Ben Everitt Portrait

Ben Everitt

Conservative - Milton Keynes North

First elected: 12th December 2019



Department Event
Monday 4th December 2023
14:30
Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities
Oral questions - Main Chamber
4 Dec 2023, 2:30 p.m.
Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (including Topical Questions)
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Division Votes
Wednesday 29th November 2023
Data Protection and Digital Information Bill
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 265 Conservative No votes vs 2 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 209 Noes - 275
Speeches
Thursday 9th November 2023
Artificial Intelligence Safety Summit
It was a great pleasure to join the Secretary of State, the Prime Minister, and business and Government leaders from …
Written Answers
Friday 1st December 2023
Business Premises: Change of Use
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will make an assessment of the …
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
None available
MP Financial Interests
Monday 20th March 2023
1. Employment and earnings
25 November 2022, received another £100. Hours: 30 mins.
Supported Legislation
Wednesday 5th July 2023
Safety cameras Bill 2022-23
A Bill to require the Secretary of State to publish revised guidance on the deployment, visibility and signing of speed …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Ben Everitt has voted in 781 divisions, and 4 times against the majority of their Party.

2 Sep 2020 - Recall of MPs (Change of Party Affiliation) - View Vote Context
Ben Everitt voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 41 Conservative No votes vs 47 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 55 Noes - 52
23 Jun 2020 - Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme - View Vote Context
Ben Everitt voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 45 Conservative Aye votes vs 235 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 243 Noes - 238
17 Jun 2020 - Health and Personal Social Services - View Vote Context
Ben Everitt voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 104 Conservative Aye votes vs 124 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 253 Noes - 136
30 Mar 2022 - Health and Care Bill - View Vote Context
Ben Everitt voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 72 Conservative Aye votes vs 175 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 215 Noes - 188
View All Ben Everitt 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
Matt Hancock (Independent)
(19 debate interactions)
Greg Smith (Conservative)
(12 debate interactions)
Christian Wakeford (Labour)
Opposition Whip (Commons)
(11 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Home Office
(51 debate contributions)
Department for Transport
(23 debate contributions)
HM Treasury
(22 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
Legislation Debates
Equipment Theft (Prevention) Act 2023
(2,775 words contributed)
National Security Act 2023
(2,372 words contributed)
Trade Bill 2019-21
(853 words contributed)
Health and Social Care Levy Act 2021
(783 words contributed)
View All Legislation Debates
View all Ben Everitt's debates

Milton Keynes North Petitions

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

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

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

Petition Debates Contributed

Government should support vulnerable children & #endchildfoodpoverty by implementing 3 recommendations from the National Food Strategy to expand access to Free School Meals, provide meals & activities during holidays to stop holiday hunger & increase the value of and expand the Healthy Start scheme


Latest EDMs signed by Ben Everitt

Ben Everitt has not signed any Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Ben Everitt, 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.


Ben Everitt has not been granted any Urgent Questions

1 Adjournment Debate led by Ben Everitt

Ben Everitt has not introduced any legislation before Parliament


123 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
3 Other Department Questions
22nd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, whether she has made a recent assessment of the potential merits of the proposal by culture industry organisations for a Smart Fund to ensure creators and performers are paid for their work.

The Government agrees that creators should be fairly remunerated, and it is encouraging to see proposals from the sector to support creators and fair remuneration. Department for Culture, Media and Sport Ministers and officials have been engaging with the Design and Artists Copyright Society (DACS) and other interested parties on their proposal for a Smart Fund and I wrote to them last month.

Introducing statutory levies can present significant challenges and we encourage the campaign to work with the tech industry to explore options for industry-led solutions.

Julia Lopez
Minister on Leave (Minister of State)
22nd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of strengthening copyright provisions to help prevent the work of artists, performers and writers being copied and used on electronic devices without the permission of or remuneration to its creator.

With a few limited exceptions, it is a copyright infringement to copy and use creative works on electronic devices without the copyright owner’s permission. A range of civil, and in some cases criminal, remedies are available where an infringement has taken place. Many rightsholders take additional measures against infringement by applying technological protection measures to their works.

The Government takes copyright infringement seriously and the Intellectual Property Office supports activities to help copyright owners enforce their rights. These include awareness raising, coordinating industry action, and direct enforcement in conjunction with the police.

We have no current plans to review copyright protection in this area.

Julia Lopez
Minister on Leave (Minister of State)
21st Oct 2022
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that guide dog owners are not refused access to shops, businesses and taxis.

We are clear that no one should be refused access to businesses or services because they have an assistance dog.

Under the Equality Act 2010 (the Act), businesses that provide goods and services to the public must not unlawfully discriminate against disabled people. The Act places a duty on service providers to make reasonable adjustments to improve access to premises, buildings and services. This could include allowing access to guide dogs or assistance dogs so that disabled customers have the same access to goods and services and are not placed at a substantial disadvantage compared to non-disabled customers. Taxi and private hire drivers have a duty under the Act to carry guide dogs and assistance dogs at no extra cost to the passenger.

In December 2017, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) published guidance for all businesses, including service providers, on their duty towards disabled people who own assistance/guide dogs. The guidance explains that assistance dogs should be treated as auxiliary aids and not as pets. The guidance is available at: https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/sites/default/files/assistance-dogs-a-guide-for-all-businesses.pdf and makes clear that businesses and service providers should allow assistance dogs access to buildings where dogs would normally not be permitted whenever this is reasonable.

Anybody who thinks they have been discriminated against in the services offered to them can contact the Equality Advisory and Support Service (EASS) which provides free bespoke advice and in-depth support to individuals with discrimination concerns via their website - http://www.equalityadvisoryservice.com/, or by telephone on 0808 800 0082 or by text phone on 0808 800 0084.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
20th Dec 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the Joint Cybersecurity Advisory Alert AA22-257A, published on 14 September 2022 which states that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps have attempted cyber attacks on UK critical national infrastructure in 2022.

We do not comment on individual cyber incidents. The government’s approach to tackling cyber threats is set out in the National Cyber Strategy (2022), including detecting, disrupting and deterring state, criminal and other malicious cyber actors and activities against the UK. The strategy also sets out our ambition for improvements in the cyber resilience of critical national infrastructure, which includes being more prepared to respond to and recover from incidents, better incident planning and regular exercising.

14th Apr 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of using community radio stations as a means of promoting national Government campaigns.

The Government is strongly supportive of the community radio sector and recognises the great value that it offers to communities across the UK. Community radio plays an important role in our cross channel strategy, with the merits of its use being assessed in relation to this.

Government public information campaigns utilise a wide range of channels to maximise reach and engagement and to ensure our messaging reaches as many people as possible. The government has recently worked with over 35 community radio stations on a weekly basis and this includes the use of paid-for advertising on community radio.

4th May 2020
What discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government on protecting the most vulnerable in society during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Cabinet Office is in regular contact with the Secretary of State and his department, including through the Cabinet Committee chaired by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has increased funding to local authorities, is providing accommodation and support for rough sleepers and is co-ordinating the distribution network of food to some of the most vulnerable people in our society.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
27th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what steps her Department is taking to help support UK businesses to invest in Morocco.

The Department for Business and Trade supports UK businesses looking to invest in Morocco by offering advice on the market and communicating opportunities which may be of interest to UK business. In 2021, the outward stock of foreign direct investment from the UK in Morocco was £904 million.

At the UK-African Investment Summit on 23-24 April 2024, the UK will showcase investment and commercial opportunities in Morocco.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
27th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what steps her Department is taking to help support UK businesses to export to Morocco.

The Department for Business and Trade (DBT) is committed to supporting UK businesses to export to Morocco. The UK-Morocco Association Agreement, which entered into force in January 2021, facilitates our trading relationship. Bilateral trade was worth £3.4 billion in the four quarters to the end of Q2 2023, up £661 million in current prices on the same period the previous year.

In February 2023, the 2nd Association Council was held where Ministers discussed commercial opportunities and collaboration to increase bilateral trade and investment. DBT continues to provide export support to companies through a network of trade advisers, sector specialists, Export Support Service, Export Academy, International Markets network as well as through UK Export Finance, where £4.5bn of credit is available for Morocco.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
16th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what steps her Department is taking to encourage bilateral trade between the UK and Morocco.

The Department for Business and Trade regularly engages businesses and the Moroccan government to promote and support bilateral trade and green investment. The UK-Morocco Association Agreement, which entered into force in 2021, facilitates this trading relationship.

Bilateral trade between the United Kingdom and Morocco was worth £3.4 billion in the four quarters to the end of Q2 2023, up £661 million in current prices on the same period the previous year.

In February 2023, the 2nd Association Council was held, when Ministers discussed how best to increase bilateral trade and investment.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
23rd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what steps the Government is taking to support the manufacture of new zero emissions whole aircraft in the UK.

The Government published the Jet Zero Strategy in 2022 setting out an approach to achieving net zero aviation by 2050.

As part of the Jet Zero Strategy Government co-invests in ultra-efficient and zero-carbon aircraft technologies through the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) Programme. The ATI programme is investing £58m in the development of whole new zero emission aircraft led by Vertical Aerospace, ZeroAvia Cranfield Aerospace Solutions, Rolls-Royce and Hybrid Air Vehicles. Industry has co-invested £57m alongside these grants. As all the aircraft are still in the development phase none have yet entered full scale production.

To support further work on zero emission flight the ATI led the £15m FlyZero project. This in-depth research study, which was completed in March 2022, found green liquid hydrogen offers the greatest potential to power future zero-carbon emission aircraft.

Nusrat Ghani
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade) (jointly with the Cabinet Office)
16th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what steps he plans to take to support rural communities to switch from oil fuelled boilers once the 2026 ban comes into effect.

The Government consulted on phasing out the installation of high carbon fossil fuel heating systems in homes, businesses and public buildings in England off the gas grid during the 2020s. The Government will set out further detail on how it intends to move forward with this policy when it issues its response in due course.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
5th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what steps he is taking to (a) promote the Great British Insulation Scheme to consumers and (b) ensure that 300,000 homes are insulated each year for the next three years.

The Government is working with obligated energy suppliers to allow consumers to check their eligibility for the Great British Insulation Scheme, and refer themselves to it where appropriate. The Government aims to launch a new GOV.UK service this summer.

The Government estimates that around 300,000 homes will be insulated over the three-year course of the Great British Insulation Scheme. Scheme targets will be set in legislation by summer 2023.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
8th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, when the Government plans to publish the final design and scope of the ECO+ scheme; and when that scheme will be implemented.

The Government is analysing responses to the ECO+ consultation and currently plans to publish a Government response in spring 2023. The Government plans to launch the scheme in late spring 2023, once legislation is made.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
18th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, whether she is taking steps to assess the effectiveness of (a) age verification tools, (b) age estimation tools and (c) other emerging technologies; and if she will take steps to include provisions in the Online Safety Bill to require the use of parental controls to help protect children online.

The Online Safety Bill concluded parliamentary passage on 19 September. The Bill introduces a duty on Ofcom to produce and publish a report on in scope providers’ use of age verification and age estimation technologies. This must be done within 18 months of the first date on which the duties relating to children’s safety and to regulated provider pornographic content are in force. This report must assess how effective the use of age verification and age estimation has been for the purpose of compliance with the duties set out in the Bill.

The Online Safety Bill is technology neutral in its approach; however, in-scope services must be able to demonstrate how they are complying with the duties set out in the Bill. This includes ensuring and demonstrating that any emerging technologies they use are effective in fulfilling their duties.

While the Bill does not mandate the use of parental controls, Ofcom will set out the steps that providers can take to comply with the child safety duties in codes of practice.

17th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what recent progress she has made towards the Government's target of spending £20 billion of funding from the public purse on R&D by 2024-25.

This Government has recommitted to increasing public expenditure on R&D to £20 billion per annum by 2024-25. This represents an increase of around a third from 2021-22.

Since its creation, DSIT has made strong progress towards optimising public R&D investment in line with Government’s strategic priorities. Our Science and Technology Framework was announced alongside a raft of new measures to support the UK’s world-leading position across the technologies of tomorrow. These include £100 million in initial start-up funding for the Foundation Model Taskforce to lead vital AI safety research and £121 million to improve commercial clinical trials as part of the £650 million ‘Life Sci for Growth’ package.

11th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to support the Government’s ambition to become a global science superpower.

We are funding the fastest increase in R&D spending ever to cement our position as a Global Science Superpower, driving economy-wide R&D investment to 2.4% of GDP by 2027 and priming the UK to take advantage of huge opportunities in emerging technologies like AI, Quantum computing and Fusion.

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to ensure that 100 per cent of the £2 billion allocated budget for the Green Homes Grant is awarded to householders and local authorities by the deadline of March 2022.

The £2 billion pledged to the Green Homes Grant (GHG) is comprised of £500m of funding for the Local Authority Delivery (LAD) element and £1.5 billion of funding originally allocated to the Voucher Scheme for use in the 2020/21 financial year.

All £500m LAD funding is planned to be allocated to Local Authorities and Regional Energy Hubs, as appropriate, before the end of March 2021. This will be delivered in three phases:

- Phase 1A: over £74 million was allocated in October 2020 to fund energy efficiency projects in over 100 Local Authorities by June 2021.

- Phase 1B: around £126 million of grant offers were made to 81 Local Authorities in January 2021, for delivery of energy efficiency projects by September 2021.

- Phase 2: will see funding of £300m allocated to the five Local Energy Hubs this financial year, to deliver energy efficiency projects by December 2021.

The Voucher Scheme was designed to provide a short-term economic stimulus while tackling our contribution to climate change. However, the prevalence of Covid-19 since the scheme’s launch in September last year has led to an understandable reluctance on the part of the public to welcome tradespeople into their homes. We will continue to work with the scheme’s administrator to ensure voucher applications are processed as quickly as possible. As of 22 February 2021, 25,770 vouchers have been issued. £320 million of funding was announced for the Voucher Scheme for 2021/22 in the November 2020 Spending Review.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the Government's space strategy is.

We are committed to making the UK a world leader in space and other high-tech industries. The UK’s first comprehensive national space strategy is being developed under the direction of the National Space Council.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many homes have been retrofitted since the Government announced its Green Homes Grant scheme on 28 August 2020.

The Green Homes Grant Scheme launched for applications on 30 September and as announced on 18 November will run until 31 March 2022.

As of 20:00 on 19 November 2020, 43,126 grant applications have been received for the Green Homes Grant scheme. Vouchers become redeemable once scheduled works are completed and as yet, no vouchers have been redeemed.

BEIS will continue to monitor application data as the scheme progresses.

18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate his Department has made of the number of jobs which could be created for the purpose of undertaking (a) environmentally efficient retrofitting of homes and (b) the construction of low-carbon homes in the next five years.

It is estimated that the UK low-carbon economy could grow more than four times faster than the rest of the economy between 2015 and 2030 and support up to 2 million jobs. As set out in the 10 point plan for a green industrial revolution, the Government is investing £1 billion to make our homes, schools and hospitals greener, warmer and more energy efficient, whilst creating 50,000 jobs by 2030.

20th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether her Department is taking steps to ensure that age restrictions implemented by the Online Safety Bill will not reduce online access to (a) sexual health and (b) LGBT+ educational resources.

Under the child safety duties in the Bill, services which are likely to be accessed by children will only be required to protect children from content and activity that meets the Bill’s definition of content that is harmful to children. This is content of a kind which presents a material risk of significant harm to an appreciable number of children in the UK. This would not include content that is designed to educate and inform children, such as content on sexual health and LGBT+ educational resources.

In addition, content will only meet the definition of pornographic content in the Bill if it is produced solely or principally for the purpose of sexual arousal. Part 5 of the Bill, which imposes restrictions for children in relation to pornographic content published or displayed by online providers, will not require providers to block children’s access to content where it is reasonable to assume that the content was created principally for educational reasons.

20th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will make an assessment of the implications for his policies of the research by Coadec entitled How the Online Safety Bill could change liability rules, and what this means, published in February 2022, and its findings on the comparative average cost of compliance with the Online Safety Bill for large and small businesses.

Online intermediaries are protected from liability for illegal content they host, unless it is flagged and not removed. These protections support digital innovation in the UK.

Recognising that technology is fundamental to how companies protect users, the Online Safety Bill will empower Ofcom to be able to require technology companies to use automated technology that identifies and tackles illegal content and protects children.

The regulatory framework set out in the Online Safety Bill is designed to ensure that regulatory expectations on services are reasonable and proportionate to the severity of the potential harm posed and the resources available to the service.

8th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment her Department has made of the need for regulatory certainty for companies deploying full fibre broadband on meeting the Government's target of reaching 85 per cent of premises with gigabit connectivity by 2025.

In 2018, the government published the Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review (FTIR), which set out our strategy to deliver nationwide gigabit-capable broadband. Central to this strategy is our desire to see a regulatory system which incentivises competition and investment in UK fixed telecoms. In this document, DCMS called for regulation that is limited to where it is necessary, and provides the longer-term stability and predictability that investors need.

We followed this with our 2019 Statement of Strategic Priorities for Ofcom. This document implemented the regulatory strategy we established in the FTIR, including through extending market review periods to at least five years.

In 2021, Ofcom published its Wholesale Fixed Telecoms Market Review (WFTMR) which set out Ofcom’s decisions for regulation of the fixed telecoms markets until 2026. The WFTMR makes explicit mention of the government’s desire for regulatory stability and certainty set out in the Statement of Strategic Priorities.

This approach is working; thanks to our stable regulatory environment, there are now over 80 companies investing over £35bn to connect premises all over the UK, and gigabit coverage has increased to over 70%, rising from just 6% in 2019.

Julia Lopez
Minister on Leave (Minister of State)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Electronic Communications Code as set out in the Digital Economy Act 2017.

My Department has been working closely with stakeholders within the private and public sector since the 2017 reforms to the Electronic Communications Code (“the Code”) came into effect to support their implementation and to understand their impact on this important sector.

We are keen to ensure that the Code is fully fit for purpose and intend to consult on whether further reforms are necessary to support investment in digital networks.

30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the role of public sector landlords, including local authorities, in supporting greater mobile connectivity.

Public sector landlords play a critical role in facilitating the delivery of greater mobile connectivity. We are keen to ensure that the public sector leads by example and that public property is readily available for digital infrastructure deployment.

My Department’s Barrier Busting Task Force regularly engages with local authorities across the country to advise on the deployment of mobile infrastructure. This includes the publication of guidance, for example on access to assets and valuation, and working directly with councils to encourage greater collaboration with the mobile sector and develop understanding of the Electronic Communications Code, which underpins rights to install digital communications apparatus. My officials spoke with Buckinghamshire County Council in December last year, and are planning to meet with Milton Keynes Council in the near future.

In addition to our work with local authorities, both we and the Office of Government Property are continuing to engage with government departments and arm’s length bodies in order to provide them with training and guidance on access to public sector land.

14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what funding his Department plans to make available from the public purse for arts and culture venues that were unsuccessful in obtaining funds from the Culture Recovery Fund.

The Culture Recovery Fund will provide a vital lifeline to thousands of organisations but we have always been clear that this funding would not be enough to help every organisation. This is public money and it is important that there was a robust criteria that applicants had to meet. This included applicants being able to show that they have a sustainable, viable plan, and that this funding would help them to continue trading.

While this means not everyone who applied could be supported, we have provided funding to almost 2000 organisations already - providing a vital life line and protecting them for future generations. Organisations unsuccessful in obtaining funds from the Culture Recovery Fund can still apply to the government’s other support measures including the job support scheme, the bounce back loans scheme and the VAT reduction.

In addition, Arts Council England recently reopened the National Lottery Project Fund programme with a budget of £77.9 million which will be available until April 2021. This programme will support independent organisations, creative practitioners and freelancers.

24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what the planned timescale is for reopening indoor ice rinks as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

Sports and physical activity facilities play a crucial role in supporting adults and children to be active.


The Government has made it clear that it will adopt a phased approach based on scientific and medical advice, and that the primary goal is to protect public health. The Government is in discussions with representatives from the sport and physical activity sector about the steps required to restart grassroots sport and will update the public when it is deemed safe to reopening indoor sports venues and facilities as soon as it is safe to do so including indoor ice rinks.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to enable the re-opening of swimming pools as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased; and if he will estimate the date on which swimming pools may re-open.

Sports and physical activity facilities play a crucial role in supporting adults and children to be active.

The Government is committed to reopening facilities as soon as it is safe to do so including indoor gyms and sports centres. The Sport Working Group, led by myself, feeds into the Secretary of State’s Cultural Renewal Taskforce and ensures strong sector and expert support for the co-development of guidelines and will help leisure facilities become Covid-secure and re-open as early as possible in July.

As with all aspects of the Government’s response to Covid-19, we will be guided by the science to ensure that as restrictions are eased people can return to activity safely.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to enable the re-opening of indoor gyms and sports venues; and and if he will estimate the date on which indoor gyms and sports centres may so re-open.

Sports and physical activity facilities play a crucial role in supporting adults and children to be active.

The Government is committed to reopening facilities as soon as it is safe to do so including indoor gyms and sports centres. The Sport Working Group, led by myself, feeds into the Secretary of State’s Cultural Renewal Taskforce and ensures strong sector and expert support for the co-development of guidelines and will help leisure facilities become Covid-secure and re-open as early as possible in July.

As with all aspects of the Government’s response to Covid-19, we will be guided by the science to ensure that as restrictions are eased people can return to activity safely.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps the Government is taking to improve the uptake of the Cyber Essentials scheme for SMEs in (a) Milton Keynes and (b) the UK.

As part of the National Cyber Security Strategy, the Government is helping organisations across the economy and society improve their digital security. We are promoting the uptake of the Cyber Essentials (CE) scheme in a number of ways, including through the National Cyber Security Centre’s (NCSC) extensive engagements with industry sectors and via police regional organised crime units, which engage with businesses locally.

The Government’s Cyber Aware campaign helps the public and small businesses take up secure online behaviours, including signposting businesses towards Cyber Essentials and other guidance and support.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that manufacturers have adequate cyber security measures in place.

The Government’s National Cyber Security Strategy (2016-2021) is backed with £1.9 billion investment to transform the nation’s cyber security and make the UK the safest place to live and do business online. As part of the strategy, in 2016 we established the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC). The NCSC engages with organisations and businesses across the economy and society, including those in the manufacturing sector, to encourage the take-up of good cyber security measures. The Government is currently undertaking a Review of Cyber Security Incentives and Regulation to understand what more can be done to ensure businesses of all sizes are effectively managing their cyber risks.

For manufacturers of 'Internet of Things' (or “smart”) devices used by consumers, we have developed a Code of Practice for Consumer IoT Security to help manufacturers ensure cyber security measures are embedded in their devices. We intend to introduce legislation to support the manufacturing of more secure “smart” devices.

14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to support Ukrainian child refugees' access education once in the UK.

The government has set up two schemes to support those fleeing the war: the Ukraine Family Scheme and Homes for Ukraine. All children and young people arriving under the Ukraine Family Scheme and Homes for Ukraine have the right to access state education whilst in the UK. Attending school is vital in helping children integrate into the communities in which they are living.

Ukrainian parents will apply for a school place through the in-year admissions process. The department is working with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities on developing a welcome pack for Ukrainian migrants. This will include details of the education offer and guidance on navigating the education system. General advice on school admissions can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/schools-admissions.

Local authorities will work with families to enable all children to attend school in the local area as soon as possible, even if these places are not in the immediate vicinity of their accommodation. The department understands the challenge of finding suitable school places for new arrivals and will work with local authorities where helpful to make this as smooth as possible.

To support schools’ efforts, Oak National Academy have rolled out an auto-translate function across all 10,000 of its online lessons. This means Ukrainian children can access education in their native language.

The department has ensured Ukrainians have access, if they need it, to the same childcare entitlements, as well as university and college courses as a UK citizen.

Schools are responsible for ensuring that all their pupils, including refugees and migrants who have a first language other than English, develop the English language skills they need to access the curriculum and achieve their potential.

Ukrainians aged 19+ and their family members settled under the Ukraine Family Scheme and the Homes for Ukraine in the UK, can access training to gain the skills they need to move on with their lives. This includes provision funded through the adult education budget, including English for speakers of other languages, and Level 3 free courses for job offer.

9th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many and what proportion of degree starts were degree apprenticeships in each of the last three years.

The number of degree entrants in English higher education (HE) providers in the last 3 academic years are shown in the table below:

2016/17

2017/18

2018/19

First year: first degree entrants

458,545

463,975

475,915

First year: postgraduate-taught entrants

259,440

267,305

278,310

Level 6 and 7 apprenticeships starts for England, along with figures for those where there is a mandatory degree component required, are shown in the following table:

2016/17

2017/18

2018/19

Level 6 apprenticeship starts

1,650

6,370

10,820

Of which level 6 with a mandatory degree component

1,610

5,780

9,660

Level 7 apprenticeship starts

50

4,500

11,660

Of which level 7 with a mandatory degree component

20

590

3,930

The table below provides an 'indicative' percentage of level 6 apprenticeships with mandatory degrees as a ratio of all HE entrants for first degrees.

The indicative percentage is based on the data in the above tables that are drawn from 2 different sources having different coverage. The percentages are therefore indicative rather than precise and are comparing domiciled workers doing apprenticeships with a degree component versus all domiciled and non-domiciled HE entrants doing their first degree in England only.

2016/17

2017/18

2018/19

Level 6 apprenticeship with mandatory

0.4%

1.2%

2.0%

degree as a ratio of first degree HE entrants

Notes:

1) The data sources are the Individualised Learner Record (ILR) for apprenticeship starts and Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) for degree entrants.

2) The HESA figures include all students entering English higher education institutions for academic year August to July each year.

3) Overall degree entrants exclude a minority of entrants who started degrees in further education and alternative providers.

4) Apprenticeship starts are counted for the full, final academic year August to July each year and include all funded and unfunded learners recorded on the ILR.

5) Apprenticeship volumes are rounded to the nearest ten starts.

6) Not all level 6 and level 7 apprenticeships have a mandatory degree element. Mandatory degrees can be included in apprenticeships at either level 6 or level 7.

7) Where a level 6 or 7 apprenticeship does not contain a mandatory degree element, an employer or training provider can choose to use a degree or other qualification voluntarily as part of an apprenticeship standard. This would not attract additional funding. These apprenticeships are therefore not recorded as an apprenticeship start that includes a degree component.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
9th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many level 7 apprenticeship starts there were in England in the last 12 months; and what proportion of all apprenticeship starts were at level 7 over that period.

Between January 2019 to December 2019, there have been 13,796 level 7 apprenticeship starts reported to date in England, which was 3.7% of all starts in this period.

The attached table shows the number of level 7 starts, the number of all apprenticeship starts, and the proportion of level 7 starts per month. This is the latest monthly data available.

The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE) is responsible for working with employer trailblazer groups to design and approve apprenticeships standards. This includes deciding which qualifications may be included in apprenticeship standards and whether those qualifications should be funded by government as part of the apprenticeship.

To ensure that high-quality apprenticeships are available to learners, the IfATE reviews standards on an ongoing basis. It is currently reviewing the level 7 Senior Leader standard, which may include a MBA qualification, to ensure that it meets the current policy intent and provides value for money.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
18th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent steps she has taken to support the horticulture industry in funding (a) tanks and reservoirs and (b) other water retention infrastructure to help (i) provide an alternative to mains water and (ii) water plants grown in peat-free alternatives requiring increased watering.

The Government supports the Horticulture Industry with its Water Management Grant, under the Farming Investment Fund which offers grants of between £35,000-£500,000 towards capital items to improve farm productivity through more efficient use of water for irrigation, and to secure water supplies for crop irrigation by constructing on-farm reservoirs and adopting best practice irrigation application. It is open to arable and horticultural businesses growing, or intending to grow, irrigated food crops, ornamentals or forestry nurseries. We have launched two rounds of the scheme at a budget of £10 million each; £7 million of applications have been approved to date.

We recognise that many businesses have changed to peat free operations already. For those who are finding the transition difficult we will be exploring what support might be made available as we move to phasing out the use of peat by 2030.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans her Department has to tackle waste generated by the consumption of fast fashion.

The Government’s 2018 Resources & Waste Strategy for England identified textiles, which includes waste generated by the consumption of fast fashion, as a priority sector for action. Our ambitions to minimise textile waste will be outlined in the upcoming document Maximising Resources, Minimising Waste, which constitutes a new Waste Prevention Programme for England. We expect to publish this in summer 2023.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 17 May 2023 to Question 184463 on Glass: Deposit Return Schemes, whether her Department has made an assessment of the potential impact on the (a) plastic and (b) aluminium packaging industry of the (i) inclusion of glass in and (ii) exclusion of glass from the proposed deposit return scheme.

Businesses have been clear that adding glass to a deposit return scheme will add fundamental complexity for our pubs and restaurants, increase burdens on small businesses, whilst creating greater inconvenience for consumers. We recognise that some sectors are concerned about potential for material switching. However, there are many market forces acting in this space - predicting impacts is very hard. Importantly glass will be included in Extended Producer Responsibility for packaging where obligated producers will be responsible for the disposal costs of their packaging so there will be some balancing of incentives.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 17 May 2023 to Question 184463 on Glass: Deposit Return Schemes, whether she has considered the potential merits of setting a recycling target for (a) glass and (b) polyethylene terephthalate packaging of 90 per cent.

We are working on the recycling targets for each packaging material as part of work to finalise our plans for Extended Producer Responsibility. The individual recycling targets for each material will be set to achieve our environmental ambitions taking into account the specific issues and challenges associated with each material.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps she plans to take to increase glass recycling rates.

In England and Northern Ireland glass drinks bottles will remain in scope of the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for packaging scheme as will all other types of glass packaging placed on the market in all nations. EPR will place recycling targets on producers in relation to glass packaging and require relevant obligated producers to cover the costs of collecting and managing glass packaging arising in household waste and discarded in street bins managed by local authorities.

In our 2022 response to the 2021 EPR consultation the Government set out recycling targets for 2025 and 2030, including glass. These included glass drinks containers in England and Northern Ireland.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the charges to be introduced by the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for packaging will apply only to packaging that enters the consumer waste system.

Under Extended Producer Responsibility for packaging (pEPR), producers will pay for the waste management costs associated with the packaging that they place on the market that ends up in households or street bins managed by local authorities. Charges for the management of this waste will apply to all primary and shipment packaging except where producers can evidence that their packaging has been emptied and discarded by a business. This will ensure producers are thinking about the necessity of any packaging they use and the impact of that packaging once it ends up with the end consumer.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans she has to create public access available to all through Environmental Land Management.

Protecting our environment is at the heart of the Government manifesto and we will always back British farmers and our rural communities. Environmental land manage-ment is the foundation of our new approach.

We want to support access to our countryside, farmland or woodland so the public can understand and become engaged with farming and the environment. It can also provide recreation opportunities and health benefits. Under Countryside Stewardship we already pay for a number of actions focusing on increasing public access:

• farmers hosting tours of their farms for school pupils and care farming visi-tors (ED1)
• providing access maps and signage, and preparing sites for access by providing toilet facilities, shelters, new footpaths, bridges and gates, with the objective of greater public accessibility of the countryside (AC1)
• accreditation for staff carrying out countryside educational access visits (AC2)
• a supplement to enable permissive access across woodland, where access is currently limited (WS4)

Through our Farming in Protected Landscapes programme we also pay for projects that provide opportunities for people to discover, enjoy and understand the landscape and its cultural heritage, including permissive access.

As we continue to expand and improve our schemes, building on the successful adoption of Countryside Stewardship, we are exploring how we can update and pay for actions covering permissive access; managing existing access pressures on land and water, and; expanding education access beyond groups of school pupils and care farming visitors.

Public access is also supported by our Landscape Recovery scheme. Projects are assessed for the benefits they will deliver for a wide range of objectives including social outcomes, and are required to complete a site access plan as part of the project development phase.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether she has made an assessment of the potential impact of seasonality in the plant and tree growing industry on (a) testing and (b) assuring the quality of peat-free growing media.

Government recognises that some sectors within the horticulture industry are encountering challenges in transitioning to peat-free growing media. We have consulted and collected evidence to improve our understanding of these challenges, including seasonality, asking for views about potential exemptions to support the transition. That is why we intend to provide time limited exemptions for those parts of the sector for whom the transition is particularly difficult.

Government also recognises that the quality of peat free growing mixes can be variable. We are in discussions with industry representatives to explore opportunities for developing a minimum standard that will support the industry in making informed buying choices. The prospect of regulation will provide the certainty to the industry to continue this work and realise the associated market opportunities.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the Government has undertaken an assessment of the cost of (a) maintaining and (b) improving the resilience of the Canal and River Trust’s waterway network to safeguard public safety in response to climate change.

Defra provides the Canal and River Trust with an annual grant of £52 million, under a 15-year agreement signed when the Trust was established in 2012. The grant may be used for the Trust’s charitable objects and the permitted activities set out in the formal Grant Agreement document, which is published on the Government website. This includes maintenance of the canal network infrastructure. Around £10 million of the annual grant is conditional on the Trust meeting key performance indicators covering waterway safety, improvement of towpath condition, and flood defence and mitigation. The Trust’s waterways maintenance expenditure is available in their Annual Report and Accounts, which is published on the Trust’s website.

Climate change impact is being considered as part of Defra’s current review of the Government grant required by the Grant Agreement, to inform a decision about any future funding for the Trust from 2027.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking with (a) the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (b) Natural England to help resolve the water quality issues caused by phosphates in the Somerset Levels and Moors so that residential applications in that area can proceed.

The departments principally responsible for government policy on water pollution and development are Defra and DLUHC respectively, which are both aware of the challenges facing housebuilding and environmental protection in the Somerset Levels and Moors. To address water quality issues arising from nutrient pollution, a cross-departmental Nutrient Taskforce has been created, which brings together Defra, Natural England, Environment Agency and DLUHC colleagues. Its remit is to discuss the causes of phosphate and wider nutrient pollution and ways we can support businesses to develop and protect the environment nationally.

Locally, the taskforce has assisted Natural England in developing several tools which enable local authorities to understand possible mitigations that can be put in place. In the Somerset Levels and Moors, this has materialised in the development of a phosphorus budget calculator which has helped to move forward planning applications. Furthermore, Somerset West & Taunton Council have approved a further £2M programme for interim mitigation projects as advised by Natural England. The Council will now seek NE sign-off in the next few weeks, after which it can begin to employ mitigation schemes to unlock delayed development in the area. Alongside this Natural England continues to support the piloting of a first-of-its-kind nutrient trading scheme in Somerset and expects to formally accredit the scheme in November. They report back regularly to the taskforce on progress.

More broadly, the taskforce has helped to inform and guide Defra’s wider approach to address nutrient pollution in our waterways. For example, how we utilise the newly expanded Catchment Sensitive Farming advice programme, which we have doubled funding for, alongside funding for 50 new Environment Agency inspectors to work with the farming sector to tackle nutrient pollution. Defra is committed to improving the water environment and will continue to work with Natural England and the Environment Agency on the wider issue of underlying sources of pollution, considering upgrades to wastewater treatment works and ways of reducing pollution from agriculture.

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, what steps the Government is taking to use AgriTech innovation to open up new export markets for British agricultural businesses.

Defra is investing in the development of new technologies that will enhance the UK's international standing as a global leader on agri-tech innovation. We are working closely with the Department for International Trade (DIT) to provide support to UK Agri-Tech companies looking to expand into new markets, in partnership with the DIT's overseas network.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
10th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assessment her Department has made of (a) the implications for her policies of the statement by the World Bank that the single most important factor leading to high remittance prices is a lack of transparency in the market and (b) the effectiveness of the World Bank's methodology for calculating the (a) cost of remittances and (b) exchange rate margin as calculated from a publicly available interbank rate.

In May, the UK and Swiss Governments, with the support of the World Bank and other partners, launched a global Call to Action on remittances. This called on policymakers, regulators and remittance service providers to take action to keep remittances flowing during the crisis.

The Government has taken steps to support remittance service providers in the UK, including enabling them to remain open through lockdown by including them on the list of essential businesses.

Remittance prices are high for many reasons, including underdeveloped financial infrastructure in some countries, limited competition, regulatory obstacles, lack of access to the banking sector by remittance senders and/or receivers, and difficulties for migrants to obtain the necessary identification documentation to enter the financial mainstream.

The Government recognises that transparency is an important factor leading to high remittances prices. We are working to improve price transparency for consumers with the Treasury, the FCA and the industry.

In the remittances market, the total cost might not always be clear to customers as there are a number of variable factors including: the transaction fee, the exchange rate applied and the margin and speed of the service. We are working on ways to support increasing transparency of data so it is clear for the remitter and receiver how the total cost is calculated.

The World Bank Remittances Prices Worldwide (RPW) reports uses example transactions of $200 and $500 to illustrate the overall charge for sending this money in percentage terms. However, capturing this cost can be challenging as some costs can be hidden, especially where host country’s currencies are not directly convertible into the recipient’s country’s currency.

The World Bank methodology uses the inter-bank rate that is published by central banks as a reference point and this is generally a reliable data point for exchange rates. However, some countries have multiple exchange range windows which may not be captured by the inter-bank rates.

We find the World Bank’s methodology adequate and their data informative, however we recognise that some remittance service providers do not consider this an accurate representation of their charges. This could be due to several factors. We are working with the industry to improve data accuracy.

10th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps her Department is taking to protect vulnerable girls and boys from (a) violence and (b) child marriage in humanitarian emergency situations.

DFID is providing significant support to protect children from violence around the world in humanitarian crises. Our programmes assist children and reduce their risks of violence, exploitation, abuse, and neglect.

In August 2019 at the G7 Summit, the UK Prime Minister announced £90 million of new UK support for education in emergencies and crises across the world. This will support 600,000 children living in conflict areas and areas of protracted crises. Girls are 2.5 times more likely to be out of school in emergencies and are more susceptible to child marriage and other forms of abuse and exploitation. This investment is a key part of the PM’s plan to ensure more girls benefit from 12 years of quality education. This funding will provide safe spaces for girls and psycho-social support to those who have experienced violence and trauma.

The UK’s Humanitarian Reform Policy puts the protection of vulnerable populations, including children, at the centre of the UK’s humanitarian work. DFID’s core funding to UN agencies, the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement helps them to fulfil their unique roles within the humanitarian sector, including promoting compliance of International Humanitarian Law and protecting children against violence.

Tackling child marriage, including in emergencies, is a key priority for the UK. Through DFID’s flagship global programme, Accelerating Action to End Child Marriage, the UK has supported nearly 3 million girls to attend school, skills training and girls’ clubs in 2018 alone, helping to prevent and respond to child marriage in countries with a high prevalence.

22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment she has made of the effect of the UK global tariff on food prices if the UK ends the transition period (a) with a tariff-free agreement and (b) without an agreement with the EU.

The UK Government intends to achieve a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the EU and therefore does not expect the UK global tariff (UKGT) to apply to EU imports.

The UKGT was developed following an extensive public consultation in which over 1,300 responses were received, providing vital information.

As such, the UK Government has sought a balance between the interests of consumers and producers to benefit the UK economy as a whole.

We will publish more analysis in the Taxation Information and Impact Note (TIIN) alongside the legislation, as is standard practice.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
9th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent progress his Department has made on the research that it has funded into the (a) operation and (b) regulation of autonomous pavement robots; what the timetable is for the conclusion of this research; and whether he plans to publish the findings of any research that has already been concluded.

Research to further our understanding of the impacts of self-driving technology in “autonomous pavement robots”, is planned to be undertaken in the next 12 months, and is expected to last 6 to 9 months. The results are due to be published in line with the government research protocols, particularly those relating to commercial confidentiality.

Anthony Browne
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
19th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, If he will take steps to support the adoption of autonomous pavement delivery robots.

We must balance the safety of pedestrians and vulnerable road users with the potential benefits of this novel technology. I am pleased to confirm that the Department will be funding research to further its understanding of the impacts of this new technology. The results will be published once the research has concluded.

17th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the Law Commission’s advice to government on remote driving, when he plans to introduce a regulatory framework for self-driving on roads and other public spaces.

The Government is committed to bringing forward Future of Transport legislation when parliamentary time allows.

8th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of local authorities adopting the National Parking Platform.

My department recognises the importance of the National Parking Platform which is why we have provided £800,000 to fund the pilot in Manchester. We are considering the governance and funding models to roll a national parking platform out nationwide. The department commissioned user research to identify the potential benefits and continues to work closely with the parking sector to promote local authority awareness.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
8th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he plans to take steps to launch a communications campaign to increase awareness of the national parking platform in local authorities; and if he will make a statement.

My department recognises the importance of the National Parking Platform which is why we have provided £800,000 to fund the pilot in Manchester. We are considering the governance and funding models to roll a national parking platform out nationwide. The department commissioned user research to identify the potential benefits and continues to work closely with the parking sector to promote local authority awareness.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
7th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of introducing regulations on (a) minimum wheel size, (b) maximum speed limits, (c) braking systems, (d) lights and reflectors and (e) other minimum product specifications for e-scooters.

The Department is currently developing technical standards for the construction of e-scooters. Careful consideration of the merits of each requirement, including those highlighted, will be made. Knowledge gained from the e-scooter trials as well as relevant evidence from other sources will be taken into account.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how much funding Milton Keynes Council has received to install electric car charging points since 2015.

Since 2015 Milton Keynes Council has received £865,690 under the On Street Residential Chargepoint Scheme (ORCS). Milton Keynes also received a total of £9,797,400 through the Go Ultra Low City Schemes (GULCS) between Financial Year 15/16 and Financial Year 19/20, this funding was used to support the delivery of public chargepoints and to help establish the Electric Vehicle Experience Centre which provides advice to the public considering making the switch to electric driving.

The number of grants awarded for the installation of electric vehicle charging devices in the UK are published and updated on a regular basis on our public website.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent steps he has taken to implement the British Sign Language Act 2022.

The British Sign Language Act 2022 gained Royal Assent in April 2022 and does three things:

  • It recognises British Sign Language as a language of Great Britain in its own right;
  • It places a duty on the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to report on the promotion and facilitation of British Sign Language by ministerial departments; and
  • It places a duty on the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to issue guidance to ministerial departments on the general promotion and facilitation of British Sign Language across their public communications - such as public announcements, consultations, plans, strategy, social media and press conferences.

On Friday 17 March, 17 successful candidates (in 16 posts, one is held by a tactile signer as a job share) were appointed to the new British Sign Language (BSL) Advisory Board, which will advise the Government on key issues impacting the Deaf community.

The Board’s remit will be:

  • Advising on the use of BSL in public communications and policy delivery; and
  • Advising on how to tackle key issues facing Deaf people, such as how to increase the numbers of BSL interpreters.

Establishing the Board is a key step in implementation of the Act. Work continues across Government to ensure that the departments named in the schedule to the Act are aware of their reporting duty. They will report on their use of BSL in public communications at the end of the first reporting period on 28 June. The first meeting of the departments driving the Act took place in February.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what progress she is making to (a) backdate benefit payments to Afghan refugees and (b) reduce the delay in payments to those refugees.

The Department has played a key role in Operation Warm Welcome, including legislating to exempt those arriving under the Afghan relocation and resettlement schemes from the usual residency tests, which restrict access to certain benefits for arrivals to the UK, including Universal Credit. This means that eligible individuals will meet the residency requirements and are able to access benefits when they arrive in the UK.

DWP work coaches have supported all those in bridging hotels who need to make a claim, with currently over 2,900 claims for Universal Credit on the caseload, which covers roughly 4,500 claimants (families are treated as a single claim).

Immediately after a claim for Universal Credit has been taken, the full support of the Department is available, including job searches and training, as well as other support. The Home Office have issued cash cards to those arriving under the Afghan relocation and resettlement schemes for expenses until such time as their first Universal Credit payments, meaning those relocated are supported financially as soon as they enter the UK.

Accommodation and meals are paid for, as well as the provision of other additional essential items for those in bridging hotels, such as nappies, baby food/milk and toiletries including women’s sanitary products.

As for those who were placed in local authority accommodation before claiming Universal Credit, the local authorities will provide financial support, including weekly cash support up until the first Universal Credit payment.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
7th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the report of the Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment on the use of oral nicotine pouches, what his planned timeline is for the regulation of oral nicotine pouches; and if he will make a statement.

There are no current plans to make a statement on the timeline for the regulation of oral nicotine pouches. They remain regulated by the General Product Safety Regulations 2005.

18th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of community mental health nurses have had training on dementia.

The information requested is not held centrally.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to review the eligibility criteria for the Vaccine Damage Payment.

There are currently no plans to review the eligibility criteria for the vaccine damage payment scheme.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
15th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his Department will make an assessment of the potential merits of conducting a national awareness campaign on (a) the possible symptoms of adverse reactions to vaccines and (b) removing potential stigma towards adverse reactions to vaccines.

The Department, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), the National Health Service and Medicines Health Regulations Agency (MHRA) carry out work to ensure the public are aware of common and rare side effects from different vaccines. This information is on publicly available materials is available at the following link:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/covid-19/covid-19-vaccination/covid-19-vaccines-side-effects-and-safety/

The Department of Health and Social Care is working closely with UKHSA, Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, media, social media and technology companies on innovative ways to tackle the proliferation of anti-vaccine messaging, limit misinformation, promote positive messages about vaccination and ensure that reputable sources such as NHS.UK are the most prominent. The Government uses extensive and targeted multi-channel communications, using trusted voices, and sharing accurate information about vaccination, informed by clinical expertise and analysis from UKHSA.

Anyone can report suspected side effects of vaccines to the MHRA to ensure safe and effective use.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
15th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to (a) ensure that the necessary clinical guidelines are in place to identify adverse reactions to the covid-19 vaccines and (b) ensure that NHS staff in contact with potential patients with adverse reactions receive adequate training.

Every vaccine deployed in the United Kingdom is assessed by teams of scientists and clinicians and only authorised once it has met robust standards of safety, quality, and effectiveness set by Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

Whilst severe adverse reactions are extremely rare, it is important that clinicians are fully trained in identifying and treating patients within their care. To ensure this, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has published various pieces of guidance for healthcare workers, which provides detailed information regarding adverse reactions following vaccination, available at the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1155194/COVID-19-vaccination-information-for-IHCP-v6.0-May2023.pdf

UKHSA and other professional groups have also developed a comprehensive training package to ensure vaccines are administered safely, including how to deal with possible adverse reactions to a vaccine. Safety is the utmost priority of any public health vaccination programme and all healthcare workers administering vaccines are trained to the highest standards and are expected to follow all required clinical considerations via the NHS and UKHSA approved training programme.

Guidance on COVID-19 vaccination training to support healthcare workers involved in delivering the programme is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-vaccinator-training-recommendations

A competency assessment tool is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-vaccinator-competency-assessment-tool

NHS England guides sites to use this training. Accountability for staff being trained sits with the organisation delivering the service alongside an individual’s professional responsibility.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
12th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what data his Department holds on the number of GP surgeries in England that have sent patients directly for brain imaging through head (a) MRI and (b) CT scans in each of the last five years.

NHS England holds data for four years 2018/19 to 2021/22 but only partial data for 2022/23. The following tables shows the number of general practices in England for which patients received Magnetic Resonance Imaging of head or Computed Tomography of head via a general practitioner (GP) direct access.

2018/19

2019/20

2020/21

2021/22

MRI of head

5,458

5,379

5,173

5,218

CT of head

5,348

5,424

4,872

5,005

Source: Diagnostic Imaging Dataset, https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/diagnostic-imaging-dataset/.

The Government is not aware of whether local health bodies have data on the number of GP surgeries across England who refer patients directly for brain imaging.

22nd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to create a national framework for a diabetes pathway to support people with learning difficulties.

NHS England have no plans to create a national framework for a diabetes pathway to support people with learning difficulties.

Integrated care boards are responsible for planning and commissioning diabetes care locally, in line with local population need and diabetes care pathways, these will vary by local systems and so cannot be nationally prescribed.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to recent reports on e-cigarette manufacturers overfilling e-cigarette devices, if he will bring forward changes to the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 to increase penalties on manufacturers found to be in breach of those regulations.

There are no current plans to increase the penalties beyond those set out in regulation 51 of the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016.

12th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he is taking steps to ensure that local Trading Standards are (a) investigating e-liquid capacity in notified e-cigarette devices and (b) removing from the market any products above the 2ml e-liquid volume limit.

Local enforcement agencies are responsible for ensuring that e-cigarettes, vapes, comply with The Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 in the United Kingdom. The Department continues to work with enforcement agencies to ensure these regulations are enforced in England, including related to restrictions on e-liquid capacity and volume.

14th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on improving access to NHS dentistry.

Ministers have regular discussions with Cabinet colleagues on a range of issues relating to health and social care, such as access to dentistry.

Since July 2022, NHS England has asked practices to deliver 100% of contracted units of dental activity to safely improve access for patients. We will shortly announce a range of measures to increase access to National Health Service dentistry, target care towards those patients with higher oral health needs and reward dentists more fairly for the care they deliver through the NHS. We have developed these improvements with the sector and British Dental Association.

7th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will take steps to ensure that the 10-Year Cancer Plan includes specific targets on less survivable cancers, including brain cancer, to ensure that progress is made on survival rates for those cancers.

Officials are currently analysing the responses received to the call for evidence to develop the 10 Year Cancer Plan. The Plan will address all cancer types, including rarer and less survivable cancers such as brain cancer.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department plans to increase the cap on medical and dentistry courses for students in 2022.

There are currently no plans to increase the cap on medical or dentistry school places in England in 2022.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what healthcare (a) support and (b) facilities his Department will provide to Ukrainian refugees who arrive in the UK.

The Department is working with NHS England and NHS Improvement and other Government Departments to ensure that Ukranian nationals arriving in the United Kingdom through the various schemes are signposted to registering with general practitioner.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that the 2009 NICE guidelines on rehabilitation after critical illness become standard practice in NHS Trusts.

Health and care commissioners are expected to take the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s (NICE) guidelines fully into account. These guidelines provide recommendations on best practice in terms of both the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of interventions and services.

NHS England’s Adult Critical Care Service specification states that providers must comply with the 2009 NICE clinical guideline on rehabilitation after critical illness. The specification is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Adult-Critical-Care-Service-Specification-FINAL.pdf

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the announcement by NHS Digital on 18 March 2020 that NHS annual cyber security checks will be delayed to 30 September 2020, what cyber security protections are in place for the Milton Keynes University Hospital during the covid-19 outbreak.

All organisations that have access to National Health Service patient data and systems should complete a Data Security and Protection Toolkit self-assessment each year. For 2019/20 the deadline for completion has been pushed back from March to September to allow organisations to focus on their COVID-19 response.

To support the NHS and further strengthen cyber resilience across the system during the COVID-19 response period, NHSX and delivery partners are providing enhanced central support to NHS organisations to manage their cyber risks.

Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust had already submitted an initial interim self-assessment, against the March 2020 submission, in September 2019. This information is being used by NHS Digital to help inform the support package they are offering to the Trust during this COVID-19 response period to help address any critical cyber vulnerabilities.

24th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what financial support the Government plans to provide to NHS dental practices to allow them to follow new Chief Dental Officer guidance issued as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

NHS England and NHS Improvement issued guidance setting out arrangements for National Health Service dental care during the pandemic period and the financial support being put in place for NHS dental contract holders and those working on NHS dental contracts. The intention is that as far as possible remuneration levels are unaffected. The full guidance is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-content/uploads/sites/52/2020/03/issue-3-preparedness-letter-for-primary-dental-care-25-march-2020.pdf

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
28th Jan 2020
What steps he is taking to improve the NHS capital estate.

In September 2019, my Rt. Hon Friend the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care unveiled the Health Infrastructure Plan: a long-term startegic investment programme in the future of our National Health Service.

This included the biggest hospital building programme in a generation: £2.8 billion funding for 40 new hospitals over the next ten years, with six in the first wave (HIP 1), on top of the 20 hospital upgrades announced by the Prime Minister in August 2019.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
22nd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether his Department is taking steps to help ensure that the psychosocial needs of children are being met in (i) fragile and conflict-affected states and (ii) other humanitarian contexts.

As part of our role on the UN Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict (CAAC), we call for access to non-discriminatory and comprehensive specialised services, including psychosocial support for children affected by conflict.

The FCDO has recently funded a project to provide protection services for children in Yemen; over 1300 children accessed high quality and safe psychosocial support.

Our UNICEF funding supports children in humanitarian situations who experience or are at risk of sexual violence including projects like the Blue Dot Shelters, which provide a safe space for families and children on the move in emergencies.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to (a) help tackle (i) child labour, (ii) child marriage, (iii) malnutrition and (iv) other barriers to education and (b) improve (A) access to education and (B) learning outcomes in fragile and conflict-affected states.

Addressing barriers to education is an FCDO priority. When learning outcomes are poor, lower value is placed on education and girls are more likely to drop out of school. This can lead to child marriage or child labour. We have invested in research programmes to understand how best to tackle learning poverty, including links to nutrition. The UK is also a leading donor to Education Cannot Wait. ECW supports conflict or crises-affected children - the largest group of out-of-school children facing increased risk of exploitation. Through UK support since 2017 ECW has reached seven million children in over 30 countries.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of his Department developing a cross-departmental child rights strategy to help support its humanitarian aid response for children.

The UK Government is committed to the promotion, protection and realisation of children's rights as enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, including when crises hit.

Children are a central part of FCDO's work to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, including through access to quality education and health care, or through protecting them from violence. Consideration of children's rights is integrated across recent strategies, including the recently published Preventing Sexual Violence in ConflictInitiativeStrategy which commits the UK to enhancing support available to survivors and children born of sexual violence in conflict, and a new Position Paper on Addressing the Climate Crises through Girls' Education which recognises that girls can be agents of change in their communities.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what (a) steps his Department is taking to support the rights of Uyghur Muslims in extra-judicial detention in Xinjiang and (b) recent representations he has made to his Chinese counterpart on human rights abuses in China.

We have serious concerns about the human rights situation in Xinjiang including the extra-judicial detention of over a million Uyghur Muslims and other minorities in "political re-education camps", systematic restrictions on Uyghur culture and the practice of Islam, and extensive and invasive surveillance targeting minorities.

On 28 July, the Foreign Secretary raised our serious concerns about the human rights situation in Xinjiang with his Chinese counterpart, Foreign Minister and State Councillor Wang Yi. On 30 June, the UK read out a formal statement on behalf of 28 countries at the 44th session of the UN Human Rights Council highlighting arbitrary detention, widespread surveillance and restrictions, particularly those targeting Uyghurs and other minorities, and urging China to allow the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights meaningful access to Xinjiang. We will continue to raise our concerns with China bilaterally, and through the UN working with international partners.

7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if his Department will consult with children and young people on the formation of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

The Government continues to engage with all relevant stakeholders on issues relating to the merger.

17th Feb 2023
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will keep the Energy Business Discount Scheme under regular review to ensure it provides (a) support for businesses and (b) medium to long-term certainty on support so that businesses are able to plan ahead.

The new Energy Bills Discount Scheme (EBDS) will provide all eligible businesses and other non-domestic energy users across the UK with a discount on high energy bills until 31 March 2024, following the end of the current Energy Bill Relief Scheme. It will also provide businesses in sectors with particularly high levels of energy use and trade intensity with a higher level of support.

Through the current scheme, the Government provided an unprecedented package of support for non-domestic users through this winter. The Government has been clear that such levels of support, unprecedented in its nature and huge scale, were time-limited and intended as a bridge to allow businesses to adapt.

The new EBDS provides long term certainty for businesses and reflects how the scale of the challenge has changed since September last year. This will help those locked into contracts signed before recent substantial falls in the wholesale price manage their costs and provide others with reassurance against the risk of prices rising again.

In the longer-term, Energy Intensive Industries (EII) will continue to be supported by the Government’s EII exemption and compensation schemes. In April 2022 the Government extended the compensation scheme for a further 3 years and more than doubled its budget. On Thursday 23 February, the Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch announced further measures (https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-action-to-supercharge-competitiveness-in-key-british-industries-and-grow-economy) to bring the energy costs of the UK’s energy intensive industries in line with those charged across the world’s major economies. This is crucial to helping these businesses remain internationally competitive and will enhance the UK’s attractiveness as a destination for international investment as well as remove barriers to move us further towards greener technology as part of a sustainable net zero future.

We will continue to closely monitor energy prices in the coming months.

James Cartlidge
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
12th Oct 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he has had recent discussions with representatives of firms across the vehicle leasing sector on the merits of extending the two per cent benefit-in-kind taxation rates for battery electric cars beyond 2024-25.

HMT recognises the important contribution the company car market makes to electric vehicle (EV) take-up in the UK.

The Government has announced CCT rates until April 2025 to give certainty to fleet owners, manufacturers and company car drivers, and aims to announce rates at least two years in advance of the rates coming into effect.

Felicity Buchan
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether eat in food business that are restricted to providing take away services due to covid-19 social distancing guidance are eligible for the Eat Out to Help Out scheme.

Eat Out to Help Out is designed to encourage people to return to eating out to support restaurants, pub, cafes and other dine-in establishments, which have been severely affected by COVID-19 due to closures and the impact of social distancing. In doing so, it will help support 1.8 million jobs disproportionately occupied by young, female, part-time workers, in the bottom half of incomes.

Hot takeaway food and drinks will benefit from the temporary VAT reduced rate for hospitality from 15 July 2020 to 12 January 2021.

13th Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he plans to extend the Eat Out to Help Out scheme to include take-away outlets.

Eat Out to Help Out is designed to encourage people to return to eating out in order to support restaurants, pubs, cafes and other dine-in establishments, which have been severely affected by COVID-19 due to closures and the impact of social distancing. In doing so, it will help support 1.8 million jobs disproportionately occupied by young, female, part-time workers, in the bottom half of incomes.

Hot takeaway food and drinks will benefit from the temporary VAT reduced rate for hospitality from 15 July 2020 to 12 January 2021.

23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of providing further financial support to gyms and leisure facilities that remain unable to reopen to the public as a result of the covid-19 lockdown.

The Government has announced unprecedented support for business and workers to protect them against the current economic emergency. Gyms and leisure facilities continue to have access to a range of support measures including, but not limited to:

  • A 12-month business rates holiday for all eligible retail, leisure and hospitality businesses in England
  • The retail, hospitality and leisure grant fund (RHLGF)
  • A Discretionary Grant Fund for Local Authorities in England
  • The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)
  • The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)
  • The Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBL) for small and micro enterprises
  • VAT deferral for up to 12 months
  • The Time To Pay scheme, through which businesses 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 – with an option for the Government to extend if needed.

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

On 11 May the Government published its COVID-19 recovery strategy which sets out our plan for moving to the next phase of our response. The strategy sets out a cautious roadmap for easing existing measures in a safe and measured way. On 23 June, the Prime Minister announced that several currently closed sectors will be allowed to reopen from 4 July, with appropriate mitigants in place, as set out in the COVID-secure guidance that departments have been working on. This includes:

  • Leisure and tourist attractions, such as outdoor gyms and playgrounds, cinemas, museums, galleries, theme parks and arcades, libraries, social clubs and community centres.
  • Recreation and sport will be allowed, but indoor facilities, including changing rooms and courts, will remain closed.
Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
14th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent discussions Border Force has had with Trading Standards on tackling the importation of illegal e-cigarette devices.

Building on an already close relationship, Border Force is working with Trading Standards at a number of locations around the UK, agreeing processes and ways of working that help ensure illegal e-cigarettes are prevented from entering the UK.

Robert Jenrick
Minister of State (Home Office) (Immigration)
8th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she is taking steps to ensure that accommodation sites for asylum seekers will be distributed equally across the UK.

The enduring solution to this challenge is to stop the illegal, dangerous and unnecessary small boat crossings that are overwhelming our asylum system. Not only is every crossing attempt a potential tragedy, as we have seen far too often, but the people arriving via these small boats have travelled through, and have left, safe countries with fully functioning asylum systems to reach the UK.

The former Minister for safe and Legal Routes announced a move to full dispersal on 13 April 2022. The new system of full dispersal accommodation allows the Home Office to move from using hotels to less expensive and more suitable dispersed accommodation. Under full dispersal plans, all Local Authorities in England, Scotland and Wales are considered a dispersal area and are required to to take part in asylum dispersal. This will lead to a more equitable distribution of asylum seekers across the UK and reduce pressures on the minority of Local Authorities which previously participated.

To support full dispersal, delivery plans have been developed in partnership with local government across all UK regions. Plans were designed to ensure a more equitable spread of dispersed accommodation across the UK. Regional Governance Boards will monitor performance against plans.

Robert Jenrick
Minister of State (Home Office) (Immigration)
31st Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to improve the Skilled Worker visa system.

By embracing technology, we are delivering a streamlined, simplified and modern visa system.

The system is working well, the Skilled Worker route is attracting the brightest and best, making a positive contribution to our economy.

We have simplified the employer sponsorship process and by 2025 will have a fully digital end-to-end application system providing greater efficiency for our customers.

Robert Jenrick
Minister of State (Home Office) (Immigration)
28th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent progress her Department has made on reducing the level of knife crime.

The Government is committed to reducing knife crime, this why we have invested £130.5 million over the last year to tackle serious violence.

This includes £35.5 million for Violence Reduction Units which draw key partners together to address the root causes of violence, and £30 million for targeted police action to deter and disrupt knife crime.

28th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will make it her policy to support the Initial Police Learning and Development Programme into the future.

Demands on the police are changing and becoming increasingly complex, so it is important that we have a police workforce that has the knowledge and skills needed for the future.

This Government is keen to see police forces recruit the best and brightest into their ranks, from all walks of life, as we work to deliver on our key manifesto pledge to recruit an additional 20,000 officers. In doing so, we support the implementation of the new Policing Education Qualifications Framework (PEQF), which is putting in place new entry routes for police constables to ensure that new recruits across all forces meet the same high standards.

The College of Policing has been clear from the start of developing these new routes that full implementation will be delivered at a pace with which forces are comfortable. PEQF has now been implemented in 38 out of 43 forces and the College of Policing plans to phase out the old Initial Police Learning and Development Programme entirely by March 2023.

15th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to support Afghan refugees who do not have a permanent address to open a bank account.

For those in bridging accommodation, the hotel address will be sufficient to allow them to do this, and if they encounter any issues these should be raised with the Hotel Liaison Officers.

These officers will provide support, advise and escalate any issues should they occur.

Victoria Atkins
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
5th Jun 2020
What steps her Department is taking to help protect victims of domestic abuse.

Domestic abuse?is a horrific crime that shatters the lives of those affected. The Home Office works closely with the domestic abuse organisations, the Domestic Abuse Commissioner and the police, to ensure that support is available to victims who need it and that perpetrators are brought to justice.

Since 2018 the Home Office has provided £1.1m per year to help fund specialist helplines offering support in domestic abuse, honour-based abuse and stalking cases. A national awareness raising campaign has been launched to help direct victims to these sources of support.

A further £3.1m has been provided this year, as a continuation of the Children Affected by Domestic abuse fund for specialist support for children affected by domestic abuse.

Work is also underway to enhance perpetrator programmes and promote innovative approaches to preventing domestic abuse using £10m of funding.

We are continuing with the passage of the landmark Domestic Abuse Bill, which started its Committee Stage on 4 June. This will further protect victims of domestic abuse and bring perpetrators to justice.

Victoria Atkins
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
27th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what recent steps his Department has taken to create a Wider Service Medal.

There has been an ongoing debate among interested parties, including veterans and campaigners, about whether the current model for awarding medals to members of the Armed Forces fits the changing face of operations. This issue was recognised by Sir John Holmes in the Military Medals Review published in July 2012. However, whilst no such medal has so far been introduced, we continuously evaluate those medals that are awarded and whether they remain appropriate for the current operational environment.

Andrew Murrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
22nd Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will make an assessment of the potential impact of the Local Authority Housing Fund on the number of (a) commercial buildings that have been converted to residential use and (b) long-term empty homes that have been converted to affordable housing.

Commercial premises can be converted to residential use under permitted development rights. Under current guidance, contributions for affordable housing should not be sought for permitted development.

The Levelling Up and Regeneration Act 2023 (the 2023 Act) introduces powers to create a new Infrastructure Levy which will reform the existing system of developer contributions in England. It will be possible for the Levy to capture land value uplift associated with permitted development, subject to provision that is made in regulations. Under our current proposals, the Infrastructure Levy will capture value uplift associated with the change of use of commercial buildings to residential use, whilst recognising the need to preserve the viability of brownfield development schemes. We are currently analysing responses to our recent technical consultation which sought views on this proposed approach.

If the Levy is charged on development it can be used to fund social housing within the meaning of Part 2 of the Housing and Regeneration Act 2008, and any other description of housing that Infrastructure Levy regulations may specify. This is set out in new section 204A(4) (in Schedule12 of the 2023 Act). This includes Social Rent homes and Affordable Rent homes.

Following the conclusion of the first two rounds of the Local Authority Housing Fund in 2024, an evaluation will be conducted which will include an assessment on the delivery routes that participating local authorities have taken.

Lee Rowley
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
22nd Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that commercial premises that are converted to residential use provide an adequate level of (a) affordable housing and (b) homes for social rent.

Commercial premises can be converted to residential use under permitted development rights. Under current guidance, contributions for affordable housing should not be sought for permitted development.

The Levelling Up and Regeneration Act 2023 (the 2023 Act) introduces powers to create a new Infrastructure Levy which will reform the existing system of developer contributions in England. It will be possible for the Levy to capture land value uplift associated with permitted development, subject to provision that is made in regulations. Under our current proposals, the Infrastructure Levy will capture value uplift associated with the change of use of commercial buildings to residential use, whilst recognising the need to preserve the viability of brownfield development schemes. We are currently analysing responses to our recent technical consultation which sought views on this proposed approach.

If the Levy is charged on development it can be used to fund social housing within the meaning of Part 2 of the Housing and Regeneration Act 2008, and any other description of housing that Infrastructure Levy regulations may specify. This is set out in new section 204A(4) (in Schedule12 of the 2023 Act). This includes Social Rent homes and Affordable Rent homes.

Following the conclusion of the first two rounds of the Local Authority Housing Fund in 2024, an evaluation will be conducted which will include an assessment on the delivery routes that participating local authorities have taken.

Lee Rowley
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
21st Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will take steps to (a) collect and (b) publish data on the number of commercial properties in England that have been vacant for two years or more; and if he will bring forward legislation to require local authorities to report on the number of non-residential buildings they own that have been vacant for two years or more.

It is for local authorities to decide how to monitor local vacancy rates.

Jacob Young
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
14th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the adequacy of Local Housing Allowance for local authorities to prevent homelessness.

In line with the practice of successive administrations, details of internal discussions are not normally disclosed.

Felicity Buchan
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
17th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that accessible and adaptable homes are available for older and disabled people.

Planning rules already mean that councils must consider the needs of older and disabled people when planning new homes. The National Model Design Code provides tools and guidance to local councils for producing design codes; it details how the ten characteristics in the National Design Guide can be translated into design standards in local design codes. My Hon Friend will want to know that the Government has set out its intention to mandate higher accessibility standards for all new homes by raising the minimum standard in Building Regulations in England in due course.

14th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether his Department is taking steps to ensure the independence of the PAS9980 framework for fire risk assessment in cases where a developer owns or holds a stake in a company that assesses and signs off on remediation work completed by that developer.

Following a pledge made by major developers last year, 46 developers (as of 18 April 2023) have now signed a contract committing to take responsibility for all necessary work to address life-critical fire-safety defects arising from design and construction of buildings 11 metres and over in height that they developed or refurbished over the last 30 years in England

The developer remediation contract requires that assessments (prior to works being undertaken) and qualifying assessments (to be submitted after works are completed) are carried out by a 'suitably experienced, qualified, independent and competent' fire risk assessor or external wall assessor. The department will have the right to audit those assessments, including (among other things) the right to check whether the assessor meets those criteria. If those assessments or the works themselves fail to meet the requirements set out in the contract, then the developer will be contractually obliged to go back and put things right.

Lee Rowley
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
11th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, with reference to his Departments policy paper entitled Levelling Up the United Kingdom published on 2 February 2022, when he plans to launch the Task Force on Older People's Housing.

Ensuring older people have access to the right homes that suit their needs can help them to live independently for longer and feel more connected to their communities. Our Government is committed to further improving the diversity of housing options available to older people and boosting the supply of specialist elderly accommodation, including housing with care.  

The taskforce on older people's housing, which we announced in the Levelling Up White Paper will explore how we can improve the choice of and access to housing options for older people


Arrangements for the taskforce are still ongoing and further details will be released in due course.

We continue to work in partnership with DHSC colleagues and with housing, health and social care stakeholders to look at how we can further support the growth of a thriving older people's housing sector.

20th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, with reference to the developer pledge for building safety, whether developers will be required to remediate buildings to the standard required by the Regulator in order that buildings are not fixed initially by the developer and then need further work to satisfy the Regulator.

We want to make sure that buildings are made safe quickly and proportionately. Over 45 of the largest developers have already signed a pledge to take responsibility for all necessary work to address life-critical, fire-safety defects on buildings 11 metres and over that they had a role in developing or refurbishing.

On 13 July, we published the draft of a contract with developers. The draft contract, once finalised and executed, will turn the commitments made in the pledge into a legally binding agreement.

The draft agreement includes the requirement for developers to ensure that, once the necessary remediation work has been performed, a fire risk assessment and/or a fire risk assessment of external walls (depending on the defects originally identified) signing off that the risks have been satisfactorily addressed is issued.

Whilst it is possible there may be some work for which the original developer is not responsible, the expectation is that developers will fix all life critical fire safety defects arising from the original development or refurbishment. Building works will be overseen by a building control body (although this will always be the Building Safety Regulator for higher-risk buildings) and will need to comply with Building Regulations.

14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment his Department has made of the responses to its consultation on local authority remote meetings, published on 25 March 2022; and whether he has plans to bring forward legislative proposals to permit hybrid in-person and virtual meetings for (a) all council meetings, (b) lower tier parish and town council meetings and (c) planning committee meetings.

We launched a call for evidence on 25 March 2021 to gather views and inform a longer-term decision about whether to make express provision for councils to meet remotely on a permanent basis.

The Department has considered the responses to the consultation and the Government will respond shortly.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
22nd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment has the Government made of the future housing needs for the ageing population.

Offering vulnerable people a better choice of accommodation to suit their changing needs can help them live independently and feel more connected to their communities. This Government is committed to the provision of suitable homes for older people, including extra care housing, which contributes to levelling up across communities. Housing-with-care allows individuals to choose where they want to live, with whom, how they can best be supported, and what happens in their home. Both the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and the Department of Health and Social Care provide capital funding to incentivise their supply. Our planning rules already mean councils must consider the needs of older people when planning for new homes. In 2019, we published guidance to help councils implement the National Planning Policy Framework policies.

We are investing over £12 billion in affordable housing over 5 years, the largest investment in affordable housing in a decade. This includes the new £11.5 billion Affordable Homes Programme, where 10 per cent of delivery over the course of the programme will be used to increase the supply of much needed specialist or supported housing, including retirement housing. The Department of Health and Social Care are also continuing to subsidise new supply of specialist housing for older and disabled people through the Care and Support Specialised Housing (CASSH) Fund.

The Government's plan for health and social care, announced on Tuesday 7 September, also recognised the important role of housing, and supported housing in particular, in providing care and support to people in the community.

We continue to work closely with the older people's housing sector and across Government to look at how we can further support its growth. I look forward to engaging with representatives in the sector further and value their insight.

14th Jun 2021
What steps he is taking to provide accommodation for rough sleepers.

By the start of this year, this Government supported over 37,000 people as part of our Everyone In initiative during the pandemic, with over 26,000 already being moved into longer term accommodation.

At the Spending Review in November we committed an additional £254 million of resource funding to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping. This takes resource funding in 2021-22 to £676 million - a 60% increase compared to what was announced at Spending Review 2019.

In addition, the Government has accelerated the delivery of the £433 million Rough Sleeping Accommodation Programme to deliver 6,000 move-on homes and support - the largest ever investment in move-on accommodation.

30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, with reference to the statement in the Planning for the Future white paper that the planning system needs to be better at unlocking growth and opportunity in all parts of the country, what steps he is taking to ensure adequate provision of green space.

In Planning for the Future, one key proposal is that future local plans would put all land into one of three categories: areas for growth, for renewal or for protection. That proposal makes clear that, under such a system, local authorities would use the plan-making process to earmark valued green space, which need not only be designated land such as Local Green Space or Green Belt, for protection.

We will expect local authorities to promote the provision and retention of green space, parks and other green infrastructure in their plan-making and decisions. Sound planning, in line with the policies in our National Planning Policy Framework, will continue to protect sites of biodiversity, local wildlife sites and irreplaceable habitat; recognise the character and beauty of the countryside; and take account of all the benefits from natural capital and ecosystems.

29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the potential effect on local infrastructure of proposals in the Planning for the Future white paper to identify land suitable for development as growth areas, where permission in principle would be automatically secured for forms and types of development specified in the local plan.

The White Paper makes it clear that development plans, including the identification of Growth Areas where outline consent would be automatically granted, should continue to be informed by appropriate infrastructure planning. We are also proposing to introduce a new Infrastructure Levy, which will aim to collect more than the current system of developer contributions, and which local authorities will be able to use to fund infrastructure (including onsite provision). We are currently consulting on these proposals, which will inform our assessment of their impact.

29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether he is taking steps to ensure that the proposals set out in the Planning for the Future white paper are rural proofed with regard to demand for affordable homes in rural communities.

The Government recognises the importance of affordable homes in rural communities. National planning policy makes it clear that in rural areas, housing development that reflect local needs should be supported, and that affordable housing can be sought for residential developments that are not major developments in designated rural areas. None of our proposals change this overall approach.

In Planning for the Future, we propose to replace the existing system of developer contributions with a new Infrastructure Levy, which will deliver at least as much onsite affordable housing as at present. We are currently consulting on this approach, which will inform our assessment of the impacts of the proposed Levy.

12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether his department will be issuing definitive guidance for introducing controlled viewings and conveyancing in the residential property sector.

My Department issued revised guidance for England on how to move home safely on 13 May 2020.

21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what his housebuilding target is for Milton Keynes; and what the timescale is for that target to be met.

The Government does not set targets for housebuilding. It is for local authorities to identify their housing targets, in light of national policy and guidance. In the case of Milton Keynes, this is set out in their current local plan (adopted in March 2019).

The Housing Delivery Test, measures local authority performance against these locally set targets. Local authorities are rising to the challenge, and the Government publishes these results annually. The 2019 measurement shows that nearly two thirds of authorities have delivered the numbers of homes their communities need.

29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will ensure that the proposed domestic abuse Bill enables survivors of that abuse to access a safe and permanent home by extending automatic priority need for housing to that group.

This Government believes it is vitally important that domestic abuse victims who are homeless, or are at risk of homelessness, are supported to find an accommodation solution that meets their needs and reflects their individual circumstances.

In April 2018, the Homelessness Reduction Act came into force, which puts prevention at the heart of the local authorities’ response to homelessness, irrespective of whether they are a family or single person, what has put them at risk, or if they have a local connection to the area. This means that all victims of domestic abuse who are at risk of homelessness should be provided with an offer of support from their local authority to find appropriate accommodation.

Under homelessness legislation a person who is pregnant, has dependent children, or is vulnerable as a result of having to leave accommodation due to domestic abuse already has priority need for accommodation. These duties, alongside new duties under the Domestic Abuse Bill, will ensure that all victims of domestic abuse are supported to find accommodation that meets their needs.

19th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of increasing sentences for (a) knife possession offences and (b) other offences involving a knife.

Sentencing is a matter for our independent courts. When deciding what sentence to impose, courts must consider the circumstances of the case in line with any relevant sentencing guidelines issued by the independent Sentencing Council.

In recognition of the seriousness of offences related to knives, the law provides for minimum custodial sentences for repeat knife possession and offences that involve threatening with a weapon. Measures in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act which came into force in 2022 strengthened existing legislation to make sure that the courts always impose at least the minimum term unless there are exceptional circumstances.

On 18 April the Government launched a 7-week consultation on proposed legislation to tackle knife crime and particularly the use of certain types of large knives and machetes in crime. The proposals provide a multifaceted and focused approach, which we believe will target criminals whilst still allowing the general public to pursue their employment and pastimes with minimal disruption. The consultation may be viewed at: www.gov.uk/government/consultations/machetes-and-other-bladed-articles-proposed-legislation.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
8th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps his Department is taking to support victims of domestic abuse.

We are building on the landmark Domestic Abuse Act to improve victims services, to ensure that victims can secure justice in our courts and to pursue perpetrators ruthlessly.

Victim support funding is rising to £185 million by 2024/25, including increasing the number of Independent Sexual and Domestic Abuse Advisors to more than 1000 and we are extending the time limit for prosecuting domestic abuse-related common assaults to help victims secure justice.

The government’s focus on this most hidden and pernicious of crimes will continue with the publication of our Domestic Abuse Strategy in the coming months.

Victoria Atkins
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
2nd Feb 2021
What steps his Department is taking to support victims of domestic abuse.

Supporting and protecting victims of domestic abuse has been a central priority of this Government, backed by major additional investment.

The latest commitment of £40m for victims’ services includes £9.7m for local community-based DA support, plus £8m for new independent domestic violence advisors (IDVAs).

We will pass the landmark Domestic Abuse Bill which creates new domestic abuse protection orders, institutes a new Domestic Abuse Commissioner, and empowers domestic abuse complainants to give their best evidence in court.

Alex Chalk
Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice
20th May 2020
What steps he is taking to strengthen the Union.

This Government has always stressed the importance of the Union. The current crisis demonstrates how valuable it is to have a collective ability to respond.

We have world leading expertise and the economic strength to protect jobs and businesses with generous support packages.

It is the strength of our Union which will enable us to defeat the Covid-19 virus and rebuild our economy quickly and fairly.

23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what recent assessment he has made of the value of trade between Scotland and the rest of the UK.

I refer the honourable Gentleman to the answer I gave earlier today to the honourable Member for Stoke-on-Trent South.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland