Ben Howlett

Conservative - Former Member for Bath

Petitions Committee
20th Jul 2015 - 3rd May 2017
Women and Equalities Committee
6th Jul 2015 - 3rd May 2017


Division Voting information

Ben Howlett has voted in 434 divisions, and 2 times against the majority of their Party.

20 Jul 2016 - Electoral Reform (Proportional Representation and Reduction of Voting Age) - View Vote Context
Ben Howlett voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 1 Conservative Aye votes vs 68 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 74 Noes - 81
15 Jul 2015 - Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education (Statutory Requirement) - View Vote Context
Ben Howlett voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 10 Conservative Aye votes vs 39 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 183 Noes - 44
View All Ben Howlett Division Votes

All Debates

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

View all Ben Howlett's debates

Latest EDMs signed by Ben Howlett

Ben Howlett has not signed any Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Ben Howlett, 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 Howlett has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Ben Howlett has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

Ben Howlett has not introduced any legislation before Parliament

Ben Howlett has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


160 Written Questions

(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
24 Other Department Questions
9th Mar 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, how many university scholarships have been taken up by Syrian refugees in the last five years.

This information is not held by the department or its agencies.

The sector led Supporting Professionalism in Admissions Programme (SPA) has published good practice guidance on admissions for refugees and asylum seekers.

Through the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme, the Government is working closely with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to identify those most at risk and bring them to the UK.

The UK has been at the forefront of the international response to the Syrian crisis. On 4 February 2016, my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister announced that the UK will more than double our total pledge to the Syria crisis from £1.12 billion to over £2.3 billion. This is our largest ever response to a single humanitarian crisis and means that the UK is one of the largest donors to the Syria crisis.

7th Mar 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, whether she plans to discuss progress on the Bonfield review with (a) the Bath and North East Somerset Energy at Home scheme and (b) other organisations which have participated in the Green Deal Communities Programme.

DECC and DCLG have commissioned Dr Peter Bonfield to undertake an Independent Review into Consumer Advice, Protection, Enforcement and Standards. In taking forward the Review, Dr Bonfield has invited a wide number of stakeholders, including Local Authorities and other local organisations to feed into the development of the recommendations.

I would encourage all interested parties who have not yet done so to take this opportunity, as the recommendations begin to be finalised.

7th Mar 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what recent assessment he has made of the potential effect of plans under the Immigration Bill to introduce a charge on UK employers for employing skilled foreign workers on the number of people applying to study STEM subjects at university.

The Government is considering carefully the Migration Advisory Committee’s recommendations on migration including the likely impact on different sectors. It is essential that the UK remains open for business, while migration levels are controlled.

29th Feb 2016
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what proportion of girls in (a) state and (b) private schools took physics A-level in 2015.

Information on the proportion of girls who took A level physics in state-funded schools in 2014/15 is published as part of the “A level and other level 3 results: 2014 to 2015 (revised)” statistical first release.[1] In independent schools[2] 9.3% of girls took A level physics in 2014/15.

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/a-level-and-other-level-3-results-2014-to-2015-revised (Document titled: Maths and science tables; Tab titled: Table 18)

[2] Excludes independent special schools and non-maintained special schools.

29th Feb 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what steps he is taking to secure the appropriate data to monitor the progress of programmes which encourage the uptake of STEM subjects and careers by girls.

The Government funds a number of programmes which encourage the uptake of STEM subjects by girls. We monitor the progress of these programmes against their key performance indicators through regular reports, and by evaluating their impact.

In 2014 the Government published for the first time data showing the proportion of girls and boys studying A levels in science and maths at each post-16 institution, and in 2016 time series data of students entered for mathematics and science A level subjects by number of subjects and gender. Both sets of data will continue to be published on an annual basis.

20th Jan 2016
Pay
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what assessment he has made of the prevalence of employers withholding wages from employees; and what steps he is taking to prevent that practice.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills does not collate this information centrally, however, I refer my Hon. Friend to the additional information which was placed in the Libraries of the House in response to a question from the Hon. Member for Islington South and Finsbury UIN 17042. Acas were notified of 12,791 Early Conciliation claims relating to the Wages Act from April to September 2015.

Additionally, there were 9,494 Employment Tribunal claims relating to unauthorised deductions from wages in the most recent six months for which HMCTS data is available (April to September 2015, www.gov.uk/government/collections/tribunals-statistics).

The Government publishes clear advice for employers and workers on deductions from pay which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/understanding-your-pay/deductions-from-your-pay. A worker’s pay cannot be reduced below the National Minimum Wage (NMW) except in very limited circumstances – even if the worker agrees to the deduction.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) enforces the NMW, and anyone concerned about underpayment of the NMW should call Acas’s confidential helpline on 0300 123 1100 or visit http://www.acas.org.uk/nmw. HMRC will respond to every complaint they receive.

12th Jan 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, if he will take steps to prevent the exploitation of consumers by salesmen of stair lifts and other aids to the elderly and disabled.


The Department funds the Citizens Advice Service to provide valuable advice to consumers, including how to avoid scams. Citizens Advice also lead the annual Scams Awareness Month, working with Trading Standards to help give consumers the confidence to spot and report a scam.


Trading Standards Officers have powers to take action under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 against salesmen who use misleading practices and aggressive pressure selling. Additionally, National Trading Standards Scambuster Teams take action against large scale national and regional scammers, including those who exploit the elderly and vulnerable through the sale of substandard or unnecessary mobility aids.


Since 2014 the Consumer Protection (Amendment) Regulations 2014 introduced important new rights for consumers to take their own action against such traders to get their money back.

11th Jan 2016
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what recent discussions she has had with businesses on increasing the gender balance on corporate boards.

I have met with many business representatives since taking on the role of Minister for Women and Equalities and always ensure I use these opportunities to raise the issue of achieving a better gender balance on boards. More recently (October 2015) I spoke at the launch of Lord Davies’s final report where I was able to engage with a broad range of stakeholders who all have a key role to play in this agenda including Executive Search Firms, Chairs and Investors.

Lord Davies’s collaborative approach, which engaged all parties, was crucial in achieving the unprecedented number of women on boards we now have in the FTSE 350. The Government looks forward to continuing this approach with the new review on the executive pipeline.

11th Jan 2016
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, if she will take steps to increase the reporting of gender balance on corporate boards.

This Government is determined to make sure all women can fulfil their potential. This has been a crucial part of the success Lord Davies had in increasing the number of women on boards. We will continue to work with international leaders Cranfield University to ensure continued transparency on this agenda.

There are also other reporting measures which are in place which allow us to get a clearer picture of where there are issues and help employers identify where action needs to be taken. We will be introducing regulations that require large employers to report on gender pay gaps and differential bonus payments. Alongside this, as part of the BIS Narrative Reporting Requirements, FTSE listed companies need to report on gender diversity at Board and senior management level.

These measures have proven to be effective as there are more women than ever on boards, and we are committed to continuing with them in order to see further progress.

26th Nov 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, whether the Government will require the parts and equipment used in the construction of the Hinckley Point C nuclear power station to be manufactured in the UK.

As my rt hon. Friend the Secretary of State set out to the Energy and Climate Change Committee, EDF predict over 60% of the HPC project’s construction value will go to UK companies. The Government is working with EDF and other developers to maximise the opportunities for UK businesses linked to Hinkley and proposed future new nuclear projects. We have put in place a number of initiatives to help UK suppliers’ bid for new nuclear contracts.



19th Nov 2015
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what steps her Department is taking to eliminate the gender pay gap.

The gender pay gap currently stands at 19.2%, the lowest on record. We are determined to accelerate this progress. To eliminate the gender pay gap within a generation, the Government is requiring larger employers to publish information about the pay and bonuses for men and women; extending our plans for gender pay gap reporting to the public sector; and working with business to have 33% of women on boards by 2020 and eliminate all-male boards in the FTSE 350.

19th Nov 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what steps his Department is taking to help increase the number of women completing PhDs in STEM subjects.

The number of female doctorate qualifiers in STEM subjects increased from 5,485 in 2009/10 to 6,300 in 2013/14, an increase of 15%. The total number of doctorate qualifiers in STEM subjects also increased over this period, from 12,830 in 2009/10 to 14,020 in 2013/14, and the proportion of female doctorate qualifiers in STEM subjects who are female increased from 43% to 45%.[i]

The Government is committed to developing a strong, diverse research community. The Research Councils and National Academies share this commitment. We are taking steps to encourage greater representation of women in STEM subjects at university and in the academic community through the establishment of a Diversity Steering Group and support for such initiatives as the Athena SWAN charter which promotes gender equality in academia.


[i] Higher Education Statistics Agency: Number of Doctorate Qualifiers in STEM subjects by Gender. (Academic Years 2009/10 to 2013/14). Excel spreadsheet is attached to this PQ.



19th Nov 2015
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what recent assessment she has made on progress towards the target of 25 per cent female representation on FTSE 100 corporate boards by 2015.

Women now make up 26.1 per cent of directors on the boards of FTSE 100 companies. This exceeds the Lord Davies target of 25 per cent. We have no more all male boards in the FTSE 100 and more women on FTSE 350 boards than ever before.

26th Oct 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what discussions he has had with his European counterparts on the potential effect of the European Commission's Digital Single Market proposals on UK publishers; and if he will make a statement.

The Digital Single Market is a stated priority for the Juncker Commission, which could deliver significant gains for both consumers and businesses. As such, Ministers across Government regularly hold discussions in Europe and the UK with our European counterparts on the Digital Single Market including its potential effects on UK’s creative industries and publishers in particular.

Currently there are no Digital Single Market legislative proposals on the table, but we are encouraging the Commission to ensure that future proposals are carefully assessed to ensure that they do not damage incentives to invest in the production of creative content.

15th Oct 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what plans her Department has on funding for onshore wind energy development.

We are delivering our election commitment to end subsidies for new onshore wind. We are seeking to legislate through the Energy Bill to close the renewables obligation (RO) to new onshore wind capacity from 1 April 2016, one year earlier than planned. To protect wider investor confidence we are proposing to allow projects which meet certain criteria extra time to accredit under the scheme.


Fifteen onshore wind projects, with a combined installed capacity of around 750MW, signed a Contract for Difference (CfDs) earlier this year following the first CfD allocation round. These projects are expected to commission between 2016/17 and 2018/19. We will be setting out our plans for delivering a new generation of cost effective, secure, electricity supplies and confirming decisions in relation to allocations of further renewables contracts in due course.


Small-scale onshore wind projects up to 5 megawatts in scale are eligible for support under the feed-in tariff (FITs) scheme. DECC has proposed action, through the FITs review consultation, to control spending and put FITs onto an affordable and sustainable footing. Further information can be found online at:


https://econsultation.decc.gov.uk/office-for-renewable-energy-deployment-ored/fit-review-2015.

9th Oct 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, if she will bring forward proposals to allow the creation and sale of licences and franchises to provide heating using power station waste heat.

The Government has a range of policies in place to promote the use of Combined Heat and Power (CHP), which is a key technique capable of generating heat from power station waste heat. Environmental permitting requires developers of power plants to consider opportunities for operating CHPs, and provides them with CHP permits if these are cost effective. CHP installations that are certified by our Quality Assurance Programme are eligible for Enhanced Capital Allowances, Business Rates exemptions, a partial exemption from the Carbon Price Support tax, and Renewable Obligation Certificates and Renewable Heat Incentive payments for any heat they generate from biomass. Developing heat networks offers further opportunities for power plants to recover and supply heat.

9th Oct 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of universities on their local economy.

Higher education institutions play an important role in their local areas. Several universities have undertaken individual studies of their impact on their local area, and such studies have generally found positive impacts. Universities UK and others have also assessed the important impact of universities on national growth.

9th Oct 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what steps his Department is taking to encourage collaboration between higher education institutions and the creative economy.

The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) is sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and supports collaboration between Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and the creative economy using a variety of mechanisms including knowledge exchange centres and collaborative doctoral studentships.

AHRC will invest £16m during the period 2012-16 in the Knowledge Exchange Hubs for the Creative Economy. These Hubs, based in Bristol, Dundee, London and Lancaster, have drawn over 350 businesses, 320 academics and 170 third sector organisations into new forms of collaboration.

Innovate UK encourages collaboration between HEIs and the creative economy through Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (8 currently being supported in the Creative Industries) and through support of the creative industries council’s strategy.

9th Oct 2015
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what recent assessment she has made of the ease of disabled children's access to play.

The Equality Act 2010 prohibits discrimination against disabled children which could include ‘play’. For example it would be unlawful to refuse or inhibit a disabled child’s access to a local playground; their enrolment at a local nursery or playgroup; or their taking part in any other play activities such as local sports. The Act requires service providers to make both requested and anticipatory ‘reasonable adjustments’ that will facilitate the participation of disabled children in all forms of ‘play’.

9th Oct 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what plans he has to expand the Bristol and Bath Science Park.

The Bristol and Bath Science Park provides a world-class environment for innovative businesses to locate and grow their operations. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) continues to work closely with the Homes and Communities Agency, the private sector development partners and local partners to ensure that the existing site is developed to its full potential.

The Homes and Communities Agency manages the development on behalf of BIS. The Department is the beneficial owner of the site and the Homes and Communities Agency holds the freehold rights.

A Local Steering Group has been established to steer the development, which includes representatives from the private sector development partners, the local universities (Bath, Bristol, and the University of the West of England), South Gloucestershire Council, West of England Local Enterprise Partnership, the National Composites Centre which is situated on the Science Park and is part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, Invest Bristol & Bath, the Homes & Communities Agency and BIS.

22nd Jun 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what (a) funds and (b) subsidies are available to encourage people to install renewable energy in their homes.

There are two schemes which support deployment of domestic renewable energy installations.

The Feed-in Tariff incentivises domestic deployment of renewable electricity generation by providing a guaranteed tariff over 20 years to solar PV, wind, hydro, anaerobic digestion and micro CHP installations up to 5MW. Generators benefit from tariffs generation and export to the grid, as well as through bill savings.

The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) provides financial incentives to install renewable heating in place of fossil fuels, with payments based on an installation’s renewable heat output. The scheme supports air-to-water heat pumps; biomass-only boilers and biomass pellet stoves with integrated boilers; ground-to-water and water-to-water heat pumps; flat plate and evacuated tube solar thermal panels. Payments are made on a quarterly basis over seven years, with tariffs reflecting the expected cost of renewable heat generation over 20 years.

10th Jun 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, with reference to the Chancellor of the Exchequer's announcement on reducing spending of 4 June 2015, if he will make it his policy to maintain the existing level of funding to further education colleges over the next five years.

The majority of the Department’s £450m savings will be delivered through known underspends and releasing unallocated funding. Officials in my department are working with the Skills Funding Agency to determine how Further Education savings can best be achieved in line with ministers’ priorities.

All spending decisions for 16-17 and beyond will be taken as part of the Spending Review, the timetable for which is yet to be finalised.

10th Jun 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what responsibilities the National Apprenticeship Service has for regulation of apprenticeships in the UK.

The National Apprenticeship Service is not an organisation in its own right, but is a service delivery brand operated by the Skills Funding Agency (SFA). The SFA, as the funder of post 16 education and training in England, has the responsibility for the funding of apprenticeships in England. Any organisation in receipt of SFA funds to deliver apprenticeships is required to comply with the associated Funding Rules which detail compliance for the apprenticeship programme as referenced in the Deregulation Bill of 2015.

29th Feb 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to protect customers from the practice of telephone slamming.

Ofcom, as the independent telecommunications regulator, introduced rules in May 2005 to protect consumers against slamming. Its most recent rules, updated in June 2015, prohibits all telephone companies from engaging in dishonest, misleading or deceptive conduct, and oblige providers to ensure consumers fully understand and consent to a contract before it is agreed.

Ofcom’s most recent complaints data shows that slamming complaints have reduced significantly to an average of 140 complaints per month, compared with an average of over 700 in 2010. Ofcom can take action if companies repeatedly breach these rules and has the power to fine companies up to 10% of their annual turnover and to require them to remedy any issues that have arisen, including repaying affected customers who have lost money. In addition, safeguards have been built into the landline/broadband switching process on the Openreach network that are designed to protect consumers from being slammed. Consumers are required to receive a letter informing them that a switch is scheduled and that there is a 10-day switchover period, during which the order can be stopped if a customer has been inadvertently signed up.

20th Jan 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, if he will discuss with mobile telephone companies steps to reduce and standardise the time between a provider unlocking a phone and the owner of that phone being able to use it with another provider.

The Government wants to reduce the cost and hassle of switching mobile providers for consumers. We expect industry to start automatically unlocking customers’ handsets at the end of their contracts, and will consult this year on ending the practice of handset locking for customers outside their initial contract period.

26th Nov 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what his policy is on the introduction of application fees for listed building consent.

Ministers are considering a number of measures relating to local Heritage management as part of the Cultural White Paper, which will be published in due course.

26th Oct 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, how many responses have been received to his Department's consultation on business rate relief for local newspapers; and if he will extend that relief to local magazine publishers.

We are currently analysing the responses to the consultation with the Department forCommunities and Local Government.

9th Oct 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what plans he has to support the expansion of children's theatres across the UK.

The Government believes it is important for all young people to have access to the very best arts and culture, and will continue to support children's theatres through Arts Council England’s National Portfolio Organisations (NPOs)and Grants for theArts projects.

For example, 2012 – 2015 (year to date) NPO funding has provided over £74 million to organisations that provide support to children and young people’s theatre, while Grants for theArts has invested £4 million ofNationalLottery funds in theatre projects specifically for children and young people. TheGovernment'sTheatres Taxrelief, launched during the last Parliament,also supports new and touring theatre productions across the UK and includes children’s theatres.

15th Mar 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what guidance her Department makes available to teachers on supporting children who display behavioural problems resulting from phenylketonuria.

We know how important it is that children with medical conditions are supported to enjoy a full education. That is why we introduced a new duty to require governing bodies to make arrangements to support pupils with medical conditions and have provided statutory guidance outlining schools’ responsibilities in this area.

The Department has also issued advice on behaviour and discipline for schools. This advice is clear that schools should assess the needs of pupils who present with persistently difficult behaviour. We make clear that schools should consider whether the continuing disruptive behaviour is a result of unmet educational or other needs. At this point, the school should consider whether a multi-agency assessment is necessary.

2nd Sep 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if she will take steps to simplify the application process for securing an apprenticeship.

Apprenticeships are paid jobs with quality training, and dependent upon employers offering apprenticeships, they set any entry criteria and make selection decisions. There will always be competition for the best apprenticeship places, as there is for the best universities.

Apprenticeships vacancies in England can be found at the Find an Apprenticeship pages on gov.uk: https://www.gov.uk/apply-apprenticeship. The site offers information and guidance about finding and applying for vacancies advertised here – not all apprenticeships are advertised on this site.

A new ‘Get In Go Far’ campaign launched on 16 May aimed at 14-24 year-olds, their parents, teachers and employers. This major four-year campaign aims to influence public perceptions, awareness and attitudes towards apprenticeships as a route into a successful career, encouraging more young people to apply and more employers to offer apprenticeship opportunities. As of 24 August, there were over 560,000 visitors to the campaign website, with an average 35% of these being driven to view opportunities on the Find an Apprenticeship website.

The National Careers Service provides independent, professional advice on careers, skills and the labour market, including on the benefits of apprenticeships and how to apply for vacancies. The service is available on-line, over the telephone, via web chat, e-mail, text and online forums. A face-to-face service is available to adults aged 19 and over (or those aged 18 years plus if on out-of-work benefits or offenders in custody).

The statutory guidance for schools on careers guidance and inspiration was updated and published in March 2015 and is now in force. This is clear that schools should give employers and other providers delivering apprenticeships the opportunity to inform pupils directly, on school premises, about what they offer. It emphasises that apprenticeships and university offer two equally effective routes to a successful career.

2nd Sep 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that apprenticeships are undertaken by people in less affluent households.

Apprenticeships can transform lives. They are a great way for people of all ages and backgrounds to progress in work and life and a great way for employers to improve the skills base of their businesses.

Apprentices acquire skills much valued in the labour market, and the apprentice does not have to contribute to the costs of their learning. Apprenticeships are paid jobs with training and so, as with any other form of employment, selection decisions are made by individual employers, who choose the most appropriate candidates for their jobs.

We are encouraging a wider range of young people into apprenticeships. Traineeships are available to help 16-23 year olds become ‘work ready’. They include work preparation training, English, maths and work experience, which all help the trainee to enter the world of work, including apprenticeships. They are flexible so providers can adapt them to the needs of the trainee by including additional support such as mentoring.

We are giving employers more control of the funding for apprenticeships training in return for them investing more in apprenticeships; this includes simplifying the funding system to encourage employers to recruit more apprentices of all ages and from all backgrounds.

29th Feb 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps she is taking to secure the appropriate data to monitor the progress of programmes which encourage the uptake of STEM subjects by girls.

The Government funds a number of programmes which encourage the uptake of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects by girls. We monitor the progress of these programmes against their key performance indicators through regular reports and by evaluating their impact.

In 2014 the Government published for the first time data showing the proportion of girls and boys studying A levels in science and maths at each post-16 institution, and in 2016 time series data of students entered for mathematics and science A level subjects by number of subjects and gender. Both sets of data will continue to be published on an annual basis.

11th Jan 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if she will make representations to exam boards to remove the five per cent marking for spelling and grammar for dyslexic students.

In 2013 the Government restored the policy of marks for spelling, punctuation and use of grammar (SPaG)to GCSE exams as a key part of our commitment to high standards and to ensuring that GCSEs match expectations set in the highest performing jurisdictions internationally. It gives a real incentive to teachers to provide effective support to all their students to improve their written communication skills.

For those pupils with special educational needs, including those with dyslexia, appropriate reasonable adjustments, including extra time, are available, as necessary. Details can be found in the Joint Council for Qualifications’ “Access Arrangements, Reasonable Adjustments and Special Consideration” at: http://www.jcq.org.uk/exams-office/access-arrangements-and-special-consideration/regulations-and-guidance

26th Nov 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment she has made on the contribution of statutory PHSE to supporting young people with mental health issues.

Schools play an important role in promoting good mental health and supporting children and young people facing difficulties. In the introduction to the national curriculum, we have made clear that all schools should make provision for PSHE.

The Department funded the PSHE Association to publish guidance on teaching about mental health in PSHE. This was published in March 2015 and is available online: www.pshe-association.org.uk/resources. Our Mental Health and Behaviour advice helps teachers to identify and support pupils with mental health needs, including advice on making referrals to specialist services when appropriate. Our blueprint for school counselling services provides schools with practical, evidence-based advice on how to deliver high quality school based counselling.

The government has made children and young people’s mental health support a priority. We are investing an additional £1.4bn in children and young people’s and perinatal mental health services over the next 5 years. We are also contributing £1.5m to a joint pilot for training single points of contact in schools and specialist mental health services; and, through a dedicated mental health strand within our VCS programme, we are providing £4.9m of funding this year to support 17 projects delivering a wide range of support across the country to children and young people with mental health issues.

26th Nov 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps she is taking to address the effect of pornography on girls' impressions of sexual relations.

Education can play a vital role in helping young people understand healthy relationships and identify those which are unhealthy. Sex and relationships education (SRE) must be taught in all maintained secondary schools and we expect most secondary academies teach it as part of a broad and balanced curriculum. Any school teaching SRE must have regard to the Secretary of State’s Sex and Relationship Education Guidance (2000).


The guidance makes clear that all sex and relationship education should be age-appropriate and that schools should ensure young people develop positive values and a moral framework that will guide their decisions, judgments and behaviour. This is particularly relevant to sexual consent and the guidance makes clear that all young people should understand how the law applies to sexual relationships. The guidance is available online: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/sex-and-relationship-education


Schools can also choose to teach about pornography in their PSHE lessons drawing on the guidance and resources available. The PSHE Association has produced a suggested programme of study as guidance for teachers, which includes teaching about the impact of pornography. We commissioned the PSHE Association to produce guidance for schools on teaching about the topic of consent, which was published in March 2015 and is available online: https://www.pshe-association.org.uk/content.aspx?CategoryID=1161.

26th Nov 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps she is taking to ensure that schools address sexual harassment and bullying.

All forms of bullying and harassment are unacceptable and every school is required to have in place a behaviour policy with measures to tackle all forms of bullying. They are held to account by Ofsted and inspectors will look at records and analysis of bullying, discriminatory and prejudicial behaviour.


The Longitudinal Study of Young Peoplein England(LSYPE), which was published by the Department in November 2015, compared bullying among two cohorts of 14 year olds (year 10 students)from 2004 and 2014. It found that 30,000 fewer people in year 10 said they had been bullied in the last twelve months. This represents a drop from 41 per cent in 2004 to 36 per cent in 2014.


Good schools have a whole school approach to behaviour management that fosters tolerance and respect. Schools can also choose to teach about internet safety and the safe use of social media through their PSHE and sex and relationships provision. Under the computing curriculum, children from the age of five are taught how to stay safe online and how to communicate safely and respectfully.


All schools must have regard to the statutory guidance ‘Keeping children safe in education’. This highlights the specific safeguarding issues that staff should be aware of including bullying, child sexual exploitation, gender based violence against girls, sexting and teenage relationship issues, and signposts staff to additional information and support.

26th Nov 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment she has made of the effect of the introduction of statutory PHSE on the uptake of STEM subjects by girls.

Through the introduction to the national curriculum, the Government has made clear that all schools should make provision for Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE). PSHE is, however, a non-statutory subject.


The Government is determined to increase the number of young people studying Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects, particularly girls. There have been 12,000 more A Level entries in STEM subjects for girls over the last five years.


PSHE plays an important part in preparing young people for the world of work including dispelling gender stereotyping. Resources to support PSHE include those produced by Siemens in collaboration with the PSHE Association. These resourced explore equality and the world of work which aim to inspire the next generation of female scientists, technicians and engineers.


We are also supporting schools in other ways to tackle this issue through professional development and enrichment activities, including the Stimulating Physics Network, and the inspiring “Your Life” campaign, which will transform perceptions of science and mathematics.

14th Oct 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment she has made of the effect of studio schools on pupil attainment.

Studio schools have a part to play in our education reforms by harnessing the talents of students. They offer hands-on learning and work experience alongside their GCSEs and A levels, providing them with the vocational and “work ready” skills that employers demand.

14th Oct 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what progress she is making on implementing Article 31 of the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child.

The Government remains committed to giving due consideration to Articles set out in the UNCRC through new policy and legislation. Article 31 refers to the right to relax and play and to join in a wide range of cultural, artistic, and other recreational activities. Play and relaxation are important for children’s mental wellbeing. As such, we believe that it is important for all children to have access to a wide range of such recreational activities.

The Children Act 1989 and associated guidance place duties on a range of organisations, including schools, to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. All schools should create a happy and supportive environment through a broad and balanced curriculum. They have a responsibility to ensure that all children have access to high-quality arts and cultural education. Pupils also have to study drama, as part of the English curriculum, and dance, as part of the PE curriculum.

Our guidance to schools on mental wellbeing, in particular the guidance on school-based counselling published in March, emphasises that support works best within a whole school approach to mental health and wellbeing. This includes a healthy approach to play and relaxation, as set out in Article 31.

In addition the Government has:

  • Invested over £460 million between 2012 – 2016 in a diverse portfolio of music and arts education programmes to improve access to the arts for all children;
  • Invested £5 million to fund projects in schools to help young people develop positive character traits, recognising excellent practice through the Character Awards and supporting research into what works best;
  • Provided £4.7 million to voluntary and community sector (VCS) projects delivering support to children and young people with mental health issues;
  • Committed to boosting children’s health, confidence and self-esteem through sport; for example, backing Sport England’s £1 billion investment in the youth and community strategy over 5 years;
  • Guaranteed a place on National Citizen Service for all 16-17 year olds, which has already targeted 100,000 teenagers; and
  • Invested £100 million in the Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme – which has seen a number of successful bids aimed at supporting children’s mental health.
14th Oct 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps she is taking to implement Article 31 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child so that it supports childrens' mental health.

The Government remains committed to giving due consideration to Articles set out in the UNCRC through new policy and legislation. Article 31 refers to the right to relax and play and to join in a wide range of cultural, artistic, and other recreational activities. Play and relaxation are important for children’s mental wellbeing. As such, we believe that it is important for all children to have access to a wide range of such recreational activities.

The Children Act 1989 and associated guidance place duties on a range of organisations, including schools, to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. All schools should create a happy and supportive environment through a broad and balanced curriculum. They have a responsibility to ensure that all children have access to high-quality arts and cultural education. Pupils also have to study drama, as part of the English curriculum, and dance, as part of the PE curriculum.

Our guidance to schools on mental wellbeing, in particular the guidance on school-based counselling published in March, emphasises that support works best within a whole school approach to mental health and wellbeing. This includes a healthy approach to play and relaxation, as set out in Article 31.

In addition the Government has:

  • Invested over £460 million between 2012 – 2016 in a diverse portfolio of music and arts education programmes to improve access to the arts for all children;
  • Invested £5 million to fund projects in schools to help young people develop positive character traits, recognising excellent practice through the Character Awards and supporting research into what works best;
  • Provided £4.7 million to voluntary and community sector (VCS) projects delivering support to children and young people with mental health issues;
  • Committed to boosting children’s health, confidence and self-esteem through sport; for example, backing Sport England’s £1 billion investment in the youth and community strategy over 5 years;
  • Guaranteed a place on National Citizen Service for all 16-17 year olds, which has already targeted 100,000 teenagers; and
  • Invested £100 million in the Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme – which has seen a number of successful bids aimed at supporting children’s mental health.
9th Oct 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent estimate she has made of the uptake of school theatre visits.

The Department for Education does not collect data on the uptake of school theatre visits. Teachers and head teachers are in the best position to use their professional judgement to decide how theatre visits and similar activities meet the needs of their pupils, and to plan lessons and use their budgets accordingly.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s Taking Part 2014/15 Annual Child Report published in July 2015 shows that almost all children aged 5-15 (98.1%) had engaged with the arts in the preceding year. Figures are available in the DCMS Taking Part 2014/15 Annual Child Report published in July 2015 online at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/447730/Taking_Part_2014_15_Child_Report__Repaired_.pdf

The government recognises the importance of cultural education. That is why we are supporting Arts Council England’s Cultural Education Challenge, which calls for arts and cultural organisations together with the education sector to offer consistent cultural education to all children and young people.

9th Oct 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps she is taking to prevent sexual exploitation of vulnerable people with special educational needs in schools.

The government’s report ‘Tackling Child Sexual Exploitation’ sets out the steps that the government is taking to protect children from sexual exploitation, including children with learning difficulties and disabilities. For example, we are exploring how personal, social, health and economic education training and resources for schools might be tailored for staff and special schools, and have provided £4.85 million for services supporting child sexual abuse survivors, including vulnerable children with learning difficulties.

1st Jul 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if she will make it her policy to provide more funding for deaf people to procure the services of interpreters.

Local authorities have clear duties to support children with special educational needs (SEN). They are responsible for planning and delivering the necessary services for children within their area.

The Children and Families Act enables a joined-up approach to support children with sensory impairments, with clear information on the support that families can expect locally and the option of a personal budget for some parents and young people to give them control over the support they receive.

The Department for Education funds the National Sensory Impairment Partnership (NatSIP) to support local authorities to benchmark and improve the support available for children with sensory impairments. NatSIP is working with sensory support services across the country to support the SEN reforms. NatSIP helps local authorities and settings ensure that the right support is in place to improve the outcomes for deaf, blind and multi-sensory impaired children.

15th Jun 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps she is taking to improve the teaching of personal, social, health and economic education in schools.

The Government wants all young people to leave school prepared for life in modern Britain. High quality personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) teaching has a vital role to play in providing young people with a ‘curriculum for life’, equipping them with the skills and understanding they need to manage their lives and stay safe. Departmental advice on the teaching of PSHE is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/personal-social-health-and-economic-education-pshe

To improve the quality of PSHE, we are developing a new, rigorous accreditation for schools which will enable them to demonstrate excellence in the quality of their PSHE teaching. The new quality mark will give parents more information about a school’s PSHE provision. We are also working with the PSHE Association to help quality assure teaching resources.

15th Oct 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to reduce the prevalence of giant hogweed.

Giant hogweed has been present in the UK for over a century and is widespread. Biocontrol methods have been considered in the past but suitable candidates from the plant’s native range have not been found.

Giant hogweed is, however, listed on schedule 9 and subject to section 14 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, which makes it an offence to plant, or cause this species to grow, in the wild. In addition, Local Authorities and the Police now have powers to issue Community Protection Notices under the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, requiring landowners to take action to control species like giant hogweed where they are having a detrimental effect on local people’s quality of life.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
15th Oct 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to improve air quality in order to assist people with lung diseases.

We are fully committed to complying with EU Air Quality Standards as soon as possible. We have already committed over £2 billion since 2011 in transport measures to improve air quality. On 12 September we launched a public consultation on our draft revised Air Quality plans for nitrogen dioxide, which set out a range of local, national and European actions to lower levels of harmful emissions. The consultation closes on 6 November 2015.


Government departments and agencies work together to prioritise action and offer the best advice to vulnerable groups to help mitigate the health effects of air pollution. Our daily air quality forecast includes accompanying health messages to the public based on advice provided by Public Health England.

9th Oct 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment her Department made prior to laying the Flood Reinsurance (Scheme Funding and Administration) Regulations 2015 of whether the scope of the definition of home insurance in the regulations covered only those home insurers who explicitly protected against flood risk.

We consulted widely and worked very closely with the Association of British Insurers to ensure that the Flood Reinsurance (Scheme Funding and Administration) Regulations 2015 reflect the intended policy position. As set out in the Regulations, Flood Re will assess whether an insurer is liable for levy payments (and the amount of levy they are due to pay) based on the amount of domestic property insurance an insurer covers in the UK market.

9th Feb 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps she is taking to promote development across the Commonwealth.

Our commitment to the Commonwealth is unwavering. Many of DFID’s largest bilateral programmes are with Commonwealth countries across Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. In 2015, six of the ten largest recipients of bilateral UK ODA were Commonwealth countries, with £2.11 billion allocated to 39 members.

8th Sep 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what progress she is making on ensuring that Syrian refugee children in that region receive an education; and what her plans are to follow up the outcomes of the London Conference in February 2016 at the next UN General Assembly meeting.

DFID helped launch and has committed £285 million to the No Lost Generation Initiative. This will provide education opportunities for an estimated 1.4 million Syrian refugee children allowing them to catch up on lost learning time and perform well in public school examinations in the foundational subjects of Arabic, English, Maths and Science.

The Secretary of State for International Development will co-host an event at the UN General Assembly in which Conference co-hosts, top donors and refugee-hosting countries will review the overall progress against the commitments. The event aims to agree on how donors and host countries can improve and hasten education provision and quality for refugee children, and job opportunities; and review the evolving situation inside Syria, with particular reference to humanitarian access and protection.

20th Jun 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, when she expects the airport at St Helena to open to commercial flights; and if she will make a statement.

A number of options are being explored. The aim is to establish scheduled services once an operator is identified and regulatory conditions are met.

27th Nov 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what funding her Department provides to support efforts to protect the Amazon rainforest from deforestation; and what recent assessment she has made of the effectiveness of that funding.

DFID provides no bilateral aid to Brazil. As such, DFID does not provide any support to protect the Amazon rainforest from deforestation. DFID does provide support to stop deforestation in other developing countries, such as Indonesia, Liberia, and the Central Africa region, and this is a key priority for UK climate finance.


DFID’s relationship with Brazil focuses on working together in partnership to reduce poverty and achieve sustainable development in other developing countries.

15th Jun 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if his Department will introduce a time scale that insurance companies must comply with for responding to correspondence relating to car accidents.

It is important that insurance companies are able to fully investigate any claim that they receive. Cases will vary in their complexity and so timescales need to be flexible to ensure that all issues are considered fairly for the benefit of all parties involved. The motor insurance industry is very competitive so it is in their own interest to resolve these cases in a timely manner. Customers can contact their insurance companies and the Financial Ombudsman if they are unhappy about the service they have received.

18th May 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department has made a decision on the proposed conversion of Class 801 Intercity Express Programme units to bi-mode diesel operation.

Following the receipt of a formal proposal from Agility Trains West Ltd, My Rt Hon Friend, the Secretary of State for Transport has now approved the conversion of the 21 Class 801 Intercity Express Programme units scheduled for deployment on the Great Western to bi-mode operation. This will enable passengers in the South West and Wales to benefit as soon as possible from brand new trains which will deliver more capacity and more comfort. The first 36 trains will be bi-mode as planned.

26th Apr 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will extend the English national concessionary travel scheme for disabled people beyond off-peak times.

Whilst I appreciate that concessionary pass holders might wish to use buses before 9.30am, there are no plans to extend the statutory scheme to include morning peak time travel. Local authorities already have powers to introduce “discretionary concessions” building on the minimum national standard. Authorities can, for instance, enable some disabled pass holders to use services during peak hours, to use modes of transport other than buses or to travel with a companion free of charge. Such enhancements are however, entirely a matter for the respective authorities and are funded locally. It follows that any decision on whether to create such enhancements is a matter for the authority concerned.

29th Feb 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has to improve waiting times at driving test centres in (a) Bristol, (b) Chippenham, (c) Trowbridge and (d) Westbury.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is committed to reducing waiting times at Bristol, Chippenham, Trowbridge and Westbury and all other testing sites, and maintaining them at a lower level than currently seen across the UK, this is a priority for DVSA.

DVSA has run several recruitment campaigns during 2015, and continues to do so in 2016. However, due to the critical roles a driving examiner has to play in road safety, the process to recruit the right people
does take time. As a result of the campaigns, 139 new examiners have started work with DVSA and it has made offers of employment to another 115 people, who are currently undertaking training or waiting to attend it.

20th Jan 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 19 October 2015 to Question 11881, if he will discuss with the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency the reasons for that agency not approving the pilot scheme for bike racks on the front of buses in Bath in 2015.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) rejected the pilot scheme because the design created significant additional hazards from the original bus design. These included both the structure of the bicycle rack when folded and deployed, projections of any bicycle on the rack, and a significant reduction of vision for the driver to the nearside front with a bicycle on the rack. These features were considered to increase significantly the likelihood of accidents and potential severity of pedestrian injury.


19th Nov 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to support the conversion of cars to run on liquefied petroleum gas.

Cars that have been constructed or modified to run on gas, including Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), benefit from a £10 reduction in tax levels for Alternative Fuel Cars under Vehicle Excise Duty. Owners of LPG cars also benefit from paying lower fuel duty on LPG than would be paid on petrol and diesel.


In addition amendments made to the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) earlier this year increased the potential rewards for those supplying biopropane (Liquefied Petroleum Gas produced from a biological source) under the RTFO scheme.


As part of the department’s 2014 Clean Vehicle Technology Fund (CVTF) grant scheme, Birmingham City Council were also awarded £500,000 to enable the conversion of 80 older black cabs from diesel to LPG which will help improve air quality on some of the most polluted roads.


13th Nov 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate his Department has made of the value of economic output lost as a result of industrial action in the transport sector in each of the last three years.

Industrial action in the transport sector has significant and serious disruptive impacts to the country. Indicative analysis undertaken by the Department for Transport to understand the potential immediate costs to the wider economy from a one-off 24 hour National Rail Strike estimated those costs to be around £80million.

15th Oct 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to improve air quality in order to assist people with lung diseases.

Tackling poor air quality is a priority for this government. Our aim is for almost every car and van to be a zero emission vehicle by 2050.


The Department for Transport takes its environmental obligations seriously, and is committed to making journeys cleaner. £2 billion has been committed since 2011 to increase the uptake of ultra-low emission vehicles, support green transport initiatives and support local authorities to take action. These measures will help address both particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide roadside levels in pollution hotspots.


We also work closely with the Department for Health, Public Health England, and their advisors the Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants.


Government is revising its Air Quality plans and launched a consultation on 12 September 2015 to seek views from local and transport authorities, businesses and members of the public on action that can be taken to improve air quality. The Department for Transport have been working with Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) on these plans, which set out a range of local, national and European actions to lower levels of harmful emissions. The consultation closes on 6 November 2015.

14th Oct 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the effect of the provision of bike racks on buses on the number of people using public transport.

The Government is keen to promote cycling, and I am aware that bike racks on buses are commonplace in some countries. Whilst we have not conducted any assessments on their role in increasing overall bus patronage, I would encourage bus operators to consider fitting such equipment where it is safe and legal to do so.

14th Oct 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of extending the use of trams to increase low-carbon travel.

In the right circumstances, this Government supports light rail and other types of urban transit. They can play an important role in our local transport networks, help reduce congestion, reduce carbon emissions and increase low carbon travel. Introducing a light rail system is a local matter for the relevant local authority and Local Economic Partnership to consider based on their needs and funding priorities.

7th Jul 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will take steps to support high street retailers that have incurred significant losses due to overrunning street works.

Compensation arrangements are already provided through The Gas (Street Works) (Compensation of Small Businesses) Regulations 1996 and the Water Industry Act 1991, which provide for compensation to be paid in certain circumstances in respect of loss or damage caused by gas-related and water-related street works. More widely, we are taking steps to reduce the disruption caused by street works, including the wider application of permit schemes and the piloting of lane rental. Further information about these initiatives may be found at:

www.dft.gov.uk/topics/road-management/street-works

15th Jun 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to promote joined-up transport ticketing systems in (a) Bath and (b) Bristol.

We are working closely with the local authorities and transport operators in both Bath and Bristol to deliver integrated transport ticketing. Building better bus services: multi-operator ticketing was published by the Department in March 2013 and provides guidance for local transport authorities on planning and implementing multi-operator ticketing services. In October 2013 the Department established the Smart Cities Partnership programme to accelerate the delivery of smart multi-operator commercial tickets. The West of England Partnership, including Bath and Bristol, is a member of the Smart Cities Partnership and has, alongside other large cities, bus operators (and equipment suppliers), committed to delivery principles that will underpin growth in smart, multi-operator ticketing. The big five bus operators have undertaken to deliver multi-operator ticketing this year throughout the Smart Cities Partnership areas, including Bristol, and we will be working with them to support delivery.

15th Jun 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make representations to the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency on permitting cycle racks on the front of buses.

There are no specific regulations dealing with the fitting of cycle racks to the front of buses. The vehicle must comply with applicable road traffic law, including, but not limited to, overall dimensions, lighting, driver view of the road and the avoidance of danger, such as the potential risk to pedestrians. These requirements may be influenced by the vehicle type and the design and location of the rack. In common with other legislative provisions, it will be for the vehicle operator to ensure compliance with the law.

As such, I do not believe there is cause for my intervention. The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency enforces existing road vehicle regulations and they have the necessary knowledge and expertise to fulfil this function.

20th Dec 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment he has made of the recent trends in the number of women in employment.

The number of women in employment has increased by 229,000 over the past year. The female employment rate, at 69.8%, is at a record high.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Home Office) (Security)
18th May 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what consultations the Joint Work and Health Unit has undertaken with external groups on its work since its creation.

The Work and Health Unit has been established to lead the drive for improving work and health outcomes for people with disabilities and long term health conditions, as well as improving prevention and support for people absent from work through ill health and those at risk of leaving the workforce.

Since Q1 2014 the number of disabled people in employment has increased by around 365,000 people, with a total of 3.3million disabled people now in work as of Q1 2016.

The Unit will build on this progress by improving integration across healthcare and employment services as well as supporting employers to recruit and retain more disabled people and people with long term health conditions. We have set up work-streams focused on delivery workforce, fitness for work, culture change and stakeholder engagement, employers and building the evidence base through developing a ‘test and learn’ approach.

We have been seeking and listening to the views of people that use current health, care and employment services, engaging with charities and other stakeholders, to understand what works and what needs to change and will continue to engage at all levels over the coming months.

The Work and Health Unit is leading the process for preparing a green paper which will be published later this year that will begin the consultation about how to improve support for people with disabilities and long term health conditions.

Priti Patel
Home Secretary
18th May 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what workstreams have been established by the Joint Work and Health Unit; and when each such workstream is expected to report.

The Work and Health Unit has been established to lead the drive for improving work and health outcomes for people with disabilities and long term health conditions, as well as improving prevention and support for people absent from work through ill health and those at risk of leaving the workforce.

Since Q1 2014 the number of disabled people in employment has increased by around 365,000 people, with a total of 3.3million disabled people now in work as of Q1 2016.

The Unit will build on this progress by improving integration across healthcare and employment services as well as supporting employers to recruit and retain more disabled people and people with long term health conditions. We have set up work-streams focused on delivery workforce, fitness for work, culture change and stakeholder engagement, employers and building the evidence base through developing a ‘test and learn’ approach.

We have been seeking and listening to the views of people that use current health, care and employment services, engaging with charities and other stakeholders, to understand what works and what needs to change and will continue to engage at all levels over the coming months.

The Work and Health Unit is leading the process for preparing a green paper which will be published later this year that will begin the consultation about how to improve support for people with disabilities and long term health conditions.

Priti Patel
Home Secretary
18th May 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what progress the Joint Work and Health Unit has made on its priority of (a) productivity and growth in the economy, (b) halving the disability employment gap and (c) reducing health inequalities relating to gender, age and geographies; and if he will make a statement.

The Work and Health Unit has been established to lead the drive for improving work and health outcomes for people with disabilities and long term health conditions, as well as improving prevention and support for people absent from work through ill health and those at risk of leaving the workforce.

Since Q1 2014 the number of disabled people in employment has increased by around 365,000 people, with a total of 3.3million disabled people now in work as of Q1 2016.

The Unit will build on this progress by improving integration across healthcare and employment services as well as supporting employers to recruit and retain more disabled people and people with long term health conditions. We have set up work-streams focused on delivery workforce, fitness for work, culture change and stakeholder engagement, employers and building the evidence base through developing a ‘test and learn’ approach.

We have been seeking and listening to the views of people that use current health, care and employment services, engaging with charities and other stakeholders, to understand what works and what needs to change and will continue to engage at all levels over the coming months.

The Work and Health Unit is leading the process for preparing a green paper which will be published later this year that will begin the consultation about how to improve support for people with disabilities and long term health conditions.

Priti Patel
Home Secretary
19th Nov 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment the Government has made of the benefit to businesses of a healthy workforce.

There is a good evidence base for the benefits to business of a healthy workforce, for example, workers who are in good health can be up to three times as productive as those in poor health. Conversely there are high costs to business from ill health: ‘Health at Work – an independent review of sickness absence’ found that the costs to employers of sick pay were £9bn per year.

Priti Patel
Home Secretary
13th Nov 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when his Department will provide a definition of the term vulnerable group for the purposes of the Welfare Reform and Work Bill; and with whom his Department will consult on that definition.

Our reforms aim to ensure that work always pays more than a life on benefits; that the system is fair to those who pay for it, as well as those who benefit from it; and that support is focused on the most vulnerable which is why we are protecting pensioner benefits and payments for the additional costs of care and disability.

Priti Patel
Home Secretary
14th Oct 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps he plans to take to improve employment support for homeless people.

We are exploring how we can best deliver future tailored employment support as part of the Spending Review. We will continue to do all we can to help all individuals, including homeless people, find, and stay in, work.

Priti Patel
Home Secretary
7th Jul 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what support his Department provides to people with hearing difficulties in finding work.

People with hearing difficulties can benefit from the same support to find work as other disabled people through provision such as the Work Programme and Work Choice.

In addition we are launching a new programme, Specialist Employability Support (SES), in September. It focuses on helping those for whom other provision such as Work Choice or Work Programme is not suitable and one of the programme providers will support people with hearing difficulties in preparing for work.

SES replaces the Residential Training contracts and is expected to double the number of people supported at the same cost.

7th Jul 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what arrangements exist to support those who have fallen behind with national insurance contributions in fully accessing contributory benefits.

National Insurance credits are generally available to people who are unable to work and pay contributions for example if they are unemployed, incapable of work or caring for others.

National Insurance credits are awarded automatically with qualifying social security benefits; otherwise applications are required to determine eligibility.

The Government is introducing a new credit for those who reach State Pension age on or after 6 April 2016. It will be available to the spouses and civil partners of members of HM Forces for past periods spent accompanying their Service partner on postings outside the UK.

Those not eligible for National Insurance credits may be able to fill gaps in their record to protect certain benefits by paying voluntary contributions. These are subject to time limits; and higher rate provisions when paid late.

For those who would like further information on their National Insurance record they should go to the GOV.UK website https://www.gov.uk/voluntary-national-insurance-contributions

10th Jun 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps he is taking to ensure people with adult learning difficulties (a) receive appropriate support when looking for a job and (b) are supported enough to retain that job once in work.

Through the Disability Employment Adviser (DEA) network across Jobcentre Plus, DWP provides a pan-disability, person centred approach, when supporting disabled people into employment. Advisers receive specific training on Autism and Learning Disabilities; enabling them to offer an appropriate and accessible service when supporting individuals with these conditions into work. The Work-Choice programme provides employment support for all pan-disability groups including individuals with learning disabilities, ensuring reasonable adjustment solutions are identified and put in place, at the earliest stage, ensuring participants are able to meet their full potential on the programme. To support the retention of people with learning disabilities, DWP provides help through the Access to Work scheme, which pays for the additional adjustments that disabled people may require to retain them in the workplace.

10th Jun 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps he is taking to ensure that reforms to the pensions system do not unfairly affect widows who have relied on their husband's earnings and have not themselves made a sufficient contribution.

The new State Pension will be based on an individual’s own National Insurance contributions. This reflects the fact that, in contrast to earlier generations of women, most people of working age today are able to gain sufficient qualifying years to qualify for a state pension in their own right.

We have put arrangements in place to ensure that certain women who elected to pay National Insurance contributions at the married women and widows’ reduced rate are not affected by withdrawing access to derived basic State Pension. Widows who qualify under these arrangements will be able to get a pension of about the same as the basic pension they could have got in the current scheme plus any additional State Pension they built up themselves by April 2016, if that is more than they would get under the new rules on their own contributions.

We are also protecting the additional State Pension (also known as SERPS or S2P) a surviving spouse or civil partner would have been able to inherit under the current rules, if their deceased partner had either died or reached State Pension age before 6 April 2016. Where both members of the couple are in the new State Pension system, the surviving member may inherit half of any “protected payment” (the amount, if any, by which a person’s state pension valued under current rules exceeds the full rate of the new State Pension at 2016). These arrangements will apply where the marriage or civil partnership had begun before the new scheme starts.

16th Nov 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, how many referrals to the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies programme were classified as ended by problem descriptor in each clinical commissioning group area in each year since 2010.

The number of referrals to the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies programme who finished a course of treatment is reported by NHS Digital at clinical commissioning group (CCG) level and by problem descriptor in 2014/15 and 2015/16. For 2015/16, data on referrals received, entering treatment, and finishing a course of treatment by problem descriptor and CCG area are reported in Table 1. For 2014/15, referrals who finished a course of treatment reported by problem descriptor and CCG are in Table 2.

The number of referrals entering treatment (rather than those finishing treatment) reported by problem descriptor and CCG is available for 2013/14 in Table 3. The above tables are attached.

Data by CCG is not available prior to 2013/14 as CCGs replaced primary care trusts on 1 April 2013.

As 2016/17 has not yet completed there is no Annual Report. However monthly data can be found in the “Monthly Activity Data Files” which can be accessed via the links under “Monthly Improving Access to Psychological Therapies Dataset Reports” at:

http://content.digital.nhs.uk/iaptreports

16th Nov 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, how many referrals to the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies programme started each type of therapy offered by the programme in each clinical commissioning group area in each year since 2010.

Data on the number of referrals to the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies programme are published by NHS Digital. Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) replaced primary care trusts on 1 April, 2013 and data related to this Parliamentary Question started to be reported by CCG from 2014/15.

The dataset does not report on referrals starting a type of therapy. It reports on the number of referrals finishing a course of treatment by type of therapy (this is the last therapy the service users received and does not mean that other therapies were not used earlier in the course of treatment). These data are only available at CCG level for 2014/15 and 2015/16.

In 2014/15 and 2015/16 the number of referrals who finished a course of treatment were reported by CCG and problem descriptor in Table 1 and Table 2 which are attached.

As 2016/17 has not yet completed there is no Annual Report. However monthly data can be found in the “Monthly Activity Data Files” which can be accessed via the links under “Monthly Improving Access to Psychological Therapies Dataset Reports” at:

http://content.digital.nhs.uk/iaptreports

16th Nov 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what the average number of treatment sessions received by clients of the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies programme was by clinical commissioning group for (a) clients who completed treatment and (b) all referrals ended in each year since 2010.

Data on the average number of treatment sessions received by clients of the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies programme who completed treatment was first reported in April 2015. These are available by clinical commissioning group in the monthly activity data files from April 2015 onwards, which can be downloaded from the links under ‘Monthly Improving Access to Psychological Therapies Dataset Reports’ at:

http://content.digital.nhs.uk/iaptreports

The average number of treatment sessions for all referrals, including those who did not complete treatment, is not reported.

19th Oct 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what assessment the Government has made of the progress in implementing the commitment in the NHS Five Year Forward View to increase patient choice over where and how patients receive care; and if he will make a statement.

The Mandate to NHS England, which sets the Government’s objectives for the provision of health services in England and any requirements for NHS England, includes an objective calling for the offer of meaningful choice in the National Health Service. This reflects the commitment in the Five Year Forward View. An assessment of the extent to which the Mandate objectives have been met is set out in my Rt. hon. Friend the Secretary of State’s Annual Assessment of NHS England, which is published at the end of the financial year.

19th Oct 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what assessment his Department has made of how much additional surgical and diagnostic capacity independent sector healthcare organisations are able to make available to NHS patients over the remainder of 2016-17; and if he will make a statement.

No assessment has been made. Decisions about whether to use independent sector capacity are generally made at local level. Use of the independent sector will depend on a range of factors including the needs of individual local health systems, patient choice and availability of suitable independent sector capacity.

12th Oct 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of reductions in pharmacy funding on the availability of essential medicines.

The Government’s proposals for community pharmacy in 2016/17 and beyond, on which we have consulted, are being considered against the public sector equality duty, the family test and the relevant duties of my Rt. hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Health, under the National Health Service Act 2006.

Our assessments include consideration of the potential impacts on the adequate provision of NHS pharmaceutical services, including the dispensing of prescriptions and supply of medicines.

An impact assessment will be completed to inform final decisions and published in due course.

Our proposals are about improving services for patients and the public and securing efficiencies and savings. We believe these efficiencies can be made within community pharmacy without compromising the quality of services or public access to them.

Our aim is to ensure that those community pharmacies upon which people depend continue to thrive. We are consulting on the introduction of a Pharmacy Access Scheme, which will provide more NHS funds to certain pharmacies compared with others, considering factors such as location and the health needs of the local population.

12th Oct 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what assessment he has made of the effect of potential reductions in the level of pharmacy funding on waiting times for NHS prescriptions.

The Government’s proposals for community pharmacy in 2016/17 and beyond, on which we have consulted, are being considered against the public sector equality duty, the family test and the relevant duties of my Rt. hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Health, under the National Health Service Act 2006.

Our assessments include consideration of the potential impacts on the adequate provision of NHS pharmaceutical services, including the dispensing of prescriptions and supply of medicines.

An impact assessment will be completed to inform final decisions and published in due course.

Our proposals are about improving services for patients and the public and securing efficiencies and savings. We believe these efficiencies can be made within community pharmacy without compromising the quality of services or public access to them.

Our aim is to ensure that those community pharmacies upon which people depend continue to thrive. We are consulting on the introduction of a Pharmacy Access Scheme, which will provide more NHS funds to certain pharmacies compared with others, considering factors such as location and the health needs of the local population.

18th May 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what the maximum distance recommended by NHS England is for people with severe asthma to travel to receive day-case treatment.

NHS England commissions severe asthma services in line with national specifications to ensure that patient numbers are sufficient to support safe, quality service provision. It is revising the severe asthma service specification which is expected to be published later in 2016.

Nationally there are 27 trusts that have identified themselves as providing severe asthma services.

NHS England does not specify travel distances for patients attending treatment for severe asthma.

18th May 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, how many specialist centres for asthma are recognised by NHS England.

NHS England commissions severe asthma services in line with national specifications to ensure that patient numbers are sufficient to support safe, quality service provision. It is revising the severe asthma service specification which is expected to be published later in 2016.

Nationally there are 27 trusts that have identified themselves as providing severe asthma services.

NHS England does not specify travel distances for patients attending treatment for severe asthma.

18th May 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what treatments are commissioned by specialist centres for severe asthma.

NHS England commissions severe asthma services in line with national specifications to ensure that patient numbers are sufficient to support safe, quality service provision. It is revising the severe asthma service specification which is expected to be published later in 2016.

Nationally there are 27 trusts that have identified themselves as providing severe asthma services.

NHS England does not specify travel distances for patients attending treatment for severe asthma.

14th Mar 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what the implications for his Department's policies on people with rare forms of kidney disease are of the report of the Rare Disease Forum, Delivering for patients with rare diseases: Implementing a strategy, published on 29 February 2016; and if he will make a statement.

The Department is committed to improving the diagnosis and treatment of rare diseases for all patients, including those with rare forms of kidney disease through implementation of the UK Strategy for Rare Diseases, published in November 2013.

The UK Forum report, Delivering for patients with rare diseases: Implementing a strategy, published on 29 February 2016 includes 51 specific commitments to improve the lives of all those affected with rare diseases. The measures focus on improving diagnosis and early intervention for patients affected by a rare disease.

The UK Rare Disease Forum is working to ensure that specific commitments in the Strategy are embedded in policy development and implementation across the United Kingdom.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
7th Mar 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, how many hospitals have revised their policy on car parking since the issue of his Department's updated guidance in October 2015.

The information requested is not collected centrally by the Department.

7th Mar 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, whether he plans to increase the number of advocacy services available to mentally ill people before they are sectioned.

When a person is detained under the Mental Health Act 1983, (“the Act”) they are legally entitled to an Independent Mental Health Advocate (IMHA) who understands the Act and can support the detained patient. The provision of IMHA services is the responsibility of local authorities.

For other mental health patients who need help and support in expressing their views, more general advocacy services, as well as family and friends, can provide support.

The Department is also currently exploring providing additional guidance to mental health professionals promoting advocacy services to psychiatric patients that they believe would benefit from such support.

1st Mar 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what provisions for increased asthma care are being taken in the implementation of the Five Year Forward View.

The Five Year Forward View makes clear that supporting people living with long term conditions, such as asthma, is core business for the National Health Service and that this requires a partnership with patients over the long term, rather than providing single, unconnected episodes of care.

In order to achieve this, the NHS is focusing on empowering patients and communities. The 2016/17 NHS Shared Planning Guidance requires local areas to produce five year sustainability and transformation plans (STPs). In developing their STP, local areas are asked to consider how they will:

― achieve a step-change in patient activation and self-care;

― embed the six principles of engagement and involvement of patients, carers, and communities developed to help deliver the Five Year Forward View; and

― make real the aspiration to design person-centred coordinated care, including plans to ensure patients have access to named, responsible consultants.

Vanguard sites for the new care models programme, one of the first steps towards delivering the Five Year Forward View, are focusing on developing new ways of working to improve the care provided to patients and local people. The vanguards will consider the provision of asthma care at a local level as they develop and implement their plans.


More generally, NHS England continues to work with Asthma UK and professional groups in both primary and secondary care to improve outcomes for all those with asthma by, for example, underlining the importance of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s asthma quality standard in commissioning and delivering good quality asthma care.

1st Mar 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps his Department is taking to expand access to treatments for severe asthma in the South West of England.

Services for people with severe asthma are commissioned by NHS England in line with national specifications to ensure patient numbers are sufficient to support safe services.

We are advised by NHS England that in the South West there are currently treatment hubs in Bristol and Taunton that provide services for children; and services for adult in hubs at Bristol, Taunton, Exeter, Plymouth, Swindon and Gloucestershire.

NHS England advises that other asthma services are commissioned locally, via community providers and primary care (general practice and pharmacy).

In the constituency of Bath, we are informed by NHS England that asthma is largely managed by primary care providers, while more complex patients with severe or difficult asthma are seen by the acute respiratory teams. We are assured by NHS England that secondary care services in the area are both appropriate and accessible for patients with acute asthma and that NHS Bath and North East Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group has no plans to change or expand its existing asthma provision at this time.

29th Feb 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, whether the 100,000 Genomes project will be able to diagnose patients with a ring chromosome.

The 100,000 Genomes Project could potentially diagnose participants with a ring chromosome through whole genome sequencing. The close working between NHS Genomic Medicine Centres and Genomics England means that ring chromosomes will continue to be detected primarily through routine diagnostic care. The 100,000 Genomes Project will give important information on the effective use of genomic technologies to bring benefit to National Health Service patients.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Jan 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what research his Department has conducted or commissioned on the effectiveness of pre-exposure prophylaxis in preventing HIV infection in men who have sex with men.

Public Health England part funded the PROUD study that examined the effectiveness of pre-exposure prophylaxis in preventing HIV infection in men who have sex with men. The results of the study were published in September 2015.

12th Jan 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, when HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis will be made available on the NHS to men who have sex with men.

NHS England is working with local authorities, clinicians, patient representatives and Public Health England to consider the clinical and cost effectiveness of providing pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to at-risk groups to prevent them acquiring HIV. The PrEP clinical policy proposition is one of many going through NHS England’s 2016/17 prioritisation round.


In July 2015 NHS England approved a significant new investment in a ‘Treatment as Prevention’ programme to help reduce transmissions from persons known to be HIV positive.


We have made no estimates of the number of people accessing PrEP through private provision.


12th Jan 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what estimate he has made of the number of people in England accessing HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis through private provision.

NHS England is working with local authorities, clinicians, patient representatives and Public Health England to consider the clinical and cost effectiveness of providing pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to at-risk groups to prevent them acquiring HIV. The PrEP clinical policy proposition is one of many going through NHS England’s 2016/17 prioritisation round.


In July 2015 NHS England approved a significant new investment in a ‘Treatment as Prevention’ programme to help reduce transmissions from persons known to be HIV positive.


We have made no estimates of the number of people accessing PrEP through private provision.


19th Nov 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps he is taking to ensure that the regulation of nurses and midwives remains appropriate for the health and social care environment as it evolves.

The Department is taking forward a Section 60 Order (of the Health Act 1999) which will remove statutory midwifery supervision from the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s (NMC’s) governing legislation.


The Department is also in discussions with the NMC on what other reforms may be achieved through the Order.


The Orderwill be subject to a full public consultation early next year.

19th Nov 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what timetable he proposes for legislative reform of the regulation of health care professionals.

This Government is grateful for the work of the Law Commissions of England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland in reviewing the regulation of health and (in England) social care professionals.


The Law Commissions made 125 recommendations to reform the existing complex and burdensome regulatory system. The joint four UK country response to the Law Commissions was published on 29 January 2015 which accepted wholly or in part the vast majority of its recommendations.


The Department is currently reviewing how best to take forward the work of the Law Commissions. We hope to be able to provide an update on this work soon.

19th Nov 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps he is taking to work with businesses to improve the health of the workforce.

The Workplace Wellbeing Charter, published by Public Health England (PHE) provides a national standard for employers of all sizes and sectors with a systematic, evidence-based approach to workplace health improvement. The Charter is commissioned and coordinated by local authorities to support coherent action by businesses to improve the health of the local population.


The Workplace Wellbeing Charter consolidates the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidance relating to employer action. Organisations are accredited across critical areas such as leadership, specific health issues, systems for absence management and health and safety at three levels; commitment, achievement and excellence.


PHE has worked with the Work@Health Centre, Alzheimer’s Society and British Heart Foundation and other partners to develop a series of topic based guides for businesses to support action on specific areas such as the food environment in workplaces and promoting physical activity and supporting carers.


PHE is currently working with Business in the Community on a new resource for businesses focused specifically on addressing mental health issues building on the existing best practice and considering the transferable learning between business sectors and businesses of different sizes.



13th Nov 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps his Department is taking to reduce variations in the quality of at-home care given by carers' agencies across the UK.

The Government is committed to improving the quality of adult social care. We have taken a number of recent steps to do so.

In October 2014, we introduced a tougher inspection system by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). Following inspections, CQC now also awards each service a single quality rating, with providers rated as “Outstanding”, “Good”, “Requires Improvement” or “Inadequate”. Services rated “Inadequate” are being placed into Special Measures. They will have access to a range of resources to help them to improve, but if they fail to do so, they could face closure.

These new ratings and other information about the type and quality of care at every care home and homecare service in the country are now available on NHS Choices and the MyNHS Transparency website, making it much easier for people to compare the quality of services.

This year we introduced a Certificate of Fundamental Care, now known as the Care Certificate. This will help ensure that care workers can deliver a consistently high quality standard of care.

The Department is funding and working with a number of organisations including the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), Skills for Care, the Social Care Institute for Excellence, the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services and the Local Government Association on a range of projects to help adult social care organisations and staff improve the quality of care. These resources include new NICE Quality Standards and Guidelines which bring clarity to what excellence looks like in care and Commissioning for Better Outcomes – A Route Map* that sets out a series of commissioning standards that will

be used as part of local government sector-led improvement to drive best practices in local authority commissioning under their new duties in the Care Act 2015.


*Available at http://www.local.gov.uk/documents/10180/5756320/Commissioning+for+Better+Outcomes+A+route+map/8f18c36f-805c-4d5e-b1f5-d3755394cfab

15th Oct 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, if his Department will roll out a national breathlessness campaign to follow the pilots in the North and East of England.

The regional pilot of the breathlessness campaign was carried out in the East of England 2 February – 1 March 2015. The evaluation of the campaign is ongoing.


15th Oct 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that carers are able to give each patient an appropriate amount of time on visits.

In most cases, very short visits from care workers are incompatible with high quality care. However, short visits may be appropriate in certain circumstances. For instance, checking medication has been taken.


Local authorities are responsible for the commissioning of services, not the Government but both Government and the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) agree that inappropriately short home care visits are unacceptable.The Care Act sends a clear message that commissioning services without properly considering the impact on people’s wellbeing is unacceptable.


In September 2015, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) published guidelines on homecare which state that homecare visits should not normally be less than 30 minutes long. The Department published statutory guidance to the Care Act which directs local authorities when commissioning to consider national standards including NICE guidelines.


Further, the Department worked with ADASS and the Local Government Association (LGA) to produce a framework of standards, ‘Commissioning for Better Outcomes’ which explicitly states that inappropriate use of short visits is not compatible with best practice. The framework is designed to support local authorities to improve their commissioning practices using self-assessment and peer challenge through the LGA’s programme of sector-led improvement.





15th Oct 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, whether his Department intends to establish or encourage national training schemes for care providers to ensure consistency in care provision across the sector.

The introduction of the Care Certificate, a recommendation of the Cavendish Review, will help to improve the consistency of training in the sector. As of 1 April 2015, all new social care support workers and healthcare assistants are expected to attain the new Care Certificate within their first twelve weeks of employment.


The Department funds Skills for Care, the partner in the sector skills council for social care, to produce a range of resources for workers to develop the knowledge to support people who use the services. This includes the apprenticeships programme which is important in growing a consistently skilled workforce providing high quality care for the future.

14th Oct 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps he has taken to ensure that people who are homeless have access to talking therapies.

Homelessness can lead to significant physical and mental health problems, and without accommodation and support, the chances of recovery are very limited. The £10 million Homeless Hospital Discharge Fund promoted new ways of improving the discharge arrangements of homeless people from hospital by working with other local services to help their recovery and improve their health.


In April, the £40 million Homelessness Change/Platform for Life programme was launched. This programme will join up health and housing services, and help support young people at risk of homelessness across the country. We will be announcing the successful programme bids shortly.


Talking Therapies, like the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme are a key weapon in addressing the mental health needs of vulnerable groups, like homeless people. While the normal referral processes to IAPT services are through general practitioners (GPs), individuals can self-refer, meaning that homeless people can refer themselves to services without the need for a GP.


Public Health England is also working with local authorities to help them understand better the physical and mental health needs of homeless people in which access to IAPT will play a part.

14th Oct 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps he plans to take to improve the physical and mental health of homeless people.

Homelessness can lead to significant physical and mental health problems, and without accommodation and support, the chances of recovery are very limited. The £10 million Homeless Hospital Discharge Fund promoted new ways of improving the discharge arrangements of homeless people from hospital by working with other local services to help their recovery and improve their health.


In April, the £40 million Homelessness Change/Platform for Life programme was launched. This programme will join up health and housing services, and help support young people at risk of homelessness across the country. We will be announcing the successful programme bids shortly.


Talking Therapies, like the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme are a key weapon in addressing the mental health needs of vulnerable groups, like homeless people. While the normal referral processes to IAPT services are through general practitioners (GPs), individuals can self-refer, meaning that homeless people can refer themselves to services without the need for a GP.


Public Health England is also working with local authorities to help them understand better the physical and mental health needs of homeless people in which access to IAPT will play a part.

7th Jul 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what his policy is on future funding for supporting adult sign readers; and if he will make a statement.

It is the responsibility of local providers and commissioners to make the reasonable adjustments required by the Equality Act 2010 to ensure that disabled people are not placed at a substantial disadvantage compared to non-disabled people.

Arrangements for the provision of sign language interpretation and translation services by National Health Service bodies and NHS service providers are a matter for local determination.

In order to reduce unacceptable variation in the provision of accessible information and communication support to disabled people, including adult sign readers, NHS England published an accessible information standard, SCCI1605, on 3 July. The standard sets out that all organisations providing NHS or adult social care must take steps to ensure that people receive information that they can access and understand, and receive communication support if they need it. Organisations must comply in full with the standard by 31 July 2016.

16th Jun 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what plans he has to bring forward legislative proposals for changes to the Care Act 2014 to ensure that social carers spend sufficient time with each patient.

Care workers are routinely tasked with caring for individuals with intimate care and support needs, for example helping those who are older or who have a disability to do everyday things like wash, dress and get out of bed. It is unrealistic to think that very short home care visits, for example, those lasting less than 15 minutes would be enough time to do this - it is not fair on those who need care and it is not fair on care workers. Through the Care Act, the Government has made it clear that commissioning services without considering the impact on people’s wellbeing is unacceptable.

It is the Government’s position that it would be inappropriate to introduce new or amend existing legislation to address this issue, for example, by specifying a minimum time length for home care visits. Short care visits may be appropriate for specific, non-intimate tasks such as checking medication has been taken.

Commissioning for high quality care requires a more fundamental culture shift where the outcomes individuals want to achieve sits at the heart of every decision made by a local authority. This is best achieved through guidance and support.

The Department has published statutory guidance to support the implementation of the Care Act that describes how local authorities must meet these new duties when commissioning. The Department has also worked with the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services and the Local Government Association to co-produce a set of standards to support local authorities to assess and improve their commissioning practices.

20th Jan 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will take steps to protect Christians in Syria from persecution by Daesh.

We recognise the situation is desperate for many communities within Syria and Iraq. We condemn in the strongest terms the atrocities committed by Daesh against all civilians, including Christians and other minorities, as well as the majority Muslim population in Syria and Iraq.

The International Syria Support Group (ISSG) has agreed that protecting the rights of all Syrians, regardless of ethnicity or religious denomination is fundamental. This means that Syrian minorities will be included as the political process progresses. Through our membership of the ISSG, we will ensure that this is adhered to.

The Global Coalition has provided air support to the Syrian Democratic Forces (which include Syrian Christian members) in their fight against Daesh.

Ultimately, the best way of safeguarding minority rights is by defeating Daesh and establishing peace and stability in the region. The UK has been at the forefront of these efforts and, together with our allies, has a comprehensive strategy to deal with Daesh.

12th Jan 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Government's current strategy on Yemen; and if he will make a statement.

The UK’s position remains that a political solution is the best way to bring long-term stability to Yemen. We are in regular contact with all parties to the conflict, urging engagement in good faith and to take steps towards achieving a durable ceasefire and we fully support the efforts of the UN Special Envoy for Yemen. The UK is the 4th largest donor to the crisis and has more than doubled its humanitarian commitment to Yemen over the last year to £75 million. UK aid has assisted at least 700,000 people directly affected by the conflict including vulnerable host communities, internally displaced people and migrants. We have provided critical support for healthcare, malnutrition, water and sanitation, protection and shelter. We have also continued to strengthen and protect local capacity and community assets from further shocks by providing agricultural and other livelihoods assistance.

15th Oct 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment his Department has made of the human rights situation in Iran.

Our assessment of human rights in Iran can be found in the FCO Human Rights Report, which was updated in July.
14th Oct 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will take a greater role in facilitating a two state solution in Israel.

My priority remains the achievement of a two-state solution. I will continue to consult with international partners as to the best means to make greater progress, and to encourage the parties to take steps which lead us towards peace. I am extremely concerned by the violence that we have seen across Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories in recent weeks. This only strengthens my conviction that a negotiated two state solution is of the greatest urgency. We are encouraging both sides to maintain calm and avoid taking actions which could make peace more difficult. I have also been pushing both parties to take steps that improve the situation on the ground and preserve the viability of the two state solution.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will take a greater role in facilitating a two state solution in Israel.

My priority remains the achievement of a two-state solution. I will continue to consult with international partners as to the best means to make greater progress, and to encourage the parties to take steps which lead us towards peace. I am extremely concerned by the violence that we have seen across Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories in recent weeks. This only strengthens my conviction that a negotiated two state solution is of the greatest urgency. We are encouraging both sides to maintain calm and avoid taking actions which could make peace more difficult. I have also been pushing both parties to take steps that improve the situation on the ground and preserve the viability of the two state solution.

13th Apr 2017
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to paragraph 3.22 of the Spring Budget 2017, what his proposals are on the redesign of rent-a-room relief; and when he plans to consult of those proposals.

Rent-a-room relief was first introduced to increase the quantity and variety of low-cost rented housing, giving more choice to tenants and making it easier for people to move jobs.

The consultation, which will be published in due course, will explore the most effective changes to better align the relief with its original purpose.

14th Mar 2017
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he has received a request from the Press Recognition Panel for additional funding under the terms of the Royal Charter on Self-Regulation of the Press.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer has not received a request from the Press Recognition Panel for additional funding.

23rd Nov 2016
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to support economic growth outside London and the South East.

Creating an economy that works for everyone is a key priority of this Government. At the Autumn Statement, the government announced allocations worth £1.8bn from the Local Growth Fund to all English regions, including £191 million for the South West. This is on top of the £230.7 million the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership have already received. We are investing more than £100 billion in infrastructure across the UK over the course of this Parliament, whilst devolution deals are giving areas the tools they need to make the right economic decisions. This includes the government’s deal with the West of England.

26th May 2016
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to reduce the gender pay gap in the financial services sector.

The gender pay gap is at a record low. New regulations require all firms with over 250 employees to publish their gender pay gaps. These regulations will increase transparency and accelerate progress, especially in sectors with large gender pay gaps such as financial services.

In March, the government launched the Women in Finance Charter which asks financial services firms to implement recommendations from Jayne-Anne Gadhia’s review into the representation of senior women in financial services.

11th Jan 2016
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will remove the fuel duty escalator on liquefied petroleum gas.

The Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) differential reduces by 1 penny per litre per year, which is a continuation of the approach set out by the two previous Administrations. This reflects the greater natural environmental damage caused by LPG compared with other road fuel gases as outlined in the 2003 Alternative Fuels Framework. However, like all taxes, fuel duties are kept under review with the Government announcing any changes at fiscal events.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Home Office) (Security)
15th Oct 2015
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that the Summer Budget 2015 has an equal impact on men and women.

In line with both the Government’s commitment to fairness and its legal obligations, ministers carefully considered the policy implications for men and women when developing and deciding upon Summer Budget measures.


As with other public sector bodies, HM Treasury is required (under the Equality Act 2010) to pay due regard, in the course of fulfilling its functions, to the implications of its decisions for those with specified ‘protected characteristics’. ‘Sex’ is one of these protected characteristics.


Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Home Office) (Security)
15th Oct 2015
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what guidance his Department gives to ensure that the implications of missing national insurance contributions are made clear to those concerned at the time they are missed.

There is a range of guidance available to help a person understand the implications of not paying national insurance. A person’s record can be made up of national insurance contributions and credits from a variety of sources. When these are posted to the individual’s contributions record after the end of the tax year the individual may have insufficient contributions on their account for that year to qualify for certain benefits. These gaps in a person’s national insurance contributions record may be filled by the payment of voluntary Class 3 contributions.
HM Revenue and Customs has published guidance on GOV.UK that explains when the payment of voluntary Class 3 contributions may be beneficial, eligibility, rates and how and when to pay. This is available to view here: https://www.gov.uk/voluntary-national-insurance-contributions

9th Oct 2015
VAT
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will review the level of existing VAT thresholds for small businesses.

The UK has chosen to maintain a high VAT registration threshold, and it is currently the highest in the EU (at £82,000 from 1 April 2015). We believe that the UK’s current registration threshold achieves a reasonable balance between competing interests and reduces the administrative burden on the smallest businesses.

The Government may not increase this threshold further, aside from maintaining its value in line with inflation, without the consent of the European Commission and the unanimous agreement of all EU Member States.

9th Oct 2015
VAT
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will estimate the proportion of VAT revenue accruing to the Exchequer which derives from businesses with an annual turnover under (a) £150,000 and (b) £250,000.

HM Revenue and Customs does not routinely publish estimates of VAT revenue accruing to the Exchequer which derives from businesses.

9th Oct 2015
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of devolution of air passenger duty on regional airports.

In light of the decision to devolve APD to Scotland and consider the case for devolving APD to Wales, the government has recently published a discussion paper exploring options to support English regional airports from the impacts of APD devolution. We are considering the evidence that we have received from stakeholders, and will respond to the consultation in due course.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Home Office) (Security)
1st Jul 2015
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to reduce waiting times for calls to HM Revenue and Customs.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) accepts that its performance was inconsistent during 2014-15 and has recently outlined actions taken to improve customer service. These include recruitment of additional staff and investment in new technology.

The department has allocated £45 million, supporting the recruitment of an additional 3,000 customer service staff to answer calls and deal with customer correspondence. HMRC is also temporarily moving around 2,000 additional people from other parts of HMRC into customer service roles to support the tax credits peak.

1st Jul 2015
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what plans he has for future policy on pension tax relief.

The Summer Budget 2015 announced that the government is consulting on whether there is a case for reforming pensions tax relief to strengthen the incentive to save.

To help control the cost of pensions tax relief in the short term, the Summer Budget also confirmed the manifesto commitment to introduce a taper to the Annual Allowance for those with incomes, including pension contributions, above £150,000.

10th Jun 2015
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he has plans for a West of England Powerhouse.

The deal with Greater Manchester emphasised this Government’s commitment to hand power from the centre to cities.

In May 2015 the Chancellor said his “door is open to any other major city who wants to take this bold step” and take control of its own affairs and access the same mayoral offer.

The Queen’s Speech introduced a Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill which will enable cities to adopt a radical new model of government.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th Jan 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will increase the licensing enforcement powers available to local authorities to ensure that pubs do not act as clubs without permission.

Licensing authorities and the police already have a range of enforcement powers under the Licensing Act 2003. These are sufficient to prevent pubs operating without relevant permissions. These include powers which licensing authorities have to impose conditions on a premises licence or revoke a premises licence where appropriate. They are responsible for making decisions based on what is appropriate for the promotion of the licensing objectives. These are the prevention of crime and disorder; public safety; the prevention of public nuisance; and the protection of children from harm.

Licensable activities include not only the sale of alcohol but also regulated entertainment such as a performance of live music and any playing of recorded music among other entertainments. While the rules on regulated entertainment on licensed premises were recently relaxed so that permission is only required for such events when they occur outside the hours of 08.00 and 23.00 or when there are more than 500 people in attendance, an applicant for a premises licence should set out in an operating schedule the licensable activities they intend to hold on the premises.

12th Jan 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to encourage volunteers to monitor CCTV to help the police service.

The Government believes that volunteers could play a greater role in policing, which is why a consultation was recently held to give Chief Constables greater flexibility to designate police powers to staff and volunteers, to enable them to support officers more effectively in keeping their communities safe.

I am aware that a number of forces use volunteers within their CCTV control rooms already and more are currently recruiting for these roles. However all decisions on the recruitment, size and composition of a police force’s workforce are rightly a local matter for chief officers and Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs).

11th Jan 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will consider issuing guidance restricting the taking of photos and videos following the Shoreham air show crash.

We have taken this question to relate specifically to those involved in policing in light of the recent disciplinary action taken against two Police Officers working for Sussex police on probation who attended the scene of the crash in September 2015.

There are clear standards of behaviour for those involved in policing. Standards of Professional Behaviour for police officers are underpinned by the policing Code of Ethics, developed by the College of Policing and laid before Parliament in July 2014. The Code outlines the expectations of all who are involved in policing and which should be upheld in all circumstances. Forces are responsible for providing guidance to their officers and staff in terms of the appropriate handling of any such incidents including the taking of photos and videos, as well as maintaining discipline within the force according to the Standards of Professional Behaviour for policing. The College of Policing, which was established by the Home Office in October 2012, has published information on its website on the appropriate way to post information online for those working in policing.

The Home Office cannot intervene or comment on individual cases, which are a matter for individual forces.

Where such incidents take place and the conduct of those involved in policing falls below the expected standards, it is for individual forces to investigate such allegations and instigate disciplinary proceedings where it is appropriate to do so. I understand that Sussex Police pursued disciplinary procedures in this incident.

The Home Office is continuing to improve the police discipline system to ensure that the processes and their outcomes are transparent and that police officers are held to account for their actions to ensure full public confidence in the integrity of police.

1st Jul 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the eligibility criteria are for entry to the UK for citizens of (a) Palestine and (b) Israel.

Non-EEA nationals seeking entry to the UK for any purpose must meet the requirements of the Immigration Rules. The Rules set out the criteria that applications for entry clearance, leave to enter or remain must meet to qualify for entry. Applicants must produce either a valid passport or travel document that satisfactorily establishes their identity and nationality or citizenship.

Nationals or citizens of Israel, who hold a full Israeli passport, do not require a visa to come to the UK as a visitor or for any other purpose, for less than six months. Holders of Palestinian travel documents require a visa to come to the UK for any purpose in the Immigration Rules.

15th Jun 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what her policy is on introducing a single tier Disclosure and Barring Service enhanced disclosure certificate.

Enhanced criminal record certificates are available for a range of posts and activities involving particular sensitivity or trust, including working closely with children or vulnerable adults. Applications are based on the relevant workforce, which ensures that any local police information relevant to that category can be considered for disclosure. There are no plans to move away from this position.

12th Jan 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what his Department's defence strategy is towards Yemen; and if he will make a statement.



The Ministry of Defence is committed to supporting the legitimate Yemeni government in establishing a stable and secure Yemen and we continue to work with regional and international partners to tackle the threat posed by AQAP and Daesh in Yemen. Reaching a comprehensive peaceful solution to the current conflict is the top priority as a political solution is the best way to bring long-term stability to the country.

19th Jan 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, if he will bring forward legislative proposals to enable regulation of short-term holiday lets in line with the regulation of bed and breakfast properties.

The Government currently has no plans to introduce legislation to bring short term holiday lets in line with bed and breakfast property regulations.

Local authorities have powers to inspect residential properties where they consider action would be appropriate under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS).

15th Mar 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, if he will take steps to increase the financial limit for the contribution of tenants to qualifying works as set out in paragraph 6 of the Service Charges (Consultation Requirements) (England) Regulations 2003.

The Government is aware of concerns surrounding the financial threshold above which consultation on service charges must take place under section 20 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 (as amended by the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002). This was also referred to as part of the Competition and Markets Authority study into property management services. We have been working with stakeholders in the sector, including the Association of Residential Managing Agents, to consider what can be done to improve how section 20 works, including the financial threshold. The Government is awaiting the final set of recommendations from the Association and will respond to the Competition and Markets Authority study in the Autumn.

Brandon Lewis
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
9th Mar 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, if he will bring forward legislative proposals to speed up planning enforcement to reduce damage in heritage centres.

We have given local planning authorities a wide range of strong enforcement powers to enable them to tackle unauthorised development or works to listed buildings, including the ability to apply for planning injunctions to prevent actual or apprehended breaches. We consider these powers remain appropriate and have no plans to amend them at this time.

Brandon Lewis
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
20th Jan 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what guidance his Department issues to local authorities on ensuring that consent is granted before a person undertakes work on a neighbour's tree.

Guidance on the tree preservation legislation is published on the planning guidance website at http://planningguidance.communities.gov.uk/blog/guidance/tree-preservation-orders/ and is available to local authorities and other interested parties. Local authorities are responsible for determining applications for works to trees protected by Tree Preservation Orders.

11th Jan 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, if he will take steps to establish an independent body to monitor the salaries of council staff.

Ministers have taken a number of steps to increase the transparency and accountability of local decisions on the pay and reward of council staff. This action has helped ensure that local people have the information they need to hold councils to account.

Local elected members need to make sure that decisions about the remuneration of senior staff are clearly in the interest of local taxpayers, and that they operate to the same standards of restraint as the rest of the public sector.


Marcus Jones
Comptroller (HM Household) (Whip, House of Commons)
26th Nov 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what steps he is taking to help increase the number of disabled people who own their own home.

The Government is committed to extending home ownership opportunities for everyone. Disabled people with aspirations to own their own home can benefit from a number of policies offered by this Government, like Help to Buy and Right to Buy. However, we do recognise that for some people with long-term disabilities, our mainstream home ownership programmes may not be suitable. The Home Ownership for those with Long-term Disabilities (HOLD) scheme is specifically designed to help people living with such disabilities to buy a property on the open market on shared ownership terms with a registered housing provider.

The Government is also providing affordable housing for disabled and older people through the Care and Support Specialised Housing Fund, phase 1 of which will deliver around 4,000 new homes by 2018. Between 2011-15 the Affordable Homes Programme has also delivered almost 14,000 specialised and mainstream affordable homes for older and disabled people.

In the Spending Review we have committed to £400 million of funding to deliver 8,000 specialist homes for the vulnerable elderly or those with disabilities. A commitment to funding from the Department of Health could deliver up to a further 7,500 homes over the Spending Review period.


Brandon Lewis
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
13th Nov 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what plans he has to take to provide further guidance to local authorities on preventing people who apply to those authorities for accommodation from continuing to sleep rough.

This Government is committed to protecting the most vulnerable in society. One person without a home is one too many. That is why since 2010 we have invested more than £500 million to prevent and tackle homelessness in England. This investment has helped local authorities prevent almost one million households from becoming homeless since 2010.

We already require all authorities to ensure that advice and information about homelessness, and the prevention of homelessness, is available to everyone in their district free of charge. The Homelessness Code of Guidance for local authorities, available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/homelessness-code-of-guidance-for-councils-july-2006, provides statutory guidance on how local authorities should exercise this function.


Marcus Jones
Comptroller (HM Household) (Whip, House of Commons)
15th Oct 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what steps the Government is taking to prevent price-fixing in service charges by providers of retirement homes.

The law provides a framework of rights and protections for residential leaseholders where service charges and the management of their property are concerned.

These rights allow leaseholders to hold their freeholder and managing agent to account. They include the right to be consulted about proposed major works and long term agreements, to challenge the reasonableness of service charge demands at an independent tribunal, to seek the appointment of a new manager and, in some cases. to take over the management of the block of flats where they live.

Price-fixing is a serious matter and any evidence of this should be reported to the Competition and Markets Authority for consideration.

Brandon Lewis
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
15th Oct 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, if he will review the regulation of service charges to ensure that housing associations are not exploiting residents.

Service charges are subject to legal requirements that limit these to covering the cost of providing the services. The Social Housing Regulator requires that providers give clear information to tenants about how their service charges are set. If tenants feel their service charges are too high they may make a complaint through their landlord’s formal complaints procedure.

Brandon Lewis
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
15th Oct 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, whether he plans to introduce a requirement that private landlords have a certificate confirming their accommodation has reached a minimum condition before it can be let.

Local Authorities have powers under the Housing Act 2004 to assess the risks and hazards in properties, and to require landlords or owners to remove hazards, and to prosecute if they fail to do so. If a property is found to contain serious hazards, the local authority has a duty to take the most appropriate action in relation to the hazard. This could include serving a notice for the landlord to carry out improvements.

The Government wants to crack down further on the small minority of rogue and criminal landlords who exploit their tenants by renting out unsafe and substandard accommodation and are taking forward proposals through the Housing and Planning Bill. The legislation will enable local authorities to:

  • access a database of rogue landlords and letting agents helping councils keep track of them and target enforcement action;
  • seek banning orders for the most prolific and serious offenders;
  • issue civil penalty notices of up to £5,000 for certain breaches of housing legislation, ring-fencing resources for housing compliance activity;
  • extend Rent Repayment Orders to cover situations where a tenant has been illegally evicted, the landlord has failed to rectify a serious health and safety hazard in the property or has breached a banning order, allowing local authorities to retain the money for housing purposes.
  • apply a more stringent ‘fit and proper’ person test for landlords letting out licensed properties.


The majority of landlords in the private rented sector provide decent accommodation with surveys showing that 84% of tenants are satisfied with their accommodation, and staying in their homes for an average of 3.5 years.

Brandon Lewis
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
14th Oct 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what plans he has to revise the agreement reached with the National Housing Federation on right to buy to clarify that it does not cover almshouse residents.

Almshouses are exempt from the Right to Buy for council housing. This long-standing exemption will also apply to the extended Right to Buy for housing associations.

Brandon Lewis
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
9th Oct 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, if he will consider issuing guidance restricting the taking of photos and videos following the Shoreham air show crash.

This is not a matter for the Department for Communities and Local Government.

1st Jul 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what steps he is taking to encourage local authorities to implement new planning provisions on redevelopment of brownfield sites.

We are committed to ensuring that brownfield land is used as much as possible for new development. We will require local authorities to have a register of what is available, and ensure that 90 per cent of suitable brownfield sites have planning permission for housing by 2020. We will provide further support by creating a Fund to unlock homes on brownfield land for additional housing. We will continue to support the regeneration of brownfield land through a range of measures, including £200 million to help create Housing Zones outside London, and in addition releasing enough public sector land for over 150,000 homes by 2020.

Brandon Lewis
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
22nd Jun 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what steps he is taking to encourage councils to implement the zero-carbon home standard from 2016.

The Government considers that energy performance standards for new homes are best set through the national building regulations which were strengthened in 2013. Councils play an important role in checking compliance with these standards.

10th Jun 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what plans he has to ensure neighbourhoods with a concentration of social housing do not suffer from educational underperformance and high accident and obesity rates; and what plans he has to foster a sense of community in such neighbourhoods.

We are continuing to roll out the Our Place approach – a neighbourhood level, partnership-based approach to service transformation with the community at its heart – across England, with a £1 million grant fund to support up to another 115 areas during 2015/16. This builds on the successes and lessons learned from the 12 pioneer areas and 117 areas previously supported to improve local services. Some of these areas developed new approaches to tackle poor educational attainment and high obesity rates and many of them operate in neighbourhoods with a high index of multiple deprivation.

We are extending this work in 2015/16 through a new First Steps programme which will support 115 areas that are not yet ready for the Our Place approach to produce a Community Action Plan setting out the priorities for their area and how they might go about tackling them.

Additionally my Department’s tenant involvement strategy enables social housing tenants to influence, challenge and take control of their housing services, putting communities in control and delivering localism to some of the most challenging areas.

Marcus Jones
Comptroller (HM Household) (Whip, House of Commons)
21st Feb 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if she will take steps to ensure that judges in family courts receive training on preventing gender bias.

The Ministry of Justice does not oversee judicial training; the Lord Chief Justice does through the Judicial College.

The Judicial College provides awareness training of unconscious bias and the subject has been included in family law training. The Judicial College publishes the Equal Treatment Bench Book, which contains information about protected and other characteristics and includes a section on gender equality. This is publicly available at: https://www.judiciary.gov.uk/publications/equal-treatment-bench-book/ and enables judges to be sensitive to all issues of equal treatment, and to treat people fairly in proceedings.

29th Feb 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if he will take steps to ensure that young intersex people are included in the Government's review of youth justice.

A review of how transgender people – both adults and under-18s – are dealt with by prison and probation services is currently being conducted by the Ministry of Justice. This review includes those who identify as intersex. The findings and recommendations of this review will inform the review of the youth justice system which will report in July.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
14th Oct 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what progress his Department is making in arranging for the release of prisoners sentenced to imprisonment for public protection.

The release of prisoners serving indeterminate sentences of imprisonment for public protection (IPP) is a matter for the independent Parole Board. The Parole Board directs the release of IPP prisoners on licence who have completed their minimum period of imprisonment (tariff), where the Board is satisfied that those prisoners may be effectively managed in the community.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
14th Oct 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what his policy is on the Criminal Court Charge.

As the Secretary of State stated to the House on 8 September, we have been made aware of widespread concern about the operation of the Criminal Courts Charge, but it is important to stress that the Charge is levied or taken from the offender only after other impositions have been paid. It is important to note that statutory protections are in place so that the payment of the Charge in due course should be linked to the offender's means. Within the Bill there was a duty placed on the Lord Chancellor to carry out a review of the Criminal Courts Charge, three years after the implementation of the Charge.

9th Oct 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many of the magistrates' courts which closed in the last five years were sold within 12 months of closure; how many such courts remain unsold; and what the average period is between closure and receipt of funds on sale.

It has not been possible to answer this question in the time allowed. I will write to the honourable member in due course.

10th Nov 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of Government support for the tourism sector in Wales.

In July, the Government published its 5-point plan to ensure the benefits of tourism extend beyond London and across the UK. The Welsh economy continues to benefit from a thriving tourist industry, with recent figures showing the amount spent by overseas visitors increased by £34 million over the last year.

1st Sep 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, what discussions he has had with Ministers in the Welsh Government on equality and diversity training in health and social care in Wales.

I, along with Ministerial colleagues, have regular discussions with Welsh Government Ministers on a range of issues, including equality and diversity within the health and social care sectors in Wales.