Bell Ribeiro-Addy Portrait

Bell Ribeiro-Addy

Labour - Streatham


Oral Question
Monday 25th October 2021
14:30
Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities
Oral Question No. 12
What steps he is taking to increase the supply of (a) affordable and (b) social housing.
Select Committee Meeting
Wednesday 27th October 2021
13:45
Women and Equalities Committee - Oral evidence
Subject: One-off: Annual session with the Equality And Human Rights Commission
27 Oct 2021, 1:45 p.m.
At 2.30pm: Oral evidence
Baroness Kishwer Falkner - Chair at Equality and Human Rights Commission
Marcial Boo - Chief Executive Officer at Equality and Human Rights Commission
View calendar
Scheduled Event
Thursday 28th October 2021
15:00
Westminster Hall debate - Westminster Hall
28 Oct 2021, 3 p.m.
General debate on Black History Month 2021
View calendar
Division Votes
Friday 22nd October 2021
Prayers
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 114 Labour No votes vs 0 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 3 Noes - 336
Speeches
Thursday 21st October 2021
Black History Month

My hon. Friend has highlighted well the statistics and she will be aware that the Government still have no target …

Written Answers
Wednesday 20th October 2021
Computacenter: Remote Education
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many devices were purchased by the IT firm Computacenter for the …
Early Day Motions
Tuesday 19th October 2021
Black History Month 2021
That this House notes that this month we celebrate Black History Month 2021 and welcomes the many events and initiatives …
Bills
None available
Tweets
None available
MP Financial Interests
Monday 23rd August 2021
1. Employment and earnings
Payments from Savanta ComRes, The Woolyard, 54 Bermondsey Street, London SE1 3UD, for surveys. All fees donated to charity.
EDM signed
Friday 22nd October 2021
Covid-19 plan B measures
That this House notes that there is once more a surge in new covid-19 cases and that both hospitalisations and …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Bell Ribeiro-Addy has voted in 288 divisions, and 3 times against the majority of their Party.

25 Mar 2021 - Coronavirus - View Vote Context
Bell Ribeiro-Addy 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
30 Dec 2020 - European Union (Future Relationship) Bill - View Vote Context
Bell Ribeiro-Addy voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 1 Labour No votes vs 162 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 521 Noes - 73
30 Dec 2020 - European Union (Future Relationship) Bill - View Vote Context
Bell Ribeiro-Addy voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 1 Labour No votes vs 162 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 521 Noes - 73
View All Bell Ribeiro-Addy 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
Priti Patel (Conservative)
Home Secretary
(11 debate interactions)
Boris Johnson (Conservative)
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
(8 debate interactions)
Chris Philp (Conservative)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
(7 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Home Office
(27 debate contributions)
Department of Health and Social Care
(17 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(13 debate contributions)
HM Treasury
(12 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Bell Ribeiro-Addy's debates

Streatham 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 Streatham signature proportion
Petition Debates Contributed

Much like the existing mandatory requirement for employers with 250 or more employees must publish their gender pay gap. We call upon the government to introduce the ethnicity pay gap reporting. To shine a light on race / ethnicity based inequality in the workplace so that they can be addressed.

Currently, it is not compulsory for primary or secondary school students to be educated on Britain's role in colonisation, or the transatlantic slave trade. We petition the government to make education on topics such as these compulsory, with the ultimate aim of a far more inclusive curriculum.

Black Women in the U.K. are 5 times more likely to die during pregnancy and after childbirth compared to White Women (MBRRACE, 2019). We need more research done into why this is happening and recommendations to improve health care for Black Women as urgent action is needed to address this disparity.

All students should be reimbursed of this years tuition fees as universities are now online only due to COVID-19, with only powerpoints online for learning materials which is not worthy of up to £9,250. Furthermore, all assessments are being reconsidered to ‘make do’ and build up credits.

As students are unable to access facilities or continue with their eduction at their university setting in the following semester, we would like to request that the government considers refunding tuition payments for Semester 3.

The quality of online lectures is not equal to face-to-face lectures. Students should not have to pay full tuition fees for online lectures, without experiencing university life. The Government should require UK universities to partially refund tuition fees while online teaching is implemented.

Students across the UK have returned to University to be told our learning will be predominantly online for the foreseeable future. The Government should therefore lower our tuition fees and we should receive a partial refund for the effects this will have on our learning and university experience.

The University and College Union has repeatedly called on its members to strike. However, strikes are ineffective if students, not employees are the main source of revenue. For this to change, government needs to step in and require universities to reimburse tuition fees lost due to strike action.


Latest EDMs signed by Bell Ribeiro-Addy

22nd October 2021
Bell Ribeiro-Addy signed this EDM as a sponsor on Friday 22nd October 2021

Covid-19 plan B measures

Tabled by: Diane Abbott (Labour - Hackney North and Stoke Newington)
That this House notes that there is once more a surge in new covid-19 cases and that both hospitalisations and deaths are rising; further notes that the UK's data is currently far in excess of comparable countries in Western Europe; believes that a failure to respond to this situation is …
3 signatures
(Most recent: 22 Oct 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 3
23rd September 2021
Bell Ribeiro-Addy signed this EDM on Thursday 21st October 2021

Campaign to secure the future of the Covid Memorial Wall

Tabled by: Afzal Khan (Labour - Manchester, Gorton)
That this House welcomes the creation of the Covid Memorial Wall on Albert Embankment by Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice; notes that this memorial now includes over 150,000 hand-painted hearts to symbolise all those who lost their lives during the coronavirus pandemic; praises the work of Covid-19 Bereaved Families for …
72 signatures
(Most recent: 22 Oct 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 45
Scottish National Party: 9
Liberal Democrat: 9
Democratic Unionist Party: 5
Conservative: 2
Green Party: 1
Independent: 1
View All Bell Ribeiro-Addy's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Bell Ribeiro-Addy, 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.


1 Urgent Question tabled by Bell Ribeiro-Addy

Monday 30th November 2020

Bell Ribeiro-Addy has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

Bell Ribeiro-Addy has not introduced any legislation before Parliament

Bell Ribeiro-Addy has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


273 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
6 Other Department Questions
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what steps her Department is taking to tackle hair discrimination in (a) dress code policies in schools and (b) places of work.

The Equality Act 2010 covers both education and employment settings.

In formulating its school uniform policy, a school must consider its obligations not to discriminate unlawfully under equality law. The Department for Education provides guidance to help schools understand how the Equality Act affects them and how to fulfil their duties under the Act. The guidance makes clear to schools that decisions related to appearance, including on hair, must be made in accordance with their responsibilities under the Equality Act.

In the workplace, any absolute ban on someone’s ability to manifest their religious beliefs through a chosen hairstyle could constitute direct discrimination because of religion and therefore would be likely to be unlawful, while a ban on hairstyles associated with a particular ethnicity could constitute indirect discrimination because of race which would require the employer imposing the ban to justify why it was necessary, for instance because of health and safety reasons.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, if she will hold discussions with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the potential merits of providing tailored support to the wraparound childcare sector during the covid-19 outbreak to help tackle gender inequality.

Wraparound childcare is a Department for Education policy, therefore the Minister for Women and Equalities would not be best-placed to lead discussions on this issue with the Chancellor. The Equality Hub provides evidence and expertise to support cross-government work on economic and social recovery, working closely with the COVID-19 Taskforce and the relevant delivery departments. This includes working with the Department for Education to highlight the pressures faced by those balancing work with childcare, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, as we know that the majority of these pressures fall on women.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what the timescale is for allowing churches to resume choir singing; and what guidance will be published for churches on resuming choir singing safely during the covid-19 outbreak.

The timescale for allowing churches to resume choral singing is a matter for Public Health England and the Government. The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government published updated guidance on the 9th July, which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-the-safe-use-of-places-of-worship-during-the-pandemic-from-4-july/covid-19-guidance-for-the-safe-use-of-places-of-worship-during-the-pandemic-from-4-july

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
25th Jun 2020
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the Church of England has taken to provide financial support to single parish churches to avoid the redundancy, salary review and staff restructuring of employed musicians.

In March, the Church Commissioners and Archbishops’ Council announced over £75m of liquidity support to dioceses and cathedrals. This money included allowing dioceses in financial need to access up to three months forbearance on sums required for the national clergy payroll [or clergy stipends] for a limited period and paying monthly grants in full for 2020. In May the National Church Institutions announced a diocesan grant scheme supported by the Church Commissioners, which totalled up to £35m of sustainability funding.

The Church Commissioners are unable to make grants directly to Parochial Church Councils and parish churches. Parishes employ staff such as musicians, assistants, and lay workers in a variety of ways. Where the Parochial Church Council directly employs an individual, the individual would have been eligible to be placed on furlough under the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS).

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
25th Jun 2020
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the Church of England is taking to ensure that church musicians and choirs can safely resume their work as soon as possible under Government guidelines; and what assessment the Church has made of the implications for its policies of medical evidence on the transmission risk of choirs and congregations in church settings.

The Church of England is working with the Government and Public Health England to restore choirs and singing to services as soon as it is safe to do so. There has been limited research available for Public Health England to use to make an informed assessment about the safety of singing, and the choir of Salisbury Cathedral is currently participating in a study organised by Public Health England to enable it to make these decisions in an informed manner. We await further guidance from the Government and Public Health England once these trials have been concluded.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what plans the Government has to end male primogeniture.

Reform of the succession to the hereditary peerage raises a variety of complex issues and therefore any changes need careful consideration and wider engagement.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will allow up to 60 people to attend weddings after the 21 June 2021.

We recognise that any restrictions on weddings may be disappointing for those planning such events. We do not wish to keep restrictions in place for any longer than we have to.

At Step 4, which will take place no earlier than 21 June, the Government aims to remove all restrictions on weddings, civil partnership ceremonies and receptions.

The decision on whether to proceed to Step 4 will be taken a week in advance of 21 June in order to take into account the latest data. Guidance will then be updated as soon as possible.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether his Department plans to bring forward legislative proposals to grant British citizens living abroad lifelong entitlement to vote.

The Government is committed to scrapping the arbitrary rule that prevents British citizens who have lived abroad for more than 15 years from participating in UK parliamentary elections.

The Government is considering the appropriate legislative vehicle to deliver votes for life, which is a manifesto commitment, and we will make an announcement on our intentions in due course.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of introducing a requirement for all publicly-funded building projects first to investigate retrofitting of existing buildings.

The Government has already put in place a number of measures that require decision-makers in the public sector to consider refurbishment and retro-fitting improvements to existing buildings, rather than commissioning new-build solutions automatically.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, which Minister is responsible for auditing the algorithms used by Government; and what steps that Minister takes to audit those algorithms.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to PQ83803 on 10 September 2020.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
23rd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will make an assessment of adding touring artists to the list of jobs that qualify for covid-19 travel exemptions.

The Government is committed to supporting our world-leading creative industries and to help them to recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Covid-19 travel exemptions are kept under review and any changes are driven by the public health risks.

30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sports, what steps his Department is taking to support businesses in the events industry who have had to cancel events at short notice in response to new covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

We are aware that the events industry has been severely impacted by Government measures to control the spread of Covid-19. Events businesses and individuals can seek support in the form of various government-backed loans, business grants and the extended furlough and self-employed support schemes.

In light of the national restrictions announced on 4 January, the Chancellor has announced one-off top up grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses worth up to £9,000 per property to help businesses through to the Spring. He also announced that a £594 million discretionary fund will be made available to support other impacted businesses. This comes on top of the existing Additional Restrictions Grant discretionary funding and the Local Restrictions Support Grants.

The Culture Recovery Fund has already supported a wide range of cultural organisations, including venues, festivals and theatres. The £1 billion already committed has supported 3000 organisations and more than 75,000 jobs. £300 million in grants and £100 million in loans is available to support cultural organisations including businesses in the events industry.

We continue to engage with stakeholders, including through the Tourism Industry Council and the Events Industry Senior Leaders Advisory Panel, to monitor the situation facing the sector.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking in response to BT Group's reported plans to make 10,000 British workers redundant in the next five years.

BT Group announced a modernisation programme in its 2019/20 results, which it says will enable the organisation to re-engineer old and out of date processes, switch off legacy services and make substantial cost savings over a 5-year period. Any redundancies as part of this process are a commercial decision for BT Group. However, we understand BT’s approach is to minimise redundancies through natural attrition and to provide opportunities to reskill and redeploy workers whenever possible.

More generally, the Government is committed to delivering nationwide gigabit connectivity as soon as possible, and is investing £5bn to deliver gigabit-capable services to the hardest to reach parts of the UK. Nationwide gigabit rollout will create thousands of high-quality jobs in the UK and help the country build back better from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Chancellor also announced the ‘Plan for Jobs’ during his Summer Economic Update, through which the Government is making available up to £30 billion to create, protect, and support jobs, and to spur the UK’s recovery following COVID-19.

15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many devices were purchased by the IT firm Computacenter for the purpose of the Get help with technology scheme; and what brand and model of devices were purchased by that firm for the scheme.

Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, the department has distributed over 1.35 million laptops and tablets to schools, academy trusts, local authorities and further education providers for disadvantaged children and young people through the Get Help With Technology programme. This formed part of the £400 million government investment to support access to remote education and online social care services. Of these, 920,120 devices were purchased via contracts held with ComputaCenter. A table containing information on device type is attached.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to bridge the educational attainment gap between Black pupils and pupils of other ethnic origins in (a) STEM and (b) other subjects.

The Department publishes data on the results of Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 assessments, including in Mathematics and science, broken down by ethnicity, in the Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 statistics publications, available to view here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/statistics-key-stage-1 and here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/statistics-key-stage-2#national-curriculum-assessments-at-key-stage-2. Key Stage 3 assessments are no longer carried out. With regard to Key Stage 4, the Department does not publish statistics at this level which show the attainment in science, technology, engineering or Mathematics (STEM) subjects versus all others by ethnicity.

Data is routinely published on the achievement of STEM A level subjects broken down by ethnicity and other student characteristics in the A level and other 16 to 18 results statistical release, available to view here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/statistics-attainment-at-19-years#a-levels-and-other-16-to-18-results.

The Department commissioned research by Renaissance Learning and the Education Policy Institute to understand pupils' progress over the course of the 2020/21 academic year. The research uses assessments from Renaissance Learning which some schools use as part of their usual formative assessment schedule. The research estimates education lost by predicting what pupils would have scored in a normal year using their historic results and compare that against their actual scores.

The Department has looked at the results by Black pupils and pupils belonging to other ethnic groups, but there is not a consistent picture of which ethnic groups have been worse affected across phases, subjects, and time periods in the study. Small sample sizes make it difficult to draw statistically significant conclusions about differences in impact between ethnic groups based on this study.

The Department has invested over £3 billion since June 2020 to support education recovery for children aged 2 to 19 in schools, colleges, and early years. This will have a material impact in addressing lost education and closing gaps that have emerged. As part of this, we have announced significant investment in reforms which the evidence shows have the biggest impact on pupils' progress: small group tuition and high quality teaching. For example, effective tutoring has been shown to boost catch up education by much as 3 to 5 months at a time.

The Department has committed to an ambitious, long-term education recovery plan and the next stage will include a review of time spent in school and college and the impact this could have on helping children and young people to catch up. The findings of the review will be set out later in the year to inform the Spending Review.

Ensuring that anyone, regardless of their background, has the opportunity to pursue a career in a STEM occupation is a key priority for this Government. The Department has made substantial spending commitments on Mathematics, digital, and technical education to encourage more students into STEM, from primary school to higher education. The demand for STEM skills is growing and improving take up of STEM subjects is vital for the UK’s future economic needs and to drive up productivity.

The Department is proud to have rolled out programmes such as the Advanced Maths Support Programme, Stimulating Physics Network, Enthuse bursaries, Teaching for Mastery and Isaac Physics. Together, these programmes will increase STEM support and uptake across all key stages, enhancing the next generation’s mathematical and scientific skills on which the STEM sector is underpinned.

Furthermore, programmes such as STEM Ambassadors, where volunteers who are employed in STEM industries engage directly with young people, help broaden pupils’ understanding of careers in science and engineering and how they can apply their individual skills and interests to different opportunities.

22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of the covid-19 lockdowns on the educational attainment of Black pupils in STEM subjects.

The Department publishes data on the results of Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 assessments, including in Mathematics and science, broken down by ethnicity, in the Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 statistics publications, available to view here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/statistics-key-stage-1 and here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/statistics-key-stage-2#national-curriculum-assessments-at-key-stage-2. Key Stage 3 assessments are no longer carried out. With regard to Key Stage 4, the Department does not publish statistics at this level which show the attainment in science, technology, engineering or Mathematics (STEM) subjects versus all others by ethnicity.

Data is routinely published on the achievement of STEM A level subjects broken down by ethnicity and other student characteristics in the A level and other 16 to 18 results statistical release, available to view here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/statistics-attainment-at-19-years#a-levels-and-other-16-to-18-results.

The Department commissioned research by Renaissance Learning and the Education Policy Institute to understand pupils' progress over the course of the 2020/21 academic year. The research uses assessments from Renaissance Learning which some schools use as part of their usual formative assessment schedule. The research estimates education lost by predicting what pupils would have scored in a normal year using their historic results and compare that against their actual scores.

The Department has looked at the results by Black pupils and pupils belonging to other ethnic groups, but there is not a consistent picture of which ethnic groups have been worse affected across phases, subjects, and time periods in the study. Small sample sizes make it difficult to draw statistically significant conclusions about differences in impact between ethnic groups based on this study.

The Department has invested over £3 billion since June 2020 to support education recovery for children aged 2 to 19 in schools, colleges, and early years. This will have a material impact in addressing lost education and closing gaps that have emerged. As part of this, we have announced significant investment in reforms which the evidence shows have the biggest impact on pupils' progress: small group tuition and high quality teaching. For example, effective tutoring has been shown to boost catch up education by much as 3 to 5 months at a time.

The Department has committed to an ambitious, long-term education recovery plan and the next stage will include a review of time spent in school and college and the impact this could have on helping children and young people to catch up. The findings of the review will be set out later in the year to inform the Spending Review.

Ensuring that anyone, regardless of their background, has the opportunity to pursue a career in a STEM occupation is a key priority for this Government. The Department has made substantial spending commitments on Mathematics, digital, and technical education to encourage more students into STEM, from primary school to higher education. The demand for STEM skills is growing and improving take up of STEM subjects is vital for the UK’s future economic needs and to drive up productivity.

The Department is proud to have rolled out programmes such as the Advanced Maths Support Programme, Stimulating Physics Network, Enthuse bursaries, Teaching for Mastery and Isaac Physics. Together, these programmes will increase STEM support and uptake across all key stages, enhancing the next generation’s mathematical and scientific skills on which the STEM sector is underpinned.

Furthermore, programmes such as STEM Ambassadors, where volunteers who are employed in STEM industries engage directly with young people, help broaden pupils’ understanding of careers in science and engineering and how they can apply their individual skills and interests to different opportunities.

22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the educational attainment of Black pupils compared to pupils of other ethnic origins in STEM subjects at A-level.

The Department publishes data on the results of Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 assessments, including in Mathematics and science, broken down by ethnicity, in the Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 statistics publications, available to view here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/statistics-key-stage-1 and here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/statistics-key-stage-2#national-curriculum-assessments-at-key-stage-2. Key Stage 3 assessments are no longer carried out. With regard to Key Stage 4, the Department does not publish statistics at this level which show the attainment in science, technology, engineering or Mathematics (STEM) subjects versus all others by ethnicity.

Data is routinely published on the achievement of STEM A level subjects broken down by ethnicity and other student characteristics in the A level and other 16 to 18 results statistical release, available to view here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/statistics-attainment-at-19-years#a-levels-and-other-16-to-18-results.

The Department commissioned research by Renaissance Learning and the Education Policy Institute to understand pupils' progress over the course of the 2020/21 academic year. The research uses assessments from Renaissance Learning which some schools use as part of their usual formative assessment schedule. The research estimates education lost by predicting what pupils would have scored in a normal year using their historic results and compare that against their actual scores.

The Department has looked at the results by Black pupils and pupils belonging to other ethnic groups, but there is not a consistent picture of which ethnic groups have been worse affected across phases, subjects, and time periods in the study. Small sample sizes make it difficult to draw statistically significant conclusions about differences in impact between ethnic groups based on this study.

The Department has invested over £3 billion since June 2020 to support education recovery for children aged 2 to 19 in schools, colleges, and early years. This will have a material impact in addressing lost education and closing gaps that have emerged. As part of this, we have announced significant investment in reforms which the evidence shows have the biggest impact on pupils' progress: small group tuition and high quality teaching. For example, effective tutoring has been shown to boost catch up education by much as 3 to 5 months at a time.

The Department has committed to an ambitious, long-term education recovery plan and the next stage will include a review of time spent in school and college and the impact this could have on helping children and young people to catch up. The findings of the review will be set out later in the year to inform the Spending Review.

Ensuring that anyone, regardless of their background, has the opportunity to pursue a career in a STEM occupation is a key priority for this Government. The Department has made substantial spending commitments on Mathematics, digital, and technical education to encourage more students into STEM, from primary school to higher education. The demand for STEM skills is growing and improving take up of STEM subjects is vital for the UK’s future economic needs and to drive up productivity.

The Department is proud to have rolled out programmes such as the Advanced Maths Support Programme, Stimulating Physics Network, Enthuse bursaries, Teaching for Mastery and Isaac Physics. Together, these programmes will increase STEM support and uptake across all key stages, enhancing the next generation’s mathematical and scientific skills on which the STEM sector is underpinned.

Furthermore, programmes such as STEM Ambassadors, where volunteers who are employed in STEM industries engage directly with young people, help broaden pupils’ understanding of careers in science and engineering and how they can apply their individual skills and interests to different opportunities.

22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the educational attainment of Black pupils compared to pupils of other ethnic origins in STEM subjects in (a) Key Stage 1, (b) Key Stage 2, (c) Key Stage 3 and (d) Key stage 4.

The Department publishes data on the results of Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 assessments, including in Mathematics and science, broken down by ethnicity, in the Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 statistics publications, available to view here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/statistics-key-stage-1 and here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/statistics-key-stage-2#national-curriculum-assessments-at-key-stage-2. Key Stage 3 assessments are no longer carried out. With regard to Key Stage 4, the Department does not publish statistics at this level which show the attainment in science, technology, engineering or Mathematics (STEM) subjects versus all others by ethnicity.

Data is routinely published on the achievement of STEM A level subjects broken down by ethnicity and other student characteristics in the A level and other 16 to 18 results statistical release, available to view here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/statistics-attainment-at-19-years#a-levels-and-other-16-to-18-results.

The Department commissioned research by Renaissance Learning and the Education Policy Institute to understand pupils' progress over the course of the 2020/21 academic year. The research uses assessments from Renaissance Learning which some schools use as part of their usual formative assessment schedule. The research estimates education lost by predicting what pupils would have scored in a normal year using their historic results and compare that against their actual scores.

The Department has looked at the results by Black pupils and pupils belonging to other ethnic groups, but there is not a consistent picture of which ethnic groups have been worse affected across phases, subjects, and time periods in the study. Small sample sizes make it difficult to draw statistically significant conclusions about differences in impact between ethnic groups based on this study.

The Department has invested over £3 billion since June 2020 to support education recovery for children aged 2 to 19 in schools, colleges, and early years. This will have a material impact in addressing lost education and closing gaps that have emerged. As part of this, we have announced significant investment in reforms which the evidence shows have the biggest impact on pupils' progress: small group tuition and high quality teaching. For example, effective tutoring has been shown to boost catch up education by much as 3 to 5 months at a time.

The Department has committed to an ambitious, long-term education recovery plan and the next stage will include a review of time spent in school and college and the impact this could have on helping children and young people to catch up. The findings of the review will be set out later in the year to inform the Spending Review.

Ensuring that anyone, regardless of their background, has the opportunity to pursue a career in a STEM occupation is a key priority for this Government. The Department has made substantial spending commitments on Mathematics, digital, and technical education to encourage more students into STEM, from primary school to higher education. The demand for STEM skills is growing and improving take up of STEM subjects is vital for the UK’s future economic needs and to drive up productivity.

The Department is proud to have rolled out programmes such as the Advanced Maths Support Programme, Stimulating Physics Network, Enthuse bursaries, Teaching for Mastery and Isaac Physics. Together, these programmes will increase STEM support and uptake across all key stages, enhancing the next generation’s mathematical and scientific skills on which the STEM sector is underpinned.

Furthermore, programmes such as STEM Ambassadors, where volunteers who are employed in STEM industries engage directly with young people, help broaden pupils’ understanding of careers in science and engineering and how they can apply their individual skills and interests to different opportunities.

22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the percentage of Black undergraduate students who progress on to postgraduate studies.

The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) collects and publishes data on the outcomes of graduates 15 months after graduating from higher education in the graduate outcomes survey. More information is available here: https://www.hesa.ac.uk/data-and-analysis/graduates.

The percentage of undergraduate leavers in the 2017/18 academic year who progressed to postgraduate study in the 15 months[1] after graduation have been provided in the table for each ethnic group.

Undergraduate leavers who progressed to postgraduate study1 by ethnicity

Leavers in the academic year 2017/18

English Higher Education Providers

Ethnicity

Undergraduate leavers from science subjects who progressed to postgraduate study 2 3

Undergraduate leavers who progressed to postgraduate study

Base count of undergraduate leavers 4

(%)

(%)

White

12.4%

11.4%

135,075

Black

11.0%

11.1%

14,405

Asian

12.4%

11.5%

22,090

Mixed

13.9%

12.1%

7,210

Other

15.2%

14.0%

2,575

Ethnicity not known

10.9%

11.9%

1,615

Total

12.4%

11.5%

182,975

Source: Department for Education analysis of the HESA Graduate Outcomes survey data

Notes:

1 Percentages refer to undergraduate leavers participating in postgraduate study during the 15-month census week for the survey, or during the interim period since graduating.

2 Subject percentages are calculated using full-person-equivalents. Where a student was studying more than one subject, they have been apportioned between the subjects that make up their course.

3 Science subjects have been identified using the HESA methodology, principal subject categories A to K of the JACS3 subject classifications framework are categorised as Science subjects. These can be found here: https://www.hesa.ac.uk/support/documentation/jacs/jacs3-principal.

4 Base counts are the number of UK domiciled undergraduate leavers who responded to the GO survey, and can also be found in Figure 5 of HESA’s Open Data: https://www.hesa.ac.uk/data-and-analysis/sb257/figure-5.

[1] Includes leavers participating in postgraduate study during the 15-month census week for the survey, or during the interim period since graduating.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
21st Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to limit the (a) spread of covid-19 variants in schools and (b) disruptions caused by covid-19 variants in schools.

The Department for Education has worked closely with Public Health England (PHE) to develop and refresh the system of controls, which include cleaning hands thoroughly more often than usual, minimising contact between individuals, and keeping occupied spaces well ventilated to reduce the risk of transmission in schools. Robust testing regimes and the system of controls, when implemented in line with schools’ own workplace risk assessment, create an inherently safer environment for children and staff where the risk of transmission of infection is substantially reduced. The way to control the COVID-19 outbreak is the same, even with the current new variants. The system of controls is available to view here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/schools-coronavirus-covid-19-operational-guidance#system-of-controls.

The system of controls is kept under review and is based on the latest scientific and medical advice, including the context of prevalence, new variants, and progress of the vaccination programme. The Department will continue to develop comprehensive guidance and to understand the impact and effectiveness of these measures on staff, pupils, students, and parents.

In areas where there is a high prevalence of the Delta variant, the Department is increasing the availability of testing for staff, pupils, and families and working with Directors of Public Health to reduce local transmission. The reintroduction of face coverings for pupils, students, or staff may be advised for a temporary period in response to particular localised outbreaks. Further information on responding to individual or regional outbreaks can be found in the contingency framework for education and childcare: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-local-restrictions-in-education-and-childcare-settings/contingency-framework-education-and-childcare-settings.

The Department recognises that extended school restrictions have had a substantial impact on children and young people’s education and we are committed to helping pupils make up education lost as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. In June 2021 £1.4 billion was announced to support education recovery for children aged 2 to 19 in schools, colleges, and nurseries. This money will provide an additional £1 billion for tutoring, which will provide up to 100 million hours of tuition for 5 to 19-year-olds by 2024, targeting disadvantaged children and key subjects such as Mathematics and English. This is in addition to the £1.7 billion already committed, bringing total investment announced for education recovery over the past year to over £3 billion.

The Department is also making available an extra £400 million to help to provide 500,000 teacher training opportunities across the country, alongside professional development for early years practitioners.

24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans his Department has to tackle the impact of restraint during transportation on the (a) mental and (b) physical health of children in care.

Responsibility for the welfare of children while transported is noted under Regulation 12 of the Children's Homes (England) Regulations 2015. The registered person and the local authority overall have a responsibility to ensure that children are kept safe and their welfare is promoted.

Restraint should only be used in very limited circumstances and, under the Children’s Home Regulations (2015), all incidents of restraint when a young person is cared for by a children’s home must be recorded. When transport is arranged by the children’s home, regulation 20(1) states that the only purposes for which restraint can be used in a children's home are to prevent injury to any person (including the child who is being restrained) or to prevent serious damage to the property of any person. In addition, restraint may be used on a child in a secure children's home for the purpose of preventing a child from absconding from the home.

If this was arranged by the local authority which had responsibility for the child, then the care of the child would fall to them.

When restraint involves the use of force, it must not be more than is necessary and should be applied in a way that is proportionate (i.e. the minimum amount of force required to avert injury or serious damage to property for the shortest possible time).

Ofsted regularly inspect all children’s homes in England to ensure they are complying with their legal duties, which include detailing incidents of restraint. Should anyone breach these rules the department would expect Ofsted to take swift action.


Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of restraint on the (a) mental and (b) physical health of children in care, particularly during the covid-19 outbreak.

The department is clear that restraint that deliberately inflicts pain cannot be proportionate and should never be used on children in children’s homes. The Children's Homes (England) Regulations 2015 state under regulation 20(1) that the only purposes for which restraint can be used in a children's home are to prevent injury to any person (including the child who is being restrained) or to prevent serious damage to the property of any person. In addition, restraint may be used on a child in a secure children's home for the purpose of preventing a child from absconding from the home.

Regulation 35(1) of the Children’s Home (England) Regulations 2015 requires each home to prepare and implement a behaviour management policy. This policy should describe the home’s approach to promoting positive behaviour and the measures of control, discipline and restraint which may be used in the home.

Ofsted regularly inspect all children’s homes in England to ensure they are complying with their legal duties, which include detailing incidents of restraint. We have recently contacted all children’s homes in England to remind them of their responsibilities regarding restraint. Together with Ofsted, we will act swiftly against anyone breaching these rules.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect on the level of pupil premium funding for (a) mainstream and (b) SEN schools as a result of the new calculations of eligible pupils using the October 2020 census instead of the January 2021 census.

The January 2021 census will be used to determine pupil premium eligibility for alternative provision and pupil referral units for the financial year 2021-22. Pupil premium eligibility for mainstream and special schools will be based on the October 2020 census. The Department will confirm pupil premium allocations for the financial year 2021-22 in June 2021. This will provide the public with information on the specific amounts that regions, local authorities and schools are receiving through the pupil premium for 2021-22.

Data on the number of pupils who have become eligible for free school meals since 2 October 2020 is currently being collected in the spring school census and is not yet available.

The Department publishes information on pupil premium allocations and the number of pupils eligible annually. The most recent publicly available figures can be found via this link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pupil-premium-allocations-and-conditions-of-grant-2020-to-2021.

4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he plans to update guidance for schools and colleges on the use of clear face coverings to meet the needs of students who are deaf or hard of hearing.

The Department has published updated guidance for schools to support the return to full attendance from 8 March, which includes updated advice on face coverings. The guidance can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/964351/Schools_coronavirus_operational_guidance.pdf

As the guidance outlines, where pupils in Year 7 and above are educated, the Department recommends that face coverings should be worn by adults and pupils when moving around outside of classrooms, such as in corridors and communal areas, where social distancing cannot easily be maintained.

From 8 March, the Department recommends that in schools and colleges where pupils and students in Year 7 and above are educated, face coverings should be worn in classrooms unless social distancing can be maintained.

Some individuals are exempt from wearing face coverings. This includes people who cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability, or if you are speaking to or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expressions to communicate. The same legal exemptions that apply to the wearing of face coverings in shops and on public transport also apply in schools and colleges.

Transparent face coverings, which may assist communication with someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expression to communicate, can also be worn. There is currently very limited evidence regarding the effectiveness or safety of transparent face coverings, but they may be effective in reducing the spread of COVID-19.

The Department is recommending these additional precautionary measures for a limited period until Easter. As with all measures, they will be under review and guidance will be updated, as necessary.

8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure funding for the PE and sport premium from 2021 onwards.

Physical Education (PE) and school sport plays an important role in supporting children and young people to be physically active during the current COVID-19 restrictions. That is why the Department confirmed that the Primary PE and Sport premium would continue at £320 million for the 2020/21 academic year.

The Department is considering arrangements for the Primary PE and Sport Premium for the 2021/22 academic year and will confirm the position as soon as possible.

4th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many (a) laptops, (b) devices and (c) tablets his Department has provided to schools under the Get help with technology during coronavirus scheme in (i) London, (ii) Lambeth and (iii) Streatham since March 2020.

The Government is investing over £400 million to support access to remote education and online social care services, including securing 1.3 million laptops and tablets for disadvantaged children and young people. This significant injection of laptops and tablets is on top of an estimated 2.9 million already owned by schools before the start of the outbreak.

The laptops and tablets are to help support schools, academy trusts and local authorities to provide access to remote education and online social care. Schools, colleges, academy trusts and local authorities are responsible for distributing the laptops and tablets and are best placed to know which children and young people need access to a device.

As of Monday 8 February 2021, over 980,000 laptops and tablets have been delivered to schools, trusts, local authorities and further education providers.

More information on the number of devices delivered to schools, trusts and local authorities, can be viewed here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/laptops-and-tablets-data.

3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect of the policy under the Adoption and Children Act 2002 that consideration to the child’s religious persuasion, racial origin and cultural and linguistic background is made when placing the child for adoption on the average time it takes to place black children for adoption.

In 2014 the government removed the requirement for adoption agencies to give “due consideration to a child’s religious persuasion, racial origin, and cultural and linguistic background” when matching a child and prospective adopters. This was to avoid any suggestion that the legislation placed a child's religious persuasion, racial origin and cultural and linguistic background above other factors which the agency should consider. As my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, said in his speech of October 2020, “we want to make sure that far more people from all sorts of different backgrounds are willing to become adoptive parents, and to do that we must end this obsession with finding the perfect ethnic match for children”.

Adoption agencies must still have regard to any of the child's characteristics that the agency considers relevant. This could include a range of issues including health, disability, education, religious persuasion, racial origin, and cultural and linguistic background. This is about creating a children’s social care system that works for all children, giving them the best possible chance to succeed in life.

Latest published analysis shows that in 2014-15, Black and minority ethnic children were being placed for adoption 5 months earlier than in 2012-13. More recent Adoption and Special Guardianship Leadership Board (ASGLB) figures also show that waiting times fell by 35% for Black and minority ethnic children between 2014-15 and 2017-18. Since then, ASGLB data shows that waiting times for all children have increased which is due to a national shortage of adopters.

During the 2020-21 financial year, we gave the Regional Adoption Agency (RAA) Leaders Group £1 million to develop a sector led recruitment campaign. This campaign launched on 16 September 2020 and challenged preconceived conceptions about who can adopt and encouraged more people to come forward.

Part of the campaign had a specific focus on Black and minority ethnic communities through outreach work in 2 pilot areas, London and Birmingham. The RAA Leaders Group are also funding Home for Good to run a triage service to support prospective adopters from these pilot areas. This included a safe space to explore adoption and ask further questions, but also seek extra support during the process. Ensuring that the right adopters come forward for the children we have waiting for forever homes remains a priority for the government.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the (a) adequacy of funding for the wraparound care sector and (b) effect of closures in that sector on the (a) learning and (b) development of children.

The department does not hold a central register of all wraparound provision and is therefore not able to give an assessment on the effects of children’s learning and development due to the closure of providers.

However, ensuring that parents and carers continue to have access to the childcare they need remains a priority for the government, particularly for parents of vulnerable children and those who are critical workers. That is why we have ensured that before and after-school clubs, holiday clubs, and other out-of-school settings have been able to stay open for children eligible to attend school on-site (i.e. for critical worker children, and vulnerable children and young people), for the duration of the national lockdown, in line with the protective measures guidance for the sector, which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/protective-measures-for-holiday-or-after-school-clubs-and-other-out-of-school-settings-for-children-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

We have also made clear that schools should be continuing to offer before and after-school provision for those pupils eligible to attend for on-site provision, where it is feasible for them to do so. We have provided guidance for schools to support them to resume this provision, available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak#types-of-setting.

However, we recognise that the wraparound childcare sector, like many sectors, is facing unprecedented financial pressures, as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. It is for this reason that the government has made a range of financial packages of support available for businesses to access throughout the current crisis. This includes tax relief, business loans or cash grants through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, and the Self-Employed Support Scheme, as well as a £594 million discretionary fund for councils and the devolved administrations to support local businesses that may not be eligible for other support during the current national lockdown announced on 4 January 2020. Further information on these financial packages is available here: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus/business-support.

Given the value this sector offers to our children and young people, as well as to working parents, we have also encouraged all local authorities to consider using local grants, made available to them by the government, to bolster this part of the childcare sector in their areas and safeguard sufficient childcare provision. This includes making use of grants, such as the discretionary funding already mentioned, as well as funding provided as part of the holiday activities and food programme. The expanded programme, which comprises a £220 million fund to be delivered through grants to local authorities, will give children eligible for free school meals the option to join a free holiday-time programme that provides healthy food and enriching activities during the Easter, summer and Christmas holidays in 2021.

In addition, the department has engaged and met with representatives from the sector on a regular basis to discuss the impacts of COVID-19. We will continue to do so to help inform the government’s ongoing response to the outbreak, and how we may continue to best support the sector going forward.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will provide targeted funding to wraparound care providers to ensure they can continue to provide support to (a) key workers, (b) vulnerable children and (c) working families throughout the UK.

The department does not hold a central register of all wraparound provision and is therefore not able to give an assessment on the effects of children’s learning and development due to the closure of providers.

However, ensuring that parents and carers continue to have access to the childcare they need remains a priority for the government, particularly for parents of vulnerable children and those who are critical workers. That is why we have ensured that before and after-school clubs, holiday clubs, and other out-of-school settings have been able to stay open for children eligible to attend school on-site (i.e. for critical worker children, and vulnerable children and young people), for the duration of the national lockdown, in line with the protective measures guidance for the sector, which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/protective-measures-for-holiday-or-after-school-clubs-and-other-out-of-school-settings-for-children-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

We have also made clear that schools should be continuing to offer before and after-school provision for those pupils eligible to attend for on-site provision, where it is feasible for them to do so. We have provided guidance for schools to support them to resume this provision, available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak#types-of-setting.

However, we recognise that the wraparound childcare sector, like many sectors, is facing unprecedented financial pressures, as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. It is for this reason that the government has made a range of financial packages of support available for businesses to access throughout the current crisis. This includes tax relief, business loans or cash grants through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, and the Self-Employed Support Scheme, as well as a £594 million discretionary fund for councils and the devolved administrations to support local businesses that may not be eligible for other support during the current national lockdown announced on 4 January 2020. Further information on these financial packages is available here: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus/business-support.

Given the value this sector offers to our children and young people, as well as to working parents, we have also encouraged all local authorities to consider using local grants, made available to them by the government, to bolster this part of the childcare sector in their areas and safeguard sufficient childcare provision. This includes making use of grants, such as the discretionary funding already mentioned, as well as funding provided as part of the holiday activities and food programme. The expanded programme, which comprises a £220 million fund to be delivered through grants to local authorities, will give children eligible for free school meals the option to join a free holiday-time programme that provides healthy food and enriching activities during the Easter, summer and Christmas holidays in 2021.

In addition, the department has engaged and met with representatives from the sector on a regular basis to discuss the impacts of COVID-19. We will continue to do so to help inform the government’s ongoing response to the outbreak, and how we may continue to best support the sector going forward.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure the safety of vulnerable children unable to attend wraparound care due to the closure of businesses in the sector resulting from their ineligibility for Government financial support during the covid-19 outbreak.

During the period of national lockdown announced on 4 January 2021, primary, secondary, alternative provision, special schools, further education providers, and wraparound childcare providers and other out-of-school settings for children have been able to remain open to vulnerable children and young people.

We are committed to ensuring the safety and protection of vulnerable children and young people. Work is being co-ordinated across government to address the increased needs of vulnerable children and young people and their families. Throughout all restrictions to date, children's social care services and early help services have continued to support vulnerable children and young people and their families. We will continue to ensure this is the case during this period of national restrictions. There are a range of exemptions to national restrictions which allow key services to operate including childcare, contact between birth parents and children in care, therapy, or other forms of support, as well as other essential youth services, such as 1-to-1 youth work and support groups.

We also recognise the value the wraparound childcare sector offers to our children and young people, in terms of the enriching activities they provide and, in particular, the valuable support they provide to our critical worker parents, and vulnerable children. That is why we have encouraged all local authorities to consider how they could use local grants made available to them by government to help bolster this part of the childcare sector in their areas, to safeguard sufficient childcare provision for children of critical workers and vulnerable children.

This includes discretionary funding, such as the £594 million fund provided by government to local authorities to help them support local businesses affected by the new lockdown restrictions, as well as funding streams such as the holiday activities and food programme. The expanded programme, which comprises a £220 million fund to be delivered through grants to local authorities, will be expanded to reach all local authority areas over the Easter, summer, and Christmas holidays in 2021. This is further to the wider financial support packages that government has made available throughout the COVID-19 outbreak to support private businesses, which includes tax relief, business loans or cash grants through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Self-Employed Support Scheme.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the role of the wraparound childcare sector in supporting children’s mental health during the covid-19 outbreak.

The government recognises the vital importance of supporting the mental health of children and young people, particularly throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. In September 2020, the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) launched its £8 million Wellbeing for Education Return programme. It has supported education staff to respond to the emotional and mental health pressures some children and young people may be feeling as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. In addition, DHSC also launched a campaign in September through the Every Mind Matters website to raise awareness of the guidance and tools available to support children and young people’s mental wellbeing. Public Health England continues to update and promote the Every Mind Matters website. The government has also provided over £10 million of additional funding to mental health charities to support adults and children.

We also recognise the value the wraparound childcare sector offers in this regard, in terms of supporting children and young people’s general wellbeing and the positive effects it can have on their mental health through the enriching social opportunities they provide.

Given the valuable support this sector can provide, the government has therefore ensured that before and after-school clubs, holiday clubs and other out-of-school settings have been able to stay open for all children eligible to attend school on-site, and during the national lockdown for vulnerable children and young people, as well as the children of critical workers. We have also published protective measures guidance for the sector, to ensure they can offer this provision as safely as possible, which can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/protective-measures-for-holiday-or-after-school-clubs-and-other-out-of-school-settings-for-children-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

We have also made clear that schools should be continuing to offer before and after-school provision for those pupils eligible to attend for on-site provision, where it is feasible for them to do so, given the importance of this provision for supporting parents to work, and providing enriching activities for children that improve their wellbeing and support their education. We have provided guidance for schools to support them to resume this provision. A copy of the guidance can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak#types-of-setting.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the potential merits of enabling private nurseries and early year providers to furlough staff who need to self-isolate for the period of that isolation.

During the COVID-19 outbreak, we have provided unprecedented support to the early years sector, making grants and loans available and ensuring early years providers can access the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) for their non-government funded income, and that childminders can access the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

If an employee is on sick leave or self-isolating as a result of COVID-19, they may be able to get help with Statutory Sick Pay, guidance for which is available here: https://www.gov.uk/statutory-sick-pay. The CJRS is not intended for short-term absences from work due to sickness: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-if-you-could-be-covered-by-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme. Short term illness or self-isolation should not be a consideration in deciding whether to furlough an employee. If, however, employers want to furlough employees for business reasons and they are currently off sick, they are eligible to do so, as with other employees. In these cases, the employee should no longer receive sick pay and would be classified as a furloughed employee.

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

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to provide financial support to the wraparound care sector during the covid-19 outbreak.

The department does not currently hold a central register of wraparound providers. Therefore, we are unable to make an accurate assessment of the financial viability of providers. However, we do understand and recognise that the wraparound childcare sector, like many sectors, is facing unprecedented financial pressures as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

It is for this reason that the government has made a range of financial packages of support available for businesses to access throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. This includes tax relief, business loans or cash grants through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme, as well as a £594 million discretionary fund for councils and the devolved administrations to support local businesses that may not be eligible for other support, during the current national lockdown.

We are also still encouraging all local authorities to consider using local grants that have been made available to them during the COVID-19 outbreak to support the wraparound childcare sector in their areas and to safeguard sufficient childcare provision for all families, but particularly those with vulnerable children and children of critical workers. This includes the expanded Holiday Activities and Food Programme, which comprises a £220 million fund to be delivered through grants to local authorities. This programme will give children eligible for free school meals the option to join a free holiday-time programme that provides healthy food and enriching activities during the summer, Christmas and Easter holidays in 2021.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect of the funding available to the wraparound care sector on the ability of businesses within that sector to remain financially viable during the covid-19 pandemic.

The department does not currently hold a central register of wraparound providers. Therefore, we are unable to make an accurate assessment of the financial viability of providers. However, we do understand and recognise that the wraparound childcare sector, like many sectors, is facing unprecedented financial pressures as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

It is for this reason that the government has made a range of financial packages of support available for businesses to access throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. This includes tax relief, business loans or cash grants through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme, as well as a £594 million discretionary fund for councils and the devolved administrations to support local businesses that may not be eligible for other support, during the current national lockdown.

We are also still encouraging all local authorities to consider using local grants that have been made available to them during the COVID-19 outbreak to support the wraparound childcare sector in their areas and to safeguard sufficient childcare provision for all families, but particularly those with vulnerable children and children of critical workers. This includes the expanded Holiday Activities and Food Programme, which comprises a £220 million fund to be delivered through grants to local authorities. This programme will give children eligible for free school meals the option to join a free holiday-time programme that provides healthy food and enriching activities during the summer, Christmas and Easter holidays in 2021.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to financially support the wraparound care sector during the covid-19 pandemic.

The department does not currently hold a central register of wraparound providers. Therefore, we are unable to make an accurate assessment of the financial viability of providers. However, we do understand and recognise that the wraparound childcare sector, like many sectors, is facing unprecedented financial pressures as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

It is for this reason that the government has made a range of financial packages of support available for businesses to access throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. This includes tax relief, business loans or cash grants through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme, as well as a £594 million discretionary fund for councils and the devolved administrations to support local businesses that may not be eligible for other support, during the current national lockdown.

We are also still encouraging all local authorities to consider using local grants that have been made available to them during the COVID-19 outbreak to support the wraparound childcare sector in their areas and to safeguard sufficient childcare provision for all families, but particularly those with vulnerable children and children of critical workers. This includes the expanded Holiday Activities and Food Programme, which comprises a £220 million fund to be delivered through grants to local authorities. This programme will give children eligible for free school meals the option to join a free holiday-time programme that provides healthy food and enriching activities during the summer, Christmas and Easter holidays in 2021.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has made an assessment of the effect on levels of inequality of the closure of businesses in the wraparound childcare sector due to their ineligibility for Government support.

In line with the requirements placed on the department by the public sector Equality Duty, we continue to examine the impacts on people with protected characteristics in regards to the government’s policy on restrictions or closures of businesses during the COVID-19 outbreak.

However, as outlined in the guidance on ‘Protective measures for holiday and after-school clubs, and other out-of-school settings during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak’ wraparound childcare providers can currently remain open for face-to-face provision for all children eligible to attend school for on-site provision. This includes:

  • children of critical workers, where it is reasonably necessary to enable their parents to work, search for work, attend education or training, or attend a medical appointment; and
  • vulnerable children and young people.

Further information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/protective-measures-for-holiday-or-after-school-clubs-and-other-out-of-school-settings-for-children-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak/protective-measures-for-out-of-school-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak#equality.

The department does not hold a central register of all wraparound provision and so is not able to give an assessment of the number of business closures in the wraparound childcare sector and therefore the effect of this on levels of inequality.

We acknowledge that the wraparound childcare sector, like many sectors, is facing unprecedented financial pressures as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. It is for this reason that the government has made a range of financial packages of support available for businesses to access throughout the current crisis. Further information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus/business-support. Depending on their circumstances, businesses may be eligible for tax relief, business loans or cash grants through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme. A £594 million discretionary fund for councils and the devolved administrations to support local businesses that may not be eligible for other support, during the current national lockdown announced on 4 January 2020, has also been made available.

Given the important role these providers offer in terms of support for working parents, and enriching activities for children, we have also encouraged all local authorities to consider using local grants made available to them to bolster this part of the childcare sector in their areas. This includes the discretionary funding already mentioned, as well as the Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme. The expanded HAF programme, which comprises a £220 million fund to be delivered through grants to local authorities, will give children eligible for free school meals the option to join a free holiday-time programme that provides healthy food and enriching activities during the Easter, summer and Christmas holidays this year.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to compensate education supply staff in England and Wales through the Flexible Furlough Scheme in line with supply staff in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Education is a devolved matter, therefore the following information applies to schools in England.

Schools in England will continue to receive their budgets for the coming year as usual, regardless of any periods of partial or complete closure. Schools have autonomy over these budgets and their employment arrangements and decisions on staffing are made at the local level.

If supply staff employed via employment agencies are unable to work due to COVID-19, their employment agency can place them on furlough and use the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) to claim for 80% of their wages, including during school holiday periods, provided that the eligibility criteria are met. Details about the CJRS and eligibility criteria can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-which-employees-you-can-put-on-furlough-to-use-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme.

Employers can now flexibly furlough their employees for the hours the employee would usually have worked in that period, whilst also being able to work outside of the hours they are furloughed, details of which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme#flexible-furlough-agreements. Employees can work for any amount of time, and any work pattern but they cannot do any work for their employer during hours that employers record them as being on furlough.

The decision to furlough an employee, fully or flexibly, is entirely at the employer's discretion as it is dependent on a range of factors that the employer is best placed to determine, for example, the amount of work available for employees.

25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, further to his Answer of 27 November 2020 to Question 118056, on Children in Care: Ethnic Groups, what plans his Department has to tackle racial disparity as part of the upcoming Children's Social Care Review.

The independent review of children’s social care launched on 15 January, and the review’s terms of reference are available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/952624/terms_of_reference_independent_childrens_social_care_review.pdf.

As the review is independent, it will be up to the reviewer to consider the evidence and decide the direction and recommendations of the review.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to improve cultural literacy among (a) social workers and (b) other members of children’s social services staff.

The importance of cultural literacy in social workers is ensured by the professional standards that social workers must meet (post-qualification standards, which set out expectations for children and family social workers, and the education and training standards that training providers must meet).

The Social Work England Professional Standards set out what a social worker in England must know, understand and be able to do. Professional standards, and the education and training standards which training providers must meet, ensure the importance of cultural literacy in social workers.

The department continues to champion the improvement of equality and diversity among social workers through supporting the Continuous Professional Development (CPD) of social workers. While individual local authorities will take decisions about CPD provision, the department funds leadership programmes such as the Practice Supervisor Development Programme and Practice Leader Development programme. These programmes cover equality and diversity issues, and provide tools and resources for leaders to develop both their own understanding and their social workers’ understanding of children and families’ perspectives and lived experiences.

In the wider children’s social services workforce, the Children’s Homes Regulations quality standards outline that the registered person in children’s homes, secure children’s homes and residential special schools provide personalised care, including taking into account ethnicity, culture and linguistic background.

Other staff in the children's social care workforce may be subject to other standards, depending on their areas of specialism.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what additional provisions he will make for BTEC students who are still required to take their exams, in order for them to be assessed and graded fairly while their learning has been disrupted due to the covid-19 outbreak.

The Extended Extraordinary Regulatory Framework published by Ofqual sets out how vocational and technical qualifications, including Pearson BTECs, can be adapted to mitigate disruption from COVID-19 to the teaching, learning and assessment of these qualifications.

The department allowed the January 2021 assessment window to proceed where schools and colleges judge it right to do so. Some students need to complete a practical assessment to obtain a licence to practice and enter the workplace and it is right that they should have the opportunity to do so, so that they are not prevented from progressing onto the next stage of their lives. To support providers, we have published guidance on conducting exams in a COVID-secure way and advice on how to restrict attendance during the national lockdown.

On 13 January 2021, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, wrote to Ofqual setting out that, where possible, practical assessments that are required to demonstrate occupational regulation or competence should proceed as planned, where they can be conducted in line with Public Health England safety measures. The letter also sets out that it is no longer viable for the written exams and assessments scheduled this academic year in February and March to go ahead, and the expectation that alternative arrangements would also be needed for exams between April and August 2021. Views on alternative arrangements will be sought through a consultation we are taking forward with Ofqual.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of closing (a) nurseries and (b) other early year providers for all except the children of key workers and vulnerable children during the January 2021 covid-19 lockdown.

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.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if his Department will make an assessment of the potential merits of reimbursing the 2018-19 cohort of nursing students for their tuition fees.

This is a difficult and uncertain time for students, but we are working with the sector to make sure all reasonable efforts are being made to enable students to continue their studies. The government expects universities and other higher education providers to continue delivering a high-quality academic experience and help students to achieve qualifications that they and employers value.

The government is extremely grateful to all students who opted into a paid clinical placement in the NHS during the COVID-19 response. We have ensured that all these students were rewarded fairly for their hard work. Nursing, midwifery, and allied health students who opted into a paid clinical placement received a salary and automatic NHS pension entitlement at the appropriate band. Time spent on paid placements as part of the COVID-19 response also counted towards the requirement for students to complete a specified number of training hours in order to successfully complete their degrees. There are no plans for tuition fee refunds or a specific debt write-off scheme for student volunteers.

Whether or not an individual student is entitled to a refund of fees will depend on the specific contractual arrangements between the provider and student. Universities and other higher education providers are autonomous and responsible for setting their own fees. In deciding to keep charging full fees, providers will want to ensure that they can continue to deliver courses which are fit for purpose and help students progress their qualifications.

If students have concerns, there is a process in place. They should first raise their concerns with their university. If their concerns remain unresolved, students at providers in England or Wales can ask the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education to consider their complaint.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to prioritise the health and wellbeing of university students during the covid-19 outbreak.

Protecting the mental health and wellbeing of students continues to be a priority for this government and I have convened representatives from the higher education (HE) and health sectors to specifically address the current and pressing issues that university students are facing during the COVID-19 outbreak. In my recent letter to Vice Chancellors in October, I outlined that student welfare should remain a priority.

We expect HE providers to continue to support their students and identify and address the needs of their student body. Many HE providers have bolstered their existing mental health services and adapted delivery mechanisms, which includes reaching out to students who may be more vulnerable, to ensure that students are able to access the support that they need. Staff at universities and colleges have shown resourcefulness and there are many examples of good practice.

We have worked with the Office for Students (OfS) to provide Student Space, which has been funded by up to £3 million by the OfS. Student Space is a mental health and wellbeing platform that aims to bridge any gaps in support for students arising from this unprecedented situation and is designed to work alongside existing services. Ensuring students have access to quality mental health support is my top priority, which is why I asked the OfS to look at extending the platform. I am delighted they have been able to extend the platform to support students for the whole of the 2020/21 academic year because no student should be left behind at this challenging time. This resource provides dedicated one-to-one phone, text and web chat facilities as well as a collaborative online platform providing vital mental health and wellbeing resources.

The Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) has overall policy responsibility for young people’s mental health. We continue to work closely with them to take significant steps to support the mental health and wellbeing support for students in higher education settings.

The DHSC is committed, through the NHS Long Term Plan, to investing at least £2.3 billion of extra funding a year into mental health services by 2023-24. This will see an additional 345,000 children and young people, and adults, able to access support through NHS-funded services.

Over £9 million has been provided by the government to leading mental health charities to help them expand and reach those most in need. Students struggling with their mental health can also access support via online resources from the mental health charity Mind, the NHS and Public Health England, and via the following website: https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether music lessons can take place in the teacher's home during the November 2020 covid-19 lockdown restrictions in England.

As outlined in the guidance for education and childcare settings on new national restrictions from 5 November 2020, out of school activities such as private tuition may continue to operate during the period of national restrictions. Guidance on this is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/education-and-childcare-settings-new-national-restrictions-from-5-november-2020#ooss. Providers of these activities who are operating out of their own homes or private studios should ensure they are only being accessed for face to face provision by parents if their primary purpose is registered childcare. Other possible allowances are that they are providing other activities for children where it is reasonably necessary to enable parents to work or search for work, or to undertake training or education, or for the purposes of respite care. Out of school activities that are primarily used by home educating parents as part of their arrangements for their child to receive a suitable full time education (which could include, for example, private tutors) may also continue to operate for face to face provision for the duration of the national restrictions.

Where online lessons are not reasonably possible, providers are permitted to offer face to face provision in pupils’ homes, where it is necessary for them to continue to work.

Tutors that continue to operate face-to-face provision during this period should continue to undertake risk assessments and implement the system of controls set out in the following guidance: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/protective-measures-for-holiday-or-after-school-clubs-and-other-out-of-school-settings-for-children-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak/protective-measures-for-out-of-school-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak. Providers operating out of other people’s homes should also implement the guidance on working safely in such an environment: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/homes.

All other out of school activities, not being primarily used by parents for these purposes and that can offer remote education, should close for face to face provision for the duration of the national restrictions. This will minimise the amount of mixing between different groups of people and therefore reduce the risk of infection and transmission of the virus.

14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of suspending the School Attendance Order for parents who do not want their child to return to school during the covid-19 outbreak, particularly in cases where the child or a member of that child’s household is considered to be clinically extremely vulnerable.

Pupils in all year groups and from all types of school should now have returned to school full-time, as this is the best place for them to be for their education, development and wellbeing.

Parents have a duty to ensure that any of their children who are of compulsory school age receive a full-time education, either through regular attendance at school or through alternative arrangements, such as home schooling. A local authority will only serve a school attendance order if parents fail to satisfy the local authority that their child is receiving this.

Guidance on protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable is clear that all pupils should continue to attend school at all local COVID alert levels, unless they are one of the very small number of pupils under paediatric or other specialist care and have been advised by their GP or clinician not to attend school. The guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19.

Schools have their own measures in place to limit the risk of transmission. If parents of pupils with significant risk factors are concerned, we have recommended that schools discuss their concerns and provide reassurance of the measures they are putting in place to reduce the risk in school.

21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans his Department has to end the post code as a determining factor of access to English for Speakers of Other Languages provision.

In 2018/19, the department supported 120,500 adult learners to improve their levels of English through fully and part-funded English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) courses.

The department funds ESOL through the Adult Education Budget (AEB).

Approximately half of the AEB is devolved to 7 Mayoral Combined Authorities (MCAs) and delegated to the Mayor of London, acting where appropriate through the Greater London Authority (GLA). These devolved authorities are responsible for the provision of adult education, including ESOL, and allocation of the AEB in their local areas. The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) is responsible for the remaining AEB in non-devolved areas.

In non-devolved areas, we do not ring-fence a particular amount of the ESFA AEB budget for ESOL. Colleges and adult training providers have the freedom and flexibility to determine how they use their AEB allocation to meet the needs of their communities. They are responsible for planning, with local partners, which ESOL courses can be delivered locally.

In devolved areas, providers have the opportunity to work with MCAs and the GLA to shape the ways in which they can contribute to meeting skills needs locally so that more people of all ages and backgrounds are given opportunities to develop the skills and experience they need, including ESOL provision.

We are committed to open dialogue with MCAs and the GLA on how best skills provision and reforms can be shaped to fit the needs of local areas.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of implementing recommendation 68 of the House of Lords Select Committee on Citizenship and Civic Participation’s 2018 report in relation to funding for ESOL teaching.

This government remains committed to the 2019 manifesto commitment to boost English language teaching to empower existing migrants and help promote integration into society.

In 2018/19, the Department for Education supported 120,500 adult learners to improve their levels of English through fully and part-funded English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) courses.

The Department for Education funds ESOL through the Adult Education Budget (AEB).

Approximately half the AEB is devolved to 6 Mayoral Combined Authorities (MCAs) and delegated to the Mayor of London acting through the Greater London Authority (GLA). The authorities are responsible for the provision of adult education, including ESOL, and allocation of the AEB in their local areas. The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) is responsible for the remaining AEB in non-devolved areas.

In non-devolved areas colleges and adult learning providers have the freedom and flexibility to determine how they use their AEB allocation to meet the needs of their communities and this includes planning, with local partners, the ESOL courses that they will deliver locally.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to support the families of pupils on free school meals in Streatham constituency during the school summer holidays in 2020.

I refer the hon. Members to the answer I have given today to Question 54195.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to support children in care who are victims of trafficking.

The government provides Independent Child Trafficking Guardians (ICTGs). They are an independent source of advice for trafficked children, working with multi-agency partners to advocate on behalf of the child so that they are protected from further harm and to promote the child’s recovery. Last year, ICTGs were successfully rolled out to one third of all local authorities in England and Wales and the Government remains committed to rolling ICTGs out nationally.

The ‘Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) Regulations 2010’ were amended in 2014 to require that local authorities’ duties to care for looked after children are fulfilled with particular regard to a child’s circumstances and needs as a trafficked child. The Regulations apply to all children, regardless of their immigration status, nationality or documentation.

The departments statutory guidance ‘Care of unaccompanied migrant children and child victims of modern slavery (2017)’ sets out detailed steps that local authorities should take to care for children who are victims of modern slavery, including trafficking. It emphasises that care placement decisions should take particular account of protecting the child from any continued risk from traffickers and processes should be in place to monitor policies and performance relating to child victims of modern slavery. Responsible managers should understand the risks and issues facing child victims of modern slavery and review best practice in planning for the care of these children.

The statutory guidance ‘Working together to safeguard children (2018)' actively promotes a child centred, multi-agency approach to safeguarding all children and specifically highlights the need to manage complex risks to children from exploitation by criminal gangs, including trafficking and modern slavery.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department has taken to prevent trail hunting being used as a cover for fox hunting on public land.

The Hunting Act 2004 makes it an offence to hunt a wild mammal with dogs except where it is carried out in accordance with the exemptions in the Act. The full details of the Hunting Act 2004 exemptions are available online at: www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2004/37/schedule/1.

Whether to permit trail hunting is an operational matter for individual landowners.

Those found guilty under the Act are subject to the full force of the law.

This Government will not amend the Hunting Act.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he has put in place plans to scrutinise the husbandry practices of EU nations after the end of the transition period.

The UK is proud of its world-leading food, health and animal welfare standards. After the transition period, we will maintain our own sanitary and phytosanitary system so that we can set our own rules and standards. We have been clear that we will not lower our standards nor put the UK's biosecurity at risk as we negotiate new trade deals.

The European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 retains our standards on animal welfare, animal and plant health and food safety at the end of the transition period. This maintains the same high level of protection for both domestic and imported products.

From 1 January 2021, the UK will assess and inspect trading partners who apply to import live animals and their products, to ensure that our import conditions for food and feed safety and standards, animal health and animal welfare are properly met. Assessments will be coordinated by Defra and will be based on the risk associated with a specific import. This will ensure the UK maintains a high level of protection of human and animal health for its citizens and businesses.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that the UK's standards for pesticides are protected and maintained in international trade agreements.

Our trade agreements will respect the regulatory autonomy of the Parties and decisions on standards will remain a matter for the UK Government and devolved administrations, including on pesticides.

We will maintain our high human health and environmental standards when operating our own independent pesticides regulatory regime after the transition period. We will ensure decisions on the use of pesticides are based on careful scientific assessment and will not authorise pesticides that may carry unacceptable risks. The statutory requirements of the EU regime on standards of protection will be carried across unchanged into domestic law.

The Government is clear that in all of our trade negotiations we will not compromise on our high environmental protection, animal welfare and food standards.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the effects of a potential shortfall in seasonal workers on the agricultural workforce.

We are aware of the impact that restrictions on travel from other countries, as a result of Covid-19, is having on the number of seasonal workers coming to work in the UK. We are working closely with industry to help our world-leading farmers and growers access the labour they need over the busy harvest months.

We are monitoring labour needs over the remainder of the 2020 harvest season. We understand from industry feedback that labour needs are currently being met and that the majority of businesses have sourced sufficient workers for the remainder of the season.

The expanded Seasonal Worker Pilot in 2020 will enable us to carry out a more extensive evaluation of the systems and processes in place to access labour from non-EEA countries, ahead of any decisions being taken on how future needs of the sector might be addressed.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what estimate her Department has made of the number of humanitarian personnel prevented by Israel from entering or exiting Gaza in 2019; what assessment she has made of the effect of such barriers on the effectiveness of humanitarian programmes inside Gaza.

The UK remains deeply concerned about the restrictions on movement and access that affect Gaza. The inability to enter or exit the strip impacts the delivery of vital humanitarian services and limits the professional development of health and humanitarian workers.

DFID is providing £1.3 million (2018-21) to support the UN’s Access Coordination Unit (ACU), which works to ensure humanitarian access to Gaza for UN and NGO workers by intervening when travel permits issued by Israel are delayed. The ACU has been instrumental in facilitating access, with more than 3,200 humanitarian personnel receiving assistance between October 2019 and March 2020. We continue to monitor the situation and regularly raise our concerns with the Israeli government.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assessment her Department has made of the effect of denials of permits to exit Gaza on the ability of Palestinian health workers to access training and professional development.

The UK remains deeply concerned about the restrictions on movement and access that affect Gaza. The inability to enter or exit the strip impacts the delivery of vital humanitarian services and limits the professional development of health and humanitarian workers.

DFID is providing £1.3 million (2018-21) to support the UN’s Access Coordination Unit (ACU), which works to ensure humanitarian access to Gaza for UN and NGO workers by intervening when travel permits issued by Israel are delayed. The ACU has been instrumental in facilitating access, with more than 3,200 humanitarian personnel receiving assistance between October 2019 and March 2020. We continue to monitor the situation and regularly raise our concerns with the Israeli government.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
10th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, with reference to the Answer of 29 April 2019 to Question 247112 on Gaza: Non-governmental Organisations, what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the Government’s support of the UN Access Coordination Unit in helping that organisation to achieve its objective of facilitating humanitarian access for UN and NGO workers to and from Gaza.

The UK supports the UN’s Access Coordination Unit (ACU), which works to ensure humanitarian access to Gaza for UN and NGO workers by intervening when Israeli travel permits are delayed. We assess that the ACU has been instrumental in facilitating such access, with more than 1500 humanitarian personnel receiving assistance between April 2019 and September 2019.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Feb 2021
What plans she has to maintain employment and environmental protections in the UK–EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement.

There is no Government plan to reduce workers’ rights or environmental protections, and the UK’s high standards have never been dependent on EU membership. The Trade and Cooperation Agreement meets the Government’s fundamental objective of ensuring that the EU has no control over our rules, while meeting our manifesto commitments to get a Free Trade Agreement with the EU, and to make no compromises to our high labour, environment and climate standards provided by our laws and regulations.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether he plans to suspend the sale and export to the US of UK manufactured (a) public order equipment and (b) equipment used for law enforcement.

My Rt Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade and I have been sorry to see the violence that has taken place in the United States of America.

All export licence applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (‘Consolidated Criteria’). In reaching a decision, the Department for International Trade (DIT) receives advice from a number of Departments including the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). Together, we draw on all available information, including reports from Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and our diplomatic missions. The Consolidated Criteria provides a thorough risk assessment framework and requires us to think hard about the impact of exporting any equipment. These are not decisions my Department takes lightly, and we will not license the export of items where to do so would be inconsistent with the Consolidated Criteria.

Any licence granted by my Rt Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade may be subject to conditions. In addition, in line with the Consolidated Criteria, my Department is able to review licences – and suspend or revoke as necessary – when circumstances require. There are currently eight extant licences that may be linked to law enforcement agencies. Six are Open Individual Export Licences (‘OIELs’), which have potential end users that include law enforcement agencies. Two are Standard Individual Export Licences (‘SIELs’), which have numerous potential end users that include law enforcement agencies. There are also 15 Open General Licences (‘OGLs’) for which businesses can register that cover the export of anti-riot gear.

Much information is in the public domain already. We publish information on all export licences issued, refused and revoked on a quarterly and annual basis as official statistics on GOV.UK – at: www.gov.uk/government/collections/strategic-export-controls-licensing-data – and whilst data on actual exports is not required to be centrally held, the licences issued until the end of December 2019 are available.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether she will bring the Government’s negotiating objectives before Parliament in advance of future trade discussions; and whether hon Members will have a meaningful vote on the objectives for those trade discussions.

The Government is committed to the principle of effective parliamentary scrutiny. We have provided extensive information to Parliament on our negotiations, including publishing our objectives prior to the start of talks and holding open briefings for MPs and Peers at the launch of US and Japan talks.

We will continue to keep Parliament updated on negotiations as they progress, including close engagement with the International Trade Committee and the Lords International Agreements Committee.

This approach strikes the right balance between respecting the UK constitution, ensuring that Government can negotiate in the best interests of the UK; and ensuring that Parliament has the information it needs to effectively scrutinise our trade policy.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps the Government is taking to prevent a potential increase in drug purchasing costs for the NHS in future trade deals.

HM Government has been clear that the NHS will remain free at the point of need.

When HM Government is negotiating trade agreements, we have been clear that the NHS will not be on the table. The price the NHS pays for drugs will not be on the table. The services the NHS provides will not be on the table. The NHS is not, and never will be, for sale to the private sector, whether overseas or at home.

This position was reaffirmed in our negotiating objectives for a Free Trade Agreement with the United States of America, published on 2nd March 2020.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether it is the Government's policy to exclude investor-state dispute settlement courts from any new trade deals.

The precise details of any future Free Trade Agreement are a matter for formal negotiations, and we would not seek to pre-empt these discussions.

The United Kingdom has negotiated investment agreements with Investor-State Dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions with over 90 existing treaty partners and recognises the important role that investment protection standards can play in reassuring our investors abroad. For example, these provisions can ensure that the assets of British investors are not expropriated without compensation, and that they are not treated in a discriminatory or arbitrary manner.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps she is taking to ensure that the NHS remains in public ownership and free at the point of use in the event that new trade deals are agreed.

HM Government has been clear that the NHS will remain free at the point of need.

When HM Government is negotiating trade agreements, we have been clear that the NHS will not be on the table. The price the NHS pays for drugs will not be on the table. The services the NHS provides will not be on the table. The NHS is not, and never will be, for sale to the private sector, whether overseas or at home.

This position was reaffirmed in our negotiating objectives for a Free Trade Agreement with the United States of America, published on 2nd March 2020.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what criteria his Department uses when determining the length of time travellers are granted to return to the UK before a country is moved to (a) amber or (b) red list.

The government has been clear that given the spread of the virus globally, people should not travel to amber or red list countries.

Changes to the traffic light system are implemented as quickly as possible, balancing the public health risks posed by those countries and the time required to operationalise changes at the border. As we have done throughout the pandemic, we are guided by the latest scientific evidence.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
23rd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department has plans to exempt people in long-distance relationships from the covid-19 international travel ban.

There are a range of border measures in place to protect the UK from the importation of coronavirus and variants of concern (VoCs), including self-isolation, managed quarantine and testing. These measures are kept under regular review.

Restrictions for England introduced on 29 March 2021 remain in place meaning everyone must “Stay in the UK” unless travelling for a very limited set of reasons. The limited number of exemptions from enhanced border measures for travellers are kept under regular review to ensure they are only in place while absolutely necessary.

The government unveiled a roadmap by which international travel restrictions could be lifted no earlier than 17 May 2020. The Global Travel Taskforce (GTT) developed a framework for a safe, sustainable and robust return to non-essential travel, that is risk based and does not compromise UK public health. The government will confirm by early May whether non-essential international travel can resume from 17 May.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure law enforcement of vehicle noise limits.

The Government takes the impact of traffic noise on health, wellbeing and the natural environment seriously. Vehicles are required to meet strict noise limits before being placed on the market and police have powers to act if they suspect an exhaust has been altered to increase noise.

To support police efforts, the Department commissioned trials of a prototype acoustic camera to assess the potential of the technology for more efficient enforcement. Results are anticipated to be published in the spring following a re-phasing of the work due to pressures arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will (a) set a timescale for the reopening of UK borders specifically for people separated from their partners and families and (b) immediately allow British Citizens in relationships regardless of marital status and family members regardless of age or marital status an exemption to the current covid-19 pandemic international travel restrictions.

The decision to introduce enhanced border measures is 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 the new COVID-19 variants 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 if the public health risk of people returning from a particular country without self-isolating becomes too high.

There are an extremely limited number of exemptions from enhanced border measures, and only introduced where absolutely necessary for reasons of national importance. Exemptions from enhanced border measures are set out on Gov.uk and are kept under regular review.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what discussions she has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the potential merits of introducing a £20 a week supplement for carers with an entitlement to carer’s allowance as part of Budget 2021.

DWP Ministers and officials regularly discuss support for carers with their counterparts across Government. The proposed table of benefits / pension rates for 2021/22, including Carer’s Allowance, was published on 4 December 2020 in the House Library, following the Secretary of State’s annual review of benefit rates. Since 2010, the rate of Carer’s Allowance has increased from £53.90 to £67.25 a week, meaning around an additional £700 a year for carers. Between 2020/21 and 2025/26 real terms expenditure on Carer’s Allowance is forecast to increase by nearly a third (around £1 billion). By 2025/26, the Government is forecast to spend just over £4bn a year on Carer’s Allowance.

1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she has made an assessment of the effect on the ability of single parents to find work of the closure of businesses in the wraparound care sector resulting from their ineligibility for financial support during the covid-19 outbreak; and if she will make a statement.

No assessments have been made.

The wraparound childcare sector, like many sectors, is experiencing challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is for this reason that the Government has made a range of financial packages of support available for businesses.

This includes tax relief, business loans or cash grants through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), and the Self-Employed Support Scheme (SEISS), as well as a £594 million discretionary fund for councils and the Devolved Administrations to support local businesses that may not be eligible for other support, during the current national lockdown.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effect on childcare sector employment levels of the closure of businesses in the wraparound care sector resulting from their ineligibility for financial support.

No assessments have been made.

The wraparound childcare sector, like many sectors, is experiencing challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is for this reason that the Government has made a range of financial packages of support available for businesses.

This includes tax relief, business loans or cash grants through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), and the Self-Employed Support Scheme (SEISS), as well as a £594 million discretionary fund for councils and the Devolved Administrations to support local businesses that may not be eligible for other support, during the current national lockdown.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she has made an assessment of the potential merits of extending cold weather payments to cover all UK postcodes.

Cold Weather Payment schemes already cover all UK postcodes, helping vulnerable people in receipt of certain income-related benefits to meet the additional costs of heating during periods of severe cold weather between 1st November and 31st March. In both the department’s Cold Weather Payment scheme covering Great Britain and Northern Ireland’s separate scheme, an automatic payment of £25 is made when the average temperature has been recorded as, or is forecast to be, zero degrees centigrade or below, over seven consecutive days at the weather station linked to an eligible person’s postcode.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many times a verbal meeting with the assessment providers has generated a satisfactory personal independence payment award.

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

6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to improve access to the personal independence payments assessment.

The Department is committed to assessing people with health conditions and disabilities fairly and accurately. We have introduced telephone assessments as part of the Department’s Covid-19 response and we are now testing video assessments. Building on changes already made, the upcoming Health and Disability Support Green Paper will consult on how to make further improvements to our services to make them better and easier for disabled people to access and use.

30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department has taken to compensate people who were eligible to claim State Pension under the basic State Pension system, but did not make a claim as they unaware of their eligibility.

The provisions of the Social Security (Claims and Payments) Regulations 1987 (Schedule 4, para 13), as amended in 2008, set out the rules in relation to this matter. Where an individual is required to make a claim to be entitled to State Pension the law allows for such claims to be backdated for a maximum period of up to 12 months.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will urgently extend the suspension of the minimum income floor on universal credit to support people working in the creative industries and self-employed people during the covid-19 outbreak.

After careful consideration of the ongoing public health situation and the national working environment, the current easement of the suspension of the Minimum Income Floor in Universal Credit that was due to expire on 12th November 2020 will be extended to the end of April 2021.

Regulations will be laid and made prior to 12th November 2020.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of (a) making the uplift to universal credit and working tax credit permanent and (b) extending that uplift to legacy benefits.

The Government introduced a package of temporary welfare measures worth around £9.3 billion this year to help with the financial consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. This included the £20 weekly increase to the Universal Credit Standard Allowance rates and Working Tax Credit basic element as temporary measures for the 20/21 tax year. There are no plans to extend this to legacy benefits.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to prepare her Department for a rise in (a) unemployment and (b) benefit claims at the end of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

The Department has taken swift action in response to the pandemic, supporting millions of families across the country to claim Universal Credit and we stand ready to help those in need.

We are already supporting people into work through our Plan for Jobs and will continue to do so. Kickstart will provide high quality paid work placements for thousands of young people and our new Job Entry Targeted Support and the Job Finding Support Service will provide targeted support for the newly unemployed. We are also doubling the number of Work Coaches across our nationwide network of Jobcentres to ensure claimants have access to personalised support so they can move back into employment.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she has made an assessment of the effect on members of the Windrush generation living in frozen rate countries of the policy not to uprate the pensions of UK pensioners living overseas unless there is a legal requirement to do so or where there is a reciprocal agreement in place that provides for that uprating.

DWP continues to support the cross-government commitment, actively supporting people of the Windrush generation and working closely with the Home Office.

The policy on up-rating UK state pensions overseas is a long-standing one of successive post-war Governments. The UK State Pension is payable worldwide and is uprated abroad where there is a legal requirement to do so. There are no current plans to change this.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of commissioning a review into the use of electroconvulsive therapy.

We have made no such assessment.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) provides guidelines which includes recommendations on the use of electroconvulsive therapy. The Department expects commissioners and providers of services to pay due regard to these guidelines and NICE keeps its guidance under regular review.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what guidance his Department has given to hospitals on testing people who have received a positive covid-19 test result within 90 days.

Public Health England (PHE) has published guidance on investigation and management of suspected COVID-19 infections that states if people present with new symptoms within 90 days of full recovery of a previous COVID-19 episode, they should be suspected to have COVID-19 until tests consider otherwise. This guidance is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-investigation-and-management-of-suspected-sars-cov-2-reinfections/investigation-and-management-of-suspected-sars-cov-2-reinfections-a-guide-for-clinicians-and-infection-specialists

PHE has also published guidance for staff and managers in health and social care settings that considers in general, immunocompetent people should not be polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tested if they had a previous positive PCR test in the 90 days prior but that if they do get a test, if people are asymptomatic, a risk assessment should be undertaken to consider whether they are likely to have COVID-19 again. This guidance is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-management-of-exposed-healthcare-workers-and-patients-in-hospital-settings/covid-19-management-of-exposed-healthcare-workers-and-patients-in-hospital-settings

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
21st Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential use of the SaNOtize nasal spray vaccine as a treatment for covid-19.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is aware of the clinical trial in the United Kingdom for the SaNOtize nasal spray. However, no nasal sprays for the prevention of COVID-19 are currently licensed in the UK. The MHRA together with independent advisory groups, continues to review the emerging body of evidence regarding potential medicines for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will take steps to (a) investigate and (b) respond to concerns relating to Serenity Integrated Mentoring for mentally unwell patients, relating to the evidential basis, safety, legality, ethics, governance and approach to service users of that company.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have written to the medical directors of National Health Service mental health trusts asking them to review the implementation of Serenity Integrated Mentoring and similar models in trusts, in partnership with local patient representatives and those who might have been in the care of such models.

NHS England and NHS Improvement intend to gather learning from these local reviews, to inform the expansion and transformation of community and crisis care services for adults and older adults with mental health needs as part of the NHS Long Term Plan.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to ensure carers have access to breaks from their caring responsibilities.

The Government recognises that access to breaks is important support for carers, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Care Act 2014 introduced new rights for carers, for the first time putting them on the same footing as the people for whom they care. They now have legal rights to an assessment of and support for, their needs where eligible.

Day services and other forms of respite care are vital services and we are working with local authorities, in collaboration with Association of Directors of Adult Social Services and Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to ensure, where possible, the safe resumption of these services. We have also provided funding through the £1.8 billion Infection Control Fund to support the reopening of day and respite services.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that the right standards are met when NHS track and trace phone calls are made to returning passengers into the UK.

A quality assurance framework is in place against which call handlers are scored. Feedback is provided to the call handlers and additional coaching if required.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will allow accelerated approval and access to the breast cancer drug Trodelvy, to treat people with serious metastatic triple-negative breast cancer.

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

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the answer of 20 January 2021 to Question 134587 on Contact Tracing: Computer Software, for what reason the Government is not planning to re-design the NHS covid-19 contact tracing app for it to work on older iPhone models; and what recent steps the Government has taken to increase uptake of the covid-19 contact tracing app since 20 January 2021.

It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before prorogation.
Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to introduce a target for the average time taken to provide a diagnosis of endometriosis of (a) four years or less by 2025 and (b) 12 months or less by 2030.

Important research in primary care when women present with endometriosis-like symptoms is currently underway, hosted by the National Institute of Health Research. The results will be published later this year and will help us to understand delays in diagnosis. On 8 March, we launched a 12-week call for evidence as part of the first Government-led Women’s Health Strategy for England. The online survey within the call for evidence seeks information on gynaecological conditions, including endometriosis.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will (a) review the cost of covid-19 testing for the Test to Release scheme and (b) exempt people who are returning to the UK from work-related travel from payment of that cost.

The costs of the Test to Release scheme are kept under regular review. We currently have no plans to exempt people from the cost of the testing package who are returning to the United Kingdom from work-related travel.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that inbound passengers on indirect flights out of red-list countries are not able to evade having to quarantine in a Government-approved hotel for 10 days.

Border Force will use all the information available to them to identify those who may have travelled to the United Kingdom indirectly from countries where a travel ban has been imposed and will stop them at the border wherever possible. All arriving passengers must complete a passenger locator form that will detail their travel before they arrived in the UK and whether they have been in a ‘red list’ country in the 10 days before their arrival in the UK.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of long covid on children.

On 21 January 2021, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimated that during the week commencing 27 December 2020, 301,000 people in England had symptoms that had persisted for between five and 12 weeks. The ONS found that 22.1% of people testing positive for COVID-19 exhibit symptoms for a period of five weeks or longer. That percentage is lower for those between the ages of 2 and 11 years old at 12.9% and 12 to 16 years old at 14.5%.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are developing a case definition and model of care for children with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential disproportionate effect of long covid on BAME children.

We know more about the impact of the virus following Public Health England’s report on COVID-19 and black, Asian and minority ethnic communities. However, as ‘long’ COVID-19 is an emerging condition, a better understanding of how it affects under-represented communities is needed.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
11th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of prioritising foster carers in the covid-19 vaccine rollout.

Foster carers who are eligible for a vaccine because of their age or other clinical factors such as underlying health conditions, will have access to a vaccine in the first phase.

Phase two of the COVID-19 vaccine programme will cover all adults under 50 year old not already included in phase one. Prioritisation for phase two has not yet been decided, but interim advice by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) recommends an age-based approach, which the Government has accepted in principle.

The JCVI has concluded that targeted vaccination to reduce transmission or give priority to occupational groups at higher risk of exposure would not be as effective or as fast in reducing mortality, morbidity and hospitalisation as direct protection of those at higher risk of serious disease.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
11th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason it is his policy to exempt people from wearing face coverings without the need to provide medical proof.

People are not required to prove they have an exemption or reasonable excuse which means they do not need to wear a face covering and it is for individuals to choose how they communicate this to others.

We expect that the majority of those who do not wear a face covering in regulated settings have a reasonable excuse or exemption. The Government has actively engaged with stakeholders including disability charities to understand the impact of the policy on disabled people. By requesting that members of the public be respectful of circumstances where someone cannot wear a face covering and issuing guidance that no one need prove their exemption, we aim to minimise the negative impact on those with disabilities, which is a protected characteristic. The Department, as a public authority, is legally obliged to give due regard to the Public Sector Equality Duty when making policy decisions by considering the impact of policy on groups with protected characteristics.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if she will reduce the costs of British residents and citizens returning to the UK from red-list countries and their hotel quarantine for people who are unable to meet those costs.

The Government has no plans to provide funding for travel costs. For those facing significant financial hardship as a result of these there is an opportunity to apply for a deferred repayment plan when booking. We have set out how to apply for this on GOV.UK, in particular for individuals who receive income related benefits. We keep all our measures under constant review.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of including shop workers providing essential services in the priority group for covid-19 vaccination and testing.

Shop workers providing essential services will be offered their vaccinations alongside other adults of the same age, or earlier if they have underlying health conditions that make them particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. They are not currently being prioritised because of their occupation alone, as age is assessed to be the strongest factor linked to mortality, morbidity and hospitalisations, and because the speed of delivery is crucial as we provide more people with protection from COVID-19.

For the first phase, the Government decided, based on the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advice, that the vaccine first be given to 9 identified priority groups. The two highest priority groups were care home residents and staff followed by frontline health and social care workers and everyone aged over 80. Frontline health and social care workers are prioritised in the first phase because they are at high risk of acquiring COVID-19 infection but also of transmitting that infection to multiple persons who are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 as well as to other staff in a healthcare environment. The remaining 7 priority groups in the first phase include all those identified at either higher clinical risk or clinically extremely vulnerable, unpaid carers, and anyone not included in those groups but aged 50 or above. Everyone aged over 50 is included even where the individual has no other risk factors because serious outcomes from COVID-19 are strongly age related.

For Phase 2 of the COVID 19 vaccination programme, the JCVI published its interim advice on 26 February setting out that the most effective way to minimise hospitalisations and deaths is to continue to prioritise people by age, rather than by occupation. This advice can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/jcvi-issues-interim-advice-on-phase-2-of-covid-19-vaccination-programme-rollout

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to publish the (a) scientific evidence and (b) his rationale for his Department's policy to extend the gap between covid-19 vaccine doses to 12 weeks.

Estimates of efficacy of the first dose of COVID-19 vaccines and the rationale for the advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation is available in the statement published on 31 December which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/prioritising-the-first-covid-19-vaccine-dose-jcvi-statement/optimising-the-covid-19-vaccination-programme-for-maximum-short-term-impact

Further supporting data has since been published on the AstraZeneca vaccine, which indicate high vaccine efficacy from the first dose of vaccine and better immune responses from the second dose with an extended schedule of up to 12 weeks. Data indicates protection from the first dose is maintained over a twelve-week period. This information is available at the following link:

https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3777268

The United Kingdom Chief Medical Officers wrote to the medical profession regarding the COVID-19 vaccination programmes, stating that setting out a model where vaccinating twice the number of people in the next two to three months provides greater public health protection. The letter is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/letter-to-the-profession-from-the-uk-chief-medical-officers-on-the-uk-covid-19-vaccination-programmes/letter-to-the-profession-from-the-uk-chief-medical-officers-regarding-the-uk-covid-19-vaccination-programmes

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
5th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will prioritise the covid-19 vaccination of people living in the same household as people with blood cancer in the latter stages.

A recent assessment by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) found that early data indicates lower protection in vaccinated adults who are immunosuppressed, including those with blood cancer. Those with severe immunosuppression are therefore more likely to suffer poor outcomes following infection and are less likely to benefit from the vaccines offered.

On 29 March 2021, the JCVI advised that household contacts of the immunosuppressed (such as those with blood cancer) should be offered a COVID-19 vaccination alongside priority group 6 in Phase 1. NHS England and Improvement will now vaccinate these household contacts in priority group 6.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the emergency standards of the Nursing and Midwifery Council to reintroduce emergency education standards to enable final year nursing students to opt-in to support the response to the covid-19 pandemic through extended clinical placement, if he will ensure the same health and safety provisions under those standards are applied to (a) student midwives and (b) student nurses.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) is the independent regulator of nurses and midwives in the United Kingdom and nursing associates in England. On 14 January 2021, the NMC made emergency changes to its education standards. The standards give flexibility to Approved Education Institutions (AEIs) to decide how to structure and apportion academic learning and clinical placements for nursing and midwifery students.

AEIs retain responsibility for ensuring the health and safety of students in whatever capacity they are undertaking clinical placements. The NMC’s emergency standards require training providers to ensure placement allocations take account of current, relevant public health guidelines with due regard to the health and wellbeing of individual students.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the role of the wraparound childcare sector in supporting mental health among parents.

No such assessment has been made.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that private nurseries and early year providers have access to covid-19 testing kits and lateral flow testing kits.

The Department is continuing to work closely with colleagues across Government and local authorities to secure the most effective approach to asymptomatic testing for the whole of the early years sector. Early years staff, as critical workers, continue to have priority access to polymerase chain reaction testing via the online portal, which is available at the following link:

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

The Department is having ongoing discussions about providing testing via the education testing programme as well as encouraging local authorities to consider prioritising appropriate testing for staff in private, voluntary and independent settings and childminders via the Community Testing Programme.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will have discussions with the Chancellor of the Exchequer and Secretary of State for Education on the potential merits of providing financial support to the wraparound childcare sector during the covid-19 outbreak to tackle childhood obesity.

Officials at the Department for Health and Social Care have regular discussions with colleagues in Her Majesty's Treasury and the Department for Education on delivering the measures set out in ‘Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives’ to help achieve our ambition to halve childhood obesity by 2030.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
29th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of prioritising vaccinating those with mild to moderate learning disabilities.

On 24 February, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) published a clarification of their advice on vaccinating people with a learning disability. The JCVI confirmed their advice that prioritisation should be for those with a severe and profound learning disability as in their view the evidence does not support prioritised vaccination for those with learning difficulties outside this group. However, the committee supported a practical approach of inviting everyone who is on a General Practitioner Learning Disability Register for vaccination in priority group 6. The Government accepted this advice and everyone who is on a GP Learning Disability Register is now included in priority group 6 of Phase 1 of the vaccine programme.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to provide funding to public health teams in London boroughs to raise awareness of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) with (a) targeted and (b) culturally appropriate messages for Black communities.

In March 2020, we announced that pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) will be routinely available across England in 2020/21 as part of the Government’s aim to end HIV transmission by 2030. This year we provided £11 million to local authorities for routine commissioning of PrEP and this is already in place in the majority of areas.

The Department and Public Health England continue to work closely with local authorities across England, including in London, as well as with other stakeholders to support the roll-out of routine commissioning of PrEP. This includes a package of information and resources shared with local authorities in July. Funding for health promotion activities in specific areas, including for PrEP is the responsibility of local authorities in those areas.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of (a) the level of access to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for groups at highest risk for HIV infection and (b) whether the funding allocated to the PrEP roll-out in 2020-21 is sufficient to meet demand.

The Government provided £11 million ring-fenced funding to local authorities for routine commissioning of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) in 2020/21, which has been assessed as meeting PrEP need this year. Routine commissioning of PrEP will benefit tens of thousands of people at highest risk of HIV infection and, along with other measures, will take us closer to our ambition of zero HIV transmissions by 2030.

Public Health England, in collaboration with stakeholders, is currently developing a monitoring and evaluation framework for the routine commissioning of PrEP. This will use established surveillance systems and include measures of PrEP need and use among key population groups to inform equitable delivery and access. These data will be published in routine sexually transmitted infection and human immunodeficiency virus surveillance outputs in 2021.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to help prevent late diagnosis of HIV among (a) Black Africans, (b) Black Caribbeans and (c) other members of Black communities.

Local authorities are responsible for providing services which help to prevent late diagnosis of HIV in their communities. Public Health England (PHE) provides local authorities with data on late HIV diagnosis rates to support commissioning to improve health and wellbeing and reduce inequalities.

HIV Prevention England, the national HIV prevention campaign funded by PHE and delivered by the Terrence Higgins Trust, aims to promote HIV testing to reduce undiagnosed and late HIV diagnoses in black African communities, men who have sex with men and other groups in which there is a higher or emerging burden of infection.

PHE’s Innovation Fund has supported a range of projects between 2017 and 2020 that tested and evaluated new approaches to reducing late diagnoses and increasing testing among the most affected populations.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that Black African communities are (a) aware of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and (b) able to access PrEP.

In March 2020, we announced that pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) will be routinely available across England in 2020/21 as part of the Government’s aim to end HIV transmission by 2030. This year we provided £11 million to local authorities for routine commissioning of PrEP and this is already in place in the majority of areas.

HIV Prevention England is the national HIV prevention campaign funded by Public Health England (PHE) and delivered by Terrence Higgins Trust. It aims to promote evidence-based safer-sex and HIV prevention interventions such as PrEP to black African communities, men who have sex with men and other groups in which there is a higher or emerging burden of infection. HIV Prevention England’s campaign in October 2020 focussed on raising awareness of HIV PrEP in black African Communities.

PHE also runs the Innovation Fund which supports volunteer organisations spearheading new approaches to HIV prevention, including PrEP and focuses on engaging at-risk or under-served communities.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to vaccinate people who are homeless and rough sleeping.

Local vaccination services play a vital role in reaching vulnerable groups such as those who are sleeping rough or homeless. These services mobilise general practice, working together in groups of Primary Care Networks plus large and small community pharmacy sites. These services provide the largest number of locations and are well placed to support the highest risk individuals, many of whom already have a trusted relationship with their local health services. They also coordinate and deliver vaccination to people who are unable to attend a vaccination site and to reach vulnerable groups such as those who are experiencing homelessness.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to extend access to the NHS covid-19 to Apple iPhone and Android phones that do not support iOS 13.5 or Android 6.0 (Marshmallow) and higher.

The COVID-19 app works on the vast majority of smartphones, approximately nine out of 10 in the United Kingdom. Not all handsets can use the app as it requires Bluetooth technology provided by Apple and Google in the operating system. On 14 December 2020, Apple released a version of their operating system (12.5) that brings the exposure notification contact tracing technology to older iPhone models. However, the app also uses other software components that are not available in these older versions of the operating system. Whilst we do not have plans to re-design the app in order for it to work on older iPhone models, we will continue to look at options to increase uptake of the app.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of prioritising staff of (a) homelessness, (b) domestic abuse and (c) social care for the severely disabled services for covid-19 vaccination.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) are the independent experts who advise the Government on which vaccines the United Kingdom should use and provide advice on prioritisation at a population level.  For the first phase, the JCVI has advised that the vaccine be given to care home residents and staff, as well as frontline health and social care workers, then to the rest of the population in order of age and clinical risk factors.

If staff working with the homeless or victims of domestic abuse are captured in phase one due to their age or clinical risk factors they will be prioritised. However the Government, as advised by the JCVI, are not considering vaccinating such workers as a phase one priority at this stage.   Care workers providing care for those who are severely disabled and clinically vulnerable to COVID-19  will be prioritised in phase one.

Prioritisation decisions for next phase delivery are subject to surveillance and monitoring data and information from phase one, as well as further input from independent scientific experts such as the JCVI. Phase two may include further reduction in hospitalisation and targeted vaccination of those at high risk of exposure and/or those delivering key public services.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to revise covid-19 restrictions on patient visiting in hospitals.

There are currently no planned revisions to COVID-19 restrictions on patient visiting in hospitals. NHS England and NHS Improvement will continue its ongoing review of guidance and revise as necessary. The health, safety and wellbeing of patients, communities and staff remain the priority.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of including unpaid carers in the same priority group as frontline health and social care workers for the covid-19 vaccine.

Social care workers include those working in long-stay residential and nursing care homes or other long-stay care facilities where rapid spread is likely to follow introduction of infection and cause high morbidity and mortality. This also includes social care staff directly involved in the care of their patients or clients, and others involved directly in delivering social care such that they and vulnerable patients and clients are at increased risk of exposure.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to place under 65 year olds with comorbidities and vulnerable diseases high on the priority list when a covid-19 vaccine is rolled out.

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.

Therefore, in line with the recommendations of the JCVI, the vaccine will be initially rolled out to the priority groups including care home residents and staff, people over 80 years old and health and care workers, then to the rest of the population in order of age and risk, including those who are clinically extremely vulnerable and all individuals aged 16-64 years old with underlying health conditions. Phase 2 of the roll out may include further reduction in hospitalisation and targeted vaccination of those at high risk of exposure and/or those delivering key public services.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of increasing the pay of (a) nursing and (b) other NHS staff on Agenda for Change terms.

The established mechanism for determining pay rises in the National Health Service are the independent Pay Review Bodies. For recommendations on pay for AfC staff for 2021/22, including nurses, we intend to look to the NHS Pay Review Body. We expect to issue a remit letter to the NHS Pay Review Body in the coming weeks following the conclusion of the Spending Review. The Government will carefully consider the Review Body’s recommendations when we receive them.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what criteria his Department is using to determine when a city is moved to a higher tier under the three-tiered system for local covid-19 lockdowns.

Decisions on tiers are made by Ministers based on public health recommendations from senior clinical and scientific advisors, guided by five key indicators - the case detection rate in all age groups, case detection rates among the over 60 year olds, the rate at which case rates are rising or falling, positivity rate and pressures on the National Health Service.  Final decisions on tiering are made by the COVID-19 Operations Committee.

As of 6 January, all areas have been moved into tier 4 and the Government will review the tiering allocations every 14 days.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what guidance he has issued on couples in established relationships who live apart in Tier 2 and Tier 3 areas.

Legislation relating to social distancing in local Covid alert level high and very high applies to couples in established relationships.

Published Government guidance recommends not travelling into or out of the local Covid alert level very high area, except for exempted purposes. Those living in local Covid alert level very high areas should not stay overnight outside that area, and those living outside local Covid alert level very high areas should not stay overnight inside local Covid alert level very high areas without legitimate reasons.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that BAME people can access the same level of support through mental health services as people from other backgrounds.

We want to ensure that all communities, including people from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds, can access mental health services when they need to. National Health Service mental health services have remained open, and our community, talking therapies and children and young people’s services have deployed digital tools to connect with people as well as face to face appointments where possible to provide ongoing support.

The Government has provided £10.2 million of additional funding for mental health charities to support adults and children. This includes charities that offer some support to BAME communities, such as the What? Centre, which supports young people with furthering their understanding of race, culture and identity in relation to mental health.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to ensure continued access to mental health services in areas with covid-19 lockdowns.

National Health Service mental health services have remained open for business throughout this time, delivering support digitally and over the phone where possible. This includes areas where local COVID-10 alert levels have been put in place.

For those with severe needs or in crisis, NHS mental health providers have established 24 hours per day, seven days a week mental health crisis lines.

We have released tailored guidance to help people deal with this pandemic. People can go to the Every Mind Matters website and GOV.UK for advice and tailored, practical steps they can take to support their wellbeing and manage their mental health.

We have provided £10.2 million of additional funding for mental health charities to support their work during COVID-19. A list of charity mental health helplines can be found on the NHS website.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure the adequacy of the capacity of NHS mental health services during periods of high levels of unemployment.

We recognise the additional pressures on mental health services due to the COVID-19 pandemic, its impact on the economy and levels of unemployment. National Health Service mental health services have remained open for business throughout this time, including delivering support digitally and by phone. For those with severe needs or in crisis, NHS mental health providers have established 24 hours per day, seven days a week mental health crisis lines.

We are working with the NHS, Public Health England and other key partners to gather evidence and assess the potential longer-term mental health impacts, and plan for how to support mental health and wellbeing throughout the coming weeks and months.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential benefit of linking income raised from non-EEA migrants paying the Immigration Health Surcharge to NHS trusts in their region.

The Department has made no such assessment.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, (a) how much revenue has been raised by the Immigration Health Surcharge annually since its introduction and (b) how much of this revenue is paid into the NHS annually.

The following table provides Immigration Health Surcharge income figures for the financial years from 2015/16 to 2018/19 – the latest period available, taken from the Home Office’s Annual Accounts which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/home-office-annual-report-and-accounts-2018-to-2019

2015-16

2016-17

2017-18

2018-19

Total

Income (£’000)

169,112

210,250

240,483

297,925

917,770

Prior to COVID-19, the Immigration Health Surcharge was forecast to generate over £400 million per year for the National Health Service.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what scientific tests have been used to assess the suitability of Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (HVACR) technologies installed in the temporary hospitals erected in the UK during the covid-19 outbreak.

The COVID-19 Nightingale temporary hospitals are the responsibility of the designated sponsoring National Health Service trust. Each such trust appointed a designated and appropriately qualified individual to oversee the design process and installation of the heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration-related infrastructure where required. All installations within each Nightingale facility were subject to a specific testing and commissioning process prior to operational use.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the equity of social care fees passed onto relatives when a loved one has passed away.

This information is not collected centrally and so no assessment has been made.

If any debt is incurred when paying for care, we expect the local authority to follow the principles set out in the relevant guidance; that they should act reasonably; and that any arrangements for debt repayments are agreed between the relevant parties.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether it is the Government's policy to reject any reduction in the powers of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence during future trade talks.

The Government will continue to ensure that decisions about public services are made by the United Kingdom Government and the devolved administrations, not our trade partners.

When negotiating trade deals, the National Health Service, the price the NHS pays for drugs, and the services the NHS provides will not be on the table. This position was reaffirmed in our published negotiating objectives for UK-United States and UK-Japan trade deals.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th May 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what assessment she has made of the diversity of the composition of the commissioners of the Equality and Human Rights Commission; and if she will make a statement.

The current diversity of the Equality and Human Rights Commission Board of Commissioners is set out in the table below;

Equality and Human Rights Commission: Board Diversity

Number

%

Total Members on Board

10 (1 Chair; 1 Deputy Chair; 1 ‘Scotland’ Commissioner; 6 Commissioners; 1 CEO/ commissioner ex officio)

100%

Female

7

70%

Male

3

30%

BAME

1

10%

Disabled

2

20%

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
29th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what step he is taking to ensure that BAME patients who are migrants have access to free medical care on the NHS 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.

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. This message has been shared with organisations representing vulnerable migrant groups.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that patients suffering with lupus are able to access adequate supplies of hydroxychloroquine.

The Department is working closely with industry, the National Health Service and others in the supply chain to help ensure patients can access the medicines they need, including hydroxychloroquine, and precautions are in place to reduce the likelihood of future shortages.

Hydroxychloroquine is not currently licensed to treat COVID-19 related symptoms or prevent infection. Clinical trials are being established to test hydroxychloroquine as an agent in the treatment of COVID-19. There are centrally held supplies of hydroxychloroquine for those clinical trials.

Separate supplies of hydroxychloroquine for patients that are already using the medicine for its licensed indications can be accessed through usual routes. The Department is in regular contact with suppliers to ensure stock continues to remain available in the supply chain. In addition, there is an export ban in place to protect United Kingdom stocks of hydroxychloroquine that is intended for UK patients.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent steps his Department has taken to help ensure NHS 111 has the capacity to (a) handle increased calls and (b) reduce phone waiting times during the covid-19 outbreak.

Around 1,000 additional call handlers have already been trained.

The National Health Service has been clear that investment will increase if demand continues to rise advising that people should only call 111 if they cannot get help online. The new NHS 111 online service provides people with the right advice which frees up clinical call handlers time so that they are able to prioritise those experiencing symptoms.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the covid-19 outbreak, whether annual targets for GPs will be temporarily suspended.

We are taking steps to review the broad spectrum of current general practitioner services in England to assess how additional capacity might be released if required. Similar work is also taking place across the other primary care professions. Further information will follow in due course should such steps need to be taken. This information will be published on the NHS England website at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/publication/preparedness-letters-for-general-practice/

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that pharmacies have adequate supplies of the PPV23 vaccine.

The Department is aware that there is currently limited availability of the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPV23). There have been intermittent supply issues over the last 2-3 years due to manufacturing capacity constraints and an increase in global demand for the vaccine.

Public Health England has issued comprehensive guidance to the National Health Service clinicians on the management of potentially affected patients during this time of limited availability. General Practices have been advised to prioritise PPV23 vaccinations based on clinical risk and to plan vaccinations to ensure demand is more consistent across the year.

On 6 November 2019, PPV23 was added to the list of medicines that cannot be parallel exported, further protecting United Kingdom supplies and vaccine availability.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, where funding for official development assistance that was allocated to the European Commission Directorate for Development prior to the UK's departure from the EU has been allocated to since the UK's departure from the EU.

The UK continues to contribute to EU development programmes (ODA) under the 2014-2020 EU Budget and for the European Development Fund (EDF), as part of the wider financial settlement in the Withdrawal Agreement. The total UK Official Development Assistance (ODA) through the EU as committed in the Withdrawal Agreement was just over £1.5bn in 2020 and the FCDO estimates that it will be around £1.4bn in 2021 and then gradually decline over the coming years, depending on the speed of EU implementation.

As a third country, the UK will not be contributing to the new 2021-27 EU Budget, including external action. The level of ODA resources no longer provided to the EU budget in support of EU development programmes will become gradually more significant over time. Future Spending Reviews will determine how these ODA resources are prioritised.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure imprisoned Moroccan journalist, Soulaiman Raissouni, is given access to adequate medical treatment.

We are aware of reports concerning Soulaiman Raissouni and continue to monitor the case. Support for human rights is a priority around the world, and we regularly raise human rights issues with the Moroccan Government, including prison conditions.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will meet with the pro-democracy leaders Saeed Alshehabi, Ali Mushaima and Moosa Mohammad to discuss ongoing human rights violations in Bahrain.

There are no plans to meet with Dr. Saeed Alshehabi, Mr Ali Mushaima or Mr Moosa Mohammad.

Defending human rights and promoting democracy around the world is a core priority for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and its diplomatic network. While we recognise that challenges remain, we believe that consistent, positive steps are being made on security and justice reform in Bahrain. The FCDO considers a range of information and sources when making our assessment of the HRs picture in Bahrain, including meeting individuals or groups when we deem appropriate.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will invite Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya to the G7 summit talks to discuss the political situation in Belarus.

It was not possible to invite further national participants to the G7 summit. However G7 Leaders discussed current global issues including the Lukashenko regime's reckless and dangerous behaviour and this was reflected in the official communique. The Foreign Secretary discussed the political situation in Belarus with the opposition leader, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya on 2 June and made it clear that Mrs Tikhanovskaya should visit the UK as soon as conditions allow. Until that becomes possible, officials are in regular contact with civil society and opposition groups and most recently spoke to members of the Belarus National Anti-Crisis Management on 7 June.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the recent arrests of journalists in the Iraqi Kurdistan region; and if he will make representations to his counterparts in the Kurdish Regional Government on the release of those journalists.

We are aware of reports concerning the detention and convictions of journalists in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq and are following the situation closely. A free and independent media is essential to functioning societies. We condemn acts of intimidation against journalists and media organisations, and the suppression of information.

I have raised and continue to raise my concerns over restrictions on media freedom in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq with the Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government, Masrour Barzani. In the last few weeks, our Ambassador in Baghdad, and our Consul General in Erbil, has also discussed these issues with their interlocutors in the Kurdistan Regional Government.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to protect journalists facing threat of harm or arrest in Myanmar.

The UK condemns the coup conducted by the Myanmar military on 1 February. We have made representations at the highest level within Myanmar to encourage all sides to resolve disputes in a peaceful and legal manner. We condemn restrictions on social media as a means of limiting freedom of expression and the intimidation and persecution of those opposing the military coup. We urge the military to exercise utmost restraint towards them and refrain from actions against civil society and further disruption of communication or freedom of expression and the media. Journalists must be allowed to carry out their job without fear or threat of violence. We and the EU have called for a Special Session of the UN Human Rights Council on Myanmar on 12 February. We condemn the coup in Myanmar and the arbitrary detention of elected politicians & civil society by the military.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will urge his Sri Lankan counterpart to stop their policy of forcibly cremating its citizens who have died from covid-19, in accordance with their religious beliefs.

The UK Government is concerned about the Government of Sri Lanka's continued decision to mandate cremations for all those affected by Covid-19, and recognises the particular impact this is having on Sri Lankan Muslims and other faith communities. The Minister of State for South Asia and Minister responsible for Human Rights, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, has raised concerns about this directly with the Sri Lankan High Commissioner, most recently in December. Lord Ahmad also raised the importance of minority rights in a call with the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena in November. The UK's High Commissioner to Sri Lanka has also raised concerns about mandatory cremations several times with the Sri Lankan Government, most recently in January.

The UK has shared guidance with the Government of Sri Lanka on how burials can continue to operate in a safe format, within the WHO guidelines, to ensure all religious groups can practise their rites. We will continue to engage with the Government of Sri Lanka on this important issue.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will provide additional support to relief efforts in Zimbabwe to support people suffering from the famine in that country.

On the 30th December 2020 the UK announced a £47 million support package to nine countries affected by food insecurity including Zimbabwe. In Zimbabwe, £4 million will be used to provide 110,000 people in urban areas with monthly transfers worth USD 12 per person. People targeted include the elderly, people with disabilities and child-headed households. Through our ongoing humanitarian programme, the UK is also supporting 156,000 food insecure people in 3 rural districts with food assistance.

30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he will take to support and protect civilians in Syria during the ongoing civil conflict and covid-19 pandemic.

The UK continues to work closely with the UN and our humanitarian partners to respond to the outbreak of COVID-19 and sustain life-saving services in Syria. The UK has committed £34 million to help humanitarian partners mitigate the impact of the virus. The funding will help stop the spread of the virus in Syria by supporting health workers with training, medical supplies and sanitation. Additionally, the UK remains a top donor to the Syria crisis. In June 2020 we committed at least £300 million at the Brussels Conference on "Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region". This brings the UK's support to Syria and the region since 2012 to £3.3 billion, the UK's biggest ever humanitarian response. The UK continues to call upon all parties to the conflict to uphold International Humanitarian Law and protect civilians.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Nov 2020
Whether he made representations during his recent visit to Israel to his counterpart in the Israeli Government on proposals to annex parts of the West Bank.

We have actively encouraged the parties back to dialogue. The Foreign Secretary visited Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories in August and urged Palestinian President Abbas and Israeli PM Netanyahu to renew cooperation, and work towards further confidence-building measures and dialogue. The Foreign Secretary welcomed the recent decision by the Palestinian Authority & the Government of Israel to restore cooperation. We encourage the parties to build on this momentum through further dialogue and compromise to move towards a lasting solution to the conflict. We also welcomed the announcement, on 13 August, of the suspension of annexation plans. Annexation would have been contrary to international law, counterproductive to peace and a severe blow to prospects for a two-state solution. We hope both of these developments can be used as a step towards direct talks between the two sides. The UK stands ready to support.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he is taking steps to extend the sanctions list to (a) people responsible for violence in Belarus and (b) institutions which are assisting or funding the Belarusian regime.

On 29 September, the UK, with Canada, implemented sanctions on Alexander?Lukashenko, his son and six other members of the Belarusian senior leadership under the Global Human Rights sanctions regime for serious human rights violations linked to the presidential election in August.?? We welcomed the EU's decision to impose sanctions on other linked officials and will transfer the existing EU Belarus sanctions regime into an autonomous UK sanctions regime at the end of the Transition Period.? We remain concerned by the situation in Belarus and will consider future designations carefully, guided by the evidence and objectives of the sanctions regime.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the recent demolition of Palestinian homes in the Bedouin settlement of Khirbet Humsa, in the Jordan Valley.

We are concerned by increasing rates of demolition of Palestinian property by the Israeli authorities. In all but the most exceptional of circumstances demolitions are contrary to International Humanitarian Law. I raised our concern about demolitions with the Israeli Ambassador to the UK on 29 October, and issued a statement outlining the UK's concern about the demolitions of structures in Humsa Al-Baqai'a on 6 November. Officials from the British Consulate General Jerusalem visited Humsa Al-Baqai'a on 6 November to reiterate UK support for the community. The UK provides funding to the West Bank Protection Consortium, which is coordinating with the Palestinian Red Cross and the United Nations to provide emergency shelter to the community of Humsa Al-Baqai'a, and determine the community's long-term needs. The UK is focused on preventing demolitions and evictions from happening in the first place through our legal aid programme, which supports Bedouin communities and Palestinians facing demolition or home eviction in both the West Bank and East Jerusalem. We continue to urge the Government of Israel to develop improved mechanisms for zoning, planning and permitting in Area C for the benefit of the Palestinian population, including by facilitating local Palestinian participation in such processes.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will make it his policy to provide funding and long term support for people affected by Hurricane ETA.

The British Government is supporting the humanitarian response in Central America in the wake of the devastation caused by Hurricanes Eta and Iota. The Start Fund, to which the UK contributes, has released funding to NGOs in Nicaragua, Honduras, and Guatemala for immediate humanitarian assistance. FCDO has also procured aid supplies, including emergency shelter kits, to be distributed by local partners across the region. The British Government funded NGO, Map Action, is providing crucial mapping services to support regional relief efforts.

We have also deployed RFA Argus, a ship of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, to support the US military's relief operations in Honduras. We are donating £1 million to the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) emergency appeal. The UK is also a large donor to multilateral agencies already responding across the region, including the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, and the World Food Programme. We are continuing to monitor the situation, and will consider providing further support as required.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to help ensure an expansion of gender-responsive social protection following the covid-19 pandemic to help keep children, particularly girls, in school.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) supports some of the poorest and most vulnerable people through social protection programmes in over 25 countries. We recognise their potential to deliver gender equality outcomes, including girls' education, and are working with governments and international partners to strengthen the gender responsiveness of social protection policies and programmes in developing countries. Our Gender-Responsive Social Protection and Better Assistance in Crises programmes are providing expert advice to FCDO country offices, governments and partner organisations on how to strengthen social protection measures in the COVID-19 response, including how to deliver more effectively for women and girls. We will continue to encourage a strong gender focus in social protection programmes and systems in the COVID-19 recovery.

The UK is committed to supporting children in developing countries to return to school when it is safe to do so, and recognises the important role social protection can play in safeguarding the wellbeing of individuals and their families during times of crisis, and in helping families to meet the direct and indirect costs of sending girls to schools. This is part of the FCDO's wider education programme response to COVID-19 which includes work with partner countries to ensure they have the knowledge and resources to facilitate a safe return.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what progress his Department has made on reuniting (a) Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, (b) Anoosheh Ashooori and (c) other arbitrarily detained dual British nationals with their families.

HMG remains extremely concerned about all dual British nationals detained in Iran, including Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Anoosheh Ashoori. Iran does not recognise dual nationality and therefore does not the permit UK Government access to British-Iranian detainees. We continue to urge the Iranian Government immediately to release all dual British nationals arbitrarily detained in Iran to enable them to return to their families in the UK. The welfare of British-Iranian citizens in Iran is of paramount importance, and we call on Iran to uphold its commitments under international law to treat all detainees in line with international standards. We continue to raise all our dual British nationals' cases at the most senior levels, and discuss it at every opportunity with our Iranian counterparts. The Foreign Secretary has done so repeatedly with Foreign Minister Zarif. We raised their cases again when we summoned the Iranian Ambassador on 29 October, and our Ambassador in Tehran consistently raises all our dual national detainees with the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 16 October to Question 101064, with reference to Save the Children's finding that the covid-19 pandemic has put 2.5 million girls at risk of child marriage and 1 million girls at risk of child pregnancy, what steps his Department is taking to prioritise the provision of safe education for girls in developing countries.

The need to support education, particularly girls' education, has never been greater. The UK is committed to a safe return to school for children around the world. We must support education systems to respond and ensure girls and the most vulnerable get back to school and catch up on lost learning.

The UK is the largest bilateral donor to the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), which has flexed £400 million to support education systems globally at this unprecedented time. The Prime Minister recently announced that next year the UK will co-host GPE's financing summit: this will be a crucial step towards achieving this Government's ambition of 12 years of quality education for every girl.

The UK is the largest donor to Education Cannot Wait (ECW), the global fund for education in emergencies, and has provided an additional £5 million to reach the most vulnerable children in 33 countries during the pandemic. We announced £5.3 million of new UK funding to UNHCR to enable more than 5,000 teachers to provide vital education for children in 10 refugee-hosting countries up to early 2021. Bilaterally, we have adapted and reprioritised our education programmes in 18 countries to provide education and keep pupils safe.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department in response to the ongoing human rights abuses in Uganda.

The UK Government follows the human rights situation in Uganda closely. Human rights are universal and should apply equally to all people. We continue to call on Uganda to guarantee freedoms enshrined in the Ugandan Constitution. At the 43rd Human Rights Council on 19 June, the UK International Ambassador for Human Rights welcomed the agreement between the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Government of Uganda to renew the mandate of the UN Human Rights office in Kampala. At the UN Security Council on 13 October, we called on the Government of Uganda to ensure their upcoming elections are peaceful, free and fair as reports of shrinking democratic space are concerning. The British High Commissioner in Kampala has raised the importance of free and fair elections and respect for human rights in recent calls with senior Government Ministers. We will continue to monitor the situation.

8th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that its education programmes focus on supporting the poorest and most marginalised children.

Our education programmes prioritise the poorest and most marginalised children, especially girls. The UK is a world leader in supporting girls' education and champions the right of all girls to 12 years of quality education by 2030. Between 2015 and 2020 the UK supported at least 15.6 million children around the world to gain a decent education, of which 8.1 million were girls.

The UK is dedicated to supporting education in emergencies and protracted crises: reaching these children is critical to global progress towards Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4. The UK is the largest donor to Education Cannot Wait, the global fund for education in emergencies, and Chairs its Executive Committee. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we recognise that children already living through emergencies are at a double disadvantage. The UK has provided an additional £5 million to ECW as well as £5.3 million to UNHCR to support refugee education.

There are an estimated 65 million children with disabilities, and 1/3 of all out of school children at the primary level have a disability. In 2019, together with the World Bank and the Norwegian Government, we launched the Inclusive Education Initiative (IEI). This initiative is providing technical expertise to help make education more inclusive for children across the spectrum of disabilities.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to help ensure a co-ordinated and adequately funded global action plan for getting children back to school following the covid-19 pandemic.

The UK is committed to ensuring a safe return to school for children around the world. We are taking decisive action through our 18 bilateral education programmes, and we are supporting global efforts, including the UNICEF-led campaign 'Opening Up Better', to ensure children return to school when it is safe to do so. We recognise that children already living through emergencies are at a double disadvantage during the COVID-19 pandemic and have provided an additional £5 million to Education Cannot Wait and £5.3 million to UNHCR to support refugee education.

The UK has played a leading role coordinating the global response, and on 20 and 22 October the UK will be co-hosting an extraordinary Global Education Meeting (GEM) with UNESCO. This extraordinary meeting of the GEM will bring together the international education community to agree on a set of global priority actions to be put in place to support the recovery from COVID-19 and strengthening education systems.

The UK, along with Kenya, will host next year's replenishment of the Global Partnership for Education, the major global fund for education. This will be a key moment to mobilise much needed commitments as we build back from COVID-19.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the Save the Children report entitled Save Our Education: Protect every child’s right to learn in the COVID-19 response and recovery, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure the 9.7 million children at risk of not returning to education as a result of the covid-19 pandemic return to school.

The education of over 1.3 billion children in over 150 countries has been disrupted since COVID-19 struck.

The UK is committed to ensuring children around the world return to school when it is safe to do so. We have adapted our bilateral education programmes in 18 countries in response to the pandemic and have stepped up funding for education including a £5 million uplift to the Education Cannot Wait fund for emergency education in fragile contexts, and £5.3 million of new funding to UNHCR to enable over 5500 teachers to provide vital education for children in 10 refugee-hosting countries over the crucial next seven months. As the largest donor to the Global Partnership for Education we have helped set up a dedicated $500 million COVID-19 accelerated funding window to maintain basic education. We are working closely with UNICEF's Reopening Better Campaign, both globally and in country.

The UK, along with Kenya, will host next year's replenishment of the Global Partnership for Education, the major global fund for education. This will be a key moment, with UK leadership, to mobilise much needed commitments on this agenda.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent diplomatic steps he has taken on Israel's plans to annex parts of Palestine.

We welcome the announcement, on 13 August, of the suspension of Israel's plans to annex parts of the West Bank. The UK has consistently made clear our firm opposition to annexation, which would be contrary to international law, counterproductive to securing peace in the region, and a severe blow to the prospects of the two-state solution. We therefore profoundly hope that suspension of these plans can be used as a step towards dialogue between Israel and the Palestinians. There can be no substitute for direct talks in order to reach a two-state solution and a lasting peace. The Foreign Secretary visited Israel and the OPTs on 24-25 August and encouraged the leaders of Israel and the Palestinians to build on this momentum. We urge the Palestinian Authority to resume co-operation with Israel, which is in the interests of the Palestinian people. We also call on both parties to make constructive and open steps towards a return to dialogue.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to ensure that banks are accountable for overseeing the accounts of disabled and vulnerable people for irregularities and fraudulent activity.

The Government is working with industry to close down the vulnerabilities that fraudsters exploit and ensure members of the public have the information they need to spot a scam and stand up to fraudsters. This is a shared endeavour between Government, law enforcement and the private sector. It is vital we ensure that disabled and vulnerable customers are included in this effort, but there are no additional requirements on a bank to check for irregularities or fraudulent activity if a customer is disabled or vulnerable.

UK banks’ and building societies’ treatment of their customers is governed by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in its Principles for Businesses. This includes a general requirement for firms to provide a prompt, efficient and fair service to all of their customers.

The FCA’s Guidance for firms on the Fair Treatment of Vulnerable Customers also requires that firms should understand what harms their customers are likely to be vulnerable to and ensure that customers in vulnerable circumstances receive the same fair treatment and outcomes as other customers.

If a firm has doubts about a consumer’s ability to understand a product or service, suspects they do not have capacity to make decisions or that they are acting as a result of fraud or coercion, the firm should assess whether it should allow the consumer to proceed. It may be appropriate for firms to contact, or act on the instructions of, a family member, friend or other third party.

In addition, like all service providers, banks and building societies are bound under the Equality Act 2010 to make reasonable adjustments, where necessary, in the way they deliver their services. This may include allowing for a carer or deputy to act for the disabled person.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will delay bounce back loan repayments by 12 months to help support businesses while they are in the initial phases of reopening.

The Government has already taken action to give businesses the flexibility and space they need to repay their loans. Under the Bounce Back loan scheme no repayments are due from the borrower for the first 12 months of the loan, and the Government covers the first 12 months of interest payments charged to the business by the lender.

In order to give businesses further support in making their repayments, the Government announced “Pay as You Grow” (PAYG) options. PAYG will give businesses the option to repay their Bounce Back loan over ten years. This will reduce their average monthly repayments on the loan by almost half. Businesses will also have the option to move temporarily to interest-only payments for periods of up to six months (an option which they can use up to three times). They can also pause their repayments entirely for up to six months – and given the continued challenges businesses are facing, the Government opted to enable borrowers to make use of this option from the first repayment, which means that businesses can choose to make no payments on their loans until 18 months after they originally took them out. If borrowers want to take advantage of this option, they should notify their lender when they are contacted about their repayments.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what tailored long-term support he will make available to (a) airlines and (b) the travel industry in response to increased covid-19 transmission and changing guidelines for international travel.

The aviation and aerospace sectors are being supported with over £11 billion made available through loan guarantees, support for exporters, the Bank of England’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility and grants for research and development.

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

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

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessments of the potential merits of increasing the Lifetime ISA threshold for people living in London.

The Lifetime ISA aims to provide the opportunity for first-time buyers to enter the market and offers a generous government bonus of 25% on up to £4,000 of savings each year to support that aim.

The Government believes that the 25% bonus must be focused on those that need it most in order to ensure sustainable public finances. The Government continues to consider a property price cap of £450,000 appropriate to support the majority of first-time buyers across the UK. Nonetheless, the Government keeps all aspects of savings policy under review.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make it his policy to waive business rates for retail and leisure property until September 2021.

The Budget announced a three-month extension to the business rates holiday for eligible businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors that was provided at Budget 2020. This means over 350,000 properties will pay no business rates for three months.

From 1 July 2021, 66% relief will be available subject to a cash cap that depends on whether businesses have been required to close or were able to open. This additional relief takes the total value of support in 2021-22 to £6 billion and means the vast majority of businesses will on average receive 75% relief across the year.

22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will maintain the Social Investment Tax Relief; and if he will take steps to reform that relief so that enterprises in community energy and tackling climate change qualify for investment.

The Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR) was introduced in 2014 to incentivise risk finance investments in qualifying social enterprises and charities. In order to target SITR towards the highest-risk social enterprises, certain activities are excluded from the scheme, including community energy.

HMRC statistics show that up to 2018-19, about 110 enterprises have used the scheme to raise £11.2 million.

The Government keeps all taxes and reliefs under review in order to ensure they continue to meet policy objectives in a way that is fair and effective. The Government previously published a Call for Evidence in 2019 on SITR’s use to date. A response to the consultation will be published in due course and a decision on SITR’s future will be announced at the Budget.

11th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to progress a directors’ income support scheme package for directors of limited companies.

The Government always welcomes constructive proposals from stakeholders to improve the design of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS), including the suggestion for a Directors Income Support Scheme (DISS) from the Federation of Small Businesses, ForgottenLtd, Re Legal Consulting Ltd, and ACCA UK. This proposal aims to provide a new system for company directors, based on reported profits. The Government has considered this proposal in detail.

The DISS, as currently framed, is intrinsically reliant on self-certification. As the Government cannot readily verify this information, an effect of this reliance on self-certification is to open the scheme up to an unacceptable level of fraud by organised criminal groups and others who would seek to exploit the scheme. The Government cannot expose the tax system to these risks but continues to engage with the FSB regarding these concerns.

10th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will extend the reduced 5 per cent VAT rate on admission charges to attractions beyond 31 March 2021.

The temporary reduced rate of VAT was introduced on 15 July to support the cash flow and viability of over 150,000 businesses and protect 2.4 million jobs in the hospitality and tourism sectors, and will run until 31 March 2021.

This policy will cost over £2 billion. The Government keeps all taxes under review, and any future decisions on tax policy will be made at Budget.

The Government has announced a significant support package to help businesses from a whole range of sectors through the winter months, which includes an extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, an extension of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme grant, and an extension of the application window for the Government-backed loan schemes.

8th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he has made an assessment of the potential the merits of extending the hospitality industry’s VAT reduction to include wine and spirit sales.

The temporary reduced rate of VAT was introduced on 15 July to support the cash flow and viability of over 150,000 businesses and protect 2.4 million jobs in the hospitality and tourism sectors, and will run until 31 March 2021.

This policy will cost over £2 billion and it is necessary for a boundary for eligibility to be drawn. The Government keeps all taxes under review, and any future decisions on tax policy will be made at Budget.

The Government has announced a significant support package to help businesses from a whole range of sectors through the winter months, which includes an extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, an extension of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme grant, and an extension of the application window for the Government-backed loan schemes. Alcohol duty was frozen at Budget 2020 to help pubs and the alcoholic drinks sector.

5th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he provide ongoing financial support to the self-employed through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme in the period between the end of the third grant in January 2021 and his budget statement on the fourth grant on 3 March 2021.

The Government is committed to supporting the self-employed population during the COVID-19 pandemic through a substantial package of support.

The three Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grants combined provided up to £21,570 of support for each individual, placing the SEISS among the most generous schemes for the self-employed in the world. As of 31 December, about 2.7 million individuals have made claims totalling over £18.9 billion so far across all three grants.

The claims window for the third grant closed on 29 January 2021. Further details of the fourth grant, which will cover February to the end of April, will be announced alongside other economic updates at Budget in March.

The SEISS continues to be just one element of a substantial package of support for the self-employed which includes Bounce Back loans, tax deferrals, rental support, mortgage holidays, self-isolation support payments and other business support grants.

1st Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Education on the potential merits of subsidising access to wraparound care for (a) vulnerable children and (b) children of key workers.

The department regularly meets a range of stakeholders, which includes discussion of parent’s access to childcare.

The Government appreciates that the wraparound childcare sector, like many sectors, is facing unprecedented financial pressures as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is for this reason that the Government has made a range of financial packages of support available for businesses to access throughout the current crisis. This includes tax relief, business loans or cash grants through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and the Self-Employed Support Scheme (SEISS), as well as a £594 million discretionary fund for councils and the Devolved Administrations to support local businesses that may not be eligible for other support, during the current national lockdown.

Additionally, the Government has encouraged all local authorities to consider what local grants could be used to bolster the childcare sector in their areas, to safeguard sufficient childcare provision for children of critical workers and vulnerable children. This includes funding streams such as the Holiday Activities and Food Programme. The expanded programme, which comprises a £220 million fund to be delivered through grants to local authorities, will be expanded to reach all local authority areas over the Easter, summer, and Christmas holidays in 2021.

The Government is also acutely aware of the impact that coronavirus has had on young people. That is why more than £60m of the unprecedented £750m package for the voluntary and charity sector has been directed towards organisations supporting children and young people. This is on top of £200m government investment in early intervention and prevention support initiatives to support children and young people at risk of exploitation and involvement in serious violence, through the Youth Endowment Fund.

In addition to wraparound childcare providers, parents / carers can also utilise the following to support their childcare needs:

  • In the most recent national lockdown, the Government has chosen to keep early years settings open for all children. Vulnerable children and children of key workers can also continue to attend access out-of-school settings, for example breakfast clubs and after-school clubs.
  • Nannies, which are still able to continue to provide services, including in the home; and
  • Parents are also able to form a childcare bubble with one other household for the purposes of informal childcare, where the child is under the age of 14.

Tax-Free Childcare also provides working parents with 20% support on childcare costs up to £10,000. Eligible working families with children under 12 (or under 17 if disabled) will receive up to £2,000 per child per year (or £4000 per child per year for disabled children) towards their childcare bills.

TFC can be used for activities out of school hours.

Low income working parents may be eligible for support through the Universal Credit childcare offer, which covers up to 85% of eligible childcare costs, or through Working Tax Credit, which covers up to 70% of costs. Both can be used for childcare that is outside school hours.

Steve Barclay
Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of supporting self-employed workers who have had their income affected by the covid-19 pandemic in paying their tax returns for 2019-20.

The Government has taken unprecedented steps to support the self-employed during the COVID-19 pandemic, with the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme receiving claims from about 2.7 million individuals so far, totalling over £18.9 billion as of 31 December.

The Government recognises that the pandemic may have affected the ability of self-employed individuals to meet their tax obligations. As announced in the Winter Economy Plan, the Government has given the self-employed and other taxpayers more time to pay taxes due in January 2021, building on the self-assessment deferral provided in July 2020.

Taxpayers with up to £30,000 of Self-Assessment liabilities due will be able to use HMRC’s self-service Time to Pay facility to secure a plan to pay over an additional 12 months. This means that Self-Assessment liabilities due in July 2020 will not need to be paid in full until January 2022.

If taxpayers or their agents are struggling to obtain the required information in time for their Self-Assessment return to be submitted by the filing date, they can provide provisional figures on their return and then provide HMRC with the actual figures as soon as they can. They must state that provisional figures are being provided by ticking the appropriate data item box on the return.

11th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of extending the stamp duty holiday to mitigate the effect of logistical delays occurring during property transactions as a result of the covid-19 lockdown.

The temporary SDLT relief was designed to stimulate immediate momentum in a property market where property transactions fell by as much as 50 per cent during the COVID-19 lockdown in March. This will also support the jobs of people whose employment relies on custom from the property industry, such as retailers and tradespeople.

The Government will continue to monitor the market. However, as the relief was designed to provide an immediate stimulus to the property market, the Government does not plan to extend this relief.

6th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether his Department will consider extending the Job Retention Scheme to include employees employed after the 30th October 2020.

For all eligibility decisions under CJRS, the Government must balance the need to support as many jobs as possible with the need to protect the scheme from fraud.

Under the CJRS extension, an employer can claim for employees who were employed and on their PAYE payroll on 30 October 2020. The employer must have made a PAYE Real Time Information (RTI) submission to HMRC between 20 March 2020 and 30 October 2020, notifying a payment of earnings for that employee. The use of RTI allows HMRC to verify claims in the most efficient and timely way, ensuring payments can be made quickly while reducing the risk of fraud. Without the use of RTI returns it would be difficult to verify claims without significant additional checks, which would delay payment for genuine claims.

The 30 October 2020 cut-off date allowed as many people as possible to be included by going right up to the day before the announcement, while balancing the risk of fraud that existed as soon as the scheme became public. Extending the cut-off date further would have significantly increased the risk of abuse because claims could not be confidently verified against the risk of fraud by using the data after this point.

30th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will reduce business rates for (a) local shops and (b) businesses during the covid-19 outbreak.

This year the Government has provided an unprecedented business rates holiday for eligible retail, hospitality and leisure properties due to the direct adverse effects of COVID-19, worth about £10 billion.

In the 2020 Spending Review, the Government committed further support to businesses, including in retail, hospitality and leisure, by freezing the business rates multiplier for 2021-22. In order to ensure that any decisions best meet the evolving challenges posed by COVID-19, the Government will outline plans for 2021-22 reliefs in due course.

26th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 11 November 2020 to Question 110758, if he will enable people who are long-term self-employed to submit previous self-assessment returns prior to 2018-19 for the Self-employed Income Support Scheme.

The Government has provided, and will continue to provide, generous support to the self-employed through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS).

If an individual is not eligible based on their 2018-19 Self Assessment return, HM Revenue & Customs will then look at their Self Assessment returns from 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 to determine their eligibility. This reduces the impact of one-off events, such as a redundancy payment, in determining eligibility.

To calculate an individual’s average trading profits for the purposes of the SEISS grant, HMRC will consider previous Self Assessment returns prior to 2018-2019, where possible.

The grant is calculated by taking an average of yearly trading profits over the last three tax years and dividing this by four to give a three-month average. The grant will then be provided at 80% of this three-month average, capped at £7,500.

Moreover, the SEISS continues to be just one element of a comprehensive package of support for the self-employed. 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.

9th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps the Government plans to ensure that insurance companies do not routinely decline cover to people aged 70 years and over.

Since 2012, the Government has engaged in a voluntary signposting agreement with the Association of British Insurers (ABI) and the British Insurance Brokers Association (BIBA) for motor and travel insurance. This was set up to certify that where an insurer or insurance broker cannot offer cover due to upper age limits on their policies, it will refer the customer to another insurer who can provide cover, or an appropriate signposting service.

This agreement is periodically reviewed, first in 2015 and most recently in 2019.

All insurers are also required to treat customers fairly under the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) rules.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment his Department has made of the financial effect of the changes to Small Brewers Relief on the smallest brewers in the UK.

The smallest brewers in the UK produce less than 2,100 hectolitres and so will be unaffected by the Government’s proposed reforms to the Small Brewers Relief taper.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of (a) making the uplift to universal credit and working tax credit permanent and (b) extending that uplift to legacy benefits.

The temporary £20 per week increase to the Universal Credit standard allowance and Working Tax Credit basic element forms just one part of a wide-ranging package of measures to protect people’s jobs and incomes. The welfare measures announced in March, which the Office for Budget Responsibility estimates are worth £9 billion this year, are specifically aimed at providing significant temporary support to low-income families who have seen their income fall due to the immediate impact of Coronavirus.

Making the £20 per week increase permanent would require a substantial ongoing increase in public expenditure, with 2020-21 spending on working-age benefits set to be the highest since records began as a share of national income.

The Government has focused on measures that can be introduced and operationalised quickly – the most straightforward way to increase benefits for claimants during this period was to temporarily increase the Universal Credit standard allowance and the Working Tax Credit basic element. In addition, Employment and Support Allowance, Jobseeker's Allowance, and Income Support were increased by 1.7 per cent in April 2020 as part of the annual uprating exercise.

Steve Barclay
Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme will cover financial support for the transitionary periods (September and October 2020) between its first and second rounds of grant support.

The Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grants provide a lump sum payment based on three months’ worth of profits in order to support eligible self-employed individuals. The first SEISS grant was open for applications from 13 May until 13 July and the second was open for applications from 17 August until 19 October.

The Government has announced that it will provide further taxable grants through the SEISS Grant Extension. The third grant will cover 55% of average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering three months’ worth of profits, and capped at £5,160 in total. This grant will be increased from the previously announced level of 40% of trading profits to 80% for November 2020. This therefore increases the total level of the grant from 40% to 55% of trading profits for 1 November 2020 to 31 January 2020. The fourth grant will cover a three-month period from 1 February 2021 until 30 April 2021. The Government will review the level of the fourth grant and set this in due course.

For those who require more support, the SEISS continues to be just one element of a comprehensive package of support for individuals and businesses. This package includes Bounce Back loans, tax deferrals, rental support,?increased levels of Universal Credit, mortgage holidays, and other business support grants.

30th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of reducing the rate of VAT on refurbishment, repair and maintenance of buildings from 20 per cent to five per cent or below.

Reducing the rate of VAT on refurbishment, repair and maintenance of buildings from twenty per cent to five per cent would be very expensive. For example, such a rate for repair and renovations of buildings would cost the Exchequer approximately £4 billion per year. This would have to be balanced by a reduction in public spending, increased borrowing or increased taxation elsewhere. While the Government keeps all taxes under review, there are no plans to change the VAT treatment of the repair and renovation of buildings.

15th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to ensure that (a) furloughed workers who are usually paid (i) variable salaries and (ii) tronc and (b) other furloughed workers receive a level of income at least equivalent to the minimum wage.

The National Minimum Wage (NMW) is calculated on the basis of hours worked, and furloughed workers will not be working any hours for their employer, although they will remain employed by them. Furloughed workers will be paid the lower of 80% of their salary or £2,500, even if, based on their usual working hours, this would be below the NMW. Employers can top up these payments voluntarily.

The Government is also supporting people on low incomes who need to rely on the welfare system through a significant package of temporary measures. These include a £20 per week increase to the Universal Credit standard allowance and Working Tax Credit basic element, and a nearly £1bn increase in support for renters through increases to the Local Housing Allowance rates for Universal Credit and Housing Benefit claimants. These changes will benefit new and existing claimants. Anyone can check their eligibility and apply for Universal Credit by visiting https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit.

5th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking to include agricultural businesses in the support packages introduced by the Government.

The Government has announced unprecedented support for business and workers to protect them against the current economic emergency including an initial £330 billion of guarantees – equivalent to 15% of UK GDP.

On 6 May the Government announced a new fund which will enable eligible dairy farmers in England to access up to £10,000 each to help them overcome the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. This will cover 70% of their lost income during April and May to ensure they can continue to operate and sustain production capacity without impacts on animal welfare.

Businesses in the agricultural sector may benefit from the range of support measures made available, which includes:

  • The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)
  • The Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBL) for small and micro enterprises
  • The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS).
  • VAT deferral for up to 12 months
  • The Time To Pay scheme, through which businesses and self-employed individuals in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, can receive support with their tax affairs
  • Protection for commercial leaseholders against automatic forfeiture for non-payment until June 30, 2020

The Business Support website provides further information about how businesses can access the support that has been made available, who is eligible, when the schemes open and how to apply - https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-support.

Steve Barclay
Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that all new starters including people who were due to be on payroll after 19 March 2020 are eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

On 15 April, the Government announced it would extend the cut-off date for the CJRS to 19 March, to include employees whose payroll information was notified to HMRC by 19 March. Processing claims for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme in cases where HMRC did not have RTI data by 19 March would require much greater manual handling by HMRC, which would significantly slow down the system while risking substantial levels of fraud. It would also require greater resource for HMRC when they are already under significant pressure to deliver the system designed. Those not eligible for the scheme may be able to access the other support Government is providing, including a package of temporary welfare measures and up to three months’ mortgage payment holidays for those struggling with their mortgage payments.

18th Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what plans he has to provide assistance with (a) business rates, (b) VAT relief and (c) PAYE relief to independent motoring garages that (i) must temporarily close and (ii) have fewer customers as a result of self-isolation following the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has announced an unprecedented package of support for businesses and individuals affected by Covid-19, and remains committed to doing whatever it takes to support the economy as necessary.

At the Budget it announced that businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a rateable value of less than £51,000 would pay no business rates this year. On 17 March the Government went further, and extended the business rates holiday so that all eligible businesses in retail, hospitality or leisure will pay no business rates for 12 months, irrespective of rateable value. Those eligible businesses will also have access to additional cash grants of up to £25,000. The smallest businesses, those eligible for Small Business Rate Relief, will receive a cash grant of £10,000.

Since then, the Government has announced that UK VAT registered businesses can defer VAT payments due with their VAT returns between now and the end of June. No UK VAT registered business will have to make a VAT payment alongside their VAT return to HMRC in that period. These businesses will have until the end of the financial year to repay.

Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, employers can put workers on temporary leave and the Government will pay them cash grants of 80% of their wages up to a cap of £2,500 per month, providing they keep the worker employed. They will receive the grant from HMRC, and the scheme will be backdated to 1 March 2020.

For Income Tax Self-Assessment, payments due on 31 July 2020 will be deferred until 31 January 2021.

HMRC have also scaled up their Time to Pay service by setting up a new Covid-19 Helpline with more staff to support it. Time to Pay is available to all taxpayers in temporary financial distress and with outstanding tax liabilities. Taxpayers can contact the dedicated Covid-19 helpline to get practical help and advice on 0800 0159 559.

The Chancellor will continue to review and make further announcements as events unfold if required.

15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to (a) reduce the average time taken to process passenger arrivals at Heathrow Airport, (b) tackle shortages of Border Force staff and (c) tackle broken e-gates at UK airports.

Throughout the pandemic we have been clear queue times may be longer as we ensure all passengers are compliant with the health measures put in place to keep the UK public safe.

We have endeavoured to improve waiting times this week, for example by flexibly deploying staff across Heathrow Airport and continue to work closely with all airports and airlines to make sure passengers can have a safe and hassle-free journey.

Border Force regularly reviews staffing requirements to ensure resources are deployed flexibly when required to carry out the vital function of border security.

In recent weeks there have been a series of short interruptions of service for the Border Crossing system and eGates. We have taken actions to review and address the cause of these issues and have increased monitoring to identify system pressures early to avoid interruptions to service.

Border Force work closely with technology partners to minimise the impact of service interruptions and have a series of operational mitigations to manage the impact on passenger flows and ensure border security has been maintained at all times.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what equalities and human rights impact assessments she plans to undertake ahead of bringing forward legislative proposals on the right to protest.

As part of our work to ensure that the police have the powers they need to manage highly disruptive protests, the Home Office has paid due regard to the European Convention on Human Rights and the impact any policies may have on those with protected characteristics.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she has consulted protest groups on any forthcoming legislative proposals related to protest.

As part of our work to ensure that the police have the powers they need to manage highly disruptive protests, the Home Office has paid due regard to the European Convention on Human Rights and the impact any policies may have on those with protected characteristics.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will suspend the in-person reporting of migrants to immigration reporting centres (a) in the event of a national lockdowns and (b) during the covid-19 outbreak.

On Tuesday 17 March, following Public Health and Government guidance relating to COVID19 and the developing situation, we paused immigration reporting and sent an SMS text message to reportees with a valid mobile telephone number on our systems informing them of this.

On Tuesday 24 March we maintained the decision to close reporting centres and police reporting temporarily following the Prime Minister’s address to the nation. This was because we were not confident that we could practice safe social distancing and operate within a COVID secure environment.

Immigration Enforcement recommenced face to face reporting in July and August for limited, priority cohorts of people. We have implemented Safe Systems of Working (SSOW) and Risk Assessments in all our Reporting Centres where we have put in place robust social distancing measures; health screening questions are asked as a person enters; face masks are offered to those who have travelled without them; one-way systems and sanitiser stations are placed throughout our buildings. We continue to review our current reporting arrangements in line with any new local and national COVID restrictions that are put in place.

Before inviting individuals into reporting, case owners will make an assessment based on the harm that they may pose to the public, as well as the vulnerability and personal circumstances of all of those we ask to report. We continue to keep in contact with the overall reporting population by telephone to update individuals on the current reporting position. An SMS text or email/letter is sent to those required to recommence reporting informing them of the date and time they should report, along with relevant advice on COVID. We have also updated the reporting pages on GOV.UK for those who report and their representatives. This information includes how to travel most safely by public transport, avoiding both busy transport hubs and traveling at peak times; advice on reporting alone where possible; and what to do if those reporting have symptoms or are shielding and how to contact their local reporting centre.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 19 October 2020 to Question 102174, what decision-making algorithms her Department uses for processing visa applications.

Pursuant to the answer of 19 October 2020 to question 102174, there are no decision-making algorithms used in the processing of visa applications.

Every application is assessed by a decision-maker against the Immigration Rules, on its individual merits and taking into consideration the evidence provided by the applicant and any other relevant factors at the date of the decision.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 19 October 2020 to Question 102174, what decision-making algorithms her Department uses in applications for processing indefinite leave to remain applications.

There are no decision-making algorithms used in the processing of Indefinite Leave to Remain, EU Settled Status and Tier 2 visa applications. Every application is assessed by a decision-maker against the Immigration Rules, on its individual merits and taking into consideration the evidence provided by the applicant and any other relevant factors at the date of the decision

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant of the Answer of 19 October 2020 to Question 102174, what decision-making algorithms her Department uses in applications for processing EU settled status applications.

There are no decision-making algorithms used in the processing of Indefinite Leave to Remain, EU Settled Status and Tier 2 visa applications. Every application is assessed by a decision-maker against the Immigration Rules, on its individual merits and taking into consideration the evidence provided by the applicant and any other relevant factors at the date of the decision

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 19 October 2020 to Question 102174, what decision-making algorithms her Department uses in applications for processing Tier 2 visa applications.

There are no decision-making algorithms used in the processing of Indefinite Leave to Remain, EU Settled Status and Tier 2 visa applications. Every application is assessed by a decision-maker against the Immigration Rules, on its individual merits and taking into consideration the evidence provided by the applicant and any other relevant factors at the date of the decision

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 19 October 2020 to Question 102174, what decision-making algorithms her Department uses in applications for processing Returning Resident visa applications.

There are no decision-making algorithms used in the processing of Indefinite Leave to Remain, EU Settled Status, Tier 2 and Returning Resident visa applications.

Every application is assessed by a decision-maker against the Immigration Rules, on its individual merits and taking into consideration the evidence provided by the applicant and any other relevant factors at the date of the decision.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether the revised Life in the UK test will (a) include a history of Britain’s colonial past and (b) include important colonial figures and people from ethnic minority backgrounds.

When the Life in the UK handbook is next reviewed the Home Office will consider all feedback on what should be covered in it.

All those required to pass the Life in the UK test are also required to demonstrate knowledge of spoken English language at a level equivalent to B1 or above on the Common European Framework for Reference (CEFR). The Home Office continues to work with the handbook and test provider to ensure the test is accessible to all candidates who meet that level of language proficiency.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to ensure that people (a) from disadvantaged backgrounds and (b) who do not speak English as a first language are supported to pass the Life in the UK immigration test.

When the Life in the UK handbook is next reviewed the Home Office will consider all feedback on what should be covered in it.

All those required to pass the Life in the UK test are also required to demonstrate knowledge of spoken English language at a level equivalent to B1 or above on the Common European Framework for Reference (CEFR). The Home Office continues to work with the handbook and test provider to ensure the test is accessible to all candidates who meet that level of language proficiency.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what algorithms her Department uses in the immigration process.

All of the technology used by the Department in the immigration process will contain computer code which meets the definition of an “algorithm”.

It would be of disproportionate cost to the Department to set all of these out.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment her Department has made of the effectiveness of the Life in the UK test for fostering the integration of migrants in UK society.

The Life in the UK test is based on the Life in the UK handbook, “Life in the UK: a guide for new residents”. The handbook is intended to help those seeking to live permanently in the UK to gain a basic understanding of the democratic principles underlying British society, and of aspects of British culture and traditions, and to understand some of the cultural and historical references which occur in everyday conversations.

The Home Office works with the handbook publisher and test provider to monitor test performance to ensure the test remains effective and to respond to feedback from candidates on their experience of studying for and taking the test.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what estimate she has made of the number of additional Dublin Regulation requests that will be decided in the UK after the end of the transition period.

The UK will cease to participate in the Dublin Regulation at the end of the transition period. However, the Immigration, Nationality and Asylum (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 contain a “savings provision” to enable a Dublin family reunion request, made before 1 January 2021, to continue to be processed after that date.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment her Department has made of the effectiveness of the use of the Public statement: relationship no longer subsisting forms.

Migrants who are granted leave to remain in the UK on the basis of a marriage or partnership are directed to inform the Home Office when there has been a change in their relationship, such as separation or divorce. Information on how to do this is available on the following page: https://www.gov.uk/visas-when-you-separate-or-divorce

The purpose of the notification is to enable a review of a person’s circumstances where the basis upon which they were granted leave to remain has changed.

Upon receipt of notification that a relationship is no longer subsisting, the Home Office will review each case on an individual basis before deciding whether it is appropriate to curtail the previously granted leave to remain.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many times officials in her Department have met with the office of Wendy Williams, author of the Windrush lessons learned review.

Wendy Williams was appointed the independent adviser of the Windrush Lessons Learned Review on 21 June 2018. Home Office officials met the Review team on a regular basis throughout the period of the Review, and continue to maintain contact with Wendy Williams during the implementation phase.

Priti Patel
Home Secretary
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many people have been identified as being unlawfully resident in the UK as a result of status checks undertaken by banks and building societies under the terms of the Immigration Act 2014.

Under the 2014 Immigration Act, banks and building societies are required to conduct an immigration status check against the Home Office disqualified person data before a current account is opened. Where this check confirms the applicant is a disqualified person, the bank or building society is prohibited from opening the account. There is no requirement for banks or building societies to notify the Home Office if they refuse to open an account.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 16 July 2019 to Question 276275 on Immigration: Windrush Generation, if she will publish data on the time taken between a person submitting a claim to the Windrush compensation scheme and a decision being made on that claim.

I apologise for the delay in responding to this question, which was due to a departmental administrative error.

Information on the total number of claims paid and the overall amount paid out by the scheme is available to view on GOV.UK at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/windrush-compensation-scheme-data-september-2020.

Information relating to estimated costs including compensation payments are referred to in the Home Office’s Impact Assessment IA No: HO 0329 dated 29/1/20. The Home Office has secured funding from HM Treasury for the scheme, and there is no cap on the amount of compensation an individual can receive.

We do not publish information on waiting times for decisions to be taken on Windrush Compensation Scheme claims. This could jeopardise a full assessment of the claim and ultimately be potentially detrimental to the claimant. Furthermore, as each claim is unique, we do not prescribe a set list of documentation but work with claimants to obtain evidence when required.

Priti Patel
Home Secretary
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many employers have used the digital checking service for right to work checks since the launch of that service.

Statistics on use of the online right to work service are published as part of the Home Office’s Transparency data. The most recent publication for online right to work statistics was in February 2020, covering the full year 2019: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/home-office-data-february-2020.

The next publication of online right to work statistics will be released by the Home Office in due course, covering Q1 and Q2 2020.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 15 January 2020 to Question 1928 on Immigration: Windrush Generation, when she plans to make the first compensation payments; and how much funding her Department has allocated to that scheme.

I apologise for the delay in responding to this question, which was due to a departmental administrative error.

Information on the total number of claims paid and the overall amount paid out by the scheme is available to view on GOV.UK at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/windrush-compensation-scheme-data-september-2020.

Information relating to estimated costs including compensation payments are referred to in the Home Office’s Impact Assessment IA No: HO 0329 dated 29/1/20. The Home Office has secured funding from HM Treasury for the scheme, and there is no cap on the amount of compensation an individual can receive.

We do not publish information on waiting times for decisions to be taken on Windrush Compensation Scheme claims. This could jeopardise a full assessment of the claim and ultimately be potentially detrimental to the claimant. Furthermore, as each claim is unique, we do not prescribe a set list of documentation but work with claimants to obtain evidence when required.

Priti Patel
Home Secretary
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking with her EU counterparts to help ensure that take charge requests are submitted to the UK before its departure from the EU.

The UK continues to meet its obligations under the Dublin III Regulation. It is for the requesting Member State to ensure timely submission of Take Charge Requests. We will continue to work closely with them to facilitate that process until the end of the Transition Period and will continue to process any Dublin family reunion cases that enter the system prior to 31 December.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many Public statement: relationship no longer subsisting forms were received by the her Department in in each month since 2016.

Information regarding the number of Public Statement: Relationship No Longer Subsisting forms received in each month since 2016 is not held centrally and to obtain it would exceed the disproportionate cost threshold.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many (a) arrests, and (b) deportations have been made as a result of Public statement: relationship no longer subsisting forms received by the Home Office since 2016.

We do not routinely publish the information you have requested, we are unable to provide this information, as it could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 11 September 2018 to Question 171416 on Immigration, what progress her Department made on reviewing the management information held on administrative reviews and publishing this information in future.

The Home Office will consider the future publication of data and service standards on Administrative Reviews following the full implementation of the Atlas casework database by the end of 2021.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration’s inspection into the Home Office’s Approach to Illegal Working, published 9 May 2019, if she will publish the Memorandum of Understandings referenced in paragraphs (a) 7.2, (b) 11.33 and (c) 11.5 and (d) 12.13.

The Home Office do not routinely publish Memorandum of Understanding documents. We would only consider publication under exceptional circumstances and with the approval of the other parties to the agreement.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many reviews her Department is undertaking into immigration policy; and what the topic is of each of those reviews.

As we have previously set out, immigration policy is under continual review and we are working to implement the new immigration system once we end free movement on 31 December 2020.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans her Department has for establishing standards for determining visa applications as complex by caseworkers.

Visa applications are considered to be complex when an Entry Clearance Officer or caseworker determines that additional information is required in order for a decision to be made.

There are no set standards for processing non-straightforward (identified as complex) by the caseworker. However, if an application is complex and expected to take longer than the standard processing timescale, UKVI will write to the customer within the standard processing time and explain what will happen next.

The published information on processing times for visa applications is published as part of the Migration Transparency data, available at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/migration-transparency-data#uk-visas-and-immigration

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 17 March 2020 to Questions 27050 and 27051, how many Gendarmes reservists have been deployed; and how many small boat crossings have been prevented under the 2019 Small Boats Joint Action Plan.

As noted in the Addendum to the Small Boats Joint Action Plan, signed in September 2019, the UK has since October 2019 funded deployments of 45 officers per day along the French coast to bolster existing French resources. These deployments have proven to be an effective method for detecting attempted crossings across the English Channel.

Over the course of April and May 2020, the French stopped over 1,000 migrants from making this perilous journey. They also prevented over 200 migrants from making the journey last week. The National Crime Agency, Immigration Enforcement, Border Force and the UK Police will continue to work closely with French authorities to crack down on the criminals who facilitate the crossings.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 3 February 2020 to Question 1927, for what reasons there was a sixfold increase in the number of migrants crossing the English Channel in 2019 compared to the previous year.

Nobody should be making these dangerous and illegally-facilitated crossing from France to the UK. France is a safe country with a well-run asylum system.

Government departments, including the Home Office and the National Crime Agency are working around the clock, in collaboration with the French Government and the relevant international law enforcement agencies to stop these illegally-facilitated crossings. We are working to identify and dismantle the organised crime groups that facilitate illegal immigration.

Strengthened security at the juxtaposed controls between the UK and France has also meant it is increasingly difficult for migrants to enter the UK without permission, in line with the UK’s immigration rules, leading to more reckless attempts by boat.

The UK Government has returned over 155 small boats arrivals back to Europe since January 2019 using the legal channels available.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the Answer of 5 November 2019 to Questions 7211 and 7212, where National Community Engagement team meetings were held; and what sponsorship was received from the private or third sectors since January 2019.

The events noted in PQ 7211 and 7212 were held in London, Loughborough, Bradford, Sheffield, Leeds, Wakefield, Halifax, Rotherham and Huddersfield.

The National Community Engagement Team has not received any sponsorship from private or third sectors since January 2019.

Guidance on voluntary return for Home Office staff is available here - https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/834061/voluntary-and-assisted-returns-v2.0.pdf. The National Community Engagement Team has attended awareness sessions/workshops delivered by the Voluntary Returns Service

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what guidance her Department has provided to the National Community Engagement team on advising people on voluntary repatriation.

The events noted in PQ 7211 and 7212 were held in London, Loughborough, Bradford, Sheffield, Leeds, Wakefield, Halifax, Rotherham and Huddersfield.

The National Community Engagement Team has not received any sponsorship from private or third sectors since January 2019.

Guidance on voluntary return for Home Office staff is available here - https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/834061/voluntary-and-assisted-returns-v2.0.pdf. The National Community Engagement Team has attended awareness sessions/workshops delivered by the Voluntary Returns Service

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how much revenue her Department has received in fees from responses to e-mail enquiries about (a) border, (b) immigration and (c) citizenship services in each month since 2017 to date.

SITEL UK Ltd is contracted by the Home Office to provide Contact Centre Services for both UK and International enquiries. A £5.48 email charge is levied to fund this contract as the UK government believes it is right that those who use and benefit directly from the UK immigration system make an appropriate contribution towards meeting the costs of the immigration system. Those who use the services are predominantly from outside the UK. Our web site www.gov.uk is the main source of information and advice and is free of charge.

Further details of the financial arrangement in place between the Home Office and SITEL UK Ltd for the provision of these services (including the revenue received) is not available due to it being commercially sensitive

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the Answer of 13 September 2018 to Question 171417, what assessment her Department has made of the potential merits of collating information on the number of people arrested for illegal working who are transferred to an immigration removal centre.

The Home Office collates information for the purposes of publishing statistics and internal management information. We regularly review the information we collate to ensure it supports these purposes.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 29 January 2020 to Question 6769, what steps she is taking to appoint a new Independent Reviewer of Prevent.

A full and open competition to appoint the next Independent Reviewer of Prevent was launched on 27 April 2020 and applications for this post closed on 22 June 2020. The successful candidate will be announced in due course.

The role was publicised on the Home Office website and advertised online on the Centre for Public Appointments, Home Office LinkedIn, Vercida and Women on Boards.

15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 29 January 2020 to Question 6769, what progress her Department has made on ensuring that the role of the independent Reviewer of Prevent is publicly advertised; and (a) where and (b) when that advertisement will be published.

A full and open competition to appoint the next Independent Reviewer of Prevent was launched on 27 April 2020 and applications for this post closed on 22 June 2020. The successful candidate will be announced in due course.

The role was publicised on the Home Office website and advertised online on the Centre for Public Appointments, Home Office LinkedIn, Vercida and Women on Boards.

15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 15 January 2020 to Question 1930, how many people have applied to the EU Settlement Scheme to date.

The latest published information on EU Settlement Scheme applications received can be found on the Home Office’s ‘EU Settlement Scheme statistics’ web page available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/eu-settlement-scheme-statistics

The total number of applications received up to 30 June 2020 was 3.71 million (3,713,200).

The published figures refer specifically to applications made to the EU Settlement Scheme and cannot be directly compared with estimates of the resident population of EU/EEA nationals in the UK. The published figures include non-EEA family members, Irish nationals, and eligible EEA citizens not resident in the UK, none of whom are usually included in estimates of the resident EU population. Furthermore, the population estimates do not take account of people’s migration intentions and will include people who have come to the UK for a range of purposes, including some who have no intention to settle in the UK.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 15 January 2020 to Question 1931, what estimate her Department has made of the number of EU citizens who are eligible for settled status but have not applied.

The latest published information on EU Settlement Scheme applications received can be found on the Home Office’s ‘EU Settlement Scheme statistics’ web page available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/eu-settlement-scheme-statistics

The total number of applications received up to 30 June 2020 was 3.71 million (3,713,200).

The published figures refer specifically to applications made to the EU Settlement Scheme and cannot be directly compared with estimates of the resident population of EU/EEA nationals in the UK. The published figures include non-EEA family members, Irish nationals, and eligible EEA citizens not resident in the UK, none of whom are usually included in estimates of the resident EU population. Furthermore, the population estimates do not take account of people’s migration intentions and will include people who have come to the UK for a range of purposes, including some who have no intention to settle in the UK.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 13 September 2018 to Questions 137673 and 137674, (a) what steps her Department has taken to collate the total amount paid as reimbursement for lost documents annually and (b) which part of her Department’s budget is used for these reimbursements.

For immigration applications, data on the number of times reimbursement of costs for lost documents have been paid, and the total amount paid, in the years requested, are not held centrally or published by the Home Office. We are working on the ways in which we may be able to publish this information in the future. The budget from which such payments are made is dependent on the business area liable for the loss of the document.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the Answer of 28 June 2019 to Question 266269 on evidence: DNA, how many people have been contacted; and how much in redress has been paid to date.

The most recent data shows that we have attempted to contact all those known to be affected by the requirement to provide DNA evidence, apart from a small number (less than 10) for whom we have been unable to establish contact details.? The most recent data on payments shows that around £340,000 has been paid and there are no requests for payment outstanding. This data is manually collated from different systems, which may not currently be up to date and would require further quality assurance before being suitable for publication by the department

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 20 January 2020 to Question 3311, what steps she is taking in response to the High Court judgement in Project for the Registration of British Citizens as Children and others v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2019] EWHC 3536 (Admin) of 19 December 2019.

The Secretary of State for the Home Department has been granted

permission to appeal against the Court’s finding which means the case

remains on-going and we will therefore continue to charge Child Registration fees as set out in the Fees Regulations.

While this court case remains active it would not be right to speculate on next steps and potential courses of action.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 15 January 2020 to Question 1925, if her Department will reassess charging the full immigration health surcharge to non-UK NHS staff in 2020.

The Home Secretary and Secretary of State for Health and Social Care have worked together to exempt non-UK NHS staff from the Immigration Health Surcharge. On 14 July, the Home Office published further detail regarding the Health and Care Visa. The introduction of this visa route demonstrates the Government’s commitment to deliver for the NHS and wider health and care sector. The new Health and Care Visa will come with a reduced visa application fee, fast-track entry and dedicated team to process applications. Those applying un-der the Health and Care Visa route will be exempt from paying the Immigra-tion Health Surcharge. Those who would qualify for the Health and Care visa and who paid the Sur-charge on or after 31 March will be refunded. More information will be pub-lished on the Immigration Health Surcharge gov.uk pages. All those working in the health and care sector who paid the Surcharge on or after the 31 March 2020, but who do not qualify for the Health and Care Visa will be eligible for a reimbursement of what they have paid since that date. The Minister for Health announced on 15 July that this reimbursement will be paid in arrears of six-month increments and that this scheme will be launched by 1 October 2020.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment has she made of potential merits of implementing recommendation 3 of the House of Lords Select Committee on Citizenship and Civic Participation’s 2018 report in relation to a broad public debate on the shared values of British citizenship.

Our society is based on a set of shared values which include, but are not limited to, democracy, the rule of law, liberty, tolerance and respect for others.

MHCLG’s Integrated Communities Strategy consulted on the vision of building strong integrated communities where people – whatever their background – can live, work, learn and socialise together, based on shared rights, responsibilities and opportunities.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how much has been paid out by her Department in refund requests after people submitted a Life in the UK Test: refund request or complaint form each month since March 2014.

As a result of customer complaints and refund requests, a total of £150,966 was refunded by the Life in the UK test providers (currently PSI Services (UK) Ltd; previously Learn Direct) between 1st March 2014 and 30th June 2020.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment has she made of the potential merits of implementing recommendation 78 of the House of Lords Select Committee on Citizenship and Civic Participation’s 2018 Report in relation to the fee set for people applying for naturalisation.

In line with the charging principles set out in the 2014 Immigration Act, fees for immigration and nationality services are set in consideration of the cost of processing the application, the wider cost of running the Border Immigration and Citizenship System (BICS) and the benefits and entitlements provided to successful applicants. Any income from fees set above the cost of processing is utilised for supporting the wider BICS and reducing the reliance on taxpayer funding.

Applying for British Citizenship is not mandatory and many individuals who have Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK choose not to do so.?This is because becoming a British citizen is not necessary to enable individuals to live, study and work in the UK as a grant of indefinite leave to remain will

confer access to appropriate services.

The Home Office keeps fees under review.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many Life in the UK Test refund (a) and (b) complaint forms her Department has received; and how many refund requests her Department has (a) received, (b) paid out in each month since March 2014.

Complaints and refund requests in relation to the Life in the UK test are handled by the provider of the test.

The Life in the UK test providers have received 3,785 complaints since 1 March 2014. This accounts for 0.38% of the total tests carried out during this period.

Refund request data is not available prior to September 2014. For the period between 1 September and 30 June, 3,720 refund requests were received, of which 2,966 were accepted and refunds given.

A total of 3,059 refunds have been paid out since 1 March 2014. This figure is correct as of 30 June 2020. A breakdown by month is as follows:

Month

Refunds

Mar-14

2

Apr-14

24

May-14

34

Jun-14

8

Jul-14

14

Aug-14

11

Sep-14

3

Oct-14

11

Nov-14

8

Dec-14

4

Jan-15

26

Feb-15

6

Mar-15

22

Apr-15

8

May-15

33

Jun-15

25

Jul-15

24

Aug-15

26

Sep-15

34

Oct-15

26

Nov-15

60

Dec-15

13

Jan-16

12

Feb-16

19

Mar-16

12

Apr-16

23

May-16

14

Jun-16

32

Jul-16

30

Aug-16

51

Sep-16

56

Oct-16

46

Nov-16

49

Dec-16

3

Jan-17

8

Feb-17

6

Mar-17

11

Apr-17

7

May-17

10

Jun-17

9

Jul-17

13

Aug-17

9

Sep-17

7

Oct-17

12

Nov-17

10

Dec-17

8

Jan-18

8

Feb-18

14

Mar-18

53

Apr-18

16

May-18

20

Jun-18

19

Jul-18

29

Aug-18

17

Sep-18

20

Oct-18

40

Nov-18

56

Dec-18

32

Jan-19

49

Feb-19

74

Mar-19

200

Apr-19

405

May-19

320

Jun-19

278

Jul-19

260

Aug-19

132

Sep-19

42

Oct-19

13

Nov-19

7

Dec-19

10

Jan-20

19

Feb-20

16

Mar-20

12

Apr-20

7

May-20

5

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she plans she to commissioning a fourth edition of the Life in the United Kingdom citizenship test handbook.

The Government believes those seeking to make a permanent home in the UK should be equipped to integrate successfully in UK society, with an appropriate level of English and an understanding of British life.

By the time they apply for citizenship, all applicants are required to have passed the Life in the UK (LitUK) test and have an English language speaking and listening qualification in English at B1 or higher on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, or an equivalent level qualification.

The life in the UK handbook is only available in English, but the test can also be taken in Welsh or Scots Gaelic, which are the only other languages specified in statute as requirements for naturalisation. There are no plans to change this to include other languages.

Regular amendments are made to the LitUK handbook to ensure the content and related test questions remain factually accurate. The 2019 revision of the handbook made several amendments to update the handbook and clarify issues identified by the House of Lords Select Committee on Citizenship and Civic Participations and others.

The Home Office works with the test provider to monitor test performance to ensure the test remains effective. The Home Office has made no specific assessment of the long-term effect the Life in the UK test has on promoting British values or improving integration.

The Home Office is currently considering the case for reviewing the Life in the UK handbook. Any decision to commission a fourth edition of the handbook will be dependent on the outcome of a review of the current handbook.

As set out in the ‘UK’s Points-Based Immigration System Further Details’ published on 13 July, we already recognise academic degrees which have been taught or researched in English as being sufficient proof of English ability at any level and will continue to do so in the future system.

Applicants for immigration and citizenship can generally show their English language ability by passing a Secure English Language test, having a degree taught in English or being a national of a majority English speaking country. We continue to assess the merits of alternative methods of proof to ensure we have a robust system which guarantees migrants can speak, read, write and listen in English to the required level.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the effect that passing the Life in the UK citizenship test has on (a) promoting UK values and (b) improving integration.

The Government believes those seeking to make a permanent home in the UK should be equipped to integrate successfully in UK society, with an appropriate level of English and an understanding of British life.

By the time they apply for citizenship, all applicants are required to have passed the Life in the UK (LitUK) test and have an English language speaking and listening qualification in English at B1 or higher on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, or an equivalent level qualification.

The life in the UK handbook is only available in English, but the test can also be taken in Welsh or Scots Gaelic, which are the only other languages specified in statute as requirements for naturalisation. There are no plans to change this to include other languages.

Regular amendments are made to the LitUK handbook to ensure the content and related test questions remain factually accurate. The 2019 revision of the handbook made several amendments to update the handbook and clarify issues identified by the House of Lords Select Committee on Citizenship and Civic Participations and others.

The Home Office works with the test provider to monitor test performance to ensure the test remains effective. The Home Office has made no specific assessment of the long-term effect the Life in the UK test has on promoting British values or improving integration.

The Home Office is currently considering the case for reviewing the Life in the UK handbook. Any decision to commission a fourth edition of the handbook will be dependent on the outcome of a review of the current handbook.

As set out in the ‘UK’s Points-Based Immigration System Further Details’ published on 13 July, we already recognise academic degrees which have been taught or researched in English as being sufficient proof of English ability at any level and will continue to do so in the future system.

Applicants for immigration and citizenship can generally show their English language ability by passing a Secure English Language test, having a degree taught in English or being a national of a majority English speaking country. We continue to assess the merits of alternative methods of proof to ensure we have a robust system which guarantees migrants can speak, read, write and listen in English to the required level.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of granting Cornish protected minority status in relation to the Life in the UK citizenship test.

The Government believes those seeking to make a permanent home in the UK should be equipped to integrate successfully in UK society, with an appropriate level of English and an understanding of British life.

By the time they apply for citizenship, all applicants are required to have passed the Life in the UK (LitUK) test and have an English language speaking and listening qualification in English at B1 or higher on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, or an equivalent level qualification.

The life in the UK handbook is only available in English, but the test can also be taken in Welsh or Scots Gaelic, which are the only other languages specified in statute as requirements for naturalisation. There are no plans to change this to include other languages.

Regular amendments are made to the LitUK handbook to ensure the content and related test questions remain factually accurate. The 2019 revision of the handbook made several amendments to update the handbook and clarify issues identified by the House of Lords Select Committee on Citizenship and Civic Participations and others.

The Home Office works with the test provider to monitor test performance to ensure the test remains effective. The Home Office has made no specific assessment of the long-term effect the Life in the UK test has on promoting British values or improving integration.

The Home Office is currently considering the case for reviewing the Life in the UK handbook. Any decision to commission a fourth edition of the handbook will be dependent on the outcome of a review of the current handbook.

As set out in the ‘UK’s Points-Based Immigration System Further Details’ published on 13 July, we already recognise academic degrees which have been taught or researched in English as being sufficient proof of English ability at any level and will continue to do so in the future system.

Applicants for immigration and citizenship can generally show their English language ability by passing a Secure English Language test, having a degree taught in English or being a national of a majority English speaking country. We continue to assess the merits of alternative methods of proof to ensure we have a robust system which guarantees migrants can speak, read, write and listen in English to the required level.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when she plans to issue guidance to caseworkers considering applications for British citizenship on not refusing an application in the event that a genuine mistake is made by an applicant on a form.

Applications for British citizenship are considered based on all the information available, taking into account any information and documents provided by the applicant. The information provide on the form is checked against documentation and Home Office records.

There is a reconsideration process available if an applicant inadvertently provided incorrect information which affected the decision to grant British citizenship.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment has she made of the potential merits of implementing recommendation paragraph 463 in the House of Lords Select Committee on Citizenship and Civic Participation’s 2018 Report.

The Government believes those seeking to make a permanent home in the UK should be equipped to integrate successfully in UK society, with an appropriate level of English and an understanding of British life.

By the time they apply for citizenship, all applicants are required to have passed the Life in the UK (LitUK) test and have an English language speaking and listening qualification in English at B1 or higher on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, or an equivalent level qualification.

The life in the UK handbook is only available in English, but the test can also be taken in Welsh or Scots Gaelic, which are the only other languages specified in statute as requirements for naturalisation. There are no plans to change this to include other languages.

Regular amendments are made to the LitUK handbook to ensure the content and related test questions remain factually accurate. The 2019 revision of the handbook made several amendments to update the handbook and clarify issues identified by the House of Lords Select Committee on Citizenship and Civic Participations and others.

The Home Office works with the test provider to monitor test performance to ensure the test remains effective. The Home Office has made no specific assessment of the long-term effect the Life in the UK test has on promoting British values or improving integration.

The Home Office is currently considering the case for reviewing the Life in the UK handbook. Any decision to commission a fourth edition of the handbook will be dependent on the outcome of a review of the current handbook.

As set out in the ‘UK’s Points-Based Immigration System Further Details’ published on 13 July, we already recognise academic degrees which have been taught or researched in English as being sufficient proof of English ability at any level and will continue to do so in the future system.

Applicants for immigration and citizenship can generally show their English language ability by passing a Secure English Language test, having a degree taught in English or being a national of a majority English speaking country. We continue to assess the merits of alternative methods of proof to ensure we have a robust system which guarantees migrants can speak, read, write and listen in English to the required level.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment has she made potential merits of including a university degree (a) mostly taught and (b) researched in English from universities throughout in the world in meeting the B1 threshold of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.

The Government believes those seeking to make a permanent home in the UK should be equipped to integrate successfully in UK society, with an appropriate level of English and an understanding of British life.

By the time they apply for citizenship, all applicants are required to have passed the Life in the UK (LitUK) test and have an English language speaking and listening qualification in English at B1 or higher on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, or an equivalent level qualification.

The life in the UK handbook is only available in English, but the test can also be taken in Welsh or Scots Gaelic, which are the only other languages specified in statute as requirements for naturalisation. There are no plans to change this to include other languages.

Regular amendments are made to the LitUK handbook to ensure the content and related test questions remain factually accurate. The 2019 revision of the handbook made several amendments to update the handbook and clarify issues identified by the House of Lords Select Committee on Citizenship and Civic Participations and others.

The Home Office works with the test provider to monitor test performance to ensure the test remains effective. The Home Office has made no specific assessment of the long-term effect the Life in the UK test has on promoting British values or improving integration.

The Home Office is currently considering the case for reviewing the Life in the UK handbook. Any decision to commission a fourth edition of the handbook will be dependent on the outcome of a review of the current handbook.

As set out in the ‘UK’s Points-Based Immigration System Further Details’ published on 13 July, we already recognise academic degrees which have been taught or researched in English as being sufficient proof of English ability at any level and will continue to do so in the future system.

Applicants for immigration and citizenship can generally show their English language ability by passing a Secure English Language test, having a degree taught in English or being a national of a majority English speaking country. We continue to assess the merits of alternative methods of proof to ensure we have a robust system which guarantees migrants can speak, read, write and listen in English to the required level.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment has she made of the potential merits of implementing recommendation 75 of the House of Lords Select Committee on Citizenship and Civic Participation’s 2018 Report in relation to the establishment of an advisory group to conduct a comprehensive review of the citizenship test.

The Government believes those seeking to make a permanent home in the UK should be equipped to integrate successfully in UK society, with an appropriate level of English and an understanding of British life.

By the time they apply for citizenship, all applicants are required to have passed the Life in the UK (LitUK) test and have an English language speaking and listening qualification in English at B1 or higher on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, or an equivalent level qualification.

The life in the UK handbook is only available in English, but the test can also be taken in Welsh or Scots Gaelic, which are the only other languages specified in statute as requirements for naturalisation. There are no plans to change this to include other languages.

Regular amendments are made to the LitUK handbook to ensure the content and related test questions remain factually accurate. The 2019 revision of the handbook made several amendments to update the handbook and clarify issues identified by the House of Lords Select Committee on Citizenship and Civic Participations and others.

The Home Office works with the test provider to monitor test performance to ensure the test remains effective. The Home Office has made no specific assessment of the long-term effect the Life in the UK test has on promoting British values or improving integration.

The Home Office is currently considering the case for reviewing the Life in the UK handbook. Any decision to commission a fourth edition of the handbook will be dependent on the outcome of a review of the current handbook.

As set out in the ‘UK’s Points-Based Immigration System Further Details’ published on 13 July, we already recognise academic degrees which have been taught or researched in English as being sufficient proof of English ability at any level and will continue to do so in the future system.

Applicants for immigration and citizenship can generally show their English language ability by passing a Secure English Language test, having a degree taught in English or being a national of a majority English speaking country. We continue to assess the merits of alternative methods of proof to ensure we have a robust system which guarantees migrants can speak, read, write and listen in English to the required level.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment has she made of the potential merits of implementing recommendation 76 of the House of Lords Select Committee on Citizenship and Civic Participation’s 2018 Report on the establishment of an advisory group revise the book on Life in the UK.

The Government believes those seeking to make a permanent home in the UK should be equipped to integrate successfully in UK society, with an appropriate level of English and an understanding of British life.

By the time they apply for citizenship, all applicants are required to have passed the Life in the UK (LitUK) test and have an English language speaking and listening qualification in English at B1 or higher on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, or an equivalent level qualification.

The life in the UK handbook is only available in English, but the test can also be taken in Welsh or Scots Gaelic, which are the only other languages specified in statute as requirements for naturalisation. There are no plans to change this to include other languages.

Regular amendments are made to the LitUK handbook to ensure the content and related test questions remain factually accurate. The 2019 revision of the handbook made several amendments to update the handbook and clarify issues identified by the House of Lords Select Committee on Citizenship and Civic Participations and others.

The Home Office works with the test provider to monitor test performance to ensure the test remains effective. The Home Office has made no specific assessment of the long-term effect the Life in the UK test has on promoting British values or improving integration.

The Home Office is currently considering the case for reviewing the Life in the UK handbook. Any decision to commission a fourth edition of the handbook will be dependent on the outcome of a review of the current handbook.

As set out in the ‘UK’s Points-Based Immigration System Further Details’ published on 13 July, we already recognise academic degrees which have been taught or researched in English as being sufficient proof of English ability at any level and will continue to do so in the future system.

Applicants for immigration and citizenship can generally show their English language ability by passing a Secure English Language test, having a degree taught in English or being a national of a majority English speaking country. We continue to assess the merits of alternative methods of proof to ensure we have a robust system which guarantees migrants can speak, read, write and listen in English to the required level.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment has she made of potential merits of implementing recommendation 77 of the House of Lords Select Committee on Citizenship and Civic Participation’s 2018 Report in relation to the establishment of an advisory group to review the citizenship test.

The Government believes those seeking to make a permanent home in the UK should be equipped to integrate successfully in UK society, with an appropriate level of English and an understanding of British life.

By the time they apply for citizenship, all applicants are required to have passed the Life in the UK (LitUK) test and have an English language speaking and listening qualification in English at B1 or higher on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, or an equivalent level qualification.

The life in the UK handbook is only available in English, but the test can also be taken in Welsh or Scots Gaelic, which are the only other languages specified in statute as requirements for naturalisation. There are no plans to change this to include other languages.

Regular amendments are made to the LitUK handbook to ensure the content and related test questions remain factually accurate. The 2019 revision of the handbook made several amendments to update the handbook and clarify issues identified by the House of Lords Select Committee on Citizenship and Civic Participations and others.

The Home Office works with the test provider to monitor test performance to ensure the test remains effective. The Home Office has made no specific assessment of the long-term effect the Life in the UK test has on promoting British values or improving integration.

The Home Office is currently considering the case for reviewing the Life in the UK handbook. Any decision to commission a fourth edition of the handbook will be dependent on the outcome of a review of the current handbook.

As set out in the ‘UK’s Points-Based Immigration System Further Details’ published on 13 July, we already recognise academic degrees which have been taught or researched in English as being sufficient proof of English ability at any level and will continue to do so in the future system.

Applicants for immigration and citizenship can generally show their English language ability by passing a Secure English Language test, having a degree taught in English or being a national of a majority English speaking country. We continue to assess the merits of alternative methods of proof to ensure we have a robust system which guarantees migrants can speak, read, write and listen in English to the required level.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the answer of 7 October 2019 to Question 293719 on Asylum: Families, how many Dublin Regulation family reunion cases have entered the system in each month since December 2019.

The UK remains fully committed to meeting its obligations under the Dublin Regulation and we will continue to accept requests for transfer until the end of the transition period.

The Home Office publishes data on the Dublin III Regulation on an annual basis (each February) in the Immigration Statistics. This includes data on the number of requests and transfers into and out of the UK, broken down by article and Member State requesting. The latest data, covering up to December 2019, can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/asylum-and-resettlement-datasets#dublin-regulation

Instructions on how to use the data can be found in the ‘Notes’ sheet.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
10th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans her Department has to extend the 30-day travel period for the vignette application for people unable to enter the UK due to flight cancellations as a result of the covid-19 pandemic.

The Home Office has put in place a range of measures to support those affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. It has been agreed that if an individual’s 30-day visa to travel to the UK for work, study or to join family has expired, or is about to expire, a replacement visa with revised validity dates valid for up to 90 days may be requested free of charge until the end of this year (2020).

Affected customers will need to contact the UKVI Coronavirus Immigration Help Centre. Full details of the Help Centre and how to make a request can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-uk-visa-applicants-and-temporary-uk-residents .

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
25th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will add performing musicians who rely on international contracts to the list of jobs exempted from the quarantine rule.

Since 8 June, all passengers arriving in the UK without having travelled through another part of the Common Travel Area have been required to self-isolate for 14 days, apart from those on a short list of exemptions. Being a performing musician does not qualify for exemption from the requirement to self-isolate. The package of health measures at the border, including the list of exemptions, are subject to regular review to ensure they remain effective and necessary.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent discussions she has had with her French counterpart on the strength of force used by police forces on migrants in Calais.

As noted in previous responses, the issue of policing and law enforcement on French territory remains a matter of domestic responsibility for the French government. During the Covid-19 pandemic, French law enforcement have offered all individuals residing in camps the option of transfer into reception centres to aid with social distancing measures. Within these centres, individuals are provided with medical and administrative support, and given the opportunity to lodge an asylum claim. To date, over 600 migrants have accepted this option.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what comparative estimate she has made of the number of people granted refugees status in the last 3 years, and those granted by (a) France, (b) Germany, (c) Spain, (d) Italy and (e) Greece over that period.

The Home Office publishes data on the number of people granted refugee status in the UK in the ‘Immigration Statistics Quarterly Release’. https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/immigration-statistics-quarterly-release

Data on the numbers of people granted asylum at initial decision, as well as the number of people granted refugee status through resettlement schemes are published in table Asy_D02 of the ‘Asylum and resettlement detailed datasets’. https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/asylum-and-resettlement-datasets

Information on how to use the dataset can be found in the ‘Notes’ page of the workbook. The latest data are up to end of March 2020

Eurostat publish comparative numbers for EU member states, as well as the EEA and Switzerland. The latest data relate to the year ending December 2019.

Additionally, the Home Office publishes a high-level overview of the data in the ‘Asylum and resettlement summary tables’ . The ‘contents’ sheet contains an overview of all available data on Asylum and resettlement.

Information on future Home Office statistical release dates can be found in the ‘Research and statistics calendar’. https://www.gov.uk/search/research-and-statistics?keywords=immigration&content_store_document_type=upcoming_statistics&organisations%5B%5D=home-office&order=relevance

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent steps she has taken to implement the recommendations of the Windrush Lessons Learned Review Report.

I was clear that when Wendy Williams published her lessons learned review that I would listen and act. I have heard what she said and I will be accepting the recommendations she has made in full.

I am committed to ensuring the Home Office delivers for each part of the community it serves and will update the House before summer recess on how we will be implementing the recommendation. https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2020-07-21/debates/CF88BF2D-55E5-4672-8103-E28A1136C3F1/WindrushLessonsLearnedReview

Priti Patel
Home Secretary
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she has taken to address the rise of catalytic converter theft.

We recognise the distress and disruption that this type of crime can cause, and the effect it can have on victims, including on people who rely on their vehicle to earn a living.

We continue to work to understand what more we can do to tackle this and other vehicle- related theft, which is why, in May I will be meeting representatives of the motor industry to discuss vehicle crime, including the theft of catalytic converters.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
18th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she has plans to release immigration detainees to reduce the rate of infection of covid-19 in response to the decision to extend early release for some prisoners.

The health of those in immigration removal centres is of the utmost importance but we remain committed to removing foreign national offenders or those who violate our immigration rules. Detention plays a key role in securing our borders and maintaining effective immigration control.

Decisions to detain an individual are based on all of the information known at the time. As circumstances change, temporary release may then become the most appropriate option.

We are following all Public Health England guidance and have robust contingency plans in place. Measures such as protective isolation will be considered to minimise the risk of Covid-19 spreading to vulnerable groups in the immigration detention estate.

Basic hygiene is a key part of tackling Coronavirus. Handwashing facilities are available in all immigration removal centres and we are working closely with suppliers to ensure adequate supply of soap and cleaning materials.

All immigration removal centres have dedicated health facilities run by doctors and nurses which are managed by the NHS or appropriate providers.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
9th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how much money from the public purse has been allocated to the French Government for refugee control.

The UK made a financial contribution in 2018 to France to deliver on our obligations under Articles 2-4 of the UK-France Sandhurst Treaty. These articles outline our commitment to (i) continued implementation of the Dublin process (ii) facilitating the transfer of unaccompanied minors under national relocation schemes, and (iii) improving access to French domestic asylum procedures.

£3.6 million was specifically allocated to funding the development of the Dublin and Dubs process to support transfers of eligible children to the UK, including training for those working with unaccompanied children, family tracing and targeted information campaigns.?We continue to work with France to transfer eligible children under section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016 and the Dublin regulation and transfers are ongoing.

The UK Government does not fund the Compagnies Républicaines de Sécurité, whose deployment and operations are the responsibility of the French Government.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
9th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether the Government allocates funding to support the permanent presence of Compagnies Republicaines de Securite in Calais.

The UK made a financial contribution in 2018 to France to deliver on our obligations under Articles 2-4 of the UK-France Sandhurst Treaty. These articles outline our commitment to (i) continued implementation of the Dublin process (ii) facilitating the transfer of unaccompanied minors under national relocation schemes, and (iii) improving access to French domestic asylum procedures.

£3.6 million was specifically allocated to funding the development of the Dublin and Dubs process to support transfers of eligible children to the UK, including training for those working with unaccompanied children, family tracing and targeted information campaigns.?We continue to work with France to transfer eligible children under section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016 and the Dublin regulation and transfers are ongoing.

The UK Government does not fund the Compagnies Républicaines de Sécurité, whose deployment and operations are the responsibility of the French Government.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
9th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department has taken to identify how many people who belong to the Windrush generation have been wrongly prevented from re-entry to the UK after an overseas visit.

The Home Office is undertaking a significant programme of engagement and communication activity to raise awareness of the support available to members of the Windrush generation who have been impacted, including those who have been wrongly prevented from re-entry to the UK after an overseas visit.

We have hosted over 100 engagement and outreach events across the country and are undertaking a programme of online engagement events. More information can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/windrush-engagement-events. We will shortly be launching a national advertising and grassroots campaign to encourage more people to come forward and have worked closely with a range of stakeholders with excellent community links to raise awareness. We are also developing plans with our British Embassies and High Commissions for additional bespoke activity in priority countries overseas.

Unfortunately, the Home Office does not hold data on the number of people who belong to the Windrush generation who have been prevented from re-entry to the UK after an overseas visit. However, the Department has conducted a historical review of Caribbean Commonwealth nationals, born before 1 January 1973, removed or detained since 2002, to identify those whose records indicate they came to the UK before 1973. The Home Office wrote to the Home Affairs Select Committee on 21 August 2018 with the initial findings of this review and has provided regular updates to the committee. This correspondence can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/correspondence-on-the-work-of-the-home-office-windrush

Anyone who is a member of the Windrush generation and thinks they have been wrongly denied re-entry to the UK can apply to the Windrush Taskforce for a returning residents visa, and to the Windrush Compensation Scheme for compensation, should they wish to.

Priti Patel
Home Secretary
9th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to ensure that children with disabilities and learning difficulties can apply to the Vulnerable Children’s Resettlement Scheme.

The Vulnerable Children’s Resettlement Scheme (VCRS) has resettled over 1,747 refugees, including children and their families, from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

We work with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) who refer eligible cases to the UK for resettlement. VCRS cases are referred under the Children and Adolescents at Risk UNHCR resettlement submission category, which includes children with disabilities and other needs.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
9th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the timetable is for the Independent Review of Prevent.

The Government is committed to the Independent Review of Prevent and has decided to run a full and open recruitment process to appoint the next reviewer.

Further details on the next steps, including the timetable of the recruitment exercise, will be announced shortly. The implications of this decision for the timing of the Review will be set out to Parliament in due course.

9th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will publish the funding allocated from the Joint Intervention Fund to each (a) programme and (b) activity in relation to the (i) Le Touquet agreement and (ii) Sandhurst Treaty in 2019-2020.

The Joint Intervention Fund was a pot of £12 million spent between 2014-2016 on border security in northern France. This funding was used to improve security infrastructure at the Ports of Calais and Dunkirk (including fencing and cameras), and at the Eurotunnel terminal of Calais. Approximately £2.5 million of the fund was utilised to improve the Juxtaposed Controls at Calais and thereby deliver on commitments under the Le Touquet Treaty.

Neither the Joint Intervention Fund or the funding allocated under the 2018 Sandhurst Treaty has been utilised to support policing costs in Calais, which remain the responsibility of the French Government. Under the 2019 Small Boats Joint Action Plan, the UK has supported the deployment of Gendarmes reservists to improve the detection of small boats crossings.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
9th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how much funding from the Joint Intervention fund in relation to the (a) Le Touquet agreement and (b) Sandhurst Treaty has been allocated to the cost of policing in Calais.

The Joint Intervention Fund was a pot of £12 million spent between 2014-2016 on border security in northern France. This funding was used to improve security infrastructure at the Ports of Calais and Dunkirk (including fencing and cameras), and at the Eurotunnel terminal of Calais. Approximately £2.5 million of the fund was utilised to improve the Juxtaposed Controls at Calais and thereby deliver on commitments under the Le Touquet Treaty.

Neither the Joint Intervention Fund or the funding allocated under the 2018 Sandhurst Treaty has been utilised to support policing costs in Calais, which remain the responsibility of the French Government. Under the 2019 Small Boats Joint Action Plan, the UK has supported the deployment of Gendarmes reservists to improve the detection of small boats crossings.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
9th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent discussions she has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on increased funding for the counter-terrorism budget.

The Secretary of State for the Home Department set out recent changes to funding for Counter-Terrorism (CT) in her written statement on 21 January 2020.

This set out a package of measures including a major overhaul of prisons and probation, tougher monitoring conditions for terrorist offenders, and doubling the number of Counter-Terrorism probation officers. A £90m year-on-year increase in funding for Counter-Terrorism Policing was also announced (taking total funding to £906m in 2020-21), as well as an immediate £0.5m to further support the victims of terrorism.

9th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent assessment her Department has made of trends in the level of self-generated child sexual abuse images.

The WePROTECT Global Alliance (WPGA) is a global movement founded by the UK Government that brings together the influence, expertise and resources required to transform how online child sexual exploitation is dealt with worldwide.

The 2019 WePROTECT Global Alliance Threat Assessment stated that there has been a significant increase in Self-Generated Indecent Images in the last two years, whether produced consensually or as the result of manipulation or coercion.

In addition, the Home Office and the Internet Watch Foundation have a good partnership. In the first six months of 2019, the Internet Watch Foundation responded to 22,484 reports of self-generated CSAM online (exactly one third of all the reports they actioned in this period).

Of all the reports, 96% featured girls, 2% featured boys and 2% featured girls and boys together. Of this imagery, over 10% of this imagery of girls, and nearly 20% of the imagery of boys, featured children aged between 7 and 10 years old.

The Government set out in the Serious Organised Crime Strategy 2018 https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/serious-and-organised-crime-strategy-2018 that companies must be at the forefront of efforts to deny offenders access to children and child sexual abuse material via their platforms and services, this includes self-generated Indecent images.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
9th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps the Government plans to take to tackle sexual exploitation occurring as a result of county lines activity.

The Government recognises the devastating impact of county lines activity on children and vulnerable people which can include both sexual and criminal exploitation.

We are determined to disrupt these ruthless gangs and put an end to the exploitation associated with county lines. The Home Office has announced £25m of targeted investment over this year and next to uplift the law enforcement response to this exploitative model of drugs supply and to increase specialist support to children, young people and their families who are affected.

This is in addition to providing £3.6m to establish the new National County Lines Coordination Centre (NCLCC) in September 2018, which has significantly enhanced our cross-border intelligence and activity on county lines to better safeguard and protect victims of county lines. Work is ongoing to protect the exploited and target the offenders, and in four separate weeks of law enforcement intensification over 2,500 arrests have been made and over 3,000 vulnerable individuals have been engaged for safeguarding.

The Government provides a range of support for county lines victims including: funding Young People’s Advocates in Birmingham, Manchester and London to work directly with gang-affected women and girls, especially if they have been victims, or are at risk, of sexual violence by gangs including county lines; funding through the Trusted Relationships fund of £13 million to help foster relationships between frontline professionals and young people at risk of sexual exploitation including exploitation through county lines; and the £22m Early Intervention Youth Fund is funding 10 projects which will specifically address those at risk of involvement in county lines and criminal exploitation.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
9th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment her Department has made of recent trends in the number of incidents of modern slavery.

The 2019 UK Annual Report on Modern Slavery sets out an assessment of trends in modern slavery in the UK.

The 2019 report was published in October 2019 and can be found on gov.uk here: Modern Slavery Annual Report 2019. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/840059/Modern_Slavery_Report_2019.pdf

The Home Office publishes quarterly statistics on potential victims referred to the National Referral Mechanism published on gov.uk here: NRM quarterly statistics. https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/national-referral-mechanism-statistics-quarter-3-2019-july-to-september

The Office for National Statistics will publish a report called ‘Modern Slavery in the UK: March 2020’ on 26 March 2020. The report will bring together data sources linked to modern slavery and will be available here when published: ONS Modern Slavery in the UK. https://www.ons.gov.uk/releases/developinganapproachtomeasuremodernslaveryintheuk

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
9th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment her Department has made of trends in the level of self-generated child sexual abuse images online.

The WePROTECT Global Alliance (WPGA) is a global movement founded by the UK Government that brings together the influence, expertise and resources required to transform how online child sexual exploitation is dealt with worldwide.

The 2019 WePROTECT Global Alliance Threat Assessment stated that there has been a significant increase in Self-Generated Indecent Images in the last two years, whether produced consensually or as the result of manipulation or coercion.

In addition, the Home Office and the Internet Watch Foundation have a good partnership. In the first six months of 2019, the Internet Watch Foundation responded to 22,484 reports of self-generated CSAM online (exactly one third of all the reports they actioned in this period).

Of all the reports, 96% featured girls, 2% featured boys and 2% featured girls and boys together. Of this imagery, over 10% of this imagery of girls, and nearly 20% of the imagery of boys, featured children aged between 7 and 10 years old.

The Government set out in the Serious Organised Crime Strategy 2018 https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/serious-and-organised-crime-strategy-2018 that companies must be at the forefront of efforts to deny offenders access to children and child sexual abuse material via their platforms and services, this includes self-generated Indecent images.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
9th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent discussions she has had with Cabinet colleagues on tackling the increase in right-wing extremism.

This Government is committed to tackling Right Wing Extremism.

The Home Secretary works closely with the Minister for Countering Extremism, Baroness Williams of Trafford, and Ministers across government to tackle extremism, including the threat of Right Wing Extremism.

The Government’s Counter-Extremism and CONTEST strategies address the threat from Right Wing Extremism and Right Wing Terrorism respectively and drive a cross-government approach to tackling these issues. Government continues to monitor all emerging evidence related to Right Wing Extremism, including the analysis of the Extremism Analysis Unit.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
9th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans the Government has to maintain a net migration target (a) including and (b) excluding international students.

As my Rt Hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, has repeatedly made clear, the Government is not in a numbers game in respect of net migration.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what plans his Department has to bring almshouse residents’ rights in line with tenants' rights.

The legal position of residents of almshouses is that they have a licence to occupy rather than a tenancy. This was decided in the case of Gray v Taylor (1998) in which the Court of Appeal held that the resident in that case occupied an almshouse as the beneficiary of a charity. This meant that she was not a tenant and only had a licence to occupy. In the case of Watts v Stewart and Ors, 2016, the Court of Appeal followed the judgment in Gray v Taylor that almshouse residents have a licence to occupy and that the grant of a tenancy would be inconsistent with the performance of the duties of the trustees, as it would not be possible for them to ensure that only qualifying persons occupied the almshouses. The trustees could only properly discharge the trusts of the charity, which limited its objects to those in need, hardship or distress, if a personal revocable licence was granted. As occupants of almhouses are licencees, the Protection from Eviction Act 1977 will apply. This requires that 4 weeks’ notice to quit must be given to the occupant.

Where almshouses are registered with the Regulator of Social Housing, they must also comply with the regulator's standards framework. The Tenancy Standard https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/419209/Tenancy_Standard_2015.pdf) compels Private Registered Providers to offer tenancies or terms of occupation which are compatible with the purpose of the accommodation, the needs of individual households, the sustainability of the community, and the efficient use of their housing stock.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
22nd Feb 2021
What steps he is taking to protect leaseholders from the costs of remediating buildings from unsafe cladding.

We have made available an unprecedented £5 billion investment in building safety, including £3.5 billion announced last week. This will fund the cost of replaying unsafe cladding in all buildings 18 metres and over.

Lower-rise buildings will gain new protection from the costs of cladding removal through a Government-backed financing arrangement, and no leaseholder will ever pay more than £50 a month towards the removal of unsafe cladding.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will provide funding for the repair of unsafe cladding on (a) buildings under 18m in height with flammable external cladding and (b) buildings with no freeholders or owners where the building has fallen to the Crown Estate.

The Government is focusing public grant funding on remediating unsafe cladding on high rise buildings of 18 metres or over. This reflects the exceptional fire risk that certain cladding products pose at that height, as previously noted by Dame Judith Hackitt observed in her independent report.

The Government also has announced a generous financing scheme which will mean that buildings of 11-18 metres in height will have access to finance for the remediation of unsafe cladding, with a commitment that leaseholders will not need to pay more than £50 a month towards this. By providing this financing scheme we are ensuring that money is available for remediation, accelerating the process and making homes safer as quickly as possible.

Where a property has become ownerless, The Crown Estate can, subject to certain requirements, make arrangements to return the property to private ownership. The private owner would then be able to apply for the Government schemes available, subject to meeting the usual eligibility requirements.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of embedding the reuse of existing buildings into the proposed Planning for the Future reforms.

Making effective use of land and buildings is a key aspect of the Government’s existing planning policy, and one which we intend to retain as wider reforms to the planning system are implemented. Our proposed changes to plan-making would bring additional certainty to how land is expected to be used, through the local identification of areas for growth, renewal or protection.

The changes we made to the Use Classes Order from 1 September will support our high streets and town centres by enabling more effective use of existing buildings. More premises will be able to change use without the need for a planning application.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what recent assessment he has made of the ability of local authorities to provide effective local authority services during the covid-19 outbreak.

While MHCLG does not performance manage local government, we do consider the financial stability, leadership and service delivery of individual authorities as part of our oversight of local government. As such, we are providing local authorities with an unprecedented package of support, allocating £4.3 billion of support for?spending?pressures, including £3.7 billion of un-ringfenced grants and the £600 million Infection Control Fund.

Simon Clarke
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if the Government will support amendments to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill to strengthen protections for shopworkers.

The Government recognises that the violence and abuse faced by retail workers can have a significant impact. It also understands that the pandemic has resulted in some shop workers feeling more vulnerable and susceptible to adverse societal behaviours and at an increased risk of harm from members of the public. The Government is clear that no worker should be made to suffer such abuse or violence in providing a service to the public – it is wholly unacceptable.

We therefore understand the motivations behind the campaigns to create a new assault offence for retail workers but there are already a wide range of offences which exist, and which cover assaults against any worker, including shop workers. In all cases, the fact that an offence has been committed against a person serving the public will be considered as an aggravating factor for the purpose of passing sentence.

The Government is committed to keeping our retail environments safe by driving down violence and abuse towards shop staff and this is being tackled by other means. That is why we are working with retail stakeholders through the Home Office led National Retail Crime Steering Group chaired by the Minister for Crime and Policing and the British Retail consortium to ensure the response to these crimes is as robust as it possibly can be. We are taking necessary steps to ensure that abuse and violence towards retail workers are reported to the police by victims and/or their employers. We believe these practical steps will offer a more direct and robust solution in the longer term.

We are also aware that two amendments have been tabled to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. For now, we remain unpersuaded of the necessity of a new criminal offence to deal with assaults against retail workers. But we will continue to keep the matter under review and listen to the debate on this matter.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps his Department is taking to support survivors of domestic abuse who commit offences as a result of trauma from their past abuse.

The Government recognises the ongoing impact that trauma caused by past domestic abuse can have, and the importance of supporting victims who commit offences as a result of their experiences. The Government remains committed to delivering its Female Offender Strategy, published in June 2018, and which makes clear that a different approach is likely to be more effective in addressing the needs of female offenders and women at risk of entering the criminal justice system. £7 million has been invested since publication of the Strategy, which is sustaining and enhancing current women’s services, filling gaps in provision, and providing properties for new women’s centres.

Since the start of the pandemic, the Government has also committed unprecedented funding to support all victims, including £40m announced by the Ministry of Justice on 1 February for victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence and a further £11m announced on 15 March to recruit additional Independent Sexual Violence and Independent Domestic Abuse Advisors over the next two years.

This year, we will publish two new strategies that will build on our landmark Domestic Abuse Bill, on violence against women and girls and on domestic abuse, which will take further our drive for a step-change in the response to these crimes.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if he will make it his policy to (a) halt mounding at Manor Park Cemetery and (b) establish an independent inspection of the effect of earlier mounding at that cemetery on remains.

Private burial grounds such as Manor Park Cemetery are not covered by the same legislation that governs local authority burial grounds, and the Government’s intervention and enforcement powers are limited.

However, we anticipate that those operating private burial grounds will adhere to the standards and principles underpinning the framework of regulation and guidance which applies to local authority burial grounds. I have asked my officials to ensure that this expectation is conveyed to officials at Manor Park Cemetery.

I will also ask them to ensure that the issue of mounding is brought to the attention of the Law Commission in the context of its forthcoming project, as part of its current Programme of Law Reform, to consider modernising and streamlining the law governing the disposal of human remains with a view to putting forward a legal framework for the future.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what plans he has to close down HMP Brixton.

No prison closures (male or female) are currently planned beyond those already announced.

The prison estate is kept under careful review to ensure there is always sufficient capacity, and we have committed over £4 billion capital funding to make significant progress in delivering 18,000 additional prison places across England and Wales by the mid-2020s.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to the recent report by the Office of the Victims’ Commissioner for England and Wales, what steps the Government plans to take to tackle the annual and proportionate decline in the (a) number of rape cases considered by the CPS and (b) conviction rate among those cases since 2016-17.

The Government recognises that the decline in the number of rape and serious sexual offences being charged and prosecuted in England and Wales is a cause for significant concern. That is why we are carrying out an end-to end review of how the Criminal Justice System responds to rape. Through this review we are working with operational partners from across the Criminal Justice system including the police, CPS and victims’ groups to ensure we can improve the way rape cases are dealt with.

We welcome the Office of the Victims’ Commissioner’s research and will consider its findings carefully. The Government is intending to publish its initial findings and recommendations for action before the end of the year, and is committed to continuing to work after that publication to make further changes to improve the system in the longer term.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what comparative assessment he has made of levels of (a) violence and (b) staffing in (i) public and (ii) private prisons.

The Ministry of Justice does not hold data that makes a comparative assessment of staffing and assaults in public and privately managed prisons.

We publish details on staffing in public prisons every quarter in our HMPPS Workforce Statistics, the latest version is to June 2020 and is available at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/her-majestys-prison-and-probation-service-workforce-quarterly-june-2020. We do not hold data on staffing levels in private prisons.

There were 32,800 assaults in prisons in England and Wales in 2019, of which 26,960 were in public prisons (82% of total assaults) and 5,840 were in private prisons (18% of total assaults).

Violence in prisons remains unacceptably high, which is why we are spending £100 million to bolster prison security, clamping down on the weapons, drugs and mobile phones that fuel violence and crime behind bars. This will fund tough airport-style security, body scanners and phone-blocking technology.

We are giving officers tools like PAVA pepper spray and body-worn cameras to make their jobs safer.

Our Assaults on Emergency Workers Act increased the maximum penalty for those who attack them to 12 months and we recently announced we will double the penalty further to two years.

HMP Birmingham changed from a private prison to a public prison in July 2019. Therefore, the figures for Birmingham have not been split between the public prisons total and the private prisons total, all assaults in Birmingham for 2019 were recorded as being in private prisons.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what the timeframe is for the (a) conclusion and (b) publication of the post-implementation review of the coroner service.

The call for evidence and survey elements of the post-implementation review of the 2013 coroner reforms were concluded at the end of 2015. We aim to complete our analysis and publish a report in due course.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)