Speeches made during Parliamentary debates are recorded in Hansard. For ease of browsing we have grouped debates into individual, departmental and legislative categories.
e-Petitions are administered by Parliament and allow members of the public to express support for a particular issue.
If an e-petition reaches 10,000 signatures the Government will issue a written response.
If an e-petition reaches 100,000 signatures the petition becomes eligible for a Parliamentary debate (usually Monday 4.30pm in Westminster Hall).
These initiatives were driven by Ben Spencer, 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 Spencer has not been granted any Urgent Questions
Ben Spencer has not been granted any Adjournment Debates
A Bill to create offences relating to repeat breaches of planning controls; to make provision about penalties for planning offences; to establish a national register of persons who have committed planning offences or breached planning controls and make associated provision about planning applications; and for connected purposes.
A Bill to make provision for the collection and publication of statistics on mental health hospital admissions; and for connected purposes.
Ben Spencer has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting
The terms of reference for SAGE can be found here - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/scientific-advisory-group-for-emergencies-sage.
SAGE is not, as the terms outline, a membership body and the Chief Scientific Adviser and the Chief Medical Officer will advise on attendance.
The Government recognises broadcasting, film and other creative industries have an important role to play in the UK by providing access to entertainment, culture and news during the COVID-19 pandemic.
To ensure we are assisting the sectors as effectively as possible, regular ministerially-chaired roundtables are held with business representative organisations (BROs) as well as trade associations within the creative industries and broadcasting sectors. In addition, officials are in regular contact with stakeholders from these sectors.
We also continue to speak with HM Treasury colleagues to ensure that the full spectrum of government support reaches the UK's world-leading media and creative industries.
The Department for Health and Social Care has responsibility for children and young people’s health and we are working with them, Public Health England and NHS England to understand the impact COVID-19 is having. It is clear that physical and mental health support is more important than ever during COVID-19.
Public Health England has published guidance for parents/carers on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing during COVID-19:
The Department for Education’s guidance for parents/carers and schools covers how they can support children’s mental health. This information is available at the following links:
We have also developed online education resources, including resources to support mental wellbeing, physical activity, and special educational needs and disabilities (SEND): https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-online-education-resources/coronavirus-covid-19-list-of-online-education-resources-for-home-education.
The NHS Change for Life website and Sport England’s Join the Movement campaign both provide advice on staying physically active.
Access to support from health services remains important. NHS services remain open for everyone and leading mental health charities are being supported to deliver additional services through the £5 million Coronavirus Mental Health Response Fund. The NHS is also setting up 24/7 open access telephone lines for urgent mental health support for people of all ages. The Department for Education is working across government on further support, including the first of the newly established Mental Health Support Teams which are now working in or near schools and colleges, to support children during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Teaching, learning and assessment in higher education (HE) are not stopping. We are working with the sector to ensure universities are able to make all reasonable efforts to enable all students, both international and domestic, to continue and complete their studies; for their achievements to be reliably assessed; and for qualifications to be awarded securely.
Despite the significant disruption being felt across the HE sector, students deserve appropriate support and recognition for their hard work and dedication - many universities and colleges have moved rapidly to develop new ways of delivering courses through online teaching and alternatives to traditional end-of-course exams.
Our universities will always be open to international students. Both the government and the HE sector are working together to ensure existing rules and processes are as flexible as possible under the current unprecedented circumstances, to ensure that international students who are planning to study at a UK institution from autumn 2020 can do so.
The UK looks forward to continuing to welcome international students in the future. They enrich UK HE culturally, socially and economically, and are one of the reasons why our HE sector remains world-class.
Highways England understands noise is a concern for residents living close to the M25 between junctions 10 and 11 and it is actively looking for ways to reduce noise from the carriageways.
In April 2020, Highways England started carrying out repairs to the failed joints on this section of the M25 and the work will be completed this summer. The work will concentrate on those joints which are in the poorest condition. Replacing joints which have not failed, or have already been repaired, would not reduce the noise from this concrete section or improve safety.
Highways England carried out extensive joint repairs last year. Like all road surfaces, the concrete carriageway between junctions 10 and 11 is regularly monitored for safety and condition, and repairs are carried out when needed.
The Joint Biosecurity Centre is currently assessing the evidence of the effectiveness of non-pharmaceutical interventions of all types. There are some early signs that the introduction and escalation of local alert levels had a material impact on behaviour, the number of household contacts and cases.
Public Health England does not publish data on the infection fatality rate or the case fatality rate of COVID-19.
Bed availability and occupancy rates are collected and published via the national reporting system at the following link:
However, information is only published at trust level. The Nightingale hospitals in London (Barts Health NHS Trust) and the North West (Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust) are the only two to have accepted COVID-19 patients at this time. All Nightingale hospitals are now on standby.
As a result of the measures put in place to tackle COVID-19, we now appear to have passed the peak of new cases being reported and it has been decided to begin the ‘reset’ of services across the National Health Service. This reset will involve the release and redeployment of some of the treatment capacity that could have been needed while the number of COVID-19 patients was rising sharply.
All NHS organisations have therefore been asked to step-up non-COVID-19 services as soon as possible, starting with the most urgent. Decisions on how to do this will be taken locally, based on local demands for health services. The NHS issued guidance to NHS service providers on 29 April outlining the next steps for the NHS response to COVID-19.
HM Revenue and Customs do not hold data on VAT collected specifically from the rental of vehicles, as information on supplies of specific commodities and services is not required on VAT returns.
HMRC record and publish annually details of VAT receipts across trade sectors and subsectors, but not of specific commodities or services. HMRC estimate and monitor the general impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) on VAT receipts based on reference scenarios from the Office for Budget Responsibility, as well as the impact of Government policies related to COVID-19 such as VAT deferral and reduced VAT rates. Impacts on individual commodities or services are not available.
The Home Office publishes statistics on people in detention on the last day of each quarter in the ‘Immigration Statistics Quarterly Release’. Data on people in detention under immigration powers at 30 June 2020 by current length of detention, are published in Table Det_03c and Det_03d of the ‘Summary tables’. The ‘contents’ sheet contains an overview of all available data on detention.
In addition, the Home Office published data on people leaving detention in each quarter by length of detention in Table Det_04b of the ‘Summary tables’.
Figures on people in detention in Q3 2020 will be published on 26 November 2020. Information on future Home Office statistical release dates can be found in the ‘Research and statistics calendar’.
We have restricted regimes, minimised transfers between prisons and boosted staffing at the frontline and supported prisoners to maintain family ties.
Prisons are also implementing a ‘compartmentalisation’ strategy to isolate the sick, shield the vulnerable and quarantine new arrivals.
Latest public health advice suggests that the measures we have been taking to tackle covid-19 have helped to limit the spread of the virus in prisons.
The Government acknowledges the significant upheaval that Covid-19 is causing for couples who were looking to marry at this time. The requirement to solemnize a marriage within twelve months of giving notice to marry is set out in primary legislation and would require primary legislation to amend.
We are exploring what changes might be possible in relation to marriages at this time, and in line with Public Health England guidance on social distancing.