital and has reserve powers under the Environment Act 1995 to reflect this.

The UK is compliant with our air quality obligations for all pollutants with the exception of nitrogen dioxide concentrations at roadside locations, and we have put in place a £3.8 billion plan to tackle this issue. More widely, the Government’s Clean Air Strategy sets out an ambitious programme of action to reduce air pollution from a wide range of sources. Our Environment Bill delivers key parts of this Strategy, makes a clear commitment to set a legally binding target to reduce fine particulate matter and enables local authorities to take more effective action to tackle air pollution in their areas.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment his Department has made of the levels of (a) particulate matter and (b) nitrogen dioxide in the air in Tower Hamlets.

The Mayor of London is responsible for air quality in the capital and has reserve powers under the Environment Act 1995 to reflect this.

The UK is compliant with our air quality obligations for all pollutants with the exception of nitrogen dioxide concentrations at roadside locations, and we have put in place a £3.8 billion plan to tackle this issue. More widely, the Government’s Clean Air Strategy sets out an ambitious programme of action to reduce air pollution from a wide range of sources. Our Environment Bill delivers key parts of this Strategy, makes a clear commitment to set a legally binding target to reduce fine particulate matter and enables local authorities to take more effective action to tackle air pollution in their areas.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what steps her Department took to mark Islamophobia Awareness month in November 2020.

The Government notes Islamophobia Awareness Month but takes the view that combatting Islamophobia is not a time-limited task and such thinking and behaviour should be tackled whenever it occurs. For that reason we continue to work closely with Muslim communities to tackle hate against them, including understanding issues and trends. This includes supporting Tell MAMA (Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks) with just over £2.8m distributed over the last five years to monitor, combat and raise awareness of anti-Muslim hatred.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, whether she plans to allocate additional funding to help tackle the covid-19 outbreak in Bangladesh.

The UK has major health, humanitarian and extreme poverty programmes in Bangladesh. These have re-prioritised funding and interventions to tackle the immediate health needs and the broader social and economic impacts of COVID-19 on the poorest and most vulnerable. To date the UK has allocated £21 million to support the Government of Bangladesh’s Preparedness and Response Plan objectives. This includes more than £7 million for testing and treatment by the national health system and £3 million through UNDP to reach more than 2 million of the poorest people living in urban slums. In the Rohingya refugee camps, over £11 million has been allocated to UN and NGO partners to prepare for COVID-19 and to provide critical humanitarian services, including testing, isolation and treatment. DFID is collaborating with Unilever on a mass global handwashing media campaign, which will run across Africa and Asia, including in Bangladesh.

17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that India upholds international labour, democratic and human rights standards as part of the ongoing trade negotiations with the UK; and if she will make a statement.

We have a high level of ambition to strengthen the United Kingdom’s trade relationship with India. In July, as a first step towards a potential free trade agreement in the future, we agreed to establish an Enhanced Trade Partnership to deepen trade ties and address barriers to trade and investment.

The United Kingdom has long promoted her values?globally. We are clear that more trade does not have to come at the expense of our values. While our approach will vary between partners, it will always allow HM Government to have open discussions on issues, including rights and responsibilities.

17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent discussions she has had with her Indian counterpart on (a) trade negotiations with India and (b) the Annual South Asia State of Minorities Report published in November 2020; and if she will make a statement.

We have a high level of ambition to strengthen the United Kingdom’s trade relationship with India. In July, as a first step towards a potential free trade agreement in the future, we agreed to establish an Enhanced Trade Partnership to deepen trade ties and address barriers to trade and investment.

The United Kingdom has long promoted her values?globally. We are clear that more trade does not have to come at the expense of our values. While our approach will vary between partners, it will always allow HM Government to have open discussions on issues, including rights and responsibilities.

14th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has been of the potential impact of closing train station ticket offices in Poplar and Limehouse constituency on the (a) safety and (b) accessibility of passenger rail travel in London region.

Under the Ticketing and Settlement Agreement, when proposing major changes to ticket office opening hours (including closures) operators are required, amongst other things, to take into account the adequacy of the proposed alternatives in relation to the needs of passengers. We would also expect operators to consider equality related needs of passengers and make this clear in the notice sent to other operators and passenger groups.

Together with industry, we want to improve and modernise the passenger experience by moving staff out from ticket offices to provide more help and advice in customer focused roles. No currently staffed station will be unstaffed as a result of industry changes. Train operators will ensure staff are well located to meet passenger needs in future.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
5th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the Answer of 9 March 2022 to Question 134387 on Southeastern Trains: Directors, how many (a) managers and (b) members of the board of OLR DfT Holding Ltd are entitled to (i) free rail travel and (ii) access rail staff travel facilities.

The renumeration packages between the organisation and Board members or Directors are a matter for the individual companies. They are all independent third parties.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
5th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the Answer of 9 March 2022 to Question 134387 on Southeastern Trains: Directors, how many (a) managers and (b) members of the board of Transpennine Express are entitled to (i) free rail travel and (ii) access rail staff travel facilities.

The renumeration packages between the organisation and Board members or Directors are a matter for the individual companies. They are all independent third parties.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
5th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the Answer of 9 March 2022 to Question 134387 on Southeastern Trains: Directors, how many (a) managers and (b) members of the board of LNER are entitled to (i) free rail travel and (ii) access rail staff travel facilities.

The renumeration packages between the organisation and Board members or Directors are a matter for the individual companies. They are all independent third parties.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
5th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the Answer of 9 March 2022 to Question 134387 on Southeastern Trains: Directors, how many (a) managers and (b) members of the board of Northern Trains Ltd are entitled to (i) free rail travel and (ii) access rail staff travel facilities.

The renumeration packages between the organisation and Board members or Directors are a matter for the individual companies. They are all independent third parties.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
27th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will instruct train operating companies to produce proposals for public consultation on ticket office closures through the Schedule 17 major change process.

If train operating companies propose to change their ticket office opening hours they must follow the industry process as set out in the Ticketing and Settlement Agreement.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
27th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has had recent discussions with (a) the Rail Delivery Group and (b) each of the train operating companies under contract with his Department on proposals for ticket office closures.

The Department holds meetings regularly with the Rail Delivery Group and industry about the need to reform and modernise rail.

Together with industry we want to modernise the passenger experience by moving staff out from ticket offices to more visible and accessible roles around the station.

To propose any changes to the opening hours, or the closure of ticket offices, train operating companies must follow the process set out in the Ticketing and Settlement Agreement.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
27th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether any of the train operating companies under contract with his Department have indicated that they plan to table proposals for ticket office closures via the Schedule 17 major change process in the next (a) month, (b) two months and (c) six months.

If Train Operating Companies propose to change their ticket office opening hours they must follow the industry process as set out in the Ticketing and Settlement Agreement (TSA).

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
27th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether any (a) products, (b) fares and (c) services available at c2c stations will not be available as a result of the contactless ticketing trial.

Contactless Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) allows passengers ‘tap in’ and ‘tap out’ using a contactless bank card and smart media device, removing the need to queue for a ticket or top-up a smart card before travelling. PAYG will be an additional way for passengers to pay for their travel, with smart card and paper tickets remaining available. We are making changes to simplify fares to ensure PAYG works for passengers and will announce further details in due course.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
27th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he expects the trial of contactless ticketing at c2c to begin; and what the planned duration of that trial is.

The Secretary of State confirmed in February 2023 that we would extend contactless Pay-As-You-Go ticketing to 53 additional stations by the end of the year. This includes Chiltern, London Northwestern, and C2C services.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
21st Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of giving the (a) Parliamentary Service and Health Ombudsman and (b) another regulatory body powers to regulate the Port of London Authority.

The department has considered including the Port of London Authority (PLA) within the remit of the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO). The department does not view this as a sensible course of action at this time.

The Ombudsman can investigate any action taken by, or on behalf, a government department or other authority to which the Parliamentary Commissioner Act 1967 Act applies. Such “action” is in relation to the exercise of administrative functions of that department or authority. The PLA is not a government department, and it is not taking action on behalf of one. It is a self-funding trust port and not a public body in the sense that the other bodies regulated by the PHSO are.

It and indeed all other UK ports are already regulated, primarily by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, but also by other bodies which includes, but are not limited to, the Marine Management Organization, local councils and the Financial Conduct Authority.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
13th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether any (a) managers or (b) members of the Board of London North Eastern Railway are entitled to (i) free rail travel or (ii) rail staff travel facilities.

The renumeration packages between the organisation and Board members, Directors or managers are a matter for the individual organisations.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
13th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether any (a) directors or (b) members of the Board of DfT OLR Holdings Limited are entitled to (i) free rail travel and (ii) rail staff travel facilities.

The renumeration packages between the organisation and Board members, Directors or managers are a matter for the individual organisations.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
13th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether any managers at the Transpennine Express are entitled to (a) free rail travel or (b) rail staff travel facilities.

The renumeration packages between the organisation and Board members, Directors or managers are a matter for the individual organisations.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
13th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether any (a) managers and (b) members of the Board of Northern Trains Ltd are entitled to (i) free rail travel and (ii) rail staff travel facilities.

The renumeration packages between the organisation and Board members, Directors or managers are a matter for the individual organisations.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
24th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will have discussions with the Mayor of London on the potential merits of reintroducing the concession allowing people aged 60 and over to travel during peak hours.

The Mayor of London has decided to remove the concession allowing people aged 60+ to travel for free before 9am on weekdays on TfL’s services, and before 9:30am on National Rail services operating in London.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
29th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential impact of his policy on the Transport Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill on the UK's obligations under (a) ILO Convention 87 and (b) the EU-UK Trade and Co-operation Agreement.

The Department made a detailed assessment of the potential impact of the Bill on the UK’s obligations under the ILO Convention 87 and the EU-UK Trade and Co-operation Agreement during the policy development stage.

The ILO has previously accepted that minimum service levels are in principle consistent with the right to strike, and many EU nations (such as Spain and Italy) have minimum service provisions as part of their domestic legislation.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
31st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of rail operators increasing provision to allow travellers to take bicycles on trains.

In the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail and the Gear Change Cycling and Walking Strategy the government committed to increasing space for cycles on existing trains wherever practically possible and to include more cycle spaces on all future train fleets. We will assess the merits of different levels of provision before we require operators to increase provision for the carriage of cycles on trains.

19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make it his policy to tackle DVLA delays in processing applications by changing the requirements for original identity documents to be sent for applicants whose identity cannot be verified with the UK Passport Agency.

Currently, paper driving licence applications are likely to take between six and ten weeks to process. However, on selected transactions, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency returns original documents as soon as the application is opened to reduce the impact of processing delays and is working to expand this further.

Driving licence applications where the applicant is required to submit a biometric residency permit (BRP), are also likely to take between six and ten weeks to process. The BRP will be returned to the applicant as soon as the application has been processed. The latest information on turnaround times for paper driving licence applications can be found here.

If a driving licence applicant’s identity cannot be verified by HM Passport Office or via another secure service, the requirement for original identity documents remains a critical part of protecting the driving licence application process from potential fraud. There are no plans to remove these requirements.

19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the effect on the length of time it takes for an application to be successful of Driver and Vehicle Licensing Association delays in returning Biometric Residence Permits to driving licence applicants.

Currently, paper driving licence applications are likely to take between six and ten weeks to process. However, on selected transactions, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency returns original documents as soon as the application is opened to reduce the impact of processing delays and is working to expand this further.

Driving licence applications where the applicant is required to submit a biometric residency permit (BRP), are also likely to take between six and ten weeks to process. The BRP will be returned to the applicant as soon as the application has been processed. The latest information on turnaround times for paper driving licence applications can be found here.

If a driving licence applicant’s identity cannot be verified by HM Passport Office or via another secure service, the requirement for original identity documents remains a critical part of protecting the driving licence application process from potential fraud. There are no plans to remove these requirements.

19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate he has made of the average amount of time the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency retains original identity documents for driving licence applications from applicants whose identity cannot be verified with the UK Passport Agency, from receipt of that document until it is returned, in (a) 2019 and (b) 2021.

Currently, paper driving licence applications are likely to take between six and ten weeks to process. However, on selected transactions, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency returns original documents as soon as the application is opened to reduce the impact of processing delays and is working to expand this further.

Driving licence applications where the applicant is required to submit a biometric residency permit (BRP), are also likely to take between six and ten weeks to process. The BRP will be returned to the applicant as soon as the application has been processed. The latest information on turnaround times for paper driving licence applications can be found here.

If a driving licence applicant’s identity cannot be verified by HM Passport Office or via another secure service, the requirement for original identity documents remains a critical part of protecting the driving licence application process from potential fraud. There are no plans to remove these requirements.

3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the reasons are for Mauritius being placed on the UK's red list of countries for which hotel quarantine is required; and when a review of the countries placed on that red list is scheduled to take place.

The decision to place Mauritius on the red list on 9 January was in direct response to scientific and medical data, which represents an increased risk to UK public health and an increased risk of community transmission of COVID-19 variants of concern identified in other countries. These are intended to be temporary measures and the government keeps data for countries and territories under constant review.

The government has made it consistently clear that it will take decisive action to contain the virus, including adding further countries to the red list, or keeping countries on the red list, if the public health risk of people returning from a particular country without self-isolating becomes too high.

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
11th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will waive the charge for the driving theory test for people who passed the theory test in the past two years but have been unable to take their practical driving test owing to the covid-19 outbreak.

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

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

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

3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the (a) socio-economic and (b) equalities impact of low-traffic neighbourhoods in (a) Poplar and Limehouse and (b) England.

The Department has not made any assessment of these factors in either Poplar and Limehouse or England.

It is for local authorities to ensure that any changes they propose to make to road layouts are delivered in line with relevant legislation, consultation and noticing requirements. The Department recommends they carry out monitoring and evaluation of schemes but it is for them to determine how to do so, in line with relevant good practice.

To support the Active Travel Fund, the Government has published additional Network Management Duty guidance which clearly set out what the Government expects local authorities to do in making changes to their road layouts to encourage cycling and walking in response to Covid-19 and to support a green restart and recovery.

The guidance is clear that the Public Sector Equality Duty still applies and in making any changes to their road networks, authorities must consider the needs of disabled people and those with other protected characteristics, for example by carrying out Equality Impact Assessments on proposed schemes.

10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent public awareness-raising campaigns his Department has undertaken on rule 170 in the Highway Code.

The Department for Transport promotes road safety messaging through the THINK! campaign. While we are not directly running a campaign on rule 170 of The Highway Code, THINK! has incorporated messaging around taking extra care at junctions in its recent campaigns. In March 2019, THINK! ran a campaign for new drivers, which featured a short film on looking out for cyclists, motorcyclists, and horse riders at junctions. This summer, with the increase in cycling and walking, THINK! collaborated with the Department’s Safer Transport campaign to promote cycle safety tips, including advice for drivers to check for cyclists when pulling out at junctions.

We are analysing consultation responses following a review of The Highway Code which aims to improve safety for cyclists and pedestrians, particularly at road junctions. THINK! continues to review its campaign priorities and will ensure that communications on changes to The Highway Code, including key messaging on how to behave at junctions, will be incorporated into future campaigns.

9th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many and what proportion of staff who applied for promotion within his Department between 1 September 2019 and 31 August 2020 and identified as (a) BAME and (b) White were successful at each grade; and if he will make a statement.

Diversity and Inclusion is at the heart of resourcing across the Department for Transport (DfT); developing and testing innovative new approaches to attract and hire a more diverse candidate pool. We have clear objectives to increase representation rates to reflect the proportion of BAME individuals in the local working-age population, strengthen our BAME talent pipeline (grades 6 and 7) and our leadership cadre (SCS) as well as increase diversity in roles and professions where BAME staff are underrepresented.

The data provided relates to roles advertised by the Department for Transport on the Civil Service Jobs recruitment platform. Any permanent promotion opportunities within the department would be advertised on the platform to allow fair and open competition with an appointment being made on merit in line with the Civil Service Commissioners principles.

The data provided is based on identifications of applicants who are currently Civil Servants in any government department or agency, and is not restricted to promotions just from the DfT workforce and covers the Department and its four executive agencies. It does not include the diversity of applicants or successful applicants who were applying from outside the Civil Service. The data can be found in the attached table.

The completeness and accuracy of the data above is influenced by the following factors.

For vacancies advertised across government, individuals need to have a verified account to confirm their eligibility as existing Civil Servants. As part of their personal profile, Civil Servants are requested to provide their current substantive grade. If individuals have not completed their personal profile we would be unable to identify whether they were promoted.

For vacancies advertised externally, individuals have the option to use a privately registered account as there is no requirement for them to confirm that they are existing Civil Servants. This means that in the instance that an existing Civil Servant applies for an externally advertised vacancy using a private account, then we cannot identify whether or not the successful individual is being promoted.

In light of this, the data provided may not be comprehensive and would only be indicative of ‘how many and what proportion of Civil Service staff who applied for promotion within his Department between 1 September 2019 and 31 August 2020 and identified as (a) BAME and (b) White were successful at each grade’.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what support is available to UK citizens who are stranded abroad with an out-of-date driving licence which is preventing them from returning to the UK.

As a driving licence is not a travel document, an out of date licence should not prevent a UK citizen from returning to the UK. There is no facility to issue temporary emergency driving licences.

UK citizens with an urgent need to travel who do not have a valid passport may be able to apply for an emergency travel document. Information on how to how to apply for an emergency travel document can be found at https://www.gov.uk/emergency-travel-document

22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make it possible for a UK citizen stranded abroad with an out-of-date driving licence to receive a temporary emergency licence in order for them to return the UK.

As a driving licence is not a travel document, an out of date licence should not prevent a UK citizen from returning to the UK. There is no facility to issue temporary emergency driving licences.

UK citizens with an urgent need to travel who do not have a valid passport may be able to apply for an emergency travel document. Information on how to how to apply for an emergency travel document can be found at https://www.gov.uk/emergency-travel-document

11th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he has taken to ensure that train operating companies and their subcontractors use a deep cleaning service to help mitigate the spread of covid-19 on public transport.

To help tackle the spread of coronavirus, rail operators and Network Rail are doing more to ensure our trains and stations are clean. The kinds of steps being taken include a greater focus on cleaning high-touch areas in trains and at stations (such as hand rails and ticket machine screens), more intensive cleaning and ensuring toilets are well stocked with soap.

In addition, they are also ensuring their staff are kept aware of the latest advice to maintain good hand hygiene. They are also promoting the public health advice for everyone to wash their hands regularly and to ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ when they cough or sneeze.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
19th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment his Department has made of the level of (a) absolute, (b) relative, (c) fuel and (d) food poverty in Poplar and Limehouse constituency.

National statistics on the number and percentage of people in poverty, including regional-level data, is published annually in the “Households Below Average Income” publication. This can be found here. Statistics are not available at the constituency level.

National statistics on food security and food bank use, including regional-level data, for 2021/22 are available here. Statistics are not available at the constituency level.

The latest statistics for the number of households in fuel poverty in parliamentary constituencies in England, can be found in the published sub-regional fuel poverty Official Statistics, in Table 4 here.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment his Department has made of the number of children living in poverty in Poplar and Limehouse constituency.

The latest available data showing the number and proportion of children in absolute and relative poverty before housing costs by parliamentary constituency can be found in the children in low-income families local area statistics. Absolute poverty after housing costs is the government’s preferred measure as the poverty line is fixed in real terms so is not affected by overall median income.

Households Below Average Income (HBAI) provides estimates of children in low-income families only at national and regional levels but can’t provide estimates by parliamentary constituency due to the sample size of the survey at that level.

Children in Low Income Families (CiLIF) is constructed using administrative data and calibrated to the HBAI regional estimates for consistency at that level. This use of administrative data provides more granular local area information not available from HBAI alone.

More background information on CiLIF and the methodology can be found here.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment their Department has made of the potential effect of the merger between Three and Vodafone on their Department's contracts with Vodafone.

The Department has assessed whether the merger constitutes a risk to service and whether the contract documentation needs to be updated. We are also awaiting advice from Cabinet Office regarding any wider significance to the merger. We are content no further action is required pending the Cabinet Office advice.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
31st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what proportion of mandatory reconsiderations made in favour of claimants were made on the basis of no additional evidence supplied by the claimant, beyond the completion of a mandatory reconsideration request form for claimants (a) nationally and (b) in Poplar and Limehouse constituency.

The information requested is not readily available and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

31st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of personal independence payment claims are auto-extended on more than one occasion due to a backlog of claims being processed by assessment providers, such that an assessment cannot be undertaken within the first period of auto-extension.

To protect PIP customers, we have developed an automated Digital solution which essentially extends the current award for cases where there is a risk that the claim will fall out of payment.

As we see continuing high demand for PIP new claims, customers are currently waiting longer than expected to have their claim reviewed, which has led to some awards being extended more than once.

The information requested on multiple extensions, however, is not readily available and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

31st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effect of changes in the level of the cost of processing mandatory reconsiderations of claimants on the number of requests being processed.

The number of forecasted MRs processed each month is based on the number of forecasted MRs received each month. The forecast methodology of the numbers of MRs received each month varies from benefit to benefit. Broadly, analysts use factors such as claim rate, caseload, historical MR rates, and decision outcomes e.g. disallowed cases. Analysts review these factors at each forecasting round to improve the quality of forecasts.

31st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of the call by Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) women for fair and adequate compensation; and what steps she plans to take in response to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman report on the communication of changes to state pension age.

It would not be appropriate to comment on the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman’s report whilst the investigation is ongoing; and section 7(2) of the Parliamentary Commissioner Act 1967 states that Ombudsman investigations “shall be conducted in private”.

This a multi staged process and the report published on 20 July 2021 concluded stage-one of the investigation.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
10th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to help ensure that those who are unable to access universal credit due to failing the habitual residence test are appropriately signposted to alternative forms of (a) financial and (b) crisis support and advice.

Customers who fail to satisfy the Habitual Residence Test are advised of appeal rights within the decision notification letter they receive. The letter also reminds them of their right to submit a Mandatory Reconsideration, which will be reviewed by another Decision Maker in our Disputes Resolution Team.

Customers who contact the Department or Jobcentres for further assistance are directed to local support services available. If they are deemed to be extremely vulnerable, a referral is made to our local Advanced Customer Service Senior Leaders team, who have greater local knowledge of support available for customers in need.

All complex decisions for the Habitual Residence Test will be escalated to specialist Decision Makers, who go through specific training on making Habitual Residence Test decisions. These decisions are subject to rigorous quality standards.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
10th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what proportion of universal credit claims that were initially found to have failed the habitual residence test had those decisions overturned at (a) Mandatory Reconsideration Stage, (b) First-Tier Tribunal, and (c) prior to a Tribunal hearing but having submitted a request to open an appeal.

Detailed information on Universal Credit Mandatory Reconsiderations (MRs) is available from Feb-19 onwards.

Percentage as a proportion of claimants with a failed HRT

Requested an MR after failed HRT

7

Decision changed at MR

2

Appeal lapsed before tribunal

less than 1

Appeal overturned original decision at tribunal

less than 1

GB only

An overturned appeal is where the DWP decision is revised in favour of the customer at a tribunal hearing.

This information is based on HRT (Habitual Residence Test) decisions from Feb 2019 to June 2021, for Great Britain only, and MR and appeals decisions to the end of September 2021. The figures do not include MRs or appeals made about other aspects of these UC claims.

A lapsed appeal is where DWP changed the decision, in the customer’s favour, after an appeal was lodged, but before it was heard at a tribunal hearing.

A number of appeals lodged concerning an HRT decision during this time have not yet been heard by a tribunal, so these figures may rise slightly. In addition, while most appeals are lodged within a month of the MR decision, it is possible for appeals to be lodged with good reason beyond this time.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the number of people who have been affected by the underpayment of benefits after transitioning from incapacity benefit to employment and support allowance in Poplar and Limehouse constituency.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 19th January to question number 104377.

15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the accessibility of employment support available to Poplar and Limehouse constituents in the context of the closure of the Poplar Job Centre.

The new site is located near to Poplar Jobcentre and has excellent transport links.

Work Coaches can advise claimants in such circumstances.

If an individual has a disability, caring responsibilities, children or any other reason for needing support Jobcentre Work Coaches will discuss and offer support to people based on their individual circumstances this also includes limited or no access to the internet at home, for which claimants can request to attend a local Jobcentre. Work Coaches will continue to offer employment support to people in Poplar and Limehouse.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the potential impact of the closure of Poplar Job Centre on benefit claimants with no or limited access to the internet at home.

The new site is located near to Poplar Jobcentre and has excellent transport links.

Work Coaches can advise claimants in such circumstances.

If an individual has a disability, caring responsibilities, children or any other reason for needing support Jobcentre Work Coaches will discuss and offer support to people based on their individual circumstances this also includes limited or no access to the internet at home, for which claimants can request to attend a local Jobcentre. Work Coaches will continue to offer employment support to people in Poplar and Limehouse.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the potential impact of the closure of Poplar Job Centre on claimants with (a) disabilities, (b) caring responsibilities and (c) children.

The new site is located near to Poplar Jobcentre and has excellent transport links.

Work Coaches can advise claimants in such circumstances.

If an individual has a disability, caring responsibilities, children or any other reason for needing support Jobcentre Work Coaches will discuss and offer support to people based on their individual circumstances this also includes limited or no access to the internet at home, for which claimants can request to attend a local Jobcentre. Work Coaches will continue to offer employment support to people in Poplar and Limehouse.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the increased cost of travel for benefit claimants who will no longer be able to access a Job Centre Plus within Poplar and Limehouse constituency.

The new site is located near to Poplar Jobcentre and has excellent transport links.

Work Coaches can advise claimants in such circumstances.

If an individual has a disability, caring responsibilities, children or any other reason for needing support Jobcentre Work Coaches will discuss and offer support to people based on their individual circumstances this also includes limited or no access to the internet at home, for which claimants can request to attend a local Jobcentre. Work Coaches will continue to offer employment support to people in Poplar and Limehouse.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether all employees from Poplar Job Centre will (a) remain in her Department's employment and (b) be on the same contractual terms and conditions following the closure of the Poplar Job Centre.

The Department is able to confirm that employees from Poplar Jobcentre will remain in employment under the same terms and conditions following the closure of Poplar Jobcentre.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what alternative locations her Department assessed the potential merits of in order to retain a Job Centre Plus in Poplar and Limehouse constituency.

The closure of Poplar Jobcentre is as a result of the landlord’s plans to redevelop the site. Consultation has taken place in confidence with the Tower Hamlets Council. The Department undertook an independent and extensive property search and opted for the most suitable replacement building in the local area.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, which (a) people and (b) organisations were consulted prior to the decision to close the Job Centre in Poplar and Limehouse constituency.

The closure of Poplar Jobcentre is as a result of the landlord’s plans to redevelop the site. Consultation has taken place in confidence with the Tower Hamlets Council. The Department undertook an independent and extensive property search and opted for the most suitable replacement building in the local area.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether claimants for extended personal independence payment awards will be given a choice between a face-to-face assessment and a phone/video assessment.

As has always been the case, we will continue to assess new claims to Personal Independence Payment (PIP), and reviews of existing PIP awards, on the basis of the paper-based evidence whenever possible. While telephone, paper-based and a limited number of video assessments will continue to be appropriate for many of our claimants, for others it might be more appropriate to conduct a face-to-face assessment in order to collect sufficient evidence and make a robust recommendation. These might include claimants without access to a telephone or a reliable telephone signal, claimants who lack insight into their condition, those with speech or hearing impairments (who cannot use the text relay service), and claimants who, due to their condition, feel unable to communicate via telephone. We will be identifying the most appropriate assessment type for individual claimants.

12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many of the extended personal independence payment awards that are currently being reviewed were awarded following an appeal to the First Tier Tribunal or the Upper Tier Tribunal.

The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what criteria her Department is using to review extended personal independence payment awards.

Award reviews, whether following an extension to the award or not, are initiated within the 12 months prior to the award ending.

26th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the number of extended personal independence payments awards due for review which are set to end before a medical assessment can take place.

To ensure continuity of payments to our customers in receipt of PIP [during the coronavirus pandemic], we have extended awards with a review date to ensure that a review can take place before the end of the award.

11th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how long her Department's South East region has taken on average to process changes of circumstances with regards to housing on universal credit claims since 14 January 2021.

The Department does not record this information.

11th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many claimants have had their (a) personal independence payment and (b) employment and support allowance claims disallowed or closed as a result of a failure to attend or failure to participate notice.

In respect to Personal Independence Payment (PIP), I would like to refer you to the detailed statistics that can be found in Stat-Xplore: https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/.

The latest available data on PIP includes clearances split by geographical area (local authority and parliamentary constituency) and by type of clearance (i.e. whether the claim was awarded, disallowed or withdrawn) for both new claims and reassessed claims.

Clearance type details can be broken down by Awarded and Disallowed which includes ‘Disallowed post-referral to the AP due to failing to attend assessment appointment’.

Guidance on how to use Stat-Xplore can be found here: https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/online-help/index.html

In respect of Employment and Support Allowance, the information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

11th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the potential effect of the end of the £20 uplift to universal credit on levels of food bank usage.

No assessment has been made.

Throughout this pandemic, this Government has delivered an unprecedented package of support to protect jobs and businesses and, for those in most need, injected billions into the welfare system. The new Covid Winter Grant Scheme builds on that support with an additional £170m for local authorities in England, to support families with children and other vulnerable people with the cost of food and essential utilities this winter.

11th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what her Department's timescale is for publication of ethnicity data for universal credit claimants.

Plans for the publication of ethnicity data can be found in the background information section of the Universal Credit Statistics Background Information & Methodology document.

11th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate her Department has made of the proportion of people whose (a) personal independence payment and (b) employment support allowance claims were (i) unsuccessful and (ii) closed due to (A) failure to attend and (B) failure to participate who were identified as vulnerable by her Department in the latest period for which figures are available.

The information requested for both Employment and Support Allowance and Personal Independence Payment is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

11th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many universal credit claimants have (a) incurred sanctions and (b) incurred sanctions while waiting for a work capability assessment in (i) 2019 and (ii) since 14 January 2021.

Sanctions statistics on those people claiming Universal Credit are published quarterly and can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/jobseekers-allowance-sanctions

The latest statistics are to July 2020 and the statistics from November 2020 to January 2021 are expected to be published in May 2021.

The information requested on sanctions incurred whilst waiting for a work capability assessment is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate her Department has made of the number of claimants who have not been notified of the extension of their award of personal independence payments by the time their award ends.

No such estimate has been made. The Department has automatically extended awards of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) where needed, and have issued notifications to all customers whose awards have been extended as part of this exercise.

17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 9 December 2020 to Question 124879 on disability premium, whether any compensation is offered to claimants affected by accidental cessation of the severe disability premium on employment and support allowance awards; and how long on average claimants have had to wait before that premium was reinstated in the most recent period for which figures are available.

Where claimants have been affected by accidental cessation of the severe disability premium as part of their Employment and Support Allowance, we are taking swift action to rectify the mistake. The Department’s position on compensation is that each case must be considered on its own merits, taking into account the particular circumstances of that case.

Specific information on the waiting times for reinstatement of the premium is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the extension of personal independence payment awards, what data or estimates her Department holds on the number of claimants who are (a) yet to be notified of the extension of their awards and (b) have not been notified of the extension of their award by the time their award ends.

The Department has been automatically applying extension of awards of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and have issued around 756,000 notifications to date. We still have c850,000 notifications to issue and remaining customers will be notified of their new award end date early 2021, the planned completion date for all extension activity.

10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what criteria was used to determine which personal independence payment awards, due for review in 2021-22, would be extended.

The Department has been automatically applying extension of awards of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) for all claims due for review in 2021-22. This does not include cases with a new decision from July, when review and reassessment activity resumed, as they are not part of the Covid-19 easements exercise.

10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what factors Decision Makers take into account when determining the length of personal independence payment (a) awards and (b) review periods in circumstances where that award is initially made for a short period with the result that the recipient has to reapply.

Once someone has been awarded Personal Independence Payment (PIP), which can be paid at one of eight rates, that award will be usually be reviewed. Regular reviews are a key feature of the benefit and ensure that payments accurately match the current needs of claimants. Shorter term awards without a review can also be made where there is an expectation that a claimant’s condition will not give rise to a further award. Claimants given a fixed term award with no review are free to apply for PIP before their existing award ends and will be treated as a new claim.

Advice is available to Case Managers on the appropriate award length and was deposited in the House Library on 10 October 2018 [http://data.parliament.uk/DepositedPapers/Files/DEP2018-1113/UIN_174062_-_Award_period_guidance_10.10.18.pdf]. The guidance has since been updated to include guidance about awarding ongoing awards for PIP recipients of State Pension age.

10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential effect of not extending the £20 uplift in universal credit beyond April 2021 on the 17,000 households in Poplar and Limehouse in receipt of that benefit.

The £20 per week uplift to Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit was announced by the Chancellor as a temporary measure in March 2020 to support those facing the most financial disruption as a result of the public health emergency. This measure remains in place until April 2021. As the Government has done throughout this crisis, it will continue to assess how best to support low-income families, which is why we will look at the economic and health context in the new year.

3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has of the number of claimants whose disability premium on their employment support allowance has ceased to as a result of an automatic extension of a personal independence payment award has not been communicated to employment support allowance.

The specific information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

We are aware of the impact that extending PIP award end dates has had on the Severe Disability Premiums of a number of ESA claimants, between April and July 2020. Work is being undertaken to correct this issue and an alternative procedure has been put in place.

1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has of the number of cases who have not been notified of automatic extensions of their PIP awards due to covid-19, where those awards were first instated at First Tier Tribunal.

The Department has been automatically applying extension of awards of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) for all decisions in scope of the Covid-19 easements including those decisions first instated at First Tier Tribunals. All customers receiving an extension will be notified of their new award end date early 2021, the planned completion date for all extension activity.

23rd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the number of families currently receiving universal credit in the Poplar and Limehouse constituency; and what her policy is on foodbank referrals for those people.

The available information on the number of Universal Credit households by parliamentary constituency is published and can be found at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/

Guidance on how to extract the information required can be found at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/online-help/Getting-Started.html

DWP, through their Jobcentre network, do not refer claimants to food banks or issue food banks vouchers. The Department has long-standing guidance in place which allows staff to signpost customers in writing to a food bank where they have asked for details, and if all sources of statutory support have been exhausted.

23rd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of (a) the level of foodbank usage and (b) the level of food poverty in the Poplar and Limehouse constituency.

No estimate has been made.

10th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether the 20-metre crane that collapsed at Swan Housing Association’s Watts Grove development site in Bow on 9 July 2002 had been inspected by the Health and Safety Executive.

This is a live and developing investigation and the well-established work-related death protocol for England and Wales is being followed. The Metropolitan Police are therefore leading at present, supported by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

HSE will keep the department informed as appropriate, and work to prevent further incident and effectively secure justice. No Prohibition Notice has been issued but that will be considered if the investigation reveals circumstances requiring it. For the present, a Notice to Leave Undisturbed is in place across the site.

Under the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER), the Principal Contractor at the site is responsible for having the crane thoroughly examined before it can be brought into use. HSE had not inspected the crane that collapsed and there are no further cranes on this site.

The collapsed crane and damaged homes are deemed to be dangerous structures. The immediate surroundings have therefore been evacuated, while the crane is safely removed, and dangerous structures made safe.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what discussions his Department has had with the Health and Safety Executive on the crane that collapsed at Swan Housing Association’s Watts Grove development site in Bow on 9 July 2020.

This is a live and developing investigation and the well-established work-related death protocol for England and Wales is being followed. The Metropolitan Police are therefore leading at present, supported by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

HSE will keep the department informed as appropriate, and work to prevent further incident and effectively secure justice. No Prohibition Notice has been issued but that will be considered if the investigation reveals circumstances requiring it. For the present, a Notice to Leave Undisturbed is in place across the site.

Under the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER), the Principal Contractor at the site is responsible for having the crane thoroughly examined before it can be brought into use. HSE had not inspected the crane that collapsed and there are no further cranes on this site.

The collapsed crane and damaged homes are deemed to be dangerous structures. The immediate surroundings have therefore been evacuated, while the crane is safely removed, and dangerous structures made safe.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what discussions his Department has had with the Health and Safety Executive on potential steps required to ensure the safety of the affected site and surrounding area as a result of the crane that collapsed at Swan Housing Association’s Watts Grove development site in Bow on 9 July 2020.

This is a live and developing investigation and the well-established work-related death protocol for England and Wales is being followed. The Metropolitan Police are therefore leading at present, supported by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

HSE will keep the department informed as appropriate, and work to prevent further incident and effectively secure justice. No Prohibition Notice has been issued but that will be considered if the investigation reveals circumstances requiring it. For the present, a Notice to Leave Undisturbed is in place across the site.

Under the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER), the Principal Contractor at the site is responsible for having the crane thoroughly examined before it can be brought into use. HSE had not inspected the crane that collapsed and there are no further cranes on this site.

The collapsed crane and damaged homes are deemed to be dangerous structures. The immediate surroundings have therefore been evacuated, while the crane is safely removed, and dangerous structures made safe.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what discussions officials in his Department have had with the representatives from the Health and Safety Executive on the safety of remaining cranes at the Swan Housing Association’s Watts Grove development site in Bow.

This is a live and developing investigation and the well-established work-related death protocol for England and Wales is being followed. The Metropolitan Police are therefore leading at present, supported by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

HSE will keep the department informed as appropriate, and work to prevent further incident and effectively secure justice. No Prohibition Notice has been issued but that will be considered if the investigation reveals circumstances requiring it. For the present, a Notice to Leave Undisturbed is in place across the site.

Under the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER), the Principal Contractor at the site is responsible for having the crane thoroughly examined before it can be brought into use. HSE had not inspected the crane that collapsed and there are no further cranes on this site.

The collapsed crane and damaged homes are deemed to be dangerous structures. The immediate surroundings have therefore been evacuated, while the crane is safely removed, and dangerous structures made safe.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what discussions his Department has had with the Health and Safety Executive on whether an Inspector Prohibition Notice will be issued regarding the Swan Housing Association’s Watts Grove development site in Bow as a result of the crane collapse of 9 July 2020.

This is a live and developing investigation and the well-established work-related death protocol for England and Wales is being followed. The Metropolitan Police are therefore leading at present, supported by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

HSE will keep the department informed as appropriate, and work to prevent further incident and effectively secure justice. No Prohibition Notice has been issued but that will be considered if the investigation reveals circumstances requiring it. For the present, a Notice to Leave Undisturbed is in place across the site.

Under the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER), the Principal Contractor at the site is responsible for having the crane thoroughly examined before it can be brought into use. HSE had not inspected the crane that collapsed and there are no further cranes on this site.

The collapsed crane and damaged homes are deemed to be dangerous structures. The immediate surroundings have therefore been evacuated, while the crane is safely removed, and dangerous structures made safe.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what discussions his Department has had with (a) Gateway Housing Association, (b) Tower Hamlets Council and (c) Swan Housing Association on the welfare needs of people who have been displaced as result of the crane collapse on 9 July 2020 at the Swan Housing Association’s Watts Grove development site in Bow.

The Department has not been approached by either Gateway Housing, Tower Hamlets Council or Swan Housing Association regarding localised support for displaced residents. We will provide support to any residents who have been affected and are working with local agencies to coordinate our services and ensure people are able to access the help they need.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Minister for Disabled People’s letter of 3 May 2019 to the former hon. Member for Kensington apologising for his predecessor’s incorrect answers on who authorised the revision to the original wording of the ESA65B letters to employment and support allowance claimants’ GPs, when her Department first sought the advice of the Cabinet Office on proposed revised wording.

The Department first consulted with the Cabinet Office on revising the ESA65B letter in November 2014.

12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many (a) disabled and (b) seriously unwell people who requested a Mandatory Reconsideration for (i) employment and support allowance and (ii) personal independence payments had their decision (A) upheld and (B) overturned in 2019.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Employment Support Allowance (ESA) do not have a specific definition for seriously unwell or disabled.

The latest available data on Mandatory Reconsideration (MR) clearances for PIP, Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) Work Capability Assessments and ESA sanctions by outcome is available on Stat-Xplore at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/

Guidance for users is available at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/online-help/Getting-Started.html

12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Minister for Disabled People’s letter of 3 May 2019 apologising for his predecessor’s incorrect answers in March and May 2018 on who authorised the revision to the original wording of the ESA65B letters to employment and support allowance claimants’ GPs, for what reasons that was not corrected in the Answers of (a) 6 June 2018 to Question 146986, (b) 3 July 2019 to Question 155401 and (c) 22 March 2019 to Question 234145.

For clarity, and following checks with the Table Office, it appears question UIN 155401 referenced in part (b) of the question was answered on 3 July 2018.

The relevant Parliamentary Questions were corrected with a letter to the Member for Kensington which was issued on 3 May 2019 and a copy placed in the House Library.

It was decided to make the correction this way because of the time that had elapsed since the original answers were given, and to provide a correction to all of the answers at once to avoid potential confusion. They cannot now be amended on the Parliament Q&A System because we are now in a different Parliamentary session.

11th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the adequacy of the level of (a) universal credit, (b) contributory employment and support allowance and (c) other financial support for people who do not receive statutory sick pay.

Universal Credit (UC) is a modern, flexible, personalised benefit reflecting the rapidly changing world of work and replaces six outdated and complex benefits with one. It is simplifying the benefits system and making work pay. Monthly assessment periods align to the way the majority of people are paid and also allows UC to be adjusted each month. This means that if a claimant’s income falls, they will not have to wait several months for a rise in their UC.

In the recent budget announcement on the 11 March 2020, the Chancellor announced the following changes to welfare provisions, in light of the fact not everyone will be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP): Rules will be relaxed for self-employed UC claimants whose earnings are affected by self-isolating due to the coronavirus so they are not financially worse off; Gainfully Self Employed claimants on UC, who are required to self-isolate or are ill as a result of Covid 19, will not have a Minimum Income floor (an assumed level of income) applied for a period of time while affected.

In addition, to better support the needs of people, particularly the self-employed and those not eligible for SSP, and/or not entitled to UC, we are removing the seven waiting days that currently apply to Employment Support Allowance (ESA). This means that everyone who makes a new claim for ESA and is entitled to the benefit, who are infected with COVID-19 or required to self-isolate, will be paid from day one of their claim.

25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will take steps to improve the mandatory reconsideration process to reduce the number of (a) disabled and (b) unwell benefits claimants who appeal to the First Tier Tribunal.

Last year we implemented a new approach to handling applications for Mandatory Reconsideration (MR) in PIP which includes contacting claimants, where appropriate, to see if there is information that would enable us to change the decision. To support this, we are investing additional time for communication, evidence gather and review. This approach supports our aim - to make the right decision as early as possible - so claimants don’t need to progress to the appeal stage. Early results have been positive and the same approach has now been adopted in ESA and UC. We continue to engage with stakeholders to explore how we can further improve the effectiveness of the MR process.

21st Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of NHS Staff Mental Health and Wellbeing Hubs remaining open.

The staff mental health hubs were established in October 2020 with funding subsequently extended to March 2023. They were funded on a non-recurrent basis using additional funding from Government as a short-term response to the pressure on the workforce from COVID-19.

To ensure that specialist support for staff remains available, we have worked with NHS England to ensure a regional roll out with one or more mental health hub per region during 2023/24. This will ensure access to a clinical psychologist, assistant psychologists and support line staff, and ensure suitable administrative support for managing caseloads and supporting outreach to identify staff in need of support. Regions and integrated care boards will have the ability to target funding where it is most needed and to invest additional monies in the hubs where they feel this is needed.

NHS England has developed a range of health and wellbeing support for staff, and earlier this year published a strategy to grow and strengthen occupational health and wellbeing services across the National Health Service. NHS staff can continue to access NHS Practitioner Health, a national support service for staff with more complex mental health needs brough about by serious issues such as trauma or addiction.

14th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has made an assessment of the potential implications of the Three-Vodafone merger on his Department’s contracts with Vodafone.

As an open economy, this Government welcomes and encourages investment where it supports the Prime Minister’s goal of boosting UK growth and jobs, meets our stringent legal and regulatory requirements, and does not compromise our national security. The Government has robust powers under the National Security & Investment Act, which it introduced to block or impose remedies on transactions that pose a national security risk.

We cannot comment on specific acquisitions nor the applicability of the National Security and Investment regime.

It is the responsibility of Competition and Markets Authority to assess the impact on consumers and competition in the market, with input from sectoral regulators.

The Investment Security Unit works closely with the Competition and Markets Authority on cases that are being considered for both national security and competition reasons. A memorandum of understanding has been agreed between the Investment Security Unit and the Competition and Markets Authority to assist joint working. The notice is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/operation-of-the-national-security-and-investment-act-2021-memorandum-of-understanding/mou-between-beis-and-the-cma-on-the-operation-of-the-national-security-and-investment-act-2021

14th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of conducting NHS breast cancer screening every two years for women aged over 50.

No assessment has been made.

14th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of increasing opportunities for breast cancer screening using risk-based analysis of UK breast cancer outcomes.

No assessment has been made.

23rd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has made a recent assessment of the impact of the decision not to include transgender people in the ban conversion therapy practices on the health and wellbeing of transgender people.

The Department is working with the Government Equalities Office, which continues to engage with stakeholders on conversion therapy practices to assess the impact of the ban on the health and wellbeing of individuals.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
31st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of children and young people requiring (a) admission and (b) re-admission to inpatient units for treatment of eating disorders in each year from 2017 to 2022.

The following table shows the number of finished admission episodes (FAE), re-admission episodes and number of admitted and re-admitted patients aged 0 to 17 years old with a primary diagnosis of eating disorders in each calendar year from 2017 to 2020. Data for 2021 is not yet available.

Year of admission

Total admission episodes

Total patients admitted

Re-admission episodes

Re-admitted patients

2017

1,642

1,142

720

469

2018

1,879

1,307

825

542

2019

1,934

1,346

825

501

2020

2,723

1,934

1,020

655

Source: Hospital Episode Statistics (HES), NHS Digital

  1. A FAE is the first period of admitted patient care under one consultant within one healthcare provider. For the purposes of this analysis FAEs have been counted against the calendar year in which the admission episode commenced. Admission episodes do not represent the number of patients, as a person may have more than one admission within the period.
  2. Re-admission episodes show where the same patient has been readmitted to hospital with a primary diagnosis of an eating disorder where there has been a previous admission with a primary diagnosis of an eating disorder since April 2012. The same patient may have had more than one re-admission during a period.
  3. Number of re-admitted patients is a count of the number of distinct patients re-admitted each year. It is possible that the same person will be re-admitted in more than one year.
  4. The primary diagnosis is the first of up to 20 (14 from 2002/03 to 2006/07 and seven prior to 2002/03) diagnosis fields in the HES data set and provides the main reason why the patient was admitted to hospital. For the purpose of this response the following ICD-10 code has been used: F50 - Eating Disorders
Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
31st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the reasons for the increasing number of acute or urgent cases of children and young people with eating disorders presenting to primary and secondary care.

No formal assessment has been made. However, we are working with the National Health Service to develop an understanding of the impact of the pandemic on eating disorders in children and young people.

Through UK Research and Innovation, the Government has funded a £3.8 million study to develop an interdisciplinary, evidence-based model of how eating disorders develop and on recovery in young people. The research aims to improve the detection of eating disorders, treatment and services and assist clinicians to tailor treatments to a young person’s individual circumstances.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
31st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of children and young people being treated on general paediatric wards where the primary illness is that of an eating disorder, in each year from 2017 to 2022.

No specific estimate has been made. The information is not collected in the format requested as it is not possible to determine the ward where a patient is treated from secondary care data.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
31st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of presentations of children and young people at accident and emergency departments where the presentation is primarily due to or related to an eating disorder in each year from 2017 to 2022.

No specific estimate has been made. NHS Digital has advised that between April 2017 to March 2021, presentations related to an eating disorder are not separately identifiable within Hospital Episode Statistics for accident and emergency departments. Data for 2021/22 is collected within the Emergency Care Dataset. However, NHS Digital has advised that the information requested on diagnoses is not currently available due to issues related to data quality.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
10th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to commit to ensuring parity of access to IVF for same-sex couples.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Ealing Central and Acton (Dr Rupa Huq MP) on 31 January 2022 to Question 112645.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
10th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of the cost of IVF treatment for LGBTQ+ people on the financial wellbeing of people from that community seeking that treatment.

No specific assessment has been made. We expect local National Health Service commissioning bodies to commission fertility services in line with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s (NICE) guidelines, to ensure equitable access in England. NICE guidelines were updated in 2013 to include provision for female same-sex couples. However, the Department has agreed with NICE that the fertility guidelines should be reviewed and scoping for the review has started.

The Department also undertook an internal policy review of the variation in access to NHS fertility services in 2021. The review will inform the Women’s Health Strategy, which is due to be published in spring 2022.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
10th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the reasons for the increase in the number of deaths of patients treated under the Mental Health Act 1983 within NHS and independent settings in the 12 months to March 2021.

Providers have a legal duty to notify the Care Quality Commission (CQC) of deaths of people detained, or liable to be detained, under the Mental Health Act 1983.

In the twelve months up to March 2021, the CQC were notified that there were 363 such deaths, including 268 from natural causes, of which 114 were identified as caused by COVID-19. In the previous twelve months to March 2020, the number of deaths notified to the CQC was 240, of which 143 were from natural causes. The data therefore suggests that COVID-19 has been a significant factor in the increase of natural cause deaths in 2020/21.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
10th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the reasons for the increase in the number of non-Covid-19 related deaths of patients treated under the Mental Health Act 1983 within NHS and independent settings in the 12 months to March 2021.

Providers have a legal duty to notify the Care Quality Commission (CQC) of deaths of people detained, or liable to be detained, under the Mental Health Act 1983.

In the twelve months up to March 2021, the CQC were notified that there were 363 such deaths, including 268 from natural causes, of which 114 were identified as caused by COVID-19. In the previous twelve months to March 2020, the number of deaths notified to the CQC was 240, of which 143 were from natural causes. The data therefore suggests that COVID-19 has been a significant factor in the increase of natural cause deaths in 2020/21.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
10th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of deaths of child and young person patients whilst under the treatment of independent mental health providers in each of the last three years.

We are unable to provide the information requested as it could lead to the identification of individuals. Data held by NHS England and NHS Improvement relates to a small patient count of fewer than five cases.

All deaths of patients under the care of Tier 4 Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services are routinely reported to the Department via NHS England and NHS Improvement. Such deaths are also notified to the Care Quality Commission and the National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Safety in Mental Health.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the timetable is for Tafamadis to be made available on the NHS for people with hereditary cardiac amyloidosis.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is the independent body that makes evidence-based recommendations for the National Health Service on whether new medicines should be routinely funded based on an assessment of their clinical and cost effectiveness. NICE published guidance in May 2021 that does not recommend tafamidis for the treatment of wild-type or hereditary transthyretin amyloidosis with cardiomyopathy in adults. NHS England and NHS Improvement do not therefore routinely commission tafamidis for NHS patients in England. Where a treatment is not routinely commissioned by the NHS, a patient’s clinician may submit an individual funding request if they consider it is in their patient’s best interests to have that treatment.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to make Tafamadis, the only treatment for the terminal illness hereditary cardiac Amyloidosis, available to UK families.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is the independent body that makes evidence-based recommendations for the National Health Service on whether new medicines should be routinely funded based on an assessment of their clinical and cost effectiveness. NICE published guidance in May 2021 that does not recommend tafamidis for the treatment of wild-type or hereditary transthyretin amyloidosis with cardiomyopathy in adults. NHS England and NHS Improvement do not therefore routinely commission tafamidis for NHS patients in England. Where a treatment is not routinely commissioned by the NHS, a patient’s clinician may submit an individual funding request if they consider it is in their patient’s best interests to have that treatment.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what support and treatment is being developed to protect people from covid-19 who have previously had a severe allergic reaction to vaccinations.

The Antivirals Taskforce has secured 480,000 patient courses of Molnupiravir and 250,000 courses of PF-07321332 from Pfizer. These novel treatments may be used to treat individuals who do not respond to the vaccine, such as immunocompromised groups, as well as those who are unable to take the vaccine due to allergies. Molnupiravir is now available to clinically eligible patients through a new national study. Participants will be randomly selected and will still be able to access any other National Health Service care. In addition, patients in the highest-risk group will be able to access antiviral treatments directly, without the need to enrol in the study.

The UK Health Security Agency’s Green Book provides advice for clinicians to assess individuals with a history of allergies who may suffer an allergic reaction to a COVID-19 vaccine. It also sets out how second dose vaccinations may be considered for those who experienced a reaction to the first dose. The advice has been developed with the British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology (BSACI).

Anyone with a history of allergic reaction to an ingredient in a COVID-19 vaccine should not receive that vaccine, except with expert advice and should be offered an alternative if appropriate. Those with any other allergies, including those with prior anaphylaxis, can receive the vaccine. If an individual has an allergic reaction to a first dose of vaccine, the BSACI has advised that these individuals may be able to receive a second dose of vaccine. Many individuals have tolerated subsequent doses of the same vaccine and this is preferred as it avoids an individual being wrongly labelled as allergic for life. Individuals with non-allergic reactions to the first dose can receive the second dose in any vaccination setting.

13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of eligible patients unable to book a covid-19 booster vaccine.

No estimate has been made.

8th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 21 October 2021 to Question 54029 on Coronavirus Vaccination, when will individuals vaccinated in Hong Kong be (a) able to register for the NHS Covid Passport and (b) eligible for the covid-19 booster vaccine.

Individuals who have received a vaccine approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency administered overseas and reside in England can record their vaccination on the National Immunisation Management System (NIMS). Those individuals are now able to book a face-to-face appointment at a specific vaccination centre to verify and record these doses in NIMS, which will then be displayed in the NHS COVID Pass.

Further expansion of the service to include additional vaccines in the NHS COVID Pass is planned in due course. People with a vaccine from Hong Kong will also be able to show their record of this vaccination where certification is required. Once an overseas vaccine is recorded in NIMS, they will automatically be invited for a booster dose, when eligible. For those whose vaccinations are not recorded in NIMS in England, they will be unable to book an appointment through the National Booking System. However, individuals can access a booster vaccination at a walk-in centre without needing their record to be updated in advance.

8th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what criteria the NHS uses to decide whether a child with epilepsy can access a prescription for cannabis medication.

Whether to prescribe any medicine is a clinical decision.

The licensed cannabis-based medicine Epidyolex is prescribed and routinely funded on the National Health Service (NHS) for Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (two forms of epilepsy).

However, the latest National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidelines demonstrate a clear need for more evidence to support routine prescribing and funding decisions for unlicensed cannabis-based products on the NHS.

If an NHS clinician wishes to prescribe these unlicensed products an individual funding request can be made based on whether there is evidence of exceptionality to justify funding the treatment. A request is made for an individual patient whose clinical circumstances are clearly different to other patients with the same condition, and there is a reason why the individual patient would respond differently to other patients and therefore gain more clinical benefit from the proposed treatment.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
8th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department is making provisions for families who cannot afford to access cannabis medication via private healthcare for children with epilepsy after being refused treatment by the NHS.

The Department does not make provision for the funding of medicines outside of the National Health Service (NHS) commissioning systems. NHS funding decisions follow clearly developed procedures that ensure equitable distribution of funding, prioritising those medicines that have proved their safety, quality, and clinical and cost effectiveness.

The licensed cannabis-based medicine Epidyolex is prescribed routinely on the NHS for Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (two forms of epilepsy). The cost of treatments, that have not been assessed for their quality, safety, clinical and cost effectiveness, sought privately, remains the responsibility of patients.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure a contract for trans masculine genital surgery is secured as quickly as possible.

The contract for phalloplasty services is currently out for tender with a view for rapid award.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect on the (a) health and (b) wellbeing of trans masculine people of the unavailability of genital surgery on the NHS for those people.

No formal assessment of the unavailability of genital surgery has been undertaken.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will commit to providing funding for trans masculine people to have genital surgery abroad until the NHS provides a UK provider.

There are no current plans for patients to be sent abroad for phalloplasty services. The contract for phalloplasty services is currently out for tender with a view for rapid award in the near future.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the length of time between people being referred to a Gender Identity Clinic and starting treatment.

No formal assessment has been made as waiting time information is not collected centrally.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent discussions he has had with the European Medicines Agency on the exclusion of Indian-made covid vaccines from the EU vaccine passport scheme.

We have had no recent discussions with the European Medicines Agency (EMA). The EMA is an independent regulatory body which makes decisions on the vaccines approved for use in the European Union. The EU Digital COVID Certificate is a matter for the European Commission and individual Member States. The Government continues to engage the European Commission on certification to ensure that travel is unhindered and supported by a common approach. People vaccinated in the United Kingdom can use the NHS COVID Pass to demonstrate their vaccination status for international travel.

19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what additional funding he plans to provide to NHS England to help reduce the current waiting lists for NHS dentistry.

We continue to work closely with the National Health Service, Public Health England and the profession to safely increase levels of service, taking into account the ongoing infection prevention and control and social distancing requirements. This includes prioritising existing and additional funding provided to NHS England to tackle backlogs in care.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect on the health and wellbeing of trans people of the increase to waiting times between referral and first appointment for Gender Identity Clinics; and what steps he is taking to help shorten those waiting lists.

We know that long waiting times for care is negative on patient’s mental health and wellbeing. We are improving access to gender identity services with the opening of four new clinics, in London, Manchester, Cheshire and Merseyside and the East of England. These clinics are now all open and receiving patients. A further new clinic is planned in Sussex due to open in 2022. These clinics are expected to reduce the waiting list by a third.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reasons only those fully vaccinated under the NHS covid-19 vaccination programme are able to travel without having to quarantine on their return to England.

The Government is taking a phased approach to amending border requirements, firstly for inbound arrivals from ‘amber list’ countries who have been fully vaccinated under the United Kingdom programme. Work is ongoing to determine which non-UK vaccines could be recognised in this country.

19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of (a) children and young people under 18 and (b) adults waiting for an NHS dentist in Tower Hamlets.

No waiting list data is held centrally on adults or children wishing to access National Health Service (NHS) dental services in Tower Hamlets, or in London. Patients are not required to register with a dental practice to access NHS services.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps are being taken to ensure adequate provision of appropriate food during mandatory covid-19 hotel quarantine for people with strict dietary requirements; and what processes are in place to determine the appropriateness and adequacy of food for those people.

It is specified at the induction stage for managed quarantine hotels that the catering requirements must include the delivery of menus to rooms and an understanding of individual needs for each meal; a variety of meals to meet nutritional, dietary, religious, and cultural needs; and the ability for guests to order additional food and beverage from a 24-hour room service menu.

A review is carried out with hotels at two and 21 days following the induction process. Each hotel has a liaison officer available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to escalate any issues, in addition to the hotel’s own customer service channels.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what processes are in place to tackle complaints of people in covid-19 hotel quarantine in respect of (a) dietary requirements, (b) living conditions and (c) the unresponsiveness of hotel staff.

In the first instance, guests should raise any concerns directly with hotel or security staff, who can address practical issues about the hotel room and services. Hotel staff can also escalate concerns if necessary. Where the hotel is unable to resolve the complaint, Corporate Travel Management (CTM), who hold the hotel contracts, will raise issues with the hotel manager. Complaints are investigated by the hotel and processes changed if so required. If necessary, CTM will require the hotel to make improvements within a given time period.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many covid-19 hotel quarantine exemption requests have been approved to date.

Since February 2021, approximately 60 people have been granted exemptions from COVID-19 managed quarantine facilities on medical grounds.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that people in covid-19 hotel quarantine (a) have adequately clean rooms throughout their 10 day stay and (b) are given the privacy they need during their stay.

Due to potential COVID-19 infection risks, the cleaning of rooms is not undertaken by hotel staff in managed quarantine facilities while they are occupied. Guests are provided with suitable disposable cleaning products and equipment to clean their rooms. Fresh linen and towels are left outside of the room door every third day.

Hotel staff and security do not enter the guest rooms, therefore ensuring privacy throughout the stay.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how hotels were selected for providing covid-19 hotel quarantine accommodation; and what steps the Government is taking to ensure that hotel staff are effectively trained to meet the needs of people in quarantine.

Corporate Travel Management (CTM) are responsible for identifying and contracting with the individual hotels. CTM contacted the main hotel chains to determine whether any properties in the area that meet our specification. A site visit is conducted to ensure the hotel meets the specifications of the Managed Quarantine Service, including sufficient space for exercise away from the public and for coaches to relay guests to and from the hotel. The transit time by coach from the airport is also considered.

All hotels are responsible for their own staff training and should comply with standards of operation regarding COVID-19 health and safety protocols. This includes physical distancing measures, hand hygiene and the wearing of face masks and gloves if mandated.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason people legally required to quarantine in hotels as a result of the covid-19 pandemic are being charged £1750; and if he will provide a breakdown of that cost.

The cost for providing managed quarantine facilities is largely met by charging those having to quarantine, which includes paying for COVID-19 tests and managed quarantine to ensure the protection of themselves and the public.

The rate for one adult in one room for 10 days and 11 nights is £1,750. The normalised cost per person of managed quarantine is composed of 49% for the hotel, 2% for transport, 32% for security, 4% for testing and 13% for other costs.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what evidence he holds to indicate that singing increases the transmission of covid-19 compared with other activities where large groups are present indoors.

Singing is considered a high-risk activity, compared with other large group activities, because it significantly increases the risk of transmission through small viral particles in the air and droplets. As outlined in the Government’s safer singing guidance, there is evidence that shouting or singing loudly can produce 20 times the mass of aerosol than speaking at a normal level of loudness. Several outbreaks of COVID-19 have been associated with adult choir rehearsals and performances and in church congregations across the world. The safer singing guidance is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-suggested-principles-of-safer-singing

All such activity should follow the principles set out in the guidance to reduce the risk of transmission, including ensuring that singing takes place only in larger well-ventilated spaces or outdoors and limited number of people sing together.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the level of healthcare that would be available for migrants who come to the UK on the Seasonal Workers Pilot.

The Department has made no such assessment.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason visiting elderly relatives abroad is not a permitted reason for travel during the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of permitting those overseas visits on medical and compassionate grounds.

At this time international travel is limited to reduce the risk of the virus spreading, including variants of concern. However some of the reasonable excuses for international travel will enable people to visit relatives where essential, such as where it is reasonably necessary to provide care and assistance to a vulnerable person.

25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department made prior to taking the decision to locate the covid-19 testing centre in Jack Dash House of the risks to public health of locating that test centre in proximity to (a) Magic Roundabout Nursery, (b) other businesses occupying the building and (c) operational working area of the local area.

All local test sites are provided by the relevant local authority as they are best placed to make considerations upon where testing would be most beneficial. The local authority is responsible for engaging with all local residents and businesses.

All local authorities utilising local test sites are provided with a National Health Service Test and Trace site criteria guide to consider the location of the site, the demand, ownership, the duration that the site might be in use for and surrounding uses.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of trends in the level of waiting times for appointments at NHS Adults' Gender Identity Clinics; and if he will allocate additional resources to reduce those waiting times.

The Department and NHS England recognise that waiting times for gender identity clinics are unacceptably long. To address this, a new service specification has been developed to deliver services in local health settings. Three new clinics, operating as a pilot scheme for this specification, have been established in London, Manchester and Cheshire and Merseyside. These clinics are subject to ongoing evaluation with the ambition of further clinics being established.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to monitor the effect on (a) local residents, (b) local shop owners and (c) the Magic Roundabout Nursery of the covid-19 testing centre being situated in Jack Dash House, Isle of Dogs, London.

All local test sites are provided by the relevant local authority as they are best placed to make considerations upon where testing would be most beneficial. The local authority is responsible for engaging with all local residents and businesses.

All local authorities utilising local test sites are provided with a National Health Service Test and Trace site criteria guide to consider the location of the site, the demand, ownership, the duration that the site might be in use for and surrounding uses.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what guidance his Department has issued to (a) local residents, (b) local shop owners, (c) representatives of the Magic Roundabout Nursery and (d) representatives of the local authority on the functioning of the covid-19 testing centre situated in Jack Dash House, Isle of Dogs, London.

All local test sites are provided by the relevant local authority as they are best placed to make considerations upon where testing would be most beneficial. The local authority is responsible for engaging with all local residents and businesses.

All local authorities utilising local test sites are provided with a National Health Service Test and Trace site criteria guide to consider the location of the site, the demand, ownership, the duration that the site might be in use for and surrounding uses.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what consultation his Department undertook with (a) local residents, (b) local shop owners, (c) representatives of the Magic Roundabout Nursery and (d) representatives of the local authority prior to the opening of the covid-19 testing centre in Jack Dash House, Isle of Dogs, London.

All local test sites are provided by the relevant local authority as they are best placed to make considerations upon where testing would be most beneficial. The local authority is responsible for engaging with all local residents and businesses.

All local authorities utilising local test sites are provided with a National Health Service Test and Trace site criteria guide to consider the location of the site, the demand, ownership, the duration that the site might be in use for and surrounding uses.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason the covid-19 testing centre in Popular and Limehouse constituency was situated in Jack Dash House.

All local test sites are provided by the relevant local authority as they are best placed to make considerations upon where testing would be most beneficial. The local authority is responsible for engaging with all local residents and businesses.

All local authorities utilising local test sites are provided with a National Health Service Test and Trace site criteria guide to consider the location of the site, the demand, ownership, the duration that the site might be in use for and surrounding uses.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how long on average patients registered with the GP At Hand service have had to wait between being (a) offered a covid-19 vaccine and (b) able to attend an appointment to receive that vaccine.

As at 1st March 2021, there were 92,470 patients registered at the ‘GP at Hand’ practice.

Data on how many of those patients have been unable to access COVID-19 vaccines in their local area, how far they have had to travel, or the average wait between being offered a vaccine and attending to receive, is not collected centrally. Individuals eligible for vaccination have a choice on where they can book their COVID-19 vaccination. More than 98% of the country is now within 10 miles of a vaccination site.

10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how far on average patients registered with the GP At Hand service have had to travel to access their covid-19 vaccinations.

As at 1st March 2021, there were 92,470 patients registered at the ‘GP at Hand’ practice.

Data on how many of those patients have been unable to access COVID-19 vaccines in their local area, how far they have had to travel, or the average wait between being offered a vaccine and attending to receive, is not collected centrally. Individuals eligible for vaccination have a choice on where they can book their COVID-19 vaccination. More than 98% of the country is now within 10 miles of a vaccination site.

10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of patients registered with the GP At Hand service who have been unable to access a covid-19 vaccine in their local areas.

As at 1st March 2021, there were 92,470 patients registered at the ‘GP at Hand’ practice.

Data on how many of those patients have been unable to access COVID-19 vaccines in their local area, how far they have had to travel, or the average wait between being offered a vaccine and attending to receive, is not collected centrally. Individuals eligible for vaccination have a choice on where they can book their COVID-19 vaccination. More than 98% of the country is now within 10 miles of a vaccination site.

10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many patients are registered with the GP At Hand service.

As at 1st March 2021, there were 92,470 patients registered at the ‘GP at Hand’ practice.

Data on how many of those patients have been unable to access COVID-19 vaccines in their local area, how far they have had to travel, or the average wait between being offered a vaccine and attending to receive, is not collected centrally. Individuals eligible for vaccination have a choice on where they can book their COVID-19 vaccination. More than 98% of the country is now within 10 miles of a vaccination site.

22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the public health implications of removing from priority in phase two of the vaccine roll-out those people who take steroid inhalers to manage asthma symptoms.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation concluded that only a subset of those with asthma are at clinically higher risk from COVID-19. This group is defined as adults with asthma who require continuous or repeated use of systemic steroids or with previous exacerbations requiring hospital admission and will be vaccinated in priority group six. An individual with a more severe case of asthma may have been included in the clinically extremely vulnerable group, in which case they will be vaccinated in priority group four.

22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to introduce a managed isolation welfare fund similar to the scheme in Scotland for people unable to afford hotel quarantine.

For those facing significant financial hardship as a result of the managed quarantine charge, there is an opportunity to apply for a deferred repayment plan when booking. This is available for individuals who receive income-related benefits and they will be required to pay back the charge in 12 monthly instalments.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether people living in households that include members with (a) blood cancer, (b) HIV and (c) other immune deficiency disorders will be prioritised for the covid-19 vaccine.

Those who are eligible for a carer’s allowance, or those who are the sole or primary carer of an elderly or disabled person who is at increased risk of COVID-19 mortality and therefore clinically vulnerable, should be offered vaccination in priority group six. This group includes unpaid carers. In addition, consideration has been given by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) to vaccination of household contacts of immunosuppressed individuals. However, at this time there is insufficient data on the size of the effect of COVID-19 vaccines on transmission. Further evidence is expected to accrue on transmission during the course of the vaccine programme but currently the JCVI is not in a position to advise vaccination solely on the basis of indirect protection.

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to create NHS Osteopathic units for Long Covid sufferers.

Patients diagnosed with ‘long’ COVID-19 will be directed into multi-system care pathways, which will be tailored to their specific needs. These care pathways are still in early stages of development and it is unknown whether specific osteopathic units will form a part of this.

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate has made of the number of musculoskeletal issues arising from home-working arrangements during the covid-19 outbreak; and whether his Department is taking steps to develop a strategy to tackle those issues.

No such estimate has been made.

We will continue to monitor prevalence and treat musculoskeletal conditions, taking into account long standing best practice guidance in this area, including from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to increase GP registration amongst undocumented migrants.

National Health Service regional teams are working with appropriate local systems to reach out to unregistered people so as to ensure that all their health needs are met and that they are offered the COVID-19 vaccine in line with Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation priorities. NHS England and NHS Improvement recently launched a general practitioner (GP) registration campaign alongside the voluntary sector. To support this, NHS England and NHS Improvement are providing materials, such as training for practice staff and access cards which support the message that everyone is entitled to register with a GP and give the NHS England and NHS Improvement Customer Contact Centre number for people to use if they have been refused registration.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to encourage homeless people to register with a GP so that they may receive a covid-19 vaccine.

National Health Service regional teams are working with appropriate local systems to reach out to unregistered people so as to ensure that all their health needs are met and that they are offered the COVID-19 vaccine in line with Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation priorities. NHS England and NHS Improvement recently launched a general practitioner (GP) registration campaign alongside the voluntary sector. To support this, NHS England and NHS Improvement are providing materials, such as training for practice staff and access cards which support the message that everyone is entitled to register with a GP and give the NHS England and NHS Improvement Customer Contact Centre number for people to use if they have been refused registration.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will end data sharing between the NHS and the Home Office during the covid-19 outbreak to encourage uptake of the covid-19 vaccine amongst migrants.

There are no plans to suspend the limited data sharing arrangements between the National Health Service and the Home Office at this time.

The Department has published a message on the relevant NHS website pages stating that overseas visitors to England, including anyone living in the United Kingdom without permission, will not be charged for testing or treatment for or vaccination against COVID-19. The message also states that no immigration checks are needed to receive these services. Because there is no charge for the vaccine for people living in the UK, the immigration status of a patient is not relevant.

2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people there are without an NHS number who are (a) over 65 and (b) over 50 in England.

NHS Digital does not have a mechanism for recording people who are not on National Health Service systems.

2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether people aged over 65 in (a) prisons and (b) immigration detention centres have been prioritised for covid-19 vaccination.

If an individual in prison or an immigration detention centre is over 65 years old, they will be prioritised for vaccination in line with the rest of the population.

2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many of the people over the age of 85 who have not been vaccinated (a) have an NHS number and (b) come from a BAME background.

We do not hold this information.

20th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the second dose of the Pfizer/Biontech covid-19 vaccine will be delayed for healthcare workers beyond the 28 days recommended by the World Health Organisation.

Updating the dosing interval is in line with the advice of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation and is the right thing to do to maximise the impact of the programme and save lives. The Medicines Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has also clarified that for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, the interval between doses must be at least three weeks.

Whilst the National Health Service across the United Kingdom will prioritise giving the first dose of the vaccine to those in the most high-risk groups, everyone will still receive their second dose and this will be within 12 weeks of their first.

18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what mental health support is in place for detainees at Napier Barracks in Folkstone; and what assessment he has made of the effect of the conditions at Napier Barracks on detainees' mental health.

Overall responsibility for the site sits with the Home Office who provide the services available on site.

Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is the delegated CCG which has responsibility for healthcare for the vulnerable group of residents. All residents are registered with one general practitioner (GP) practice and there is an agency nurse on site. The residents can access mental health services through the GP practice. The nurse provides an outreach primary care service on site. Translation services are provided to make sure residents can access the care they need, if they cannot speak English.

30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the non-renewal of local Mental Health Support contracts in Poplar and Limehouse constituency, whether he has plans to provide funding to local authorities in order to keep such services open.

The public health grant to local authorities in England was £3.279 billion in 2020/21. Local authority funding, through the public health grant for 2021/22 will be maintained, meaning local authorities can continue to invest in prevention and essential frontline health services, including services that support public mental health. It is for local authorities to make funding decisions for public health services based on local population priorities, in line with the conditions attached to the grant including having regard to reducing health inequalities.

17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to Royal Society of Public Health survey funding that 55 per cent of people in Asian communities would take the covid-19 vaccine, whether he plans to implement public health initiatives for Asian communities to encourage covid-19 vaccine take up.

The Department, together with the National Health Service (NHS) and Public Health England, is providing advice and information at every opportunity to support uptake in individuals who are prioritised for the COVID-19 vaccine. This includes providing advice to groups who may have questions about the vaccination process, including members from the Asian communities.

The Department, alongside the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and NHS England are holding regular meetings with local authorities, faith leaders, and black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) organisations to answer questions and provide advice and information about COVID-19 vaccines and how they will be made available.

17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what support the Government is providing to people who are told to isolate by their children's school and who are not eligible to access the Test and Trace Support Payment.

The Test and Trace Support Payment scheme is for people who have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, either because they have tested positive for COVID-19 or have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive. If a child is self-isolating because they have tested positive, other household members will also need to self-isolate and will be able to claim under the scheme, provided they meet the other eligibility criteria.

Parents or guardians of children who have to self-isolate because of contact with someone outside their household who has tested positive are not eligible. If a parent and/or guardian needs support because a child has to self-isolate, the NHS Test and Trace service can provide guidance on how to access local support provided by their local authority or by NHS Volunteer Responders.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to encourage take up of the covid-19 vaccine in BAME communities.

The Department is working with Public Health England, NHS England and NHS Improvement and key stakeholders to encourage uptake of the COVID-19 vaccine among black, Asian and minority ethnic communities. The Department is also working with community press, TV and radio stations to deliver information on vaccination in over a dozen languages.

Activity is also focusing on working with trusted voices such as healthcare personnel, faith leaders, community influencers and community organisations for priority multicultural audiences, with a particular focus on Muslim, Polish, black African and Caribbean and Jewish communities. The Department is building on pre-existing relationships and established channels as well as reaching out to more influencers through virtual sessions.

17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the reasons for higher rates of covid-19 deaths among (a) BAME communities, (b) people affected by the benefits cap and (c) people living in overcrowded accommodation.

There has been significant effort to understand the causes of race disparities in COVID-19 infection and to bring the research into policy making to mitigate the disproportionate effects. The direct impacts of COVID-19 improved for ethnic minorities as a whole during the early second wave, suggesting that race disparities in COVID-19 outcomes are driven by risk of infection rather than ethnicity itself being a risk factor for severe illness or death.

Data shows deprivation to be a major driver of the disparities in COVID-19 infection rates for all ethnic groups. Whilst mortality rates in black African men and women have significantly decreased between the first and second waves, the findings that the impact has been greater in South Asian groups indicate the role of wider social determinants in the unequal impact of COVID-19. Tackling deprivation will be a particular focus of the Government work.

No assessment has been made for people affected by the benefits cap. There is no direct evidence concerning overcrowded accommodation, but there is some related evidence of a positive association between household size and composition and COVID-19 deaths. The evidence is summarised in a recent report by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies on housing, household transmission and ethnicity, which is available at the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/943178/S0923_housing_household_transmission_and_ethnicity.pdf

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans provide a response to Question 108295, tabled by the hon. Member for Poplar and Limehouse on 23 October 2020.

We take parliamentary scrutiny incredibly seriously and it is fundamentally important that hon. Members are provided with accurate and timely information to enable them to hold the Government to account. We are working rapidly to provide all Members with accurate answers to their questions, as well as supporting the Government’s response to the unprecedented challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The hon. Member’s question will be answered as soon as possible.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
16th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Public Health England report, Covid-19: understanding the impact on BAME communities, published on 16 June 2020, what assessment his Department has made of whether (a) BAME people and (b) people of a Bangladeshi background continue to be disproportionately affected by covid-19.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 5 November 2020 to Question 108296.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate his Department has made of the number of (a) BAME people and (b) people of a Bangladeshi background have died from covid-19 since the summer 2020 compared to other groups.

The information is not available in the format requested. The National Health Service publishes weekly statistics on the deaths of patients who have died in hospitals in England and have tested positive for COVID-19.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate his Department has made of the number of (a) BAME people and (b) people of a Bangladeshi background who have contracted covid-19 since summer 2020 as compared to other ethnic groups.

The information is not available in the format requested.

Public Health England publishes COVID-19 incidence per 100,000 population by ethnicity in the national flu and COVID-19 surveillance report on a weekly basis which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/national-flu-and-covid-19-surveillance-reports

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason black, Asian and minority groups who are at greater risk of covid-19 have not been included in the composition and order of priority of groups for covid-19 vaccinations.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) consists of independent experts who advise the Government on which vaccine/s the United Kingdom should use and provide advice on prioritisation at a population level. The JCVI has advised that the first priorities for any COVID-19 vaccination programme should be the prevention of COVID-19 mortality and the protection of health and social care staff and systems.

The JCVI notes that while there is clear evidence that certain black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) groups have higher rates of infection, and higher rates of serious disease, morbidity and mortality, there is no strong evidence that ethnicity by itself or genetics is the sole explanation for observed differences in rates of severe illness and deaths.

3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress he has made on rolling out the regular testing of care home residents’ families in (a) Poplar and Limehouse and (b) throughout England.

All Care Quality Commission-registered adult care homes, including those in Poplar and Limehouse, are receiving lateral flow device (LFD) test kits to enable safe visits, where permitted.

From 8 March, care home residents will be able to be visited indoors by a single, named individual who will be required to have a test beforehand, wear personal protective equipment during the visit and avoid close contact. All visitors will receive a lateral flow test and be required to follow all infection prevention and control measures.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many flu vaccines have been administered as at 1 November 2020; and what comparative assessment he has made of the level of uptake of that vaccine in (a) 2020-21, (b) 2019-20 and (c) 2018-19 as at November 2020 in each of those years.

Public Health England (PHE) publishes weekly provisional flu vaccine uptake reports, which give the proportions of those eligible who have been vaccinated and is available at the following link:

www.gov.uk/government/statistics/national-flu-and-covid-19-surveillance-reports.

Data for week ending 1 November 2020 shows vaccine coverage is the highest it has ever been at this stage of the season for those aged 65 years and over and for two and three year olds. In at risk groups, flu vaccination coverage is higher than this time last year but at comparable levels to previous seasons. For pregnant women it is lower than in previous seasons.

The following table shows vaccine uptake data in September and October in each flu season between 2018/19 and 2020/21, in England.

Patient Group

Vaccine uptake (%)

2020/21

2019/20

2018/19

Patients aged 65 years or older

67.6

57.9

45.2

Patients aged six months to under 65 years in risk groups

31.1

22.6

30.8

Pregnant women

25.3

26.1

33.0

Patients aged two years old

37.8

4.4

22.3

Patients aged three years old

39.3

4.7

23.2

Source: www.gov.uk/government/statistics/national-flu-and-covid-19-surveillance-reports

Notes:

  1. Data is provisional and from a sample of 87.6% of all automated general practitioner (GP) practices participating in the 2020/21 sentinel survey.
  2. Data for two and three-year olds is from a sample of 97.1% of all automated GP practices participating in the 2020/21 sentinel Childhood flu GP survey.

Monthly flu vaccine uptake data, which includes estimates of the numbers vaccinated, is produced by PHE. The first monthly data will be published on 26 November and will include clinical commissioning group and local authority level data. Monthly uptake data will also be published for frontline healthcare workers and school-aged children.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the economic effect of the opening of the covid-19 testing centre situated in Watney Market Idea store in Shadwell on (a) local residents, (b) local shops and (c) Watney Market traders.

Local test sites, such as those situated in the Watney Market Ideal store in Shadwell are deployed at the direction of Local Resilience Forums and Recovery Coordination Groups and decisions are centrally executed at their direction. This co-design approach between local and national teams has been key in achieving the pace at which these sites have been set up.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many residents of Poplar and Limehouse constituency have been tested for covid-19.

Weekly data for pillar 2 COVID-19 testing for every lower tier local authority in England is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/nhs-test-and-trace-statistics-england-weekly-reports

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department undertook an Equality Impact Assessment of the decision to situate the testing centre in Watney Market Ideas store in Shadwell.

The Government is committed to rapid and accessible testing for everyone who needs one. We are working with private sector partners to establish local test sites, such as the one at the Watney Market Ideal store, in metropolitan areas across the country. These local test sites are being used to test eligible individuals who may not have access to a car and are set up in places where there is space and local demand for testing. Local test sites are deployed at the direction of Local Resilience Forums and Recovery Coordination Groups and decisions are centrally executed at their direction. This co-design approach between local and national teams has been key in achieving the pace at which these sites have been stood up. To monitor cases we are working closely with local authorities and local Directors of Public Health, sharing highly localised case data on a daily basis to understand and tackle local outbreaks.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent steps his Department has taken to address the disproportionate effect of covid-19 on (a) BAME people and (b) people of a Bangladeshi background.

On 22 October, the Race Disparity Unit at the Cabinet Office published ‘Quarterly report on progress to address COVID-19 health inequalities’, which made three recommendations.

This includes reviewing the effectiveness and impact of current actions being undertaken by relevant Government Departments to directly lessen disparities in infection and death rates of COVID-19 and taking action to modify existing policy, and policy in development, to address these disparities. The Prime Minister has accepted these recommendations. These measures apply to the black, Asian and minority ethnic population, including those of Bangladeshi background.

The report is available at the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/928646/First_Covid_Disparities_report_to_PM___Health_Secretary_Final_22-10-20.pdf

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the increased health risk to people (a) living and (b) working in vicinity of the covid-19 testing centre situated in Watney Market Idea store, Shadwell, London.

The Government is committed to rapid and accessible testing for everyone who needs one. We are working with private sector partners to establish local test sites, such as the one at the Watney Market Ideal store, in metropolitan areas across the country. These local test sites are being used to test eligible individuals who may not have access to a car and are set up in places where there is space and local demand for testing. Local test sites are deployed at the direction of Local Resilience Forums and Recovery Coordination Groups and decisions are centrally executed at their direction. This co-design approach between local and national teams has been key in achieving the pace at which these sites have been stood up. To monitor cases we are working closely with local authorities and local Directors of Public Health, sharing highly localised case data on a daily basis to understand and tackle local outbreaks.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate his Department has made of the number of (a) BAME people and (b) people of a Bangladeshi background who been tested for covid-19.

We do not publish data in the format requested.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of potential health risks of the opening of the covid-19 testing centre in Watney Market Idea store, Shadwell to (a) nearby residents, (b) customers and staff of nearby shops and (c) the Watney Market traders.

The Government is committed to rapid and accessible testing for everyone who needs one. We are working with private sector partners to establish local test sites, such as the one at the Watney Market Ideal store, in metropolitan areas across the country. These local test sites are being used to test eligible individuals who may not have access to a car and are set up in places where there is space and local demand for testing. Local test sites are deployed at the direction of Local Resilience Forums and Recovery Coordination Groups and decisions are centrally executed at their direction. This co-design approach between local and national teams has been key in achieving the pace at which these sites have been stood up. To monitor cases, we are working closely with local authorities and local Directors of Public Health, sharing highly localised case data on a daily basis to understand and tackle local outbreaks.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to monitor the adequacy of the personal protective clothing issued to staff working in covid-19 testing centres.

In line with the national Public Health England guidance, there are different personal protective equipment (PPE) requirements dependent on the role test site staff take within the testing sites. In the case of the walk-in local testing sites, the PPE requirements are set out in the local testing sites’ Standard Operating Procedure. Test operatives, for tester assisted testing, are required to wear disposable gloves; a disposable plastic apron; a fluid-resistant (Type IIR) surgical mask; and reusable eye protection.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many covid-19 tests have been undertaken at the testing centre in Watney Market, Shadwell, London.

We publish data on the number of pillar 2 tests processed in each local authority weekly alongside the Test and Trace statistics publication on GOV.UK. The total number of pillar 2 tests processed in Tower Hamlets between 28 May and 14 October was 38,272.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason the testing centre in Popular and Limehouse constituency was situated in Watney Market Idea store.

The Government is committed to rapid and accessible testing for everyone who needs one. We are working with private sector partners to establish local test sites, such as the one at the Watney Market Ideal store, in metropolitan areas across the country. These local test sites are being used to test eligible individuals who may not have access to a car and are set up in places where there is space and local demand for testing. Local test sites are deployed at the direction of Local Resilience Forums and Recovery Coordination Groups and decisions are centrally executed at their direction. This co-design approach between local and national teams has been key in achieving the pace at which these sites have been stood up. To monitor cases, we are working closely with local authorities and local Directors of Public Health, sharing highly localised case data on a daily basis to understand and tackle local outbreaks.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what consultation his Department undertook with (a) local residents, (b) local shop owners, (c) the Watney Market stall traders and (d) the local authority on the opening of the covid-19 testing centre in Watney Market Idea store, Shadwell, London.

The Government is committed to rapid and accessible testing for everyone who needs one. We are working with private sector partners to establish local test sites, such as the one at the Watney Market Ideal store, in metropolitan areas across the country. These local test sites are being used to test eligible individuals who may not have access to a car and are set up in places where there is space and local demand for testing. Local test sites are deployed at the direction of Local Resilience Forums and Recovery Coordination Groups and decisions are centrally executed at their direction. This co-design approach between local and national teams has been key in achieving the pace at which these sites have been stood up. To monitor cases, we are working closely with local authorities and local Directors of Public Health, sharing highly localised case data on a daily basis to understand and tackle local outbreaks.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the contracts agreed between his Department and (a) Serco, (b) Sitel Group and (c) all other commercial providers of track and trace functions operating in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.

National contracts were awarded to commercial providers Serco and Sitel to provide call handling services for the contact track and trace initiative. The contracts have been published and are available at the following links:

https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Notice/c23fdfaf-d1f2-4d8c-a0cd-6b6f35793ccd

https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Notice/7645e3ef-ce16-4cae-8932-1eb6521a50cb

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what guidance his Department has issued to (a) local residents, (b) local shop owners, (c) the Watney Market stall traders and (d) the local authority on the functioning of the covid-19 testing centre situated in Watney Market idea store, Shadwell, London.

The Government is committed to rapid and accessible testing for everyone who needs one. We are working with private sector partners to establish local test sites, such as the one at the Watney Market Ideal store, in metropolitan areas across the country. These local test sites are being used to test eligible individuals who may not have access to a car and are set up in places where there is space and local demand for testing. Local test sites are deployed at the direction of Local Resilience Forums and Recovery Coordination Groups and decisions are centrally executed at their direction. This co-design approach between local and national teams has been key in achieving the pace at which these sites have been stood up. To monitor cases, we are working closely with local authorities and local Directors of Public Health, sharing highly localised case data on a daily basis to understand and tackle local outbreaks.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to monitor the effect of the covid-19 testing centre situated in Watney Market Idea store, Shadwell, London on (a) local residents, (b) local shop owners and (c) the Watney Market stall traders.

The Government is committed to rapid and accessible testing for everyone who needs one. We are working with private sector partners to establish local test sites, such as the one at the Watney Market Ideal store, in metropolitan areas across the country. These local test sites are being used to test eligible individuals who may not have access to a car and are set up in places where there is space and local demand for testing. Local test sites are deployed at the direction of Local Resilience Forums and Recovery Coordination Groups and decisions are centrally executed at their direction. This co-design approach between local and national teams has been key in achieving the pace at which these sites have been stood up. To monitor cases, we are working closely with local authorities and local Directors of Public Health, sharing highly localised case data on a daily basis to understand and tackle local outbreaks.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate his Department has made of the distance between the covid-19 testing centre in Watney Market Idea store, Shadwell and the (a) nearest residential area, (b) nearest concentration of shops and (c) operational working area of Watney Market traders.

The Government is committed to rapid and accessible testing for everyone who needs one. We are working with private sector partners to establish local test sites, such as the one at the Watney Market Ideal store, in metropolitan areas across the country. These local test sites are being used to test eligible individuals who may not have access to a car and are set up in places where there is space and local demand for testing. Local test sites are deployed at the direction of Local Resilience Forums and Recovery Coordination Groups and decisions are centrally executed at their direction. This co-design approach between local and national teams has been key in achieving the pace at which these sites have been stood up. To monitor cases, we are working closely with local authorities and local Directors of Public Health, sharing highly localised case data on a daily basis to understand and tackle local outbreaks.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason his Department has not issued guidance on the reopening of social care day centres for people with disabilities.

The Government recognises that day services are an important form of support for people with disabilities and those that care for them. We have worked with the Social Care Institute for Excellence to publish guidance to help make decisions on restarting services and to provide quality care safely which is available at the following link:

https://www.scie.org.uk/care-providers/coronavirus-covid-19/day-care/safe-delivery

Ensuring the care and support needs of their populations are met is the responsibility of local authorities. No central assessment has been made of the adequacy of provision of social day care for people with disabilities in Poplar and Limehouse constituency and the United Kingdom.

However, on 17 September 2020, the Government announced that it would provide a further £546 million to Adult Social Care through the Infection Control Fund, alongside the Adult Social Care Winter Plan. Up to 20% of this fund can be allocated by local authorities for COVID-19 infection control measures outside of care homes and community care provision. This includes implementing infection control measures to support the resumption of community and day services. In total the Government has provided over £1.1 billion in funding for infection control measures. This is in addition to making £3.7 billion available to local authorities to address pressures on local services caused by COVID-19, including adult social care.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to publish updated guidance on the reopening of social care day centres for people with disabilities.

The Government recognises that day services are an important form of support for people with disabilities and those that care for them. We have worked with the Social Care Institute for Excellence to publish guidance to help make decisions on restarting services and to provide quality care safely which is available at the following link:

https://www.scie.org.uk/care-providers/coronavirus-covid-19/day-care/safe-delivery

Ensuring the care and support needs of their populations are met is the responsibility of local authorities. No central assessment has been made of the adequacy of provision of social day care for people with disabilities in Poplar and Limehouse constituency and the United Kingdom.

However, on 17 September 2020, the Government announced that it would provide a further £546 million to Adult Social Care through the Infection Control Fund, alongside the Adult Social Care Winter Plan. Up to 20% of this fund can be allocated by local authorities for COVID-19 infection control measures outside of care homes and community care provision. This includes implementing infection control measures to support the resumption of community and day services. In total the Government has provided over £1.1 billion in funding for infection control measures. This is in addition to making £3.7 billion available to local authorities to address pressures on local services caused by COVID-19, including adult social care.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of provision of social day care for people with disabilities in (a) Poplar and Limehouse constituency and (b) the UK.

The Government recognises that day services are an important form of support for people with disabilities and those that care for them. We have worked with the Social Care Institute for Excellence to publish guidance to help make decisions on restarting services and to provide quality care safely which is available at the following link:

https://www.scie.org.uk/care-providers/coronavirus-covid-19/day-care/safe-delivery

Ensuring the care and support needs of their populations are met is the responsibility of local authorities. No central assessment has been made of the adequacy of provision of social day care for people with disabilities in Poplar and Limehouse constituency and the United Kingdom.

However, on 17 September 2020, the Government announced that it would provide a further £546 million to Adult Social Care through the Infection Control Fund, alongside the Adult Social Care Winter Plan. Up to 20% of this fund can be allocated by local authorities for COVID-19 infection control measures outside of care homes and community care provision. This includes implementing infection control measures to support the resumption of community and day services. In total the Government has provided over £1.1 billion in funding for infection control measures. This is in addition to making £3.7 billion available to local authorities to address pressures on local services caused by COVID-19, including adult social care.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to allocate funding to enable the reopening of social care day centres for people with disabilities.

The Government recognises that day services are an important form of support for people with disabilities and those that care for them. We have worked with the Social Care Institute for Excellence to publish guidance to help make decisions on restarting services and to provide quality care safely which is available at the following link:

https://www.scie.org.uk/care-providers/coronavirus-covid-19/day-care/safe-delivery

Ensuring the care and support needs of their populations are met is the responsibility of local authorities. No central assessment has been made of the adequacy of provision of social day care for people with disabilities in Poplar and Limehouse constituency and the United Kingdom.

However, on 17 September 2020, the Government announced that it would provide a further £546 million to Adult Social Care through the Infection Control Fund, alongside the Adult Social Care Winter Plan. Up to 20% of this fund can be allocated by local authorities for COVID-19 infection control measures outside of care homes and community care provision. This includes implementing infection control measures to support the resumption of community and day services. In total the Government has provided over £1.1 billion in funding for infection control measures. This is in addition to making £3.7 billion available to local authorities to address pressures on local services caused by COVID-19, including adult social care.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussion he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on additional funding to support the reopening of social care day centres for people with disabilities.

The Government recognises that day services are an important form of support for people with disabilities and those that care for them. We have worked with the Social Care Institute for Excellence to publish guidance to help make decisions on restarting services and to provide quality care safely which is available at the following link:

https://www.scie.org.uk/care-providers/coronavirus-covid-19/day-care/safe-delivery

Ensuring the care and support needs of their populations are met is the responsibility of local authorities. No central assessment has been made of the adequacy of provision of social day care for people with disabilities in Poplar and Limehouse constituency and the United Kingdom.

However, on 17 September 2020, the Government announced that it would provide a further £546 million to Adult Social Care through the Infection Control Fund, alongside the Adult Social Care Winter Plan. Up to 20% of this fund can be allocated by local authorities for COVID-19 infection control measures outside of care homes and community care provision. This includes implementing infection control measures to support the resumption of community and day services. In total the Government has provided over £1.1 billion in funding for infection control measures. This is in addition to making £3.7 billion available to local authorities to address pressures on local services caused by COVID-19, including adult social care.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much funding he plans to allocate to local authorities to support the reopening of social care day centres that closed due to the covid-19 outbreak.

On 17 September 2020, the Government announced that it would provide a further £546 million to adult social care through the Infection Control Fund, alongside the Adult Social Care Winter Plan. Whilst the majority of this funding is for regulated care homes and community care provision, local authorities may allocate 20% for other COVID-19 infection control measures. This may include expenditure on infection control measures to support the resumption of day services. This is in addition to the £600million Infection Control Fund and £3.7 billion already provided to local authorities to address pressures on local services caused by COVID-19, including adult social care.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how the Government plans to ensure that a vaccine for covid-19 will be administered equality across the UK.

Health is a devolved matter. The United Kingdom Government will co-ordinate with partners across the devolved administrations to ensure equitable access and successful delivery of vaccines across the UK. This includes considerations of planning and key decisions, which will need to be aligned across the devolved administrations.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether a vaccine for covid-19 will be administered to target local areas with a higher incidence of covid-19.

Whilst there is a desire for as many people in the United Kingdom to be vaccinated as possible, there may need to be an element of prioritisation, based on availability of vaccine supply and evidence on safety and efficacy in different population groups.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation will provide advice to Ministers on clinical prioritisation of any vaccine based on the best available clinical, modelling and epidemiological data. This will depend on the properties of the vaccine, information about those most at need, and the unique medical circumstances of individuals. However, there are no plans at present to target local areas with higher incidence of COVID-19.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
30th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what data his Department holds on trends in the level of acute respiratory outbreaks in schools among (a) Black, Asian and minority ethnic pupils and (b) pupils with other protected characteristics; and if he will make a statement.

Data on the number and proportion of people recorded within acute respiratory outbreaks in schools are not available in the format requested.

Public Health England provides information on the number of acute respiratory outbreaks in schools in its weekly coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) surveillance report, available to view at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/weekly-covid-19-surveillance-report-published

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to (a) improve the accessibility of health services to BAME communities, including to migrants and their families, and (b) mitigate the effects of the covid-19 lockdown so that existing health inequalities are not widened.

Anyone in England can register and consult with a general practitioner (GP) without charge. The GP practice must accept a patient wishing to register, unless there are reasonable grounds to refuse. These must not relate to race, gender, social class, age, religion, sexual orientation, appearance, disability or a medical condition. National Health Service guidance clearly outlines that a practice cannot refuse a patient because they do not have identification or proof of address.

Primary Care Networks (PCNs) build on the core of current primary care services and enable greater provision of proactive, personalised, coordinated and more integrated health and social care for our communities. One of the PCN service specifications is to ‘Tackle Health Inequalities’ which will be introduced in 2021/22 following negotiation with the General Practitioners Committee, England.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to Public Health England's report entitled Disparities in the risk and outcomes of COVID-19 published on 2 June 2020, what assessment his Department has made of the reasons for which people of a Bangladeshi background are twice as likely to die from covid-19.

Public Health England’s (PHE) review ‘Disparities in the risk and outcomes of COVID-19’ presented an analysis of survival among people with confirmed COVID-19 by sex, age group, ethnicity, deprivation and region. It showed that, after taking these factors into account, some ethnic groups still had a higher risk of death than others.

This analysis adjusts for important factors such as age and deprivation, but not for factors such as comorbidities and obesity, which are likely to have an impact on the different risks of dying between ethnic groups.

The review did not aim to determine root causes of findings that are likely to be driven by complex interactions, as the terms of reference shows.

PHE’s report ‘Beyond the data: understanding the impact of COVID-19 on BAME groups’ contains a literature review that highlights issues which can be a factor in some ethnic groups being more likely to suffer from COVID-19, including Bangladeshi communities. The report is available to view at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-understanding-the-impact-on-bame-communities

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the NHS charging exemption for testing and treatment for covid-19 covers paediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome, associated with covid-19 in children that have had a negative SARS-CoV-2 PCR test.

Under the National Health Service (Charges to Overseas Visitors) Regulations 2015, as amended, overseas visitors are exempt from charge for the diagnostic test and treatment for COVID-19. Some overseas visitor children with multisystem inflammatory syndrome test negative for COVID-19, but are treated as being COVID-19 patients based on a clinical diagnosis, meaning that their parents will not be charged.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
29th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to implement the recommendations of (a) the WHO and (b) UNHCR on ensuring that everyone can access healthcare (i) without charge and (ii) safely during the covid-19 outbreak.

Patient safety remains a priority for the National Health Service and has been a key element of the Government response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Regulations came into force on 29 January 2020 to add Novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) (now known as COVID-19) to the list of infectious diseases within Schedule 1 of the National Health Service (Charges to Overseas Visitors) Regulations 2015. This means everyone, including all overseas visitors and migrants, can already access testing and treatment for COVID-19 without charge.

To help ensure that no one is deterred from safely accessing healthcare for COVID-19, this information has been widely communicated to NHS staff and the public and has been translated into 40 languages.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
29th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to suspend all NHS charges for migrants during the covid-19 outbreak.

Regulations came into force on 29 January 2020 to add Novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) (now known as COVID-19) to Schedule 1 of the National Health Service (Charges to Overseas Visitors) Regulations 2015. This means there can be no charge made to an overseas visitor for the diagnosis, or, if positive, treatment, of COVID-19.

In addition, migrants who are ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom, or exempt from charge under the Charging Regulations, such as those covered under the Immigration Health Surcharge, those seeking asylum in the UK and those who are victims of modern slavery are not subject to charges for most NHS care. The Government does not intend to suspend the NHS (Charges to Overseas Visitors) Regulations 2015.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with the Mayor of Tower Hamlets on minimising the risk of further infection from covid-19 in that borough among (a) people over 60 years old, (b) people with (i) cardiovascular disease, (ii) diabetes, (iii) respiratory disease and (iv) cancer and (c) other high-risk groups.

The Government is responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic as a national concern and has not therefore been providing any localised information.

The Department is working closely with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, local authorities and providers to make sure that all sectors across all communities are prepared to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with the Chief Executive of Tower Hamlets Council on minimising the risk of further infection from covid-19 in that borough among (a) people over 60 years old, (b) people with (i) cardiovascular disease, (ii) diabetes, (iii) respiratory disease and (iv) cancer and (c) other high-risk groups.

The Government is responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic as a national concern and has not therefore been providing any localised information.

The Department is working closely with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, local authorities and providers to make sure that all sectors across all communities are prepared to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with the Director of Public Health for Tower Hamlets on minimising the risk of further infection from covid-19 in that borough among (a) people over 60 years old, (b) people with (i) cardiovascular disease, (ii) diabetes, (iii) respiratory disease and (iv) cancer and (c) other high-risk groups.

The Government is responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic as a national concern and has not therefore been providing any localised information.

The Department is working closely with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, local authorities and providers to make sure that all sectors across all communities are prepared to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with the Tower Hamlets Health and Wellbeing Board on minimising the risk of further infection from covid-19 in that borough among (a) people over 60 years old, (b) people with (i) cardiovascular disease, (ii) diabetes, (iii) respiratory disease and (iv) cancer and (c) other high-risk groups.

The Government is responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic as a national concern and has not therefore been providing any localised information.

The Department is working closely with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, local authorities and providers to make sure that all sectors across all communities are prepared to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what additional resources have been allocated to minimising the risk of further infection from covid-19 in (a) Tower Hamlets and (b) the UK.

The Government has announced that the United Kingdom are moving out of the contain phase and into delay, in response to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. As the response is at national level there are currently no localised plans.

A series of new measures have been introduced to reduce and delay transmission and delay the peak. This includes a ‘staying at home’ measure for seven days if any symptoms of coronavirus infection, however mild are experienced. The most common symptoms of coronavirus are recent onset of a new continuous cough and/or a high temperature. During isolation councils are activating Local Resilience Forums in order to co-ordinate action in local areas to assist effective isolation. The full announcements of these plans are available at the following link:

www.gov.uk/government/news/covid-19-government-announces-moving-out-of-contain-phase-and-into-delay

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Dec 2023
To ask the Minister of State, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, what information his Department holds on the number of (a) civilians, (b) women and (c) children that have been killed in Sudan since April 2023.

Humanitarian organisations estimate that over 12,000 people have been killed and over 32,000 people have been injured since the outbreak of conflict in Sudan on 15 April 2023. This is likely to be an underestimate, due to considerable access constraints for humanitarian organisations, which makes accurate casualty reporting challenging. The UK continues to work with Quad countries (Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, US, UK), regional partners, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, the African Union and the UN to bring the warring parties together and secure an end to hostilities and unfettered humanitarian access.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
19th Dec 2023
To ask the Minister of State, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, whether his Department has made a recent estimate of the number of (a) schools, (b) hospitals and (c) refugee camps in Gaza that have been struck by bombs since 8 October 2023.

Hamas is putting Palestinian civilians at grave risk by embedding themselves in the civilian population and civilian infrastructure. The UK is aware of reports of Hamas using schools and other infrastructure, such as healthcare facilities, as bases and command nodes.

This does not absolve parties from their responsibility to ensure that their actions are compliant with international humanitarian law, and minimise harm to civilians. The UK is particularly clear that civilian buildings must not be targeted and extra care must be taken in relation to hospitals and other locations such as places of worship.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
19th Dec 2023
To ask the Minister of State, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, what information his Department holds on the number of Israeli hostages that (a) were taken on 7 October 2023, (b) have died, (c) have been released and (d) remain in captivity.

Over 240 hostages were taken on 7 October 2023. Israel estimates that there are still 132 hostages being held by Hamas in Gaza, including civilians and military personnel (this includes individuals who are believed deceased but death has not been confirmed). We understand the number of recorded deceased to be at 15. During the humanitarian pause, it is reported that Hamas freed 108 hostages, including 80 Israelis/ dual nationals. Urgent work is continuing at all levels with regional leaders and others to ensure all remaining hostages are safely freed. We are not going to give a running commentary on hostage negotiations, which are highly sensitive and ongoing, but we are involved in intensive diplomatic efforts to secure the release of hostages and working with Israel, the US and others.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
19th Dec 2023
To ask the Minister of State, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, what information his Department holds on the number of Israeli (a) civilians, (b) women and (c) children that have been killed since 7 October 2023.

Any civilian death is a tragedy. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that according to the Hamas-run Ministry of Health, as of 16 January, at least 24,100 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza, of whom about 70% are said to be women and children. We do not have an estimate of what proportion of those killed are civilians. The Government of Israel report that more than 1,300 Israelis, including at least 523 Israel Defence Forces (IDF) soldiers have been killed, with 189 of those deaths in Gaza. We recognise that there must be a reduction in civilian casualties in the conflict; we want to see Israel take greater care to limit its operations to military targets and avoid harming civilians and destroying homes, and we continue to call for international humanitarian law to be respected and civilians to be protected. The Prime Minister has made this clear to Prime Minister Netanyahu repeatedly and has been in close contact throughout.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
19th Dec 2023
To ask the Minister of State, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, whether his Department has made a recent estimate of the number of (a) civilians, (b) women and (c) children killed in Gaza since 8 October 2023.

Any civilian death is a tragedy. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that according to the Hamas-run Ministry of Health, as of 16 January, at least 24,100 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza, of whom about 70% are said to be women and children. We do not have an estimate of what proportion of those killed are civilians. The Government of Israel report that more than 1,300 Israelis, including at least 523 Israel Defence Forces (IDF) soldiers have been killed, with 189 of those deaths in Gaza. We recognise that there must be a reduction in civilian casualties in the conflict; we want to see Israel take greater care to limit its operations to military targets and avoid harming civilians and destroying homes, and we continue to call for international humanitarian law to be respected and civilians to be protected. The Prime Minister has made this clear to Prime Minister Netanyahu repeatedly and has been in close contact throughout.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
18th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to help protect the human rights of women in Pakistan.

Protecting women's rights is central to the UK Government's human rights engagement in Pakistan. We continue to urge the government of Pakistan to guarantee the rights of all people in Pakistan, particularly the most vulnerable, including women, minorities and children, as laid down in the Constitution of Pakistan and in accordance with international standards. In parallel, UK programme funds are helping to address gender based violence by raising awareness of early and forced marriages and making digital spaces safer for women. The British High Commission in Islamabad will continue to support civil society and NGOs in lobbying the Government of Pakistan to honour in practice its international commitments.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he has had recent discussions with his counterpart in Pakistan on the arrest of former Prime Minister Imran Khan.

The UK does not comment or interfere with judicial cases in Pakistan, they are a matter for Pakistan's legal system. The UK has a close and longstanding relationship with Pakistan. We support democratic principles and adherence to the rule of law. In a letter to caretaker Foreign Minister Jilani on 21 August, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister for South Asia, impressed the need for Pakistan's citizens to be able to exercise their democratic rights and participate in peaceful, inclusive, credible elections.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he has had discussions with his counterpart in Bangladesh on allowing international election observers to observe the forthcoming general election.

The UK is a strong supporter of plural, contested and transparent elections in Bangladesh, with free and fair process to support accountability. We regularly raise with the Government of Bangladesh, in public and private, the need to take meaningful steps to ensure a transparent and accountable electoral process in 2024. The Foreign Secretary met Prime Minister Hasina in May, and raised the importance of free, fair and participatory elections, and the need for inter-party dialogue. In June, Minister Trevelyan met with Bangladesh State Minister Alam and reiterated the need for ensuring the elections were transparent and accountable. We welcome Bangladesh's commitment to international election observation. Under the FCDO's five-year £23 million governance programme we have been identifying pre-election interventions including the potential for funding local elections observation. The UK will continue to engage with the Government of Bangladesh to support efforts towards a stable, prosperous and democratic Bangladesh.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the implications for his policies of the adequacy of the preparations to ensure the (a) accountability, (b) transparency and (c) fairness of the forthcoming general election in Bangladesh; and if he will make a statement.

The UK is a strong supporter of plural, contested and transparent elections in Bangladesh, with free and fair process to support accountability. We regularly raise with the Government of Bangladesh, in public and private, the need to take meaningful steps to ensure a transparent and accountable electoral process in 2024. The Foreign Secretary met Prime Minister Hasina in May, and raised the importance of free, fair and participatory elections, and the need for inter-party dialogue. In June, Minister Trevelyan met with Bangladesh State Minister Alam and reiterated the need for ensuring the elections were transparent and accountable. We welcome Bangladesh's commitment to international election observation. Under the FCDO's five-year £23 million governance programme we have been identifying pre-election interventions including the potential for funding local elections observation. The UK will continue to engage with the Government of Bangladesh to support efforts towards a stable, prosperous and democratic Bangladesh.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with his counterpart in Bangladesh on (a) transparency and (b) accountability ahead of that country's elections in 2024.

The UK is a strong supporter of plural, contested and transparent elections in Bangladesh, with free and fair process to support accountability. We regularly raise with the Government of Bangladesh, in public and private, the need to take meaningful steps to ensure a transparent and accountable electoral process in 2024. The Foreign Secretary met Prime Minister Hasina in May, and raised the importance of free, fair and participatory elections, and the need for inter-party dialogue. In June, Minister Trevelyan met with Bangladesh State Minister Alam and reiterated the need for ensuring the elections were transparent and accountable. We welcome Bangladesh's commitment to international election observation. Under the FCDO's five-year £23 million governance programme we have been identifying pre-election interventions including the potential for funding local elections observation. The UK will continue to engage with the Government of Bangladesh to support efforts towards a stable, prosperous and democratic Bangladesh.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he has had recent discussions with his US counterpart on their decision to restrict visas to Bangladeshi citizens who undermine democratic election processes in Bangladesh.

We are aware of the decision of the US to restrict the issuance of visas for any Bangladeshi individual believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining the democratic election process in Bangladesh. We share the desire for free, fair and participatory elections. All UK visa applications are considered on their individual merits, and in line with UK immigration rules and guidance.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the merger between Three and Vodafone on his Department's contracts with Vodafone.

As an open economy, this Government welcomes and encourages investment where it supports the Prime Minister's goal of boosting UK growth and jobs, meets our stringent legal and regulatory requirements, and does not compromise our national security. The Government has robust powers under the National Security & Investment Act, which it introduced, to block or impose remedies on transactions that pose a national security risk. As you will appreciate, we cannot comment on specific acquisitions nor the applicability of the National Security and Investment regime. It is the responsibility of Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to assess the impact on consumers and competition in the market, with input from sectoral regulators. The Investment Security Unit works closely with the Competition and Markets Authority on cases that are being considered for both national security and competition reasons. A memorandum of understanding has been agreed between the Investment Security Unit and the CMA to assist joint working. [https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/operation-of-the-national-security-and-investment-act-2021-memorandum-of-understanding/mou-between-beis-and-the-cma-on-the-operation-of-the-national-security-and-investment-act-2021]

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to help deliver public owned health care in Bangladesh.

The UK's health programmes in Bangladesh aim to address the fundamental challenges in public healthcare provision. The FCDO's £84 million 'Better Health in Bangladesh Programme' provides financial and technical assistance to the Government of Bangladesh's national health sector programme. Our support helps empower women and girls through better sexual and reproductive health and rights, family planning, nutrition services and screening for cervical cancer. We also support the Government of Bangladesh to include health in the National Adaptation Plan (NAP) on Climate Change and tackling antimicrobial resistance (AMR). We will maintain our strong partnership with Bangladesh's Ministry of Health and its departments to deliver our commitment on ending preventable deaths, through need-based and responsive technical assistance support.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent support his Department has provided to the Bangladeshi Government in the context of (a) climate change, (b) air pollution and (c) flooding affecting that country.

A core UK priority is to support Bangladesh, as one of the world's most climate vulnerable countries. At COP26, we announced a six year £120 million Climate and Environment Programme in Bangladesh to support Bangladesh's ambitions to accelerate adaption and expand renewable energy. The programme will increase access to climate finance and support improvements in pollution reduction and solid waste management. The UK has supported public awareness raising on air pollution levels and piloted approaches to improved management of hazardous waste. The UK provided over £1.6 million of humanitarian support for the floods in Bangladesh in May and June last year. This funding will provide water, shelter, livelihoods opportunities and improved nutrition for people affected in Sylhet.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent steps his Department is taking to support Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.

The UK is committed to supporting the Government of Bangladesh with the Rohingya response and has contributed £345 million to the crisis since 2017. Although our Official Development Assistance (ODA) bilateral funding has reduced, due to the fiscal situation, the UK remains committed to working with the UN and the Government of Bangladesh to provide support to the Rohingya whilst they remain in Bangladesh.

Our support continues to provide food, water, sanitation, shelter, healthcare and protection services to Rohingya refugees and vulnerable host communities. We work closely with UN agencies and the Government of Bangladesh to provide basic services to Rohingya who have sought refuge in Bangladesh.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether the UK is taking steps to increase humanitarian support for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.

The UK is committed to supporting the Government of Bangladesh with the Rohingya response and has contributed £345 million to the crisis since 2017. Although our Official Development Assistance (ODA) bilateral funding has reduced, due to the fiscal situation, the UK remains committed to working with the UN and the Government of Bangladesh to provide support to the Rohingya whilst they remain in Bangladesh.

Our support continues to provide food, water, sanitation, shelter, healthcare and protection services to Rohingya refugees and vulnerable host communities. We work closely with UN agencies and the Government of Bangladesh to provide basic services to Rohingya who have sought refuge in Bangladesh.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent support his Department has provided to the Bangladeshi Government on (a) climate change, (b) air pollution and (c) flooding.

A core UK priority is to support Bangladesh, as one of the world's most climate vulnerable countries. At COP26, we announced a six year £120 million Climate and Environment Programme in Bangladesh to support Bangladesh's ambitions to accelerate adaption and expand renewable energy. The programme will increase access to climate finance and support improvements in pollution reduction and solid waste management. The UK has supported public awareness raising on air pollution levels, and piloted approaches to improved management of hazardous waste. The UK provided over £1.6 million of humanitarian support for the floods in Bangladesh in May and June last year. This funding will provide water, shelter, livelihoods opportunities, and improved nutrition for people affected in Sylhet.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether his Department is taking steps to support the delivery of publicly-owned health care in Bangladesh.

The UK's health programmes in Bangladesh aims to address the fundamental challenges in Bangladesh's public healthcare provision. The FCDO's £84 million 'Better Health in Bangladesh Programme' provides financial and technical assistance to the Government of Bangladesh's national health sector programme. Our support helps empower women and girls through better sexual and reproductive health and rights, and over the last four years, we have helped deliver over 89,000 babies safely, provided 987,892 family planning users with contraceptives, reached 1.5 million under five children with nutrition services, and screened over 630,000 women for cervical cancer. We also support the Government of Bangladesh to include health in the National Adaptation Plan (NAP) on Climate Change, and tackling antimicrobial resistance (AMR). We will maintain our strong partnership with Bangladesh's Ministry of Health and its departments to deliver our commitment on ending preventable deaths, through need-based and responsive technical assistance support.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether the Government is taking steps to increase humanitarian support for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.

The UK has been a leading donor to the Rohingya response in Bangladesh, providing £345 million since 2017. This funding provides life-saving assistance through food, shelter, water and sanitation, healthcare and protection to Rohingya refugees and host communities. Although our ODA bilateral funding has reduced due to the fiscal situation, the UK remains committed to working with the UN and the Government of Bangladesh to provide support to the Rohingya whilst they remain in Bangladesh, as well as continuing to push for a long-term solution enabling their return to Myanmar on a safe, voluntary and dignified basis, when the conditions there allow.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he has had discussions with his international counterparts on the rights to (a) protest and (b) freedom of expression outside foreign embassies in the UK.

The Foreign Secretary has not had discussions on this specific subject with international counterparts. Peaceful protest and freedom of expression are fundamental parts of British society. Everyone in the United Kingdom has the right to express their views in a peaceful and lawful way.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent representations she has made to her Bangladeshi counterpart on allowing the former Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia to travel abroad to access healthcare treatment.

Lord Ahmad, the Minister for South Asia, visited Bangladesh on 15 November to 17 November and met with the Government of Bangladesh, civil society actors and other key figures. During the visit, Lord Ahmad reiterated the UK's commitment to supporting human rights and democratic values.

We will continue to stress to the Government of Bangladesh, both in public and in private, the importance of respect for human rights and the rule of law. We expect those in detention, including Khaleda Zia, to be treated in accordance with Bangladesh's international commitments on human rights. We regularly engage with the Government of Bangladesh on the treatment of those in detention and on the integrity and independence of the judicial process.

Amanda Milling
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent representations she has made to her Bangladeshi counterpart on the deteriorating health of former Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia and access for her to adequate healthcare.

Lord Ahmad, the Minister for South Asia, visited Bangladesh on 15 November to 17 November and met with the Government of Bangladesh, civil society actors and other key figures. During the visit, Lord Ahmad reiterated the UK's commitment to supporting human rights and democratic values.

We will continue to stress to the Government of Bangladesh, both in public and in private, the importance of respect for human rights and the rule of law. We expect those in detention, including Khaleda Zia, to be treated in accordance with Bangladesh's international commitments on human rights. We regularly engage with the Government of Bangladesh on the treatment of those in detention and on the integrity and independence of the judicial process.

Amanda Milling
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
8th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment her Department has made of the circumstances surrounding the armed attack that killed trade unionist María Dorfenis López Cordón and injured Rigoberto Cabanzo Arévalo in the Colombian region of Meta on 29 August 2021.

The British Government remains concerned about the persistent level of violence towards human rights' defenders and social leaders in Colombia. Through our Conflict, Stability, and Security Fund (CSSF), which has provided £68 million in support of peace agreement implementation, security, and stability in Colombia since 2015, we will continue to prioritise funding interventions to protect human rights' defenders, including trade unionists, and social leaders.

Colombia is a UK 'Human Rights Priority Country,' and we consistently raise our concerns regarding violence against human rights defenders and social leaders at the UN Security Council, as we did at meetings in July, and on 14 October. We look to the Colombian Government to further integrate its presence in conflict-affected areas, and strengthen the institutions that can investigate and prosecute the criminal actors responsible. We will continue to raise our concerns with the relevant state actors in Colombia.

15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what estimate he has made of the average time taken by his Department to issue Academic Technology Approval Scheme certificates; and what steps his Department is taking to reduce the backlog in the issuing of those certificates.

The Government has increased Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) processing and assessment capacity in the past 12 months. This has helped manage the unprecedented surge in ATAS applications - in part due to course deferrals from 2020 - and ensured that the vast majority of applications are processed within advertised timeframes.

Amanda Milling
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
10th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations he has made to his Colombian counterpart on the reported ongoing killings of former FARC combatants who have laid down their weapons under the peace process.

The British Government regularly raises concerns with our Colombian counterparts regarding the persistent high levels of violence, and threats towards former FARC combatants. Most recently, we raised the issue on 21 April at the UN Security Council meeting, at which the UN Secretary General's Special Representative presented his quarterly report on Colombia's peace process.

We will continue to support the Colombian Government's commitment to assisting former combatants in transitioning to civilian life, as agreed as part of the 2016 peace agreement. We have committed more than £63million over 5 years through our Conflict, Stability, and Security Fund to support reintegration, rural development, and security across conflict-affected regions. We have done this through programmes designed to build state capacity to ensure the safety of former combatants, and of other vulnerable individuals and groups, including outside of official reincorporation zones.

10th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of reports of ocular injuries as a result of the actions of the Colombian police during protests in that country between 28 April and 31 May 2021.

UK ministers and senior officials regularly raise human rights issues, as well as specific cases of concern, with the Colombian Government, and in multilateral fora. We are clear that we support the right of all Colombians to protest peacefully, and that the right to peaceful assembly and association must be guaranteed.

Colombia is a UK 'Human Rights Priority Country,' and we have raised our concerns with the relevant state actors in Colombia since protests began. Most recently, I spoke with acting Foreign Minister Adriana Mejía on 14 May to express my concerns, and welcome Colombia's commitment to transparent investigations into allegations of abuse. We look to the Colombian authorities to investigate fully any reports on excessive use of force against protestors, and take appropriate action against those responsible. Security services must be held accountable for their actions, and any complaints thoroughly investigated

17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions he has with his Indian counterpart on the human rights situation in India and (a) the conditions experienced by political prisoners, (b) the amount of time prisoners are waiting for trials, (c) the ability of human rights monitoring organisations to operate, (d) press freedom, (e) discriminatory laws, (f) labour rights and protections, (g)trade union rights, (h) violence against women and girls, and (i) democratic rights such as freedom of speech and the right to protest.

We engage with India on the full range of human rights matters. On his visit to India 14-17 December, The Foreign Secretary discussed human rights with the Minister of External Affairs Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar. Our High Commission in Delhi works with Union and State Governments and Non-Governmental Organisations to promote human rights by building capacity and sharing expertise. Our projects tackle the drivers of human rights violations in regards to gender equality, media freedom and other FCDO priorities, and encourage the empowerment of minority groups.

17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the Government's plans for a closer UK-India relationship announced on 15 December 2020, what steps he plans to take to work with India on human rights, including freedom of speech and political freedoms.

We engage with India on the full range of human rights matters. On his visit to India 14-17 December, The Foreign Secretary discussed human rights with the Minister of External Affairs Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar. Our High Commission in Delhi works with Union and State Governments and Non-Governmental Organisations to promote human rights by building capacity and sharing expertise. Our projects tackle the drivers of human rights violations in regards to gender equality, media freedom and other FCDO priorities, and encourage the empowerment of minority groups.

17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the findings of the Annual South Asia State of Minorities Report published in November 2020 that India has become a dangerous and violent space for Muslim minorities; and if he will make a statement.

We engage with India on the full range of human rights matters. We oppose discrimination against minorities because of religion, caste, or belief. On his visit to India 14-17 December, The Foreign Secretary discussed human rights with the Minister of External Affairs Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar.

17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that UK businesses conduct thorough due diligence on supply chains that may be linked to entities engaging in human rights violations in Xinjiang.

Through our overseas business risk guidance, regular engagement with business and clear statements to Parliament we have urged all businesses involved in investing in Xinjiang, or with parts of their supply chains in the region, to conduct appropriate due diligence to satisfy themselves that their activities do not support, or risk being seen to be supporting, any human rights violations or abuses. In addition, FCDO-funded research into forced labour in Xinjiang has been crucial to raising business awareness of this issue.

17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking with his international counterparts to condemn and work against human rights abuses being committed by the Chinese government on Muslim communities in Xinjiang province.

The UK has taken a leading international role in holding China to account for its gross human rights abuses in Xinjiang. On 6 October, alongside Germany, we brought together a total of 39 countries to express grave concern at the situation in Xinjiang in a joint statement at the UN General Assembly Third Committee. This growing international pressure on China reflects UK diplomatic leadership, including intensive diplomacy by the FCDO's diplomatic network and the personal involvement of the Foreign Secretary in raising the issue with a wide range of partners.

17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment his Department has made of reports that Chinese authorities in Tibetan areas continue to severely restrict religious and cultural expression, freedom of speech, movement, and assembly.

We remain deeply concerned about the persecution of Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Falun Gong practitioners and others on the grounds of their religion or belief in China. The freedom to practise, change or share ones faith or belief without discrimination or violent opposition is a human right that all people should enjoy. The UK regularly raises freedom of religion or belief directly with the Chinese authorities and via multilateral action at the UN. On 6 October, the UK and 38 other countries joined a statement at the UN Third Committee in New York calling on China to respect human rights, particularly the rights of persons belonging to religious and ethnic minorities, including in Xinjiang and Tibet.

9th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether civil servants in the (a) Foreign and Commonwealth Office and (b) Department for International Development will see a change in their legal employer on the formation of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

As employees are and will remain Crown employees, there is technically no change of employer due to the merger. However, all staff affected by the merger have been advised that they transferred into the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office on 2 September.

2nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps the Government has taken to support UK citizens working in the US during the covid-19 pandemic.

The UK is in regular contact at the highest levels with our US partners on our joint response to the global COVID-19 pandemic. British nationals abroad are encouraged to sign up for travel advice alerts which will be updated with new information as it becomes available. Anyone who needs some support can contact the FCDO 24/7 for advice. Information on the consular assistance the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office can provide to British nationals overseas can be found at
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/support-for-british-nationals-abroad-a-guide

21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for his Department's policies of the drone footage released by War on Fear showing blindfolded Uighur communities in China being transferred from the Xinjiang province in that country.

We are aware of the footage, which was initially published online in September 2019. Open source analysis indicates the people shown in the footage are Uyghur or other minorities in Xinjiang. We judge this analysis to be credible. The footage adds to the growing body of evidence on the disturbing situation that Uyghurs and other minorities are facing in Xinjiang.

20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions he has had with his Cabinet colleagues on the potential merits of including Chinese officials who have allegedly been implicated in the persecution of the Uyghur people in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in the next round of Magnitsky sanctions designations.

On 6 July, the UK Government established the Global Human Rights sanctions regime. It is not appropriate to speculate who may be designated in the future, as to do so could reduce the impact of the designations. We will keep all evidence and potential listings under close review.

12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, with reference to Amnesty International's report entitled China: Uyghurs living abroad tell of campaign of intimidation, published 21 February 2020, what recent assessment he has made of the accuracy of reports of harassment by the Chinese Government of Uyghurs and other Muslim ethnic groups after they have left the China.

These reports are concerning and we continue to monitor allegations of harassment of Uyghurs outside of China. We regularly raise our concerns about the treatment of Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang directly with the Chinese Government and at the UN.

12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent representations he has made to his Chinese counterpart on the treatment of Uyghur Muslims; and what assessment he has made of the humanitarian situation in Xinjiang.

On 9 March, the Foreign Secretary directly raised his serious concerns about the human rights situation in Xinjiang and the treatment of Uyghur Muslims with his Chinese counterpart, Foreign Minister and State Councillor Wang Yi.

Our concerns include the extra-judicial detention of over a million Uyghur Muslims and other minorities in "political re-education camps", systematic restrictions on Uyghur culture and the practice of Islam, and extensive and invasive surveillance targeting minorities.

12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether the Prime Minister made representations to President Xi of China on the treatment of Uyghur people during their call of 18 February 2020.

We regularly make representations to the Chinese Government on the treatment of Uyghurs. Most recently, on 9 March the Foreign Secretary raised our concerns about the human rights situation in Xinjiang with his Chinese counterpart, Foreign Minister and State Councillor Wang Yi. On 5 March I did the same with the Chinese Ambassador to the UK, Liu Xiaoming. On 24 December, the UK Ambassador to China raised our concerns with Vice Foreign Minister Qin Gang.

1st Sep 2023
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of exempting VAT on mooring licenses for people who live on houseboats capable of self-propulsion.

VAT is a broad-based tax on consumption and the 20 per cent standard rate applies to most goods and services. Exceptions to the standard rate have always been limited by both legal and fiscal considerations. This request should be viewed in the context of over £50 billion of requests for relief from VAT received since the EU referendum.

The Government keeps all taxes under review, as part of the tax policy making cycle and Budget process.

Victoria Atkins
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
18th Jul 2023
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether his Department plans to give the Financial Conduct Authority further powers to regulate crypto-related companies.

HMT published a public consultation on 1 February 2023 on the ‘Future financial services regulatory regime for cryptoassets’, outlining how the Government will set the regulatory perimeter for the FCA to make rules regulating crypto-related companies. Under these proposals, firms providing cryptoasset services would need to become FCA authorised and meet a range of new requirements, including (for example) prudential, data reporting, consumer protection, location policy and operational resilience requirements.

Andrew Griffith
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
21st Jun 2023
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he has made an assessment of the potential merits of applying a VAT exemption to services provided by (a) counsellors and (b) psychotherapists.

The standard rate of VAT applies to most goods and services. Exceptions have always been strictly limited by legal and fiscal considerations.

Many services provided directly or supervised by registered health professionals are exempt from VAT. Registered professionals are those who are enrolled or registered on the appropriate statutory register. This includes registered practitioner psychologists, but means the relief does not apply to professionals who do not have statutory registers, such as counsellors and psychotherapists.

The UK’s approach of linking exemption to statutory registration is a clear and objective criterion for defining ‘health professionals’ for VAT purposes. While we keep all taxes under review, there are no current plans to make changes to these rules.

Victoria Atkins
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
14th Jun 2023
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment their Department has made of the potential effect of the merger between Three and Vodafone on his Department's contracts with Vodafone.

As an open economy, this Government welcomes and encourages investment where it supports the Prime Minister’s goal of boosting UK growth and jobs, meets our stringent legal and regulatory requirements, and does not compromise our national security. The Government has robust powers under the National Security & Investment Act, which it introduced, to block or impose remedies on transactions that pose a national security risk.

As you will appreciate, we cannot comment on specific acquisitions nor the applicability of the National Security and Investment regime.

It is the responsibility of Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to assess the impact on consumers and competition in the market, with input from sectoral regulators.

The Investment Security Unit works closely with the Competition and Markets Authority on cases that are being considered for both national security and competition reasons. A memorandum of understanding has been agreed between the Investment Security Unit and the CMA to assist joint working. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/operation-of-the-national-security-and-investment-act-2021-memorandum-of-understanding/mou-between-beis-and-the-cma-on-the-operation-of-the-national-security-and-investment-act-2021

Gareth Davies
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
29th Nov 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment his Department has made of the impact of levels of sovereign debt on the ability of lower income countries to invest in climate change (a) mitigation and (b) adaptation.

The UK recognises the significant debt vulnerabilities faced by many low-income countries and that high debt service levels may impact efforts to invest in and respond to climate change, as well as other development goals.

We are fully committed to helping the most vulnerable countries address the challenges they face. At COP27, the UK announced that UK Export Finance will become the first export credit agency in the world to offer Climate Resilient Debt Clauses (CRDCs) in its direct sovereign lending. These clauses build in debt repayment pauses when a climate shock or natural disaster hits. We also developed and published key design principles for CRDCs in private sector lending.

The UK is also delivering on our commitment to spend £11.6bn of International Climate Finance (ICF), striking a balance between mitigation and adaptation spending.

John Glen
Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office
22nd Nov 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an equality impact assessment of the Autumn Statement 2022 on (a) women, (b) Black, Asian, and ethnic minority people and (c) disabled people.

In developing proposals for fiscal events, such as the Autumn Statement on 17 November, the Treasury takes care to ensure compliance with legal requirements under the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) in the Equality Act 2010, to consider the impact of its decisions on those sharing protected characteristics.

This is in line with both our legal obligations to pay “due regard” to equality impacts; and with our strong commitment to promoting fairness.

In the interests of transparency, and going beyond legal requirements, HMRC publishes a summary of equality impacts for tax measures within the Tax Information and Impact Notes (TIINs) alongside the associated legislation.

John Glen
Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office
22nd Nov 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential impact of increases in the cost of living on (a) women, (b) ethnic minorities, (c) disabled people, (d) single parents and (e) women with no recourse to public funds.

The government understands that people are worried about the cost of living challenges ahead.

That’s why the government has announced support worth £26 billion for 2023-24, designed to target the most vulnerable households. The Energy Price Guarantee will save the average UK household £500 in 2023-24. This is in addition to benefits uprating, which is worth £11 billion to working age households and people with disabilities. The support includes £1 billion of new funding to enable a further twelve-month extension to the Household Support Fund, which helps Local Authorities assist those who might otherwise fall through the cracks.

Support is already in place to support households this winter. In addition to the Energy Price Guarantee, the government has announced £37 billion of support for the cost of living in 2022-23.

The Treasury carefully considers the equality impacts of the individual measures announced at fiscal events on those sharing protected characteristics, including gender, ethnicity and disability – in line with both its legal obligations under the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) and its strong commitment to equality issues.

John Glen
Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office
22nd Nov 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the potential impact of the level of public sector pay on (a) child, (b) fuel, (c) food and (d) other forms of poverty in the next three years.

The Government recognises that public sector workers play a vital role in the running of our economy, and in delivering our world-class public services.

Pay for most frontline workforces – including nurses, teachers, armed forces, and police officers – is set through an independent Pay Review Body process. The Pay Review Bodies consider a range of standard evidence and other special considerations when forming their recommendations.

The Government has accepted the pay recommendations of the independent Pay Review Bodies for the NHS, teachers, police, and the armed forces for 2022/23. These are the highest uplifts in nearly twenty years, reflecting the vital contributions public sector workers make to our country and the cost-of-living pressures facing households. For 23/24 the government has decided to let the process run as normal and will be seeking recommendations from PRB’s. The government will carefully consider these recommendations and in due course public sector workers will see fair and affordable pay rises across the next financial year (2023-24).

Pay awards strike a careful balance between recognising the vital importance of public sector workers, whilst delivering value for the taxpayer and not increasing the country’s debt further. The government will continue to ensure all pay awards are fair and non-discriminatory.

John Glen
Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office
22nd Nov 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the potential impact of the level of public sector pay on the ethnicity pay gap in the next three years.

The Government recognises that public sector workers play a vital role in the running of our economy, and in delivering our world-class public services.

Pay for most frontline workforces – including nurses, teachers, armed forces, and police officers – is set through an independent Pay Review Body process. The Pay Review Bodies consider a range of standard evidence and other special considerations when forming their recommendations.

The Government has accepted the pay recommendations of the independent Pay Review Bodies for the NHS, teachers, police, and the armed forces for 2022/23. These are the highest uplifts in nearly twenty years, reflecting the vital contributions public sector workers make to our country and the cost-of-living pressures facing households. For 23/24 the government has decided to let the process run as normal and will be seeking recommendations from PRB’s. The government will carefully consider these recommendations and in due course public sector workers will see fair and affordable pay rises across the next financial year (2023-24).

Pay awards strike a careful balance between recognising the vital importance of public sector workers, whilst delivering value for the taxpayer and not increasing the country’s debt further. The government will continue to ensure all pay awards are fair and non-discriminatory.

John Glen
Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office
22nd Nov 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the potential impact of the level of public sector pay on the gender pay gap in the next three years.

The Government recognises that public sector workers play a vital role in the running of our economy, and in delivering our world-class public services.

Pay for most frontline workforces – including nurses, teachers, armed forces, and police officers – is set through an independent Pay Review Body process. The Pay Review Bodies consider a range of standard evidence and other special considerations when forming their recommendations.

The Government has accepted the pay recommendations of the independent Pay Review Bodies for the NHS, teachers, police, and the armed forces for 2022/23. These are the highest uplifts in nearly twenty years, reflecting the vital contributions public sector workers make to our country and the cost-of-living pressures facing households. For 23/24 the government has decided to let the process run as normal and will be seeking recommendations from PRB’s. The government will carefully consider these recommendations and in due course public sector workers will see fair and affordable pay rises across the next financial year (2023-24).

Pay awards strike a careful balance between recognising the vital importance of public sector workers, whilst delivering value for the taxpayer and not increasing the country’s debt further. The government will continue to ensure all pay awards are fair and non-discriminatory.

John Glen
Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office
31st Mar 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether the Government plans to increase the property price cap for Lifetime ISAs in line with the rate of inflation.

The Lifetime ISA is intended to support younger people saving for their first home or for later life by offering a generous government bonus of 25% on up to £4,000 of savings each year. These funds, including the government bonus, can be used to purchase a first home up to the value of £450,000.

The Government considers that the £450,000 price cap is suitable to support the majority of first-time buyers across the UK, who typically purchase less expensive properties than other buyers, while also ensuring sustainable public finances. The most recent Office for Budget Responsibility forecast stated that bonus payments will have an exchequer cost of £3.5 billion between 2021 and 2027. The price cap ensures that this significant investment of public money is more precisely targeted towards households that may find it more difficult to get onto the property ladder.

First-time buyers who can purchase a home valued over £450,000 are likely to have an income significantly above that of the average household in the UK and are therefore more likely to be able to purchase a first home without the support of this scheme.

However, the Government continues to keep all aspects of savings policy under review.

John Glen
Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office
12th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of making payments for waking watches in buildings deemed not fire safe VAT exempt in the context of the financial effects of that matter on leaseholders.

The Government already maintains a zero rate for fire safety equipment when provided alongside the construction and renovation of residential or charitable buildings. There is also a relief for the cost of replacing fire cladding on buildings if it is tied to the initial construction of the building and is shown to be defective.

Waking watch should only be in place for a short period of time and the relevant responsible person should move quickly to install a common fire alarm system as they are a more cost effective and reliable option. That is why the Government has set aside £30m to install common alarm systems in eligible buildings to replace expensive waking watch measures. No interim measures should be considered as a substitute for completing remediation as quickly as possible.

22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the financial effect on hospitality sector workers of not having had their tronc payments included in the calculation of their furlough payments.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) aims to enable employers to keep people in employment. In order to achieve this, the CJRS grants compensate employers for the payments that they are contractually obliged to make in order to avoid the need for redundancies. Covering payments made at the discretion of the employer or a client such as tips, including those distributed through tronc payments, would go beyond the objectives of the scheme.

The Government recognises that for some employees, the pay in scope for this emergency grant package will be less than the overall sum they usually receive. The Government is supporting people on low incomes who need to rely on the welfare system through a significant package of temporary measures introduced in March 2020. This includes a £20 per week increase to the 2020-21 Universal Credit standard allowance and Working Tax Credit basic element and almost £1 billion of additional support for private renters claiming Universal Credit or Housing Benefit in 2020/21 following the increase of the local housing allowance rate to the 30th percentile. These changes are benefitting new and existing claimants.

22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will include tronc payments with the furlough for the remainder of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) aims to enable employers to keep people in employment. In order to achieve this, the CJRS grants compensate employers for the payments that they are contractually obliged to make in order to avoid the need for redundancies. Covering payments made at the discretion of the employer or a client such as tips, including those distributed through tronc payments, would go beyond the objectives of the scheme.

The Government recognises that for some employees, the pay in scope for this emergency grant package will be less than the overall sum they usually receive. The Government is supporting people on low incomes who need to rely on the welfare system through a significant package of temporary measures introduced in March 2020. This includes a £20 per week increase to the 2020-21 Universal Credit standard allowance and Working Tax Credit basic element and almost £1 billion of additional support for private renters claiming Universal Credit or Housing Benefit in 2020/21 following the increase of the local housing allowance rate to the 30th percentile. These changes are benefitting new and existing claimants.

4th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the effect of excluding from the self employment income support scheme people who have less than 50 per cent of their income coming from self-employment on levels of financial adversity in that group.

The design of the SEISS, including the eligibility requirement that an individual’s trading profits must be at least equal to their non-trading income, is intended to target support at those who most need it, and who are most reliant on their self-employment income.

The Government does recognise that some of the rules, criteria and conditions necessary to ensure that the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) worked for the vast majority of people have meant that some did not qualify.

Those who are ineligible for the SEISS may still be eligible for other elements of the substantial package of support available. The Universal Credit standard allowance has been temporarily increased for 2020-21 and the Minimum Income Floor relaxed for the duration of the crisis, so that where self-employed claimants' earnings have fallen significantly, their Universal Credit award will have increased to reflect their lower earnings. In addition to this, they may also have access to other elements of the package, including Bounce Back loans, tax deferrals, rental support, mortgage holidays, self-isolation support payments and other business support grants.

2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether his Department conducted an equalities impact assessment of the decision to exclude the 1.3 million self-employed people who have less than 50 per cent of their income coming from self-employment, from the self employment income support scheme.

The self-employed are very diverse and have a wide mix of turnover and profits, with monthly and annual variations even in normal times, and in some cases with substantial alternative forms of income too. The design of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS), including the eligibility requirement that an individual’s trading profits must be at least equal to their non-trading income, means it is targeted at those who most need it, and who are most reliant on their self-employment income.

The Government takes equality considerations seriously and has been careful to give due regard to Public Sector Equality Duties throughout its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. When designing the SEISS, the Treasury undertook an analysis of how the scheme, including the eligibility criteria, may affect individuals with protected characteristics, in line with its Public Sector Equality Duty.

The SEISS continues to be just one element of a substantial package of support for the self-employed. Those ineligible for the SEISS may still be eligible for other elements of the support available, including increased levels of Universal Credit, Bounce Back loans, tax deferrals, rental support, mortgage holidays, self-isolation support payments and other business support grants.

18th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he plans to provide financial support to those with No Recourse to Public Funds conditions who are currently supported by the furlough scheme, when the scheme ends.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) is an unprecedented scheme that was designed to be in place only as a temporary measure while businesses regrouped and responded to the crisis. Building on the action taken in the face of the immediate threat posed by the virus, the government is now proceeding with the second phase of its response with a targeted Plan for Jobs which will support the UK’s economic recovery while continuing to prioritise people’s health.

The Home Office leads on policy towards those with no recourse to public funds (NRPF) and is working closely with the Treasury and other government departments, including the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and the Department of Health and Social Care to support people, including migrants with NRPF, through this crisis. Departments are sharing what they are learning from other bodies and charities with each other to ensure that the government continues to take a compassionate and pragmatic approach to an unprecedented situation.

Steve Barclay
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
18th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate his Department has made of the number of individuals subject to No Recourse to Public Funds conditions who are currently supported by the furlough scheme.

HMRC do not hold information on the immigration status of migrants supported by the furlough scheme, and are therefore unable to provide the requested data.

9th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of HMRC compliance with the requirement in Section 3.1.8 of the Civil Service Management Code that time off with pay for safety representatives will not be set against facility time allowed under existing arrangements.

As a department HMRC have an obligation to provide reasonable paid time off to recognised trade union representatives to undertake trade union duties. This will include paid time off as necessary for safety representatives as set out in section 3.1.8 of the Civil Service Management Code.

HMRC have a legislative obligation, set out in the Trade Union Act (2016), that information relating to facility time for relevant union officials is published annually, with facility time defined by that Act as including time off taken by a relevant union official that is permitted by the official’s employer, including where this arises under “regulations made under section 2(4) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974”.

11th Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether market traders who occupy sub-leases will be given compensation for business rates paid by their landlord included in their rent.

Business rates relief is provided to the relevant ratepayer. In cases where the ratepayer is the landlord, it is for them and their tenants to resolve how that is distributed.

The Government is aware that some small businesses have found themselves excluded from the existing business rates relief and grants schemes because of the way they interact with the business rates system. That is why the Government has allocated up to an additional £617 million to Local Authorities to enable them to give discretionary grants to businesses in this situation.

11th Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether market traders will be able to make retrospective claims for earnings lost whilst they were ineligible for the coronavirus Small Business Grant Fund.

Market traders are eligible for a £10,000 grant from the Small Business Grant Fund if they occupied a business property that was in receipt of Small Business Rates Relief on 11th March 2020.

In addition, market traders may also be eligible for a grant worth £10,000 or £25,000 from the Retail, Hospitality, and Leisure Grant Fund, even if they were not in receipt of Small Business Rates Relief. They will be eligible if they have their own business rates assessment, if they occupy a property used for the sale of goods to visiting members of the public (or for other purposes listed in the published guidance on the expanded retail discount for business rates), and if their property has a rateable value of under £51,000.

For market traders without their own business rates assessment, the Discretionary Grants Fund, launched on 1st May 2020, provided up to an additional £617m to allow Local Authorities to make grants to businesses in this situation (alongside other types of business).

Market traders may also be eligible to receive income support via a grant from the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme, or be able to access support from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, depending on their personal circumstances.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
11th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of the State for Education on the (a) adequacy of funding for and (b) operation of the free school meal voucher scheme.

During this period, we are asking schools to support pupils eligible for benefits-related free school meals by providing meals or food parcels through their existing food providers wherever possible. The national voucher scheme provides an alternative with costs covered by the Department for Education. Schools are able to order a single voucher to the value of £15 each week for every child eligible for benefits-related free school meals who is not attending school. This is more generous than the weekly amount provided to schools for provision of free school meals, recognising that families will not buy in bulk and therefore will not be able to achieve the same economies of scale.

Voucher codes are being processed and many thousands of families are redeeming them. As of Tuesday 12 May, Edenred reported that more than £70 million worth of voucher codes have been redeemed into supermarket e-gift cards by schools and families.

Steve Barclay
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
19th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment his Department has made of the impact of the no recourse to public funds status on (a) homelessness, (b) poverty, (c) access to healthcare and (d) violence against women and girls.

The Government published an overarching Equality Impact Assessment on the Compliant Environment measures, of which the No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) is part, earlier this year: Compliant environment: overarching equality impact assessment (accessible) - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

Michael Tomlinson
Minister of State (Minister for Illegal Migration)
19th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many pregnant people are detained in (a) prison and (b) an immigration detention centre.

As of 20 December 2023, there are currently no pregnant women detained in immigration removal centres. Questions regarding pregnant people in prisons should be addressed to the Secretary of State for Justice.

Michael Tomlinson
Minister of State (Minister for Illegal Migration)
19th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment his Department has made of the implications for his policies of the experiences of the criminal justice system of survivors of domestic abuse.

In March 2022, we published the cross-Government ‘Tackling Domestic Abuse Plan’, which seeks to transform society’s response to domestic abuse through preventing reoffending, supporting victims, pursuing perpetrators and strengthening the systems processes in place needed to deliver these goals.

To ensure victims are given the support they need, the Government has supported the Domestic Abuse Matters programme which provides specialist domestic abuse training to police forces. We are funding the development of a new module of this training programme, targeted specifically at investigators of domestic abuse offences to enable further improvement in police responses to domestic abuse incidents. A 2020 evaluation of the programme showed a 41% increase in arrests for coercive or controlling behaviour, associated with the training.

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) have quadrupled funding for victim and witness support services by 2024/25, up from £41 million in 2009/10. This funding includes £21 million ringfenced per annum for PCCs to commission services supporting victims of sexual violence and domestic abuse. The MoJ are using additional ringfenced funding to increase the number of ISVAs and IDVAs by 300, to over 1,000, by 2024/25 - a 43% increase.

In February 2023, MoJ laid secondary legislation to ensure legal aid will be available for domestic abuse victims seeking a Domestic Abuse Protection Order. The legislation now also allows for more types of evidence to be accepted from victims of domestic abuse, making it easier for victims to evidence their claims and access the support they need.

In March 2023, the Government introduced the Victims and Prisoners Bill to Parliament. Under the Victims’ Code, victims are entitled to have their crime investigated without unjustified delay and to be provided with information about the investigation and prosecution.

Laura Farris
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
18th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of allowing people to use Irish passport cards at eGates.

To be eligible for entry via an e-gate at present, a traveller must hold a machine-readable biometric passport. Cards are not compatible.

The Government has an ambitious vision for the future UK border, in which most people crossing the border will experience an e-gate style arrival, using automation as their only point of contact.

We continue to look at options for expanding the use of e-gates to cohorts of passenger not currently able to use them.

18th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of allowing people to use Gibraltan identity cards at eGates.

To be eligible for entry via an e-gate at present, a traveller must hold a machine-readable biometric passport. Cards are not compatible.

The Government has an ambitious vision for the future UK border, in which most people crossing the border will experience an e-gate style arrival, using automation as their only point of contact.

We continue to look at options for expanding the use of e-gates to cohorts of passenger not currently able to use them.

24th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, for how many (a) visa and (b) other immigration applications have processing times been affected by (i) information technology and (ii) other technical faults in each of the last 12 months.

The information requested could not be obtained without disproportionate cost.

24th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether her Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of waiving the Immigration Skills Charge for employers sponsoring people working in the early years sector.

The Immigration Skills Charge (ISC) is levied on employers looking to bring in workers from overseas to the UK under the Points-Based System. The revenue raised from the ISC plays an important role in supporting the development of skills in the UK.

24th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to process applications for leave to remain for which service standard processing times have been exceeded.

UK Visas and Immigration are currently operating within their global customer service standards across all of the main legal migration routes for customers who make an entry clearance application from overseas.

Details of current performance against these customer service standards are updated regularly and can be found at:

Visa decision waiting times: applications outside the UK - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)(opens in a new tab).

24th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to process naturalisation applications for which service standard processing times have been exceeded.

The most recent Migration Transparency data published in May 2023 shows that 98.4% of straightforward applications were decided within six months.

It is not always possible to conclude non-straightforward applications for citizenship within the published service standards. The Home Office actively monitors and reviews such cases on a regular basis, to ensure they can be progressed as soon as possible. Where a case is not straightforward, customers are contacted to explain that their application cannot be decided within the six months service standard.

The link to the latest Migration Transparency Data can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/visas-and-citizenship-data-q1-2023

24th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether her Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of implementing a scheme to enable family members of Sudanese nationals who reside in the UK to come to the UK.

Over 2,000 people have been evacuated to safety in the longest and largest airlift of any western nation during the crisis in Sudan. As well as British nationals, the UK has also evacuated Sudanese clinicians who work in the NHS.

The UK Government is monitoring the situation in Sudan closely to ensure that it is able to respond appropriately. We recognise that some people displaced by the fighting may wish to join family in the UK, and where those family members do not have a current UK visa, they can apply for one via one of our standard visa routes, which remain available, and applications can be submitted at the nearest Visa Application Centre (VAC).

The UK continues to welcome refugees through our existing resettlement schemes which include the global UK Resettlement Scheme (UKRS), Community Sponsorship and the Mandate Resettlement Scheme. While our safe and legal routes are some of the most generous anywhere, we cannot accommodate everyone who wants to come to the UK.

8th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many (a) people with an open asylum-seeking claim and (b) people in receipt of Section 95 Asylum Support there are in Poplar and Limehouse constituencies.

The latest published Immigration Statistics detail the number of supported asylum seekers accommodated in each local authority area. These statistics can be found at Asylum and resettlement datasets Asylum and resettlement datasets - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)(opens in a new tab)(opens in a new tab), under the document Asylum seekers in receipt of support (second edition)(opens in a new tab)(opens in a new tab). Data are published on a quarterly basis, with the latest information published 24 November 2022. The next quarterly figures are due to be released in February 2023.

8th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the potential impact of ending Section 95 asylum support 28 days after a newly-recognised refugee has received their immigration status documents on rates of homelessness amongst newly-recognised refugees.

If an asylum seeker is granted refugee status, they gain immediate access to the labour market and receive advice to help them transition to the mainstream benefit system if they still require support. Newly recognised refugees are entitled to housing assistance from their local authority and are treated as a priority need if they have children or are considered vulnerable. The asylum accommodation estate is under huge strain and increasing the 28 day ‘move-on’ period would only exacerbate these pressures.

8th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when the HM Passport Office will replace instances of the phrase Her Majesty to His Majesty on newly-printed UK passports.

The changes will be implemented in a phased way from this summer.

British passports issued in the name of Her Majesty the Queen will continue to remain valid travel documents until their expiry date.

21st Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to help survivors of domestic abuse and coercive control with the cost of living crisis.

We are aware increases in the cost of living may generate additional challenges for domestic abuse victims and survivors.

In many cases those who have experienced domestic abuse may have had to face economic abuse. This is where perpetrators control a victim’s ability to acquire, use or maintain money or other property, or their ability to obtain goods or services, which can make it more challenging for victims and survivors to leave an abuser.

Our Tackling Domestic Abuse Plan doubles investment to £200,000 to further improve the response to economic abuse and provide vital support and economic safety for victims.

More broadly, the Plan commits over £140 million to support victims of domestic abuse. The Domestic Abuse Act 2021 also extends the controlling or coercive behaviour offence to cover post-separation abuse. This ensures that those who continue to perpetrate abuse after the survivors stops living with them can be brought to justice.

In addition, the Tackling Domestic Abuse Plan commits to establish trials of a ‘flexible fund’, which charities could use to provide extra money to victims and survivors.

21st Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to ensure that victims of coercive control and domestic abuse are protected from harassment outside of the home including post separation harassment.

Our landmark Domestic Abuse Act 2021 is bolstering our response to domestic abuse on every level, strengthening protections for victims whilst also ensuring perpetrators feel the full force of the law. On 30 March this year, we went even further and published the cross-Government Tackling Domestic Abuse Plan. The Plan seeks to transform the whole of society’s response to prevent offending, support victims, pursue perpetrators, and strengthen the systems and processes in place to deliver these goals.

Controlling or coercive behaviour can persist and often increase post-separation – which is why the Domestic Abuse Act amended the offence. This means that it will soon apply to intimate partners, ex-partners or family members, regardless of whether the victim and perpetrator live together. To further assist frontline agencies in identifying, investigating and evidencing such abuse , we are updating the Controlling or Coercive Behaviour Statutory Guidance.

In the Domestic Abuse Act 2021, the Government also legislated for a new Domestic Abuse Protection Notice and Order, to be piloted from Spring 2024, which will go even further in protecting victims from all forms of domestic abuse. This includes making the order available in all courts and making breach a criminal offence. The order will have no minimum or maximum duration and will be able to impose electronic monitoring requirements.

The criminal justice system’s response to domestic abuse continues to improve, and this is reflected in the number of controlling or coercive behaviour offences that have reached a first hearing at a magistrates’ court having increased year on year. From 2016/17– the first year in which controlling or coercive behaviour cases reached this stage of the criminal justice system – to 2017/18, for instance, numbers increased threefold from 309 to 960. The number has since increased to 1,403 in 2020/21.

It is vital that police are able to effectively respond to domestic abuse, which is why controlling or coercive behaviour is covered extensively in the Domestic Abuse Matters training for police, with a 2020 evaluation of the programme showing a 41% increase in arrests for the offence. To strengthen the police response to domestic abuse and controlling or coercive behaviour, in the 2021 Domestic Abuse Plan, we committed up to £3.3m until 2025 to support the further rollout of this training.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
21st Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of adequacy of the treatment victims of coercive control and domestic abuse by the criminal justice system.

Our landmark Domestic Abuse Act 2021 is bolstering our response to domestic abuse on every level, strengthening protections for victims whilst also ensuring perpetrators feel the full force of the law. On 30 March this year, we went even further and published the cross-Government Tackling Domestic Abuse Plan. The Plan seeks to transform the whole of society’s response to prevent offending, support victims, pursue perpetrators, and strengthen the systems and processes in place to deliver these goals.

Controlling or coercive behaviour can persist and often increase post-separation – which is why the Domestic Abuse Act amended the offence. This means that it will soon apply to intimate partners, ex-partners or family members, regardless of whether the victim and perpetrator live together. To further assist frontline agencies in identifying, investigating and evidencing such abuse , we are updating the Controlling or Coercive Behaviour Statutory Guidance.

In the Domestic Abuse Act 2021, the Government also legislated for a new Domestic Abuse Protection Notice and Order, to be piloted from Spring 2024, which will go even further in protecting victims from all forms of domestic abuse. This includes making the order available in all courts and making breach a criminal offence. The order will have no minimum or maximum duration and will be able to impose electronic monitoring requirements.

The criminal justice system’s response to domestic abuse continues to improve, and this is reflected in the number of controlling or coercive behaviour offences that have reached a first hearing at a magistrates’ court having increased year on year. From 2016/17– the first year in which controlling or coercive behaviour cases reached this stage of the criminal justice system – to 2017/18, for instance, numbers increased threefold from 309 to 960. The number has since increased to 1,403 in 2020/21.

It is vital that police are able to effectively respond to domestic abuse, which is why controlling or coercive behaviour is covered extensively in the Domestic Abuse Matters training for police, with a 2020 evaluation of the programme showing a 41% increase in arrests for the offence. To strengthen the police response to domestic abuse and controlling or coercive behaviour, in the 2021 Domestic Abuse Plan, we committed up to £3.3m until 2025 to support the further rollout of this training.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
9th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to protect (a) freedom of expression and (b) the right to protest outside foreign embassies in the UK.

Articles 10 and 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights set out that everyone has the right to freedom of expression, assembly and association. This government will always fully support these rights, including the right of individuals to engage in peaceful protest.

It is a long-standing tradition in this country that people are free to gather together and to demonstrate their views, provided that they do so within the law.

The management of demonstrations is an operational matter for the police. In certain circumstances, the police have a duty to take reasonable steps to protect those who want to exercise their rights peacefully.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
9th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she has received guidance from (a) the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs and (b) other Cabinet colleagues on how local authorities should respond to protests outside foreign embassies and consulates.

Articles 10 and 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights set out that everyone has the right to freedom of expression, assembly and association. This government will always fully support these rights, including the right of individuals to engage in peaceful protest.

It is a long-standing tradition in this country that people are free to gather together and to demonstrate their views, provided that they do so within the law.

The management of demonstrations is an operational matter for the police. In certain circumstances, the police have a duty to take reasonable steps to protect those who want to exercise their rights peacefully.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
9th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she has taken steps with Cabinet colleagues to provide guidance to (a) local authorities and (b) police forces on protests outside foreign embassies and consulates.

Articles 10 and 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights set out that everyone has the right to freedom of expression, assembly and association. This government will always fully support these rights, including the right of individuals to engage in peaceful protest.

It is a long-standing tradition in this country that people are free to gather together and to demonstrate their views, provided that they do so within the law.

The management of demonstrations is an operational matter for the police. In certain circumstances, the police have a duty to take reasonable steps to protect those who want to exercise their rights peacefully.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
9th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she has had recent discussions with the Secretary of State for (a) Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs and (b) Levelling Up, Housing and Communities on taking steps to protect and support (i) people from Hong Kong and (ii) Uighur Muslims from surveillance and oppression within the UK.

The Government regularly assesses potential threats to the UK, and takes the protection of individuals’ rights, freedoms, and safety in the UK very seriously. As you would expect, Home Office officials work closely with the FCDO and DLUHC as well as other government departments to ensure that the UK is a safe and welcoming place for people who choose to settle here.

As I stated to the House on 1 November, I have asked officials to step up the work to ensure that our approach to transnational repression is robust, and I have asked our Department to review our approach to transnational repression as a matter of urgency. This will include how we work with other Departments including the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to ensure that communities feel safe and supported. I will provide an update on that work to the House in due course.

Tom Tugendhat
Minister of State (Home Office) (Security)
31st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she is taking steps to broaden the Afghan Resettlement Programme to allow more refugees from conflict zones to reach sanctuary in the UK.

The UK has a long history of supporting refugees in need of protection. Since 2015, we have resettled more than 27,000 refugees through safe and legal routes direct from regions of conflict and instability, around half of whom were children.

In responding to the crisis in Afghanistan, the Government launched both the Afghan Relocations & Assistance Policy (ARAP), through which Afghans employed by the UK locally in Afghanistan can relocate here, and the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS), which will resettle up to 20,000 people at-risk.

The UK also continues to welcome vulnerable people through the global UK Resettlement Scheme, Mandate Resettlement Scheme and the Community Sponsorship Scheme.

31st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans she has to allow parents to be listed as the gender neutral category parent or birth-parent on their children's birth certificates.

Civil registration in the UK is a devolved matter and there are separate systems in place for Scotland and Northern Ireland.

In England and Wales, a birth entry records the name of the child’s mother and, where certain conditions can be met as set out in law, either the name of the father or a second female parent.

There are currently no plans in England and Wales to change how parents are recorded in birth entries or on birth certificates.

31st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the outcome was of the equalities impact assessment on disabled people in awarding the contract for Fire Safety Order Guidance to CS Todd.

The contract to draft a suite of fire safety guidance was awarded to CS Todd Associates in accordance with the relevant public procurement regulations and following a fully transparent commercial procurement process.

We are ensuring that the development of fire safety policy remains in compliance with the Public Sector Equality Duty.

10th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of introducing a single point of contact within local police forces for victims of stalking.

Stalking is a terrible crime that can have a devastating impact on victims’ lives. This Government is committed to protecting and supporting victims and is determined to do everything we can to stop perpetrators at the earliest opportunity.

Each of the 43 police forces in England and Wales has at least one named single point of contact for stalking and harassment, who can advise officers on stalking cases. The role includes acting as the force link to specialist support services dealing with victims of stalking and offering support to ensure an investigation is being carried out appropriately.

Stalking Protection Orders were introduced in January 2020 to provide enable intervention to address stalking behaviours before they become deep-rooted or escalate. Upon their introduction the Government published statutory guidance for the police, developed in consultation with the police and others, about the orders, which includes material on identifying the need for and appropriately implementing them.

The Home Office-led a multi-agency project for the implementation of SPOs before their introduction – this included the development of operational guidance materials and standard forms and documents for the police, as developed by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and the College of Policing.

My officials have since been continuing to work closely with the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s stalking lead to ensure that these orders are being used appropriately. This has included establishing actions in response to points raised by the police and others, such as the establishment of a process for the sharing of best practice between forces. In October 2021 I also wrote to all Chief Constables whose forces applied for fewer SPOs than might have been expected, to encourage them to always consider applying for a Stalking Protection Order in stalking cases.

10th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she has taken to ensure that all police forces in England are adequately able to (a) identify the need for and (b) appropriately implement stalking protection orders.

Stalking is a terrible crime that can have a devastating impact on victims’ lives. This Government is committed to protecting and supporting victims and is determined to do everything we can to stop perpetrators at the earliest opportunity.

Each of the 43 police forces in England and Wales has at least one named single point of contact for stalking and harassment, who can advise officers on stalking cases. The role includes acting as the force link to specialist support services dealing with victims of stalking and offering support to ensure an investigation is being carried out appropriately.

Stalking Protection Orders were introduced in January 2020 to provide enable intervention to address stalking behaviours before they become deep-rooted or escalate. Upon their introduction the Government published statutory guidance for the police, developed in consultation with the police and others, about the orders, which includes material on identifying the need for and appropriately implementing them.

The Home Office-led a multi-agency project for the implementation of SPOs before their introduction – this included the development of operational guidance materials and standard forms and documents for the police, as developed by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and the College of Policing.

My officials have since been continuing to work closely with the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s stalking lead to ensure that these orders are being used appropriately. This has included establishing actions in response to points raised by the police and others, such as the establishment of a process for the sharing of best practice between forces. In October 2021 I also wrote to all Chief Constables whose forces applied for fewer SPOs than might have been expected, to encourage them to always consider applying for a Stalking Protection Order in stalking cases.

28th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether her Department plans to undertake an equalities impact assessment on the implementation of serious violence reduction orders.

We published a policy equality statement for the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill in September 2021. This document includes a policy equality assessment on SVROs. The full assessment can be found at: