Beth Winter Portrait

Beth Winter

Labour - Cynon Valley


Select Committee Meeting
Tuesday 24th May 2022
13:30
Select Committee Meeting
Wednesday 25th May 2022
09:00
Welsh Affairs Committee - Oral evidence
Subject: Wales as a global tourist destination
25 May 2022, 9 a.m.
At 9.30am: Oral evidence
Graeme Farrow - Artistic and Creative Director at Wales Millennium Centre
Louise Miles-Payne - Director, Creu Cymru and Board Member at UK Theatre
Fiona Stewart - Managing Director at Green Man Festival
Camilla King - Executive Producer at Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod
At 10.30am: Oral evidence
Matthew Williams - Policy and Communications Manager at Welsh Sports Association
Ian Gwyn Hughes - Head of Public Relations at Football Association of Wales
View calendar
Select Committee Meeting
Tuesday 7th June 2022
09:30
Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee - Oral evidence
Subject: The Scrutiny of International Treaties and other international agreements in the 21st century
7 Jun 2022, 9:30 a.m.
At 10.00am: Oral evidence
Rt Hon Lord Frost CMG - Former Chief Negotiator at Task Force Europe
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Select Committee Meeting
Thursday 9th June 2022
09:30
Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee - Oral evidence
Subject: Propriety of governance in light of Greensill
9 Jun 2022, 9:30 a.m.
At 10.00am: Oral evidence
Rt Hon Lord Pickles - Chair at Advisory Committee on Business Appointments
View calendar
Division Votes
Wednesday 18th May 2022
Achieving Economic Growth
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 176 Labour Aye votes vs 0 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 229 Noes - 312
Speeches
Tuesday 17th May 2022
Tackling Short-term and Long-term Cost of Living Increases
Living standards in the UK are plummeting under the Conservative Government. Working-class people are suffering. My constituents in the Cynon …
Written Answers
Friday 20th May 2022
Welfare Tax Credits: Cynon Valley
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many recipients of legacy benefits in Cynon Valley constituency …
Early Day Motions
Monday 17th May 2021
Universal Basic Income pilot in Wales
That this House applauds the Welsh Government for committing to a Universal Basic Income (UBI) pilot in Wales; thanks all …
Bills
None available
Tweets
None available
MP Financial Interests
Saturday 11th January 2020
1. Employment and earnings
21 December 2019, final payment of £3,792.50 from University and College Union, Carlow Street, London, NW1 7LH for services as …
EDM signed
Friday 20th May 2022
Changes to Universal Credit
This House notes that Universal Credit payments are not keeping pace with rising living costs; notes that deductions taken from …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Beth Winter has voted in 403 divisions, and 2 times against the majority of their Party.

25 Mar 2021 - Coronavirus - View Vote Context
Beth Winter voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 21 Labour No votes vs 176 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 484 Noes - 76
14 Dec 2021 - Public Health - View Vote Context
Beth Winter voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 22 Labour No votes vs 124 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 385 Noes - 100
View All Beth Winter Division Votes

Debates during the 2019 Parliament

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

Sparring Partners
David T C Davies (Conservative)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Wales Office)
(10 debate interactions)
Simon Hart (Conservative)
Secretary of State for Wales
(7 debate interactions)
Michael Gove (Conservative)
Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities
(7 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Wales Office
(17 debate contributions)
Department for Work and Pensions
(15 debate contributions)
HM Treasury
(11 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Beth Winter's debates

Cynon Valley Petitions

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

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

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

Petitions with highest Cynon Valley signature proportion
Petitions with most Cynon Valley signatures
Petition Debates Contributed

We demand the Government restore England’s publicly funded, publicly provided NHS by reversing all privatising legislation, ending ongoing PFI contracts, and scrapping plans for Integrated Care Systems and for-profit US-style ‘managed care’.

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


Latest EDMs signed by Beth Winter

18th May 2022
Beth Winter signed this EDM on Friday 20th May 2022

Changes to Universal Credit

Tabled by: Chris Stephens (Scottish National Party - Glasgow South West)
This House notes that Universal Credit payments are not keeping pace with rising living costs; notes that deductions taken from those payments, for example to repay advances, leave households on low incomes struggling to afford food and other essentials; recognises the action taken by the Department for Work and Pensions …
8 signatures
(Most recent: 20 May 2022)
Signatures by party:
Plaid Cymru: 3
Scottish National Party: 2
Labour: 2
Independent: 1
16th May 2022
Beth Winter signed this EDM on Thursday 19th May 2022

Reduction in civil service employment

Tabled by: Chris Stephens (Scottish National Party - Glasgow South West)
That this House condemns Government plans to cut 91,000 jobs from the civil service over the next three years; notes that departmental spending levels for the next three years have only recently been issued, following a process of assessing future staffing requirements; is angered to have learnt of these plans …
41 signatures
(Most recent: 19 May 2022)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 15
Scottish National Party: 15
Plaid Cymru: 3
Liberal Democrat: 3
Alba Party: 2
Green Party: 1
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Independent: 1
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 1
View All Beth Winter's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Beth Winter, 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.


Beth Winter has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Beth Winter has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

Beth Winter has not introduced any legislation before Parliament

Beth Winter has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


168 Written Questions in the current parliament

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department
4 Other Department Questions
21st Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of transferring responsibility for payment of council tax from tenants to owners.

Council tax is a tax on the occupiers of homes to help fund local services. The Government has no plans to transfer liability from tenants to owners.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
21st Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of conducting a revaluation of existing residential property for council tax purposes.

The Government has no plans to carry out a council tax revaluation in England. A revaluation would be expensive to undertake and could result in increases in bills for many households. The council tax revaluation in Wales resulted in 33% of homes being placed in a higher band compared to 8% of homes that were placed in a lower band. A revaluation would risk penalising those on lower incomes, including pensioners, who might have seen their homes appreciate in value, but not be able to afford higher council tax.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
4th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether his Department is taking steps to monitor the (a) economic and (b) social impact of changes to council tax which may be levied on second homes in Wales from April 2023.

Council tax is a devolved matter and it will be for the Welsh Government to decide whether to carry out any monitoring of any legislation introduced in Wales.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
4th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of providing powers to local authorities to levy increased council tax premiums on second homes.

The Government keeps all tax policy under review. It has already removed the requirement for local authorities to offer a discount on second homes enabling them to charge the full rate of council tax and, in April 2016, introduced a 3 per cent higher rate of Stamp Duty Land Tax for those purchasing additional properties.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
31st Mar 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to Statement HCWS756 of 31 March 2022, if he will publish the percentage change in real incomes, at each spine point for (a) his Department and (b) each Government Department, in each year since 2010.

Pay below the Senior Civil Service is delegated to departments. It is for departments to decide on their pay award and how it is structured in light of their own affordability and priorities including considering any recruitment and retention challenges, and to negotiate with their trade unions. The impact on recruitment and retention should be considered by departments when determining their pay award. The pay remit guidance is a cost control document and allows departments to seek further flexibility for a pay award above the headline award, as demonstrated by recent pay deals in Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs and the Ministry of Justice.

This year’s pay remit guidance is framed by the commitment of this Government to deliver on its extensive agenda that will require reform of the capacity and capability of the Civil Service. It is important that public sector pay awards are affordable, as well as fair to both staff and the taxpayer.

The pay remit guidance considers economic conditions while balancing the need for sustainable public finances. The government will continue to prioritise the lowest paid, and has accepted the Low Pay Commission’s recommendations to increase the National Living Wage by 6.6% to £9.50 per hour from April 2022.

The Cabinet Office publishes summary figures on salaries across the Civil Service as part of the Civil Service Statistics publications. Median salaries by grade and department since 2010 can be found in Table 25 of this publication:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/civil-service-statistics.

The Cabinet Office does not hold complete data on the delegated pay structures across all Departments, such as ‘spine points’. These have previously been part of the Civil Service pay framework, but are no longer a feature of the pay system for most Civil Service organisations.

Heather Wheeler
Assistant Whip
31st Mar 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the Written Statement of 3 February 2021, HCWS756 on Billing Authorities Update, what metrics his Department has used to ensure that the Civil Service Pay Remit guidance 2022 to 2023 rewards hard-working staff fairly.

Pay below the Senior Civil Service is delegated to departments. It is for departments to decide on their pay award and how it is structured in light of their own affordability and priorities including considering any recruitment and retention challenges, and to negotiate with their trade unions. The impact on recruitment and retention should be considered by departments when determining their pay award. The pay remit guidance is a cost control document and allows departments to seek further flexibility for a pay award above the headline award, as demonstrated by recent pay deals in Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs and the Ministry of Justice.

This year’s pay remit guidance is framed by the commitment of this Government to deliver on its extensive agenda that will require reform of the capacity and capability of the Civil Service. It is important that public sector pay awards are affordable, as well as fair to both staff and the taxpayer.

The pay remit guidance considers economic conditions while balancing the need for sustainable public finances. The government will continue to prioritise the lowest paid, and has accepted the Low Pay Commission’s recommendations to increase the National Living Wage by 6.6% to £9.50 per hour from April 2022.

The Cabinet Office publishes summary figures on salaries across the Civil Service as part of the Civil Service Statistics publications. Median salaries by grade and department since 2010 can be found in Table 25 of this publication:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/civil-service-statistics.

The Cabinet Office does not hold complete data on the delegated pay structures across all Departments, such as ‘spine points’. These have previously been part of the Civil Service pay framework, but are no longer a feature of the pay system for most Civil Service organisations.

Heather Wheeler
Assistant Whip
31st Mar 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the Written Statement of 3 February 2021, HCWS756 on Billing Authorities Update, what steps he is taking to measure the impact of the 2 per cent average pay award in the Civil Service Pay Remit guidance 2022 to 2023 on attracting high quality applicants to the Civil Service.

Pay below the Senior Civil Service is delegated to departments. It is for departments to decide on their pay award and how it is structured in light of their own affordability and priorities including considering any recruitment and retention challenges, and to negotiate with their trade unions. The impact on recruitment and retention should be considered by departments when determining their pay award. The pay remit guidance is a cost control document and allows departments to seek further flexibility for a pay award above the headline award, as demonstrated by recent pay deals in Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs and the Ministry of Justice.

This year’s pay remit guidance is framed by the commitment of this Government to deliver on its extensive agenda that will require reform of the capacity and capability of the Civil Service. It is important that public sector pay awards are affordable, as well as fair to both staff and the taxpayer.

The pay remit guidance considers economic conditions while balancing the need for sustainable public finances. The government will continue to prioritise the lowest paid, and has accepted the Low Pay Commission’s recommendations to increase the National Living Wage by 6.6% to £9.50 per hour from April 2022.

The Cabinet Office publishes summary figures on salaries across the Civil Service as part of the Civil Service Statistics publications. Median salaries by grade and department since 2010 can be found in Table 25 of this publication:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/civil-service-statistics.

The Cabinet Office does not hold complete data on the delegated pay structures across all Departments, such as ‘spine points’. These have previously been part of the Civil Service pay framework, but are no longer a feature of the pay system for most Civil Service organisations.

Heather Wheeler
Assistant Whip
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of (a) value for money and (b) supplier performance for each Government contract issued in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

The private sector has played a vital role in the government’s response to the covid-19 outbreak. Being able to procure at speed has been critical in providing the government's response, however we have been clear that all contracts, including those designed to tackle coronavirus issues, must continue to offer quality public services and achieve value for money for taxpayers.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the Government’s policy is on tariffs on goods entering Northern Ireland in the event that the dual UK and EU tariff system is not ready by 1 January 2021.

I refer the hon. Members to the answer given to PQ 71822 answered on 15 July 2020.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many contracts awarded using the exemptions in Regulation 32(2)(c) of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 during the covid-19 outbreak have been published more than 20 days after being awarded.

Details of central government contracts above £10,000 are published on Contracts Finder: https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Search

The Government has rigorous controls in place to challenge spend robustly and ensure that the actions of central government contracting authorities are open, fair and transparent.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the (a) (i) content and (ii) value was of and (b) process was for contracts awarded to (A) Deloitte, (B) KPMG, (C) Serco, (D) Sodexo, (E) Mitie, (F) Boots and (G) Palantir in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

Details of central government contracts above £10,000 are published on Contracts Finder: https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Search

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of the Electoral Commission's recommendations that the May 2020 elections be postponed; and if he will make a statement.

Further to the Written Ministerial Statement HCWS174 which I laid on 19 March 2020, The Government has confirmed local, mayoral and Police and Crime Commissioner elections that were due to take place in May this year will be postponed until May 2021.

The decision was taken following advice from the Government’s medical experts in relation to the response to the Covid-19 virus and the advice of those delivering elections.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the outcomes of funding awards provided by the Future Flight Challenge to date.

The Future Flight challenge has to date supported 48 ambitious R&D projects, committing £32m of funding, most of which is supporting smaller businesses. The evaluation is underway, and we are seeing promising signs such as high levels of industrial support, the creation of skilled jobs and several industry ‘firsts’ being delivered.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what forecast his Department has made of the potential change in the level of individual insolvencies over the next 12 months.

The Department does not produce any official forecasts for individual insolvencies. The Insolvency Service does, however, undertake analysis to assist with operational planning.

Over the last year individual insolvencies have begun returning to levels seen prior to the pandemic and this trend is expected to continue over the next 12 months.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he plans to require energy suppliers to take the burden of increases in wholesale energy price costs when the OFGEM energy price cap announcement takes effect in October 2022.

It is Ofgem’s role, as independent regulator, to set a fair level for the price cap. Legislation sets out that Ofgem must review the level of the cap at least once every 6 months to ensure the cap level appropriately reflects the underlying costs of energy, and the need to ensure that energy suppliers who operate efficiently are able to finance their activities.

The Government has confidence in Ofgem, as the independent regulator of the British gas and electricity markets, to appropriately execute its judgement in this regard.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to mitigate the impact on household budgets of the OFGEM energy price cap announcement due to take effect in October 2022.

The Government is in regular contact with Ofgem and industry to discuss the impact of unprecedented global gas prices and the Government will continue to monitor the situation closely.

The Government are already taking action to support households with rising energy bills. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced a package of support worth £9.1 billion in 2022-23. This includes a £200 rebate for households delivered via their energy bill this autumn, a £150 non-repayable reduction in Council Tax bills for all households in Bands A-D in England and £144 million of discretionary funding for Local Authorities to support households who need support but are not eligible for the Council Tax reduction.

This is in addition to the support Government will continue to provide through the Warm Home Discount Scheme, which this winter is providing over 2 million households a £140 rebate off their energy bill. The Government has also announced that it would be increasing to £150 and help an extra 780,000 households next winter. Further, Winter Fuel Payments and Cold Weather Payments help ensure the most vulnerable are better able to heat their homes over the colder months.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans he has to make an assessment of the impact of the Energy Bills Rebate and Council Tax Rebate ahead of the next OFGEM energy price cap announcement that will take effect in October 2022.

Decisions on the level of the price cap are for Ofgem. The Government is in regular contact with Ofgem and industry to discuss the impact of unprecedented global gas prices and will continue to monitor the situation closely to ensure consumers are protected.

This includes a package of support worth £9.1 billion in 2022-23 which includes a £150 Council Tax rebate for bands A-D, £144 million discretionary funding for local authorities and a £200 energy bill reduction which will help over 28 million households.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
2nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he will take to review the impact of measures undertaken to support the recovery of public houses, within the hospitality sector, from the impact of the covid-19 outbreak.

Since the start of the pandemic I have worked closely with representatives from across the hospitality sector, listening to their concerns and representing their interests across Government. That close working relationship helped shape the Government’s £400 billion package of support for businesses, which included business grants, loans, business rates relief, and VAT discounts.

In July 2021, the Government published a Hospitality Strategy, which aims to support the sector’s post-Covid recovery and create a resilient, dynamic, innovative, and green sector that plays a leading role in local communities, high streets and city centres across the country.

BEIS officials and I continue to work closely with the sector, including through the newly-established Hospitality Sector Council, to address current challenges and help it improve its resilience against future challenges.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
2nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to specifically support the recovery of public houses, within the hospitality sector, from the impact of the covid-19 outbreak.

In response to the pandemic, we put in place one of the world’s most comprehensive economic responses worth £400 billion, including business grants, loans, business rates relief, and VAT discounts.

This Department has also published a comprehensive strategy to help the wider hospitality sector recover. The Hospitality Strategy focuses on domestic solutions to support the sector’s recovery post-Covid and we aim to build on the sector’s strengths and address its challenges to create a resilient, dynamic, innovative, and green sector which plays a leading role in local communities, high streets and city centres across the country.

The recently established Hospitality Sector Council (HSC) has also been set up to support delivery of the commitments set out in the Hospitality Strategy and identify wider measures to improve the resilience of the sector.

Officials in the Department and I continue to speak regularly with representatives from across the hospitality sector so that we can understand the challenges they face and work with them to boost demand and enabling businesses to trade more flexibly.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what additional support is being offered to small businesses to deal with the rise in energy prices.

The Government’s priority is to ensure costs are managed and supplies of energy are maintained. The Secretary of State is in regular contact with the energy industry and Ofgem to manage the impact of high global gas prices and will continue to monitor the situation closely.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate his Department has made of number of households currently in fuel poverty in (a) Cynon Valley constituency and (b) Rhondda Cynon Taff local authority.

Fuel poverty is a devolved matter and different metrics of fuel poverty are used in the Devolved Administrations.

BEIS has responsibility for the measurement of fuel poverty in England therefore no estimate has been made by BEIS on levels of fuel poverty in the Cynon Valley constituency or the Rhondda Cynon Taff local authority in Wales. Such estimates are managed by the Welsh Government.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate his Department has made of number of additional households likely to enter fuel poverty as a result of OFGEM decision to raise the price cap by £693 to £1971 in (a) Cynon Valley constituency and (b) Rhondda Cynon Taff local authority.

Fuel poverty is a devolved matter and different metrics of fuel poverty are used in the Devolved Administrations. BEIS has responsibility for the measurement of fuel poverty in England, therefore no estimate has been made by BEIS on levels of fuel poverty in the Cynon Valley constituency or the Rhondda Cynon Taff local authority in Wales. Such estimates are managed by the Welsh Government.

The Government is committed to protecting customers from price spikes, particularly vulnerable customers. The Warm Home Discount, Winter Fuel Payment and Cold Weather Payment help ensure the most vulnerable are better able to heat their homes over the colder months. Energy efficiency support is also available through programmes such as the Energy Company Obligation Scheme. Additionally, households in Great Britain will receive a £200 cash rebate on their energy costs from October.

The Energy Price Cap will remain in place at least till the end of 2022 to ensure millions of customers pay a fair price for their energy.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to prevent rural post office closures.

The Government is committed to ensuring that everyone in the country can access essential services via the Post Office conveniently and locally. The Government continues to safeguard the Post Office network and protect existing rural services through the access criteria that Government sets.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many (a) existing and (b) former recipients of the mineworkers’ pension scheme live in (i) Cynon Valley, (ii) Rhonda Cynon Taf, and (iii) Wales.

The mineworkers’ pension scheme is not administered by the Government but by the Scheme Trustees. The Department does not, therefore, hold this information and such requests should be made to the Trustees.

However, I understand that the Trustees have already provided some information on scheme membership, including post codes, to the House of Commons Library. The Library should therefore be able to provide the information sought for existing scheme members.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
6th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the capacity of UK textiles manufacturers to produce face masks on a large scale in the event that the Government requires the general public to wear non-medical face masks during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government are in contact with various UK manufacturers and business representative organisations regarding support to boost the availability of non-surgical face masks.

The Government welcomes efforts by manufacturers who are pivoting their businesses to producing non-surgical face masks.

Additionally, Lord Deighton is leading the national effort to produce essential personal protective equipment for frontline health and social care staff. These efforts will support smaller companies to scale-up their engineering , thereby increasing their contribution to the supply chain.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
20th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what role the Welsh Government will have in the determination of future funding arrangements of S4C and BBC Radio Cymru, in the context of her statement of 16 January 2022 that the most recent licence fee announcement will be the last.

The Government has committed to maintain the current licence fee funding model for the duration of this eleven year Charter period, until 2027.

We will be reviewing the licence fee funding model well in advance of the next Charter period.

The UK Government has a strong record of demonstrating its commitment to minority language broadcasting to ensure that our broadcasting sector services all audiences of the UK nations and regions.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of connectivity and broadband speeds in (a) Cynon Valley constituency, (b) Rhondda Cynon Taf and (c) Wales.

Current superfast broadband coverage in Cynon Valley constituency is 98% of premises and in Rhondda Cynon Taf it is 98.5%. Coverage in Wales is 95.2%. Further detail on broadband availability is set out in the table below.

The government is now working with the Welsh Government on ensuring progress as quickly as possible to provide access to gigabit-capable connectivity. The government expects that the private sector will provide gigabit connectivity to 80% of the country by 2025 and to support this, the government will continue to work to remove barriers to deployment. The government will also undertake procurement projects under Project Gigabit with public funding to add to this coverage. We are targeting a minimum of 85% gigabit-capable coverage by 2025 but will seek to accelerate rollout further to get as close to 100% as possible.

22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what quantity of waste was exported by the UK in each of the last five years; and what the cost was of exporting that waste.

The total volume and value of waste exported from the UK in the past five years for which there is currently complete data[1] is presented in the table below. Defra does not hold information on the costs associated with exporting waste.

The vast majority of waste exported from the UK is sent for recycling or energy recovery. Exports of waste from the UK for disposal are generally prohibited, apart from in exceptional circumstances where the UK does not have the specialist disposal facilities needed.

UK Waste Exports (tonnes)

Year

Exports for recycling (HMRC trade data)

RDF/SRF[2] exports (Basel Convention National Reporting)

Exports for disposal (Basel Convention National Reporting)

Total quantity (tonnes)

Value (£)

2019

11,373,916

2,490,693

3,609

13,868,218

5,995,868,342

2018

15,843,470

3,365,815

4,281

19,213,566

6,417,928,617

2017

16,431,888

3,470,729

2,117

19,904,734

6,336,497,335

2016

16,265,212

3,543,692

9,446

19,818,350

5,135,146,164

2015

15,294,976

3,354,858

4,260

18,654,094

4,732,206,009

Sources: HMRC trade data and Basel Convention National Reporting

[1] Defra does not have complete data on UK waste exports for 2020 as the Basel Convention National Report is collated at the end of each year for the previous calendar year.

[2] Refuse Derived Fuel / Solid Recovered Fuel

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to reduce plastic waste.

The Government's 25 Year Environment Plan sets out our ambition to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste. We are making great strides to tackle plastic pollution across the country. In December 2018 we published the Resources and Waste Strategy, which sets out how we want to achieve this and move towards a circular economy and keep resources in the system for as long as possible.

In October 2020, we introduced measures to restrict the supply of plastic straws, plastic drink stirrers, and plastic-stemmed cotton buds. The single-use carrier bag charge, which has led to a 95% reduction in the use of single-use carrier bags by the main supermarkets, has been increased to 10p and extended to all retailers to encourage customers to bring their own bags to carry shopping and reduce the volumes of single-use plastic being used.

We are also currently in the process of preparing a public consultation on banning single-use plastic plates, cutlery, balloon sticks and expanded polystyrene food and drinks containers, and we will continue to review the latest evidence on problematic products and/ or materials to take a systematic approach to reducing the use of unnecessary single-use plastic products. Moreover, at Budget 2020 the Chancellor announced the tax on plastic packaging of £200 per tonne for plastic packaging with less than 30% recycled content, effective from April 2022.

Our Environment Bill will enable us to significantly change the way that we manage our waste and take forward a number of the proposals from the Resources and Waste Strategy. The Bill will include powers to create Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) schemes; introduce Deposit Return Schemes (DRS); establish greater consistency in the recycling system; better control the export of plastic waste; and give us the power to set new charges for other single-use plastic items. Our consultations on an EPR scheme for packaging and a DRS for drinks containers closed on 4 June and our consultation on our proposals for consistency in the recycling system in England closed on 4 July. More details can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/environment/waste-and-recycling.

The Government has put together a package of nearly £100 million for research and innovation to tackle the issues that arise from plastic waste. £38 million was set aside through the Plastics Research and Innovation Fund, the last funding competition of which opened in June 2020. The Resource Action Fund included £10 million specifically to pioneer innovative approaches to boosting recycling and reducing litter. The Government has also announced £60 million of funding through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, alongside a £150 million investment from industry, towards the development of smart, sustainable plastic packaging (SSPP), which will aim to make the UK a world leader in sustainable packaging for consumer products. Two SSPP funding opportunities have been open for bids in 2021: the SSPP Demonstrator Round 2 and the SSPP business-led research and development competition.

Science estimates that the annual plastic flow into the ocean will triple between 2016 and 2040. Due to the scale of the marine litter challenge the UK believes it is time to start negotiating a new global agreement on marine plastic litter and microplastics at the United Nations Environment Assembly. A new global agreement would build upon the important work we are doing to tackle marine litter both domestically and internationally and support our commitments to eliminate plastic entering the ocean.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the incineration of waste on the Government’s climate objectives.

Incineration of fossil derived waste is a contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Total greenhouse gas emissions from waste incineration accounted for around 1.4% (6.47 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent) of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2019. Of this, about 6.19 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent was emitted from Energy from Waste plants. It is clear that we will need to reduce that impact. That is why the Government continues to take action, including through our Environment Bill measures, to reduce, re-use and recycle more of our waste and to move to a circular economy.

In assessing the effect of waste incineration on meeting climate objectives and deciding on what further action is needed, the Government is considering the recommendations of the independent Climate Change Committee. Defra is also seeking to strengthen its own evidence base around the environmental impacts of managing residual waste including incineration of municipal waste. This information will be taken into account in the Government’s assessment of the future infrastructure needed for treating residual waste, to be published over coming months, and will inform direction setting to meet our climate goals.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the proportion of the UK Fishing Quota that is used by companies headquartered (a) in the UK, (b) in the EU and (c) elsewhere in the world.

UK quota is only allocated to vessels registered and licensed in the UK. This is predominantly done using Fixed Quota Allocation (FQA) units.

The FQA register contains a publicly available list of the companies and individuals who hold these FQA units. This is available on the GOV.UK website.

No assessment has been carried out regarding where these companies are headquartered.

Regardless of where their headquarters are located, all vessels to which UK quota is allocated must comply with all UK fisheries rules including the economic link condition.

The economic link ensures that the UK accrues benefit from UK quota. It requires all UK-registered vessels, including those that are foreign owned, to provide genuine economic benefits to those communities in the UK that are dependent on fisheries and fisheries related industries.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent estimate he has made of the number of hours spent by supertrawlers in protected areas of UK waters in each of the last five years.

The information requested is not held centrally and to obtain it would incur disproportionate costs.

Our Fisheries Bill prohibits any commercial fishing vessel from operating in UK waters without a licence. It also provides powers to attach conditions (such as the areas that can be fished, species that can be caught and the type of fishing gear that can be used) to fishing vessel licences. Foreign vessels operating in UK waters will have to follow UK rules, including the conditions that are attached to their commercial fishing licence.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of mandating Departments to undertake animal welfare impact assessments on policy that potentially affects sentient species.

The Government has committed to bringing in new laws on animal sentience. Any necessary changes required to domestic legislation will be made in a rigorous and comprehensive way after the transition period and will be brought forward when Parliamentary time allows. Defra is currently assessing how best to support Government departments in considering the welfare needs of sentient animals when they are developing and implementing Government policy.

Defra engages with a wide range of stakeholders on a number of animal welfare issues, including animal sentience.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of halting future farm payments to farms which operate caged systems.

The Government will build upon our world-leading animal welfare standards now that we have left the EU. We will do this in part by developing publicly funded schemes for English farmers to provide animal welfare enhancements beyond the regulatory baseline – ones that are valued by the public and not sufficiently provided by the market.

We are currently considering different forms of scheme design. This could include a capital grants scheme for investments that are known to raise welfare and would help farmers move beyond our already world-class baseline standards. It could also include a payment-by-results scheme that makes ongoing payments for demonstrable and evidence-based welfare increases. These could relate to improving animal welfare in relation to confinement (e.g. the use of cages and crates), to the provision of enrichments, to mutilations (e.g. beak trimming and tail docking), and to animals’ ability to exhibit natural behaviours (including behaviours in their right settings).

Animal welfare enhancements will be evidence based, clearly defined, measurable, have positive impacts on animal health and welfare. We will work with industry, retailers and welfare groups and the Animal Welfare Committee as we continue to develop these proposals.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing a legal target to end deforestation by (a) 2025 and (b) 2020 within supply chains for commodities included in the 2015 Amsterdam declaration on deforestation; and if he will make a statement.

Defra has examined the possibility of setting a target aimed at ending deforestation in the UK’s commodity supply chains. Setting a target in law, whether it is aimed at ending imported deforestation in 2020 or in 2025, requires reliable metrics and an established baseline, as well as a robust understanding of any potential perverse incentives that it could create to ensure that impacts are not simply displaced, for example on to other ecosystems. We are working to develop an evidence base to inform the development of a potential future global footprint target.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, if she will publish the value of all arms export licenses to Israel in each year since 2010.

HM Government publishes Official Statistics (on a quarterly and annual basis) for export licences granted, refused and revoked to all destinations on GOV.UK and these reports contain detailed information, including the overall value, the type (e.g. Military, Other), and a summary of the items covered by these licences. The data for 2021 was published on 12th April 2022.

The Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria, was superseded by Strategic Export Licensing Criteria, announced in the Written Statement of 8th December 2021, HCWS449.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
11th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, if she will publish how many arms exports applications to Israel her Department has (a) licensed and (b) rejected in each year since 2010.

HM Government publishes Official Statistics (on a quarterly and annual basis) for export licences granted, refused and revoked to all destinations on GOV.UK and these reports contain detailed information, including the overall value, the type (e.g. Military, Other), and a summary of the items covered by these licences. The data for 2021 was published on 12th April 2022.

The Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria, was superseded by Strategic Export Licensing Criteria, announced in the Written Statement of 8th December 2021, HCWS449.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
11th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, if she will publish for (a) which countries and (b) what reasons her Department has (i) refused to grant and (ii) revoked arms export licenses in accordance with the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria in each year since 2010.

HM Government publishes Official Statistics (on a quarterly and annual basis) for export licences granted, refused and revoked to all destinations on GOV.UK and these reports contain detailed information, including the overall value, the type (e.g. Military, Other), and a summary of the items covered by these licences. The data for 2021 was published on 12th April 2022.

The Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria, was superseded by Strategic Export Licensing Criteria, announced in the Written Statement of 8th December 2021, HCWS449.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
27th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether the UK National Contact Point for the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises has received an update from JC Bamford in response to its recommendation that the company (a) write a statement of policy which should expressly state its commitment to respect human rights and (b) carry out human rights due diligence to assess actual and potential human rights impacts; and if she will publish that information.

The UK National Contact Point (UK NCP) operates independently of the Department for International Trade. In line with its Rules of Procedures and the Final Statement published in November 2021, the UK NCP will request an update from JCB on the implementation of its recommendations in November 2022, which is one year from the date of the publication of its report. The UK NCP will then issue a follow up statement which will also be published on gov.uk.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that the interests of the devolved administrations are adequately represented in UK trade negotiations.

The UK Government is responsible for negotiating international trade agreements on behalf of all the nations in the UK. We work closely with the devolved administrations to inform and develop policy that best reflects this, particularly for areas covering devolved competence such as sanitary and phytosanitary standards and regulatory practice.

Department for International Trade Ministers and officials hold regular discussions with their devolved administration counterparts, to keep them informed of, and seek their views on, developments to the free trade agreement programme.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the potential locations for trial of electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles.

The eVTOL market is a private market, and the scoping for potential locations for trials is for companies in the sector to undertake themselves. The Government will support eVTOL companies to achieve these trials.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department is taking steps to develop the regulation of (a) trials and (b) use of electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles.

The Department for Transport recently explored how current legislation relates to new aircraft such as electric vehicle take-off and landing vehicles (eVTOLs) and found that eVTOLs fit within existing broad legislation.

The Department has recently conducted a consultation on the Future of Flight as part of the Future of Transport regulatory review and supports the Civil Aviation Authority to work with innovators to certify eVTOL aircraft and their uses.

The licensing regulations that apply to the trial and use of eVTOLs are retained EU regulations as amended by an increasing amount of UK law, the Civil Aviation Act 1982, the Aircraft Navigation Order 2016 and the Chicago Convention 1944.

The Department for Transport and the CAA, in conjunction with relevant stakeholders, are continually working on ensuring the right regulatory environment for any new industry requirements that arise.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what licensing regulations apply to the (a) trial and (b) use of electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles.

The Department for Transport recently explored how current legislation relates to new aircraft such as electric vehicle take-off and landing vehicles (eVTOLs) and found that eVTOLs fit within existing broad legislation.

The Department has recently conducted a consultation on the Future of Flight as part of the Future of Transport regulatory review and supports the Civil Aviation Authority to work with innovators to certify eVTOL aircraft and their uses.

The licensing regulations that apply to the trial and use of eVTOLs are retained EU regulations as amended by an increasing amount of UK law, the Civil Aviation Act 1982, the Aircraft Navigation Order 2016 and the Chicago Convention 1944.

The Department for Transport and the CAA, in conjunction with relevant stakeholders, are continually working on ensuring the right regulatory environment for any new industry requirements that arise.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
3rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what data his Department holds on the number of full time equivalent staff employed to (a) process driving licence applications and (b) deal with driving licence application enquiries, including those employed in call centres, by or on behalf of the DVLA in each year since 2010.

Information on the number of driving licence applications awaiting processing is not held by region. The quickest and easiest way to apply for a driving licence is by using the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)’s online service. There are no delays in successful online applications and customers should receive their licence within a few days.

However, many people still choose or have to make a paper application and the DVLA receives around 60,000 items of mail every day. To help reduce waiting times for paper applications, the DVLA has introduced additional online services, recruited more staff, increased overtime working and has secured extra office space in Swansea and at its new customer service centre in Birmingham. These measures are having a positive impact, the number of paper applications awaiting processing has reduced significantly and customers should continue to see an improving picture in terms of waiting times.

Applications where the driver has a medical condition that must be investigated before a licence can be issued will take longer. However, the majority of applicants renewing an existing licence will be able to continue driving while their application is being processed, providing the driver can meet the criteria outlined here.

Since 1 April 2020, the DVLA’s contact centre has recruited and trained 166 staff with 20 more due to join in March and a further 150 being recruited who will start their training between May and July. In addition, the DVLA’s new customer service centres in Swansea and Birmingham have already recruited 181 of up to 300 staff who are being trained to process medical driving licence applications as well as supporting customers who have contacted the DVLA by phone.

Once a caller has been connected to the queue to speak to a DVLA advisor about a driving licence application, the average waiting time over the last six months is shown in the table below.

Month

Waiting time in minutes

February 2022

14.4

January 2022

23.6

December 2021

26.4

November 2021

24.2

October 2021

14.4

September 2021

14.1

It is not possible to provide figures for the number of people specifically working to process driving licence applications and deal with driving licence application enquiries on applications, as most DVLA operational roles require staff members to carry out a range of tasks.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
3rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what data his Department holds on the average telephone contact waiting time for driving licence application enquiries at the DVLA in the last six months.

Information on the number of driving licence applications awaiting processing is not held by region. The quickest and easiest way to apply for a driving licence is by using the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)’s online service. There are no delays in successful online applications and customers should receive their licence within a few days.

However, many people still choose or have to make a paper application and the DVLA receives around 60,000 items of mail every day. To help reduce waiting times for paper applications, the DVLA has introduced additional online services, recruited more staff, increased overtime working and has secured extra office space in Swansea and at its new customer service centre in Birmingham. These measures are having a positive impact, the number of paper applications awaiting processing has reduced significantly and customers should continue to see an improving picture in terms of waiting times.

Applications where the driver has a medical condition that must be investigated before a licence can be issued will take longer. However, the majority of applicants renewing an existing licence will be able to continue driving while their application is being processed, providing the driver can meet the criteria outlined here.

Since 1 April 2020, the DVLA’s contact centre has recruited and trained 166 staff with 20 more due to join in March and a further 150 being recruited who will start their training between May and July. In addition, the DVLA’s new customer service centres in Swansea and Birmingham have already recruited 181 of up to 300 staff who are being trained to process medical driving licence applications as well as supporting customers who have contacted the DVLA by phone.

Once a caller has been connected to the queue to speak to a DVLA advisor about a driving licence application, the average waiting time over the last six months is shown in the table below.

Month

Waiting time in minutes

February 2022

14.4

January 2022

23.6

December 2021

26.4

November 2021

24.2

October 2021

14.4

September 2021

14.1

It is not possible to provide figures for the number of people specifically working to process driving licence applications and deal with driving licence application enquiries on applications, as most DVLA operational roles require staff members to carry out a range of tasks.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
3rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to reduce the delays in processing driving licence applications at the DVLA.

Information on the number of driving licence applications awaiting processing is not held by region. The quickest and easiest way to apply for a driving licence is by using the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)’s online service. There are no delays in successful online applications and customers should receive their licence within a few days.

However, many people still choose or have to make a paper application and the DVLA receives around 60,000 items of mail every day. To help reduce waiting times for paper applications, the DVLA has introduced additional online services, recruited more staff, increased overtime working and has secured extra office space in Swansea and at its new customer service centre in Birmingham. These measures are having a positive impact, the number of paper applications awaiting processing has reduced significantly and customers should continue to see an improving picture in terms of waiting times.

Applications where the driver has a medical condition that must be investigated before a licence can be issued will take longer. However, the majority of applicants renewing an existing licence will be able to continue driving while their application is being processed, providing the driver can meet the criteria outlined here.

Since 1 April 2020, the DVLA’s contact centre has recruited and trained 166 staff with 20 more due to join in March and a further 150 being recruited who will start their training between May and July. In addition, the DVLA’s new customer service centres in Swansea and Birmingham have already recruited 181 of up to 300 staff who are being trained to process medical driving licence applications as well as supporting customers who have contacted the DVLA by phone.

Once a caller has been connected to the queue to speak to a DVLA advisor about a driving licence application, the average waiting time over the last six months is shown in the table below.

Month

Waiting time in minutes

February 2022

14.4

January 2022

23.6

December 2021

26.4

November 2021

24.2

October 2021

14.4

September 2021

14.1

It is not possible to provide figures for the number of people specifically working to process driving licence applications and deal with driving licence application enquiries on applications, as most DVLA operational roles require staff members to carry out a range of tasks.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
3rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what data his Department holds on the number of driving licence applications currently awaiting processing from applicants in (a) Cynon Valley constituency and (b) Rhondda Cynon Taff local authority.

Information on the number of driving licence applications awaiting processing is not held by region. The quickest and easiest way to apply for a driving licence is by using the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)’s online service. There are no delays in successful online applications and customers should receive their licence within a few days.

However, many people still choose or have to make a paper application and the DVLA receives around 60,000 items of mail every day. To help reduce waiting times for paper applications, the DVLA has introduced additional online services, recruited more staff, increased overtime working and has secured extra office space in Swansea and at its new customer service centre in Birmingham. These measures are having a positive impact, the number of paper applications awaiting processing has reduced significantly and customers should continue to see an improving picture in terms of waiting times.

Applications where the driver has a medical condition that must be investigated before a licence can be issued will take longer. However, the majority of applicants renewing an existing licence will be able to continue driving while their application is being processed, providing the driver can meet the criteria outlined here.

Since 1 April 2020, the DVLA’s contact centre has recruited and trained 166 staff with 20 more due to join in March and a further 150 being recruited who will start their training between May and July. In addition, the DVLA’s new customer service centres in Swansea and Birmingham have already recruited 181 of up to 300 staff who are being trained to process medical driving licence applications as well as supporting customers who have contacted the DVLA by phone.

Once a caller has been connected to the queue to speak to a DVLA advisor about a driving licence application, the average waiting time over the last six months is shown in the table below.

Month

Waiting time in minutes

February 2022

14.4

January 2022

23.6

December 2021

26.4

November 2021

24.2

October 2021

14.4

September 2021

14.1

It is not possible to provide figures for the number of people specifically working to process driving licence applications and deal with driving licence application enquiries on applications, as most DVLA operational roles require staff members to carry out a range of tasks.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency is taking to protect the safety of staff in the Swansea office from covid-19.

The safety and welfare of Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) staff is of paramount importance as it has been throughout the pandemic. Extensive measures are in place to support the safety and wellbeing of staff and information on the services available to staff is regularly communicated.

The DVLA has invested £5.7 million in making its offices as Covid secure as possible. The DVLA has carried out risk assessments on the estate, individual risk assessments for staff and regular lateral flow tests are offered to all staff working on site. Social distancing measures are in place, as are one-way systems, temperature checking, increased signage and communications for regular and thorough hand-washing. Personal protective equipment is also available to staff where appropriate.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the inclusion of (a) international aviation and (b) shipping emissions in the Sixth Carbon Budget.

Ministers have regular discussions about our ambitions for the Sixth Carbon Budget and net zero target.

International aviation and shipping emissions are a global issue that require a global solution. Aviation and shipping have a crucial role to play in reaching net zero emissions globally, which is why the UK is leading the way to develop measures at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

This globally-coordinated, sector-based approach reflects the highly mobile nature of carbon emissions from these sectors and the risk that carbon emissions are simply moved to other jurisdictions in response to individual states taking unilateral action. We have not ruled out including international aviation and shipping emissions in legislation at a later date, subject to progress at the IMO and ICAO.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the effect on the economy of potential industrial action at Heathrow Airport.

The Government does not comment or speculate on future industrial action.

Employers should always treat employees fairly and in a spirit of partnership. When considering workforce restructures as a result of the on-going impacts of COVID-19 we encourage employers across the sector to continue to approach this issue with a sensitivity and professionalism that reflects the hard work and dedication of their employees, openly engaging with their workforce and unions in a transparent and consultative way.

The Government recognises that, despite the measures we have put in place to protect the economy, there remain serious challenges for the aviation sector and for the communities that serve them. We are focused on restarting the sector, and companies have access to a range of unprecedented government financial support.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of the proposals in the Unite the Union report entitled UK Aviation: Flying into the Future; and if he will make a statement.

The aviation sector is important to the UK economy and the government recognises the challenging times facing the sector?as a result of?COVID-19. The Department for Transport has kept an open dialogue with the aviation sector including unions, through engagement on both Ministerial and official levels.

Unite are members of the Department’s International Aviation Taskforce’s industry Expert Steering Group, established to bring together all interested parties to co-produce solutions to the issues facing the sector. The Group are best placed to identify and support what practical steps are required to restart the industry, as well as to consider what longer term steps are required to full-sector recovery.

12th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the potential merits of introducing a maximum duration for payment of debt through deductions to social security before the debt is written off.

The Secretary of State has an obligation to protect public funds and to ensure that, wherever possible, benefit overpayments are recovered. However, we recognise the importance of safeguarding the welfare of claimants who have incurred benefit debt and our over-arching policy is that all repayment plans should be affordable and sustainable.

Regulations protect claimants from excessive deductions, which could lead to financial difficulty and our deductions follow a strict priority order, which ensure claimants avoid the consequences of not paying third party debts whilst also ensuring social obligations are met. Universal Credit is subject to a deduction cap of 25% of the standard allowance. We encourage anyone unable to afford the proposed rate of repayment to contact Debt Management so that we can consider temporarily lowering the rate.

We remain committed to Her Majesty’s Treasury’s Beathing Space policy, which provides those with problem debt the right to legal protections from creditor action for a period of 60 days to enable them to receive debt advice and enter into an appropriate debt solution.

Other than recovery by Civil Action in the courts, there are no time limits for recovery of a benefit debt. While the policy is to consider abandoning some debts based on the cost effectiveness of pursuing recovery, the legal right to recover does not expire in England and Wales, and DWP retains the right to recover the debt where it is cost effective to do so.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department has taken to ensure that individuals who face deductions from social security payments can afford them.

The Secretary of State has an obligation to protect public funds and to ensure that, wherever possible, benefit overpayments are recovered. However, we recognise the importance of safeguarding the welfare of claimants who have incurred benefit debt and our over-arching policy is that all repayment plans should be affordable and sustainable.

Regulations protect claimants from excessive deductions, which could lead to financial difficulty and our deductions follow a strict priority order, which ensure claimants avoid the consequences of not paying third party debts whilst also ensuring social obligations are met. Universal Credit is subject to a deduction cap of 25% of the standard allowance. We encourage anyone unable to afford the proposed rate of repayment to contact Debt Management so that we can consider temporarily lowering the rate.

We remain committed to Her Majesty’s Treasury’s Beathing Space policy, which provides those with problem debt the right to legal protections from creditor action for a period of 60 days to enable them to receive debt advice and enter into an appropriate debt solution.

Other than recovery by Civil Action in the courts, there are no time limits for recovery of a benefit debt. While the policy is to consider abandoning some debts based on the cost effectiveness of pursuing recovery, the legal right to recover does not expire in England and Wales, and DWP retains the right to recover the debt where it is cost effective to do so.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many recipients of legacy benefits in Cynon Valley constituency are holders of historical tax credit overpayments.

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

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, for what reasons deductions are made from recipients' (a) universal credit and (b) other social benefit payments; and what the total value was of those deductions by those reason categories, nationally, in each month in the last 12 months.

Deductions from benefit can be taken for a number of reasons, such as repayment of benefit overpayments or to cover the cost of an advance; deductions are also made to ensure claimants avoid the consequences of not paying priority debts, for example: eviction; and ensuring social obligations are met, such as child maintenance payments or court fines.

We reduced the normal maximum rate of deductions in Universal Credit from 40% to 30% to 25% of a claimant’s Standard Allowance enabling them to retain more of the award. These changes were implemented from October 2019 to April 2021. These positive measures were put in place to support claimants to manage financial difficulties.

For benefit overpayments, protocols are in place to ensure deductions are manageable and customers can contact DWP Debt Management if they are experiencing financial hardship to discuss a reduction in their rate of repayment, or a temporary suspension, depending on financial circumstances. We encourage anyone unable to afford the proposed rate of overpayment recovery to contact Debt Management - all notifications advise how to get in touch. We seek to do as much as we are able to support claimants through the recovery of their overpayments.

Information for third party deductions in Working Age legacy benefits and Pension Credit is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

The available information is provided in the attached spreadsheet.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant of the Answer of 5 April 2022 to Question 149408, whether the Equality Impact Assessments conducted took into account staff employed by other companies, such as those contracted by her Department to carry out facilities management functions, at the sites affected.

As part of the Workplace Transformation an assessment will be made for each individual site. Should this indicate any supplier staff reductions, our contractors have advised they would seek to redeploy across the network of their respective organisations first and seek to mitigate against any impact.

The Department is fully compliant in its duties under section 149 of the Equality Act 2010. To understand the potential impact of changes to our estate, both for DWP employees and people using its services, Equality Analyses have been carried out for sites planned to close or relocate. The Equality Analyses do not cover colleagues who are not employed directly by DWP.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Written Statement of 18 March 2022, HCWS700 and the statement relating to no plans to reduce headcount, what discussions she has had with contractors that employ ancillary and facilities management staff on the affected sites about measures to avoid reductions of staff employed by those companies.

As part of the Workplace Transformation an assessment will be made for each individual site. Should this indicate any supplier staff reductions, our contractors have advised they would seek to redeploy across the network of their respective organisations first and seek to mitigate against any impact.

The Department is fully compliant in its duties under section 149 of the Equality Act 2010. To understand the potential impact of changes to our estate, both for DWP employees and people using its services, Equality Analyses have been carried out for sites planned to close or relocate. The Equality Analyses do not cover colleagues who are not employed directly by DWP.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the potential merits of amending the eligibility criteria for Carer’s Allowance for people who are claiming other social security benefits, including state retirement pension.

There are already circumstances in which people can receive Carer’s Allowance and other benefits. For example, around 239,000 carer households on Universal Credit receive both the Carer Element (worth around an additional £2,000 a year) and Carer’s Allowance.

Specifically on pensioner carers, although there is no upper age limit to claiming Carer’s Allowance, it cannot normally be paid with the State Pension. It has been a long held feature of the UK’s benefit system, under successive Governments, that where someone is entitled to two benefits for the same contingency, then whilst there may be entitlement to both benefits, only one will be paid to avoid duplication for the same need. Although entitlement to State Pension and Carer’s Allowance arise in different circumstances they are nevertheless designed for the same contingency – as an income replacement. Carer’s Allowance replaces income where the carer has given up the opportunity of full-time employment in order to care for a severely disabled person, while State Pension replaces income in retirement. For this reason, social security rules operate to prevent them being paid together, to avoid duplicate provision for the same need.

However, if a carer’s State Pension is less than Carer's Allowance, State Pension is paid and topped up with Carer's Allowance to the basic weekly rate of Carer's Allowance which is currently £69.70.

Where Carer’s Allowance cannot be paid, the person will keep underlying entitlement to the benefit. This gives access to the additional amount for carers in Pension Credit of £38.85 a week and potentially other means-tested support. Around 118,000 people are receiving the Carer Premium with their Pension Credit. And even if a pensioner’s income is above the limit for Pension Credit, they may still be able to receive Housing Benefit.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
31st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of temporarily pausing deductions from benefits to repay Government debt, such as benefit overpayments.

DWP currently have no plans to suspend benefit debt deductions.

DWP makes every effort to avoid the overpayment of benefits. Where overpayments do occur, we have a duty to recover them as quickly and efficiently as possible, but without causing hardship to those making repayments.

We have a well-established process to support anyone experiencing financial hardship and actively encourage people in this position to contact the Department’s Debt Management Team. Our agents will always look to negotiate an affordable and sustainable repayment plan. There is no limit on the number of times a person can request a change to their repayment rate. In exceptional cases a temporary suspension of recovery may be agreed.

It may be possible to waive recovery, if very specific and compelling grounds apply, such as where there is evidence that the recovery of the overpayment has a particularly detrimental impact on the health and/or welfare of the individual or their family. These rare cases must meet HM Treasury’s Managing Public Money guidance.

DWP remains committed to Her Majesty’s Treasury’s Beathing Space policy, which provides those with problem debt the right to legal protections from creditor action for a period of 60 days in order to enable them to receive debt advice and enter into an appropriate debt solution

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
31st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she plans to make an assessment of the potential merits of extending eligibility for carer’s allowance to include people to who are claiming other social security benefits including state retirement pension.

There are already circumstances in which people can receive Carer’s Allowance and other benefits. For example, around 239,000 carer households on Universal Credit receive both the Carer Element (worth around an additional £2,000 a year) and Carer’s Allowance.

Specifically on pensioner carers, although there is no upper age limit to claiming Carer’s Allowance, it cannot normally be paid with the State Pension. It has been a long held feature of the UK’s benefit system, under successive Governments, that where someone is entitled to two benefits for the same contingency, then whilst there may be entitlement to both benefits, only one will be paid to avoid duplication for the same need. Although entitlement to State Pension and Carer’s Allowance arise in different circumstances they are nevertheless designed for the same contingency – as an income replacement. Carer’s Allowance replaces income where the carer has given up the opportunity of full-time employment in order to care for a severely disabled person, while State Pension replaces income in retirement. For this reason, social security rules operate to prevent them being paid together, to avoid duplicate provision for the same need.

However, if a carer’s State Pension is less than Carer's Allowance, State Pension is paid and topped up with Carer's Allowance to the basic weekly rate of Carer's Allowance which is currently £69.70.

Where Carer’s Allowance cannot be paid, the person will keep underlying entitlement to the benefit. This gives access to the additional amount for carers in Pension Credit of £38.85 a week and potentially other means-tested support. Around 118,000 people are receiving the Carer Premium with their Pension Credit. And even if a pensioner’s income is above the limit for Pension Credit, they may still be able to receive Housing Benefit.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
31st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans she has to reform the assessment processes for Employment Support Allowance, Universal Credit Limited Capability for Work and Personal Independence Payment.

In the Health and Disability Green Paper we put forward a number of proposals for reforming health assessments. We received over 4,500 responses to the consultation and we will bring forward detailed proposals in a White Paper later this year.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the oral contribution of 17 March 2022 of the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Official Report, column 1032, and the statement that 12,000 people will be moving from one site to another that is in close proximity, what assessment her Department has made of the accessibility by public transport of new locations for affected staff.

When considering planning moves from one location to another, the Department use postcode mapping and calculate average travel times by car and public transport.

There may be colleagues that are not be able to travel to the new location, but that work will be picked up as part of the one-to-one process.

Should the one-to-one process identify any colleagues unable to move with their role to another location where this is identified, redeployment to an alternative role and location within DWP or other Government Departments will be the priority.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the oral contribution of the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State of 17 March 2022, Official Report, column 1032, and the statement that 1,300 people could be involved at sites where there is no other strategic site nearby, if she will make it her policy that no staff will face redundancy.

The Departments priority will be to retain, retrain, and redeploy staff either within DWP, or within other Government Departments in the area before redundancies will be considered. We are making every effort to fully support our staff through this process, and communicating the change with our staff is our priority.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the oral contribution of 17 March 2022 of the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Official Report, column 1032, and the statement that 12,000 people will be moving from one site to another that is in close proximity, what estimate she has made of the greatest additional distance that a staff member may be required to travel to a new place of work.

No one will be required to travel outside existing DWP mobility guidelines, although people may choose to do this if they so wish. This will be covered in the one-to-one process.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Written Statement of 18 March 2022, HCWS700 and the statement relating to no plans to reduce headcount, whether affected staff will be offered an equivalent role they can reasonably be expected to accept.

This is not about reducing headcount. The Department’s priority will be retain and retrain colleagues and redeploy them either within DWP, or within other Government Departments in the area. Colleagues will be invited to individual one-to-one discussions with their local leaders, where their circumstances can be considered and any concerns addressed.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Written Statement of 18 March 2022, HCWS700 and the statement relating to no plans to reduce headcount, whether agreement has been reached with the PCS union on guaranteeing ongoing equivalent employment for staff affected.

The Department continues to engage with the PCS union. The priority of the Department is to retain, retrain and redeploy staff to DWP offices and other Government Departments in the area to avoid redundancies.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Written Statement of 18 March 2022, HCWS700 and the statement relating to no plans to reduce headcount, what her Department's policy is on redundancy for staff who may be unable to relocate.

As a responsible employer, we will make provision for redundancies if it is necessary. However, this will be a very last resort after all efforts to retain, retrain and redeploy colleagues, either within DWP or other Government Departments in the area, have been exhausted. We are making every effort to fully support our staff through this process, and communicating the change with our staff is our priority.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Written Statement of 18 March 2022, HCWS700 and the statement relating to no plans to reduce headcount, what equality impact assessment has been conducted with regard to local communities facing proposed office closures.

A full Equality Assessment has been completed which considers the impact on colleagues. Separately, the planning of an office closure includes consideration of factors including the ‘Index of Multiple Deprivation’ for each location, which considers many factors, including:

  • Income Deprivation
  • Employment Deprivation
  • Education, Skills and Training Deprivation
  • Health Deprivation and Disability
  • Crime
  • Barriers to Housing and Services
  • Living Environment Deprivation
Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to (a) monitor and (b) encourage the take-up of social security benefits by people who are entitled to them.

The Department works hard to ensure that people are in receipt of their full entitlement, communicating with the public about benefits through paid advertising, stakeholder and employer engagement and no cost campaigns to help people understand their entitlement and the support we can provide as a safety net and in times of need. We have made additional use of digital media such as YouTube videos, particularly British Sign Language videos to widely promote DWP benefits.

DWP staff in Jobcentres provide support and advice about entitlement to benefits and will signpost citizens to appropriate information to help them. The Department provides telephone service lines that citizens can call to make their claims to benefit and to operate their claims as well as a visiting service which can help vulnerable customers with their claims. Jobcentres have internet terminals for use by the public, and staff will signpost citizens to other community resources (libraries and Citizens Advice) which can also provide advice and internet access points.

The Government’s website, GOV.UK provides guidance on individual’s rights and entitlements to benefits in the UK. In particular, the website provides links to independent benefits calculators that can be used to find out what benefits an individual could get, how to claim and how these benefits will be affected if an individual starts work.

https://www.gov.uk/benefits-calculators

The independent benefits calculators we endorse are intended to provide useful estimations of what people could be entitled to in certain circumstances, based on the information that is entered on the calculators themselves.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
4th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will publish her Department's assessment of the impact of social security sanctions on the mental health of recipients.

The Department have made no assessment of the impact of social security sanctions on the mental health of recipients. The Department supports research on a range of areas and will consider each project or application on its merit.

Sanctions are only applied where a claimant fails to comply with a mandatory requirement set out in their claimant commitment such as a failure to attend an appointment. When considering whether a sanction is appropriate, a Decision Maker will take all the claimant’s individual circumstances, including any health conditions or disabilities and any evidence of good reason, into account before deciding whether a sanction is warranted.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
4th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether her Department is taking steps to support academic research on the impact of social security sanctions on the mental health of recipients.

The Department have made no assessment of the impact of social security sanctions on the mental health of recipients. The Department supports research on a range of areas and will consider each project or application on its merit.

Sanctions are only applied where a claimant fails to comply with a mandatory requirement set out in their claimant commitment such as a failure to attend an appointment. When considering whether a sanction is appropriate, a Decision Maker will take all the claimant’s individual circumstances, including any health conditions or disabilities and any evidence of good reason, into account before deciding whether a sanction is warranted.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
3rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether people claiming legacy benefits face limitations on time they may spend volunteering, whilst they meet the conditions for receiving their payments.

There are no limitations on the amount of time that people claiming legacy benefits (Employment Support Allowance, Income Support and Income Related Jobseekers Allowance) can spend volunteering providing they meet the conditions for receiving their benefit payments, which may include giving up voluntary work to take up paid employment. We appreciate how volunteering can help claimants develop skills necessary to progress into paid employment, as well as boost confidence, and provide more workplace experience to add to their CV.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
3rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what alternatives are available to universal credit claimants who do not have the currently requested identity documents to make and verify their claims.

Claimants can verify their identity in several ways, including online using the Government Gateway service or GOV.UK and by providing documentary evidence of their identity when they attend their Initial Evidence Interview.

If a claimant does not have documentary evidence we can verify their identity by biographical tests and checks, using information held on the Department’s systems, by the confirmation of third party organisations and by two members of the Jobcentre staff knowing and recognising the claimant as part of their work.

In addition, the Flexible Support Fund can be used to support the claimant obtain new identity documents in the form of duplicate driving licences, birth certificates etc, and can help with opening new bank accounts if necessary.

Universal Credit guidance is routinely placed in the House of Commons library and it is updated at regular intervals. This guidance covers the different ways a claimant might verify their identity.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what is the annual cost to the public purse of the housing costs element of Universal Credit in Wales, by (a) tenure and (b) a claimant's bedroom entitlement.

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

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to (a) encourage disabled people to consider volunteering opportunities and (b) promote awareness of volunteering opportunities for people in receipt of social security payments.

DWP recognises the value of voluntary activity both in developing skills which can be transferred into the world of paid work and in terms of benefits for local communities and the wider society. Claimants may be encouraged to consider voluntary work opportunities if it would help them move closer to work. Claimants need to manage combining voluntary activity with other work-related activities. This will give them the best chance of moving into sustainable work more quickly.

In addition, a range of tailored initiatives are supporting disabled people and people with health conditions to move into employment. These include the Work and Health Programme, Intensive Personalised Employment Support programme, and support in partnership with the health system, including Employment Advisers in NHS Improving Access to Psychological Therapy services. In Jobcentre Plus, both Work Coaches and Disability Employment Advisers can discuss volunteering opportunities based on the needs of the individual and drawing on local knowledge.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she has made an assessment of the potential merits of suspending the rule stopping personal independence payment, disability living allowance and attendance allowance after a 28 day stay in hospital during the covid-19 pandemic.

We have no plans to change these rules. Once someone is discharged from hospital, payment of these benefits recommences from the date of discharge.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether it is her Department's policy that claimants with verified progressive neurological conditions can be exempted from health-related social security medical assessments.

Awards of the health and disability related benefits are not made based on a person’s condition or diagnosis but rather on how their condition limits their abilities. People can have very differing circumstances so we have developed assessments which are designed to measure the impact of a person’s health condition or disability on their work-related or daily living needs, including the level at which they should be paid.

In Sept 2017 the Department introduced Severe Conditions Criteria (SCC) for Employment and Support Allowance and the health component of Universal Credit. This stops unnecessary reassessments for those with the most severe and lifelong conditions. In 2018, we introduced new guidance on Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessments which ensures that claimants on the highest level of support whose needs will not improve receive an ongoing award of PIP with a light touch review at the 10-year point.

Where a claimant is nearing the end of their life they are able to claim benefits under the Special Rules for Terminal illness (SRTI). The SRTI provide access to benefit without waiting periods. Awards are made on the basis of a paper-based assessment and claimants usually receive the highest rates of benefit. The Department announced that it would replace the current 6-month rule for determining eligibility for the Special Rules for Terminal Illness with a 12-month, end of life approach.

The Shaping Future Support: Health and Disability Green Paper published 20th July 2021, explored the possibility of testing a new Severe Disability Group for those with severe and lifelong conditions to access ESA/UC and PIP. This could simplify the process by removing the need for a long form or a face-to-face assessment for this group and build on existing provision such as Severe Conditions and Special Rules for Terminal Illness.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate her Department has made of the average response time to correspondence received by the Child Maintenance Service.

The Department does not capture the information requested and to provide the information would incur disproportionate costs.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment her Department has made of the effectiveness of the Child Maintenance Service in considering the income of each parent when calculating the child maintenance payments.

It is important that all parents, meet their responsibility for supporting their children. The child maintenance calculation is reviewed annually to make sure it is in line with the paying parent's circumstances.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to support parents to secure adequate contact arrangements through the Child Maintenance Service.

Issues regarding contact arrangements are handled by the family courts. The Child Maintenance Service responsibilities are limited to maintenance payments.

Where possible the Child Maintenance Service supports separated parents to work together in the interests of their children and set up their own family based child maintenance arrangements. Child Maintenance Options provides free and impartial information to help with these decisions

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent steps she has taken to improve the enforcement of workplace health and safety legislation.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) takes enforcement action which is in line with their Enforcement Policy Statement and the Enforcement Management Model. There have been no recent changes in their approach to how they take enforcement action.

HSE continues to use a range of enforcement tools to ensure compliance with health and safety legislation from advice through to enforcement notices and prosecution.

HSE adopts different intervention techniques when regulating workplace health and safety legislation to ensure that they target those workplaces most likely to give rise to the greatest risk.

To reduce transmission of COVID-19 arising in workplaces during the pandemic, HSE has received additional Government funding. They used this to set up a COVID-19 spot check programme with a blended approach of telephone interviews and site visits to check employers had taken the right action at workplaces to protect workers. This has resulted in more than 270,000 spot checks of HSE and Local Authority enforced workplaces being carried out since the start of the pandemic.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of universal credit claimants have had their claim accepted at appeal following an initial rejection in (a) Cynon Valley, (b) Wales and (c) the UK in 2020.

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

12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make an assessment of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on (a) food poverty and (b) levels of food bank usage in Cynon Valley.

No assessment has been made.

Food banks are independent charitable organisations and there is no consistent and accurate measure of food bank usage at a constituency or national level. Throughout this pandemic, this Government has delivered an unprecedented package of support to protect jobs and businesses alongside injecting billions into the welfare system.

We take the issue of food insecurity seriously, which is why we added internationally used food security questions to the Family Resources Survey in 19/20 and published the data in March this year. Food insecurity data from the Family Resources survey for 20/21 is not yet available. Data is not collected at constituency level.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the effect of the £20 uplift in universal credit on trends in the number of claimants using food banks.

No assessment has been made.

Food banks are independent charitable organisations and there is no consistent and accurate measure of food bank usage at a constituency or national level. Throughout this pandemic, this Government has delivered an unprecedented package of support to protect jobs and businesses alongside injecting billions into the welfare system.

We take the issue of food insecurity seriously, which is why we added internationally used food security questions to the Family Resources Survey in 19/20 and published the data in March this year. Food insecurity data from the Family Resources survey for 20/21 is not yet available. Data is not collected at constituency level.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many universal credit sanctions have been administered for failure to comply with work claimant commitments due to complying with covid-19 self-isolation requirements in (a) Cynon Valley, (b) Wales, and (c) the UK.

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

Claimants who have been advised to self-isolate will not be required to conduct any work related activity outside the home but they may be required to complete work-related activity that it is safe and reasonable to do in their circumstances. Where a claimant has failed to meet their requirements, we will look at any evidence of good reason, including whether they are self-isolating, when considering if a sanction is warranted.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of personal independence payment claimants have had their claim accepted at appeal following an initial rejection in (a) Cynon Valley, (b) Wales, and (c) the UK in 2020.

The table below gives the number of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) claimants who had an initial disallowance decision changed at appeal in 2020.

Appeals Lapsed

Appeals Overturned at Tribunal Hearing

Cynon Valley

60

90

Wales

1,060

1,780

Great Britain

12,930

23,860

Due to the time taken for an appeal to be lodged and then cleared after the initial decision, information for appeals as a percentage of initial decisions made in 2020 is not shown.

The Northern Irish Assembly has devolved responsibility for social security benefits. The responsibility for statistics in Northern Ireland lies with the Department for Communities: http://www.communities-ni.gov.uk

Notes:

  • Figures have been rounded to the nearest 10.
  • This data covers initial decisions following a PIP assessment only (New Claims or DLA Reassessments), and does not include applications which end before that (for example, due to failure to return required paperwork or attend an assessment) or decisions made at an Award Review or Change of Circumstance.
  • Appeal lapsed is where DWP changed the decision (in the customer’s favour) after an appeal was lodged but before it was heard at a tribunal hearing.
  • Some decisions which are changed at the Mandatory Reconsideration (MR) stage, and where the claimant continues to appeal for a higher PIP award, are then changed again at tribunal appeal. Therefore, these figures may include a number of initial disallowances which were awarded at MR but where the claimant continued to appeal for a higher award.
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many personal independence payments claimants had their award ended without an extension from 1 March 2020 to 1 March 2021.

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

23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the projected cost of reassessments for personal independence payment claimants is in the 2020-2021 financial year.

The direct DWP staffing costs of administrating PIP reassessments in 20/21 is forecast to be £5.2m. This figure does not include any costs for overheads, caseworkers or subsequent further action (e.g. appeals).

23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of personal independence payment claimants with incurable illnesses were (a) invited for a reassessment and (b) successful in their reassessment since March 2020.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is an extra costs benefit based on assessment of disability-related needs rather than medical condition. Reviews of PIP are a key part of the benefit and ensure that not only do awards remain correct where needs may change but that we also maintain contact with the claimant. Importantly, the length of an award is based on an individual’s needs, rather than their condition or disability, and can vary from nine months to an on-going award, with a light touch review at the ten-year point.

As such, it’s not possible to provide data specifically on Personal Independence Payment claimants with incurable illnesses. Data on Award Review clearances broken down by disability is published covering June 2016 - January 2021 (the latest available data). This can be found in table 6B(iv) in the following published statistical tables:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/969159/tables-pip-statistics-to-january-2021.xlsx

9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what impact assessment he has undertaken on the potential effect of removing the uplift in universal credit on (a) elderly people, (b) disabled people and (c) single parents.

Since the start of the pandemic, the Government’s priority has been to protect lives and people’s livelihoods. That is why the Chancellor announced an extension to the temporary £20 a week increase in Universal Credit for a further six months, taking it well beyond the end of this national lockdown.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, on what criteria her Department based its decision to award the contract for assessing personal independence payment claimants to (a) Capita and (b) Independent Assessment Services.

The Department for Work and Pensions awarded Personal Independence Payment (PIP) contracts in 2012.

Each contract was awarded to the supplier offering the most economically advantageous tender for each contract Lot (geographical area), using an open fair and transparent evaluation methodology.

The Department used the following evaluation criteria for all contracts:

  • 60% Quality Assessment
  • 30% Finance Assessment
  • 10% Risk Assessment

Capita Business Services Ltd were awarded the Lot 2 contract, covering Central England and Wales.

Atos IT Services UK Ltd (now trading as Independent Assessment Services) were awarded the Lot 1 contract, covering North East England, North West England & Scotland and Lot 3 contract, covering London and Southern England.

30th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the number of (a) men, and (b) women who have been made unemployed since 22 March 2020.

The latest Labour Market statistics can be found here.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
30th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to ensure benefit claimants with childcare responsibilities as a result of covid-19 are not sanctioned for failing to meet Jobcentre Plus appointments.

A full range of safeguards remain in place to ensure we only expect what is reasonable from our claimants.

Claimant Commitments must be reasonable for the ‘new normal’, acknowledging the reality of a person’s local jobs market and personal circumstances to prepare them for getting back into work.

In circumstances where a claimant has informed us they have childcare issues, due to Covid 19, an easement may be applied.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
27th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the oral contribution of Secretary of State for Health and Social Care of 26 February 2020, Official Report, column 326, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that employees that are required to self-isolate to prevent the transmission of covid-19 receive their full entitlement of sick pay.

Employers have been urged to make sure they use their discretion and respect the medical need to self-isolate in making decisions about sick pay.

We will continue to review the situation and take appropriate measures in line with further developments.

22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to reduce diagnosis times for endometriosis.

A call for evidence was launched to inform the priorities, content and actions of the Women’s Health Strategy which included questions on gynaecological conditions, including endometriosis. We are currently analysing the responses and we aim to publish the Women’s Health Strategy later this year.

The National Institute of Health Research hosted research to explore the experience of women who present with endometriosis-like symptoms in primary care. The results will inform our understanding of delays in diagnosis.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people affected by the contaminated blood scandal live in (a) Cynon Valley, (b) Rhonda Cynon Taf and (c) Wales.

The Department does not hold data on either those affected in Wales nor beneficiaries of the Welsh support scheme. Since 2017, the support schemes have been devolved, in this case to the Welsh Infected Blood Support Scheme.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the risk of loss to the public purse as a result of fraud during the procurement of personal protective equipment; and what plans he has put in place to mitigate that risk.

Fraud is a hidden crime and the Government takes fraud against the public sector seriously.

The Department and NHS Counter Fraud Authority are working closely with partners, as part of the Government’s COVID-19 Counter-Fraud Response, to identify fraud risks and implement measures to reduce the impact and harm of fraud.

Fraud Risk Assessments are being conducted to highlight high-risk areas for fraud, including procurement and inform the Department’s COVID-19 Post Event Assurance Action Plan. These robust measures aim to test, assess and enhance mitigations to prevent fraud losses.

It is accepted across Government that there will be a lead time for frauds, around COVID

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many pieces of personal protective equipment sourced from (a) the UK and (b) overseas during the covid-19 outbreak have been deemed to be (i) faulty and (ii) otherwise unfit for use.

The safety of health, care of all frontline staff is the paramount consideration. All personal protective equipment (PPE) procured from abroad that arrives at the Daventry warehouse is checked. If it is not CE marked then documents are sent to the United Kingdom regulators, the Health and Safety Executive and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, who agree to its release as the Market Surveillance Authorities for PPE and medical devices.

Products are only released into the supply chain if the documents show the product is fit for its intended use. Anytime the Department or the National Health Service are alerted to any potential issues with PPE which has been distributed or is in stock, appropriate action is taken to ensure the immediate safety of frontline health and care staff, and to resolve the issues in question.

All PPE sourced from the UK must undergo essential checks to ensure they meet the safety and quality required and we are offering support and advice to all groups that contact us to ensure their products are safe and effective. These specifications for PPE are published online and can be found on GOV.UK.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many contracts to source personal protective equipment from (a) the UK and (b) overseas have been awarded to companies with no previous commercial relationship with the public sector.

Guidance on how contracting authorities should respond to COVID-19 was published on 18 March at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/procurement-policy-note-0120-responding-to-covid-19

Authorities are allowed to procure goods, services and works with extreme urgency in exceptional circumstances using regulation 32(2)(c) under the Public Contract Regulations 2015.

Over 1,000 contracts have been awarded to suppliers for COVID-19 related work, the majority through a direct award. There is no single consideration such as previous experience or where a company is based as to whether a supplier is added to the supply chain. The supplier will be evaluated by Departmental officials on their financial standing, compliance with minimum product specifications and ability to perform the contract. Contracts include clauses for contract management to assess performance and value for money throughout the lifetime of the contract.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the cost to the public purse has been of procuring personal protective equipment during the covid-19 outbreak; how many items of each type of equipment has been procured; and what proportion of that equipment has been sourced (a) in the UK and (b) from overseas.

To date contracts worth approximately £9 billion have been awarded for personal protective equipment (PPE). The value is based on purchase orders raised which still have to be validated.

Internationally, orders for over 30.8 billion items of PPE have been raised, including 7,444 ventilators, 557 million gowns; over 8.1 billion masks; 1.4 billion items of face protection; 13.7 billion gloves and 6.9 billion aprons (purchase order stats as of 10 July), with thanks to joint working across the Department for International Trade, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Department of Health and Social Care and Cabinet Office.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the National Risk Register of Civil Emergencies, published in 2015, when planning related to SARS was last reviewed.

The Government undertakes regular reviews of its assessment of, and preparedness for, the risks that the United Kingdom and its citizens could face, including natural hazard threats such as emerging infectious diseases, pandemic influenza and other high-consequence infectious diseases.

The National Risk Register outlines what is being done about key risks and how the public can prepare themselves. The National Risk Register is being reviewed in light of COVID-19 and will be published when this has been completed.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when his Department last reviewed its contingency plans for dealing with (a) coronaviruses, (b) emerging infectious diseases and (c) acute respiratory syndromes.

The Government undertakes regular reviews of its assessment of, and preparedness for, the risks that the United Kingdom and its citizens could face, including natural hazard threats such as emerging infectious diseases, pandemic influenza and other high-consequence infectious diseases.

The National Risk Register outlines what is being done about key risks and how the public can prepare themselves. The National Risk Register is being reviewed in light of COVID-19 and will be published when this has been completed.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when his Department last reviewed its contingency plans for dealing with (a) coronaviruses, (b) emerging infectious diseases and (c) acute respiratory syndromes.

The Government undertakes regular reviews of its assessment of, and preparedness for, the risks that the United Kingdom and its citizens could face, including natural hazard threats such as emerging infectious diseases, pandemic influenza and other high-consequence infectious diseases.

The National Risk Register outlines what is being done about key risks and how the public can prepare themselves. The National Risk Register is being reviewed in light of COVID-19 and will be published when this has been completed.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many bids to supply personal protective equipment were received during the procurement process that resulted in the award of contracts to (a) Pest Fix and (b) Crisp Websites Ltd; whether the total value of contract with those companies was paid as a lump sum; and how many items of personal protective equipment have been (i) sourced and (ii) delivered under contracts with those companies.

The award of this contract to PestFix (which is a trading name of Crisp Websites Limited) is the subject of a Judicial Review which has been brought against the Department. The Department is taking legal advice and considering its response. In these circumstances it would be inappropriate to respond to the issues and points raised in this question as this might prejudice the Department’s legal position.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reasons the full contracts awarded to (a) Pest Fix and (b) Crisp Websites Ltd for the supply of personal protective equipment during the covid-19 outbreak were not published within 20 days; and what plans he has to publish those contracts.

The award of this contract to PestFix (which is a trading name of Crisp Websites Limited) is the subject of a Judicial Review which has been brought against the Department. The Department is taking legal advice and considering its response. In these circumstances it would be inappropriate to respond to the issues and points raised in this question as this might prejudice the Department’s legal position.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what (a) quantity and (b) types of personal protective equipment the Government has procured from the 3M factory in Darlington.

We do not hold that information as our contracts with existing manufacturers, such as 3M, do not normally specify in which factory they are made. Lord Deighton is leading efforts to increase the domestic supply of personal protective equipment (PPE). Contracts have been signed for over 2 billion items of PPE through United Kingdom-based manufacturers, including facemasks, visors, gowns and aprons.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the required (a) design and (b) materials necessary to provide effective protection for the general public in the event that the Government requires the general public to wear non-medical face masks or coverings during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies considered the very limited evidence available on the use of face coverings and advised that there was some positive benefit for reducing the transmission of COVID-19. However, the main ways to reduce the spread of COVID-19 are social distancing and washing hands regularly.

The Government is now advising wearing a face covering in situations where it is difficult to manage social distancing and there may be close contact with people the wearer would not usually meet.

Instructions on how to make and use a face covering are available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-wear-and-make-a-cloth-face-covering

Further guidance on the use of face coverings is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/staying-safe-outside-your-home/staying-safe-outside-your-home#face-coverings

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has (a) undertaken and (b) commissioned research on the covid-19 pandemic which uses behavioural psychology modelling; and if he will make a statement.

The Government intends to publish the evidence being used by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies.

The COVID-19 Public Information Campaign has been developed with a blended team of specialist marketing and behavioural science experts together with advice from academic experts in Psychological Medicine. The Protection Motivation Theory has shaped thinking and the campaign has been robustly developed and tested with input and advice from the Behaviour Insights Team.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, on which date her Department most recently reviewed the export of British manufactured equipment to Israeli distributors for the purposes of monitoring any subsequent use in the demolition of homes in the occupied Palestinian territories.

We do not collect this information. The UK is clear that in all but the most exceptional of circumstances, demolitions and evictions are contrary to International Humanitarian Law. On 19 January, I [Minister Cleverly] urged the Government of Israel to stop these practices. The UK regularly raises the issue of demolitions, confiscations and forced evictions of Palestinians from their homes with the Government of Israel, most recently with Israel's Ministry of Defence on 20 January and Ministry of Justice on 27 January.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
27th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the oral contribution of the Minister for the Middle East, North Africa and North America of 25 January 2021, Official report 846, what recent representations she has made to the Israeli Government to object to the destruction of the Salhiya family home, and their subsequent homelessness, in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of East Jerusalem, by Israeli forces.

The UK is clear that in all but the most exceptional of circumstances, demolitions and evictions are contrary to International Humanitarian Law. On 19 January, I [Minister Cleverly] urged the Government of Israel to stop these practices.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he plans to retain the former Department for International Development's Strategic Vision for Gender Equality as a core pillar in his Department.

Advancing gender equality and women's rights are a core part of the UK Government's mission, and Global Britain's role as a force for good in the world, including fulfilling every girl's right to 12 years of quality education. The Government remains steadfast in its commitment to this agenda. We will work closely with partners across HMG to leverage the best development, diplomatic, defence and trade approaches to achieve maximum impact.

As part of the launch of the new Department, we will refresh and build on existing strategies, as well as develop new approaches, but we do not see the core ambitions of the Strategic Vision for Gender Equality changing. The challenges of advancing girls' education, sexual reproductive health and rights (SRHR), women's political empowerment, women's economic empowerment and ending violence against women and girls (VAWG) are as acute now, if not more so, as when we published the strategy in 2018.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent representations he has made to his Turkish counterpart on the condition and treatment of prisoners in Turkey who have contracted covid-19.

We regularly raise our concerns with Turkey about conditions in Turkish prisons and the risks posed by COVID-19 in Turkey. We continue to urge the authorities to ensure that all detainees are treated in accordance with relevant international human rights standards. Ministers and our Ambassador to Turkey continue to engage the Turkish Government on Covid risks and future work to tackle the disease.

We support the call made by the UN Secretary-General in his message of 22 April that human rights must be at the front and centre of the COVID-19 response and recovery. We continue to be clear in our expectation that Turkey, like all countries, should live up to its human rights obligations towards all its citizens. We support all efforts by the UN to minimise long-term damage to global economies, societies, politics and freedoms.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations he has made to his Turkish counterpart on Turkish armed forces' attacks on civilian settlements in Iraq; and if he will make a statement.

The British Ambassador in Ankara has spoken to the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding Turkish military actions in northern Iraq, including on reports of civilian casualties. We continue to urge dialogue and cooperation between Iraq and Turkey to combat terrorism, ensure regional security and protect civilians.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
21st Apr 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of reforming local authority revenue-raising powers in relation to (a) existing property and (b) future property developments.

As outlined in the Levelling Up White Paper, alongside the upcoming revaluation in April 2023 the UK Government will explore with the Combined Authorities further flexibilities to enable them to raise their own funding through the business rates system to fund local priorities, whilst also considering the impacts on business.

Regarding council tax, the Government gives Local Authorities flexibility over how they set council tax bills, although a limit is set on how bills are increased by without a referendum, and does not plan to change this.

Regarding property development, the government is exploring the introduction of a new ‘Infrastructure Levy’ to replace Section 106 planning obligations and the Community Infrastructure Levy and will be set in a way which captures at least as much value as the existing system. The proposed levy will be set and collected by a local authority to reflect local circumstances and to make sure that revenues go toward affordable housing and wider investments in infrastructure that those communities need.

Simon Clarke
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
31st Mar 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent assessment he has made of the level of reliance on consumer credit borrowing for essential household purchases.

Overall, household finances are healthier than before the pandemic and compared to the Global Financial Crisis of 2008.

Households accumulated around £230 billion in additional savings between the start of 2020 and Q3 2021, while total consumer credit borrowing decreased by 11% in the two years to February 2022.

The Government is committed to delivering a well-functioning and sustainable consumer credit market which is able to meet the needs of all consumers.

The Government is also committed to supporting the affordable credit sector. At Budget 2021, the government announced up to £3.8m for a pilot No-Interest Loans Scheme to support vulnerable consumers who would benefit from affordable credit to meet unexpected costs as an alternative to relying on high-cost credit.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
31st Mar 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent assessment he has made of the impact of inflation on the growth in consumer credit borrowing.

HM Treasury regularly monitors changes in the consumer credit market as part of its normal process of policy development. However, it does not routinely forecast the impact of inflation on consumer credit usage.

It is worth noting that the ONS Quarterly National Accounts found that the household debt to income ratio has decreased to 136% in Q4 2021, down from a high of 163% in Q1 2008. Around three quarters of total debt is secured against housing. Unsecured debt as a share of household income is now 32% (Q4 2021), down from its peak of 43% before the financial crisis (Q1 2007).

Retrospective analysis of trends in consumer credit product usage is produced by other organisations, including the Bank of England’s monthly statistical releases on money and credit and the Financial Conduct Authority’s Financial Lives Surveys.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
28th Mar 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his statement on 27 October 2021 Official Report, col 28, that public sector workers will see fair and affordable pay rises across the whole Spending Review period, how his Department defines the term fair.

Spending Review 2021 announced that public sector workers will see pay rises over the next three years as the recovery in the economy and labour market allowed a return to a normal pay setting process.

Pay for most frontline workforces - including nurses, teachers and armed forces - is set through an independent Pay Review Body (PRB) process. They will consider a range of evidence when forming their recommendations, including the need to recruit, retain and motivate suitably able and qualified people; the financial circumstances of government; the government’s policies for improving public services; and the government’s inflation target. They will consider the whole remuneration package of those working in the public sector when forming their recommendations, including substantially more generous pensions.

The Government will carefully consider all recommendations from the Pay Review Bodies once their final reports are submitted.

Simon Clarke
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
28th Mar 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the Office for Budget Responsibility's Economic and Fiscal Outlook March 2022, what assessment his Department has made of the length of time that can sustain a fall in real earnings in the public sector.

The Government recognises that public sector workers play a vital role in the running of our economy, and in delivering our world class public services.

Spending Review 2021 confirmed that public sector workers will see pay rises across the whole Spending Review period (22/23-24/25).

Pay for most frontline workforces - including nurses, teachers and armed forces - is set through an independent Pay Review Body (PRB) process. They will consider a range of evidence when forming their recommendations, including the need to recruit, retain and motivate suitably able and qualified people; the financial circumstances of government; the government’s policies for improving public services; and the government’s inflation target. They will consider the whole remuneration package of those working in the public sector when forming their recommendations, including substantially more generous pensions.

The Government will carefully consider all recommendations from the Pay Review Bodies once their final reports are submitted.

Simon Clarke
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
28th Mar 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to ensure public sector pay awards for 2022-23 are not below average private sector pay awards for the same period.

The Government recognises that public sector workers play a vital role in the running of our economy, and in delivering our world class public services.

Spending Review 2021 confirmed that public sector workers will see pay rises across the whole Spending Review period (22/23-24/25).

Pay for most frontline workforces - including nurses, teachers and armed forces - is set through an independent Pay Review Body (PRB) process. They will consider a range of evidence when forming their recommendations, including the need to recruit, retain and motivate suitably able and qualified people; the financial circumstances of government; the government’s policies for improving public services; and the government’s inflation target. They will consider the whole remuneration package of those working in the public sector when forming their recommendations, including substantially more generous pensions.

The Government will carefully consider all recommendations from the Pay Review Bodies once their final reports are submitted.

Simon Clarke
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
15th Mar 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he plans to take steps to mitigate the recent increase in the cost of motoring for people and households on low incomes who rely on their vehicle for work.

In recognition of high prices at the pump and the fact that fuel represents a major cost for households and businesses, the Chancellor announced at the Autumn Budget 2021 that fuel duty would remain frozen for a twelfth consecutive year. This benefits consumers across the UK, including low-income households who rely on their vehicles for work, and represents savings worth almost £8 billion over the next five years.

All taxes, including fuel duty, remain under review.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
4th Mar 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what forecast her Department has made of potential changes in the use of consumer credit by low-income families over the next 12 months.

HM Treasury regularly monitors changes in the consumer credit market as part of its normal process of policy development. However, it does not routinely forecast consumer credit usage, including use by low-income households.

Retrospective analysis of trends in consumer credit product usage is produced by other organisations, including the Bank of England’s monthly statistical releases on money and credit and the Financial Conduct Authority’s Financial Lives Surveys.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
4th Mar 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what forecast his Department has made of the potential peak in consumer price inflation over the next 12 months.

The independent Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) published its most recent economic and fiscal forecasts in October 2021, when they expected CPI inflation to peak at 4.4% in Q2 2022. The independent Bank of England stated in their February Monetary Policy Report that they expect inflation to peak at around 7.3% in April 2022. The Chancellor has requested the OBR publish a Spring forecast on 23 March 2022.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
4th Mar 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what forecast his Department has made of the potential change in household debt as a share of household disposable income over the next 12 months.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) produces estimates of household debt in the UK. In the UK as a whole, household debt-to-income was 136.5% in 2021 Q3. This compares to a pre-financial crisis peak of 159% in 2008 Q1.

In their October 2021 forecast, the independent Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) estimated that household-debt-to-income would fall by 0.6 percentage points in 2022, and remain unchanged during 2023. The OBR will publish an updated forecast on 23 March 2022.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
8th Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he plans to bring forward legislative proposals in response to the Access to cash consultation.

The Government recognises that cash remains an important part of daily life for millions of people across the UK, and remains committed to legislating to protect access to cash.

From 1 July to 23 September last year, the Government held the Access to Cash Consultation on proposals for new laws to make sure people only need to travel a reasonable distance to pay in or take out cash. The Government’s proposals intend to support the continued use of cash in people’s daily lives and help to enable local businesses to continue accepting cash by ensuring they can access deposit facilities.

The Government received responses to the consultation from a broad range of respondents, including individuals, businesses, and charities.

The Government is carefully considering responses to the consultation as it develops legislation. The Government will set out next steps in due course.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
8th Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when he plans to publish his Department’s response to the Access to cash consultation.

The Government recognises that cash remains an important part of daily life for millions of people across the UK, and remains committed to legislating to protect access to cash.

From 1 July to 23 September last year, the Government held the Access to Cash Consultation on proposals for new laws to make sure people only need to travel a reasonable distance to pay in or take out cash. The Government’s proposals intend to support the continued use of cash in people’s daily lives and help to enable local businesses to continue accepting cash by ensuring they can access deposit facilities.

The Government received responses to the consultation from a broad range of respondents, including individuals, businesses, and charities.

The Government is carefully considering responses to the consultation as it develops legislation. The Government will set out next steps in due course.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
8th Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking to preserve physical banking provision in the UK.

Treasury ministers and officials engage with Barclays on a variety of issues.

The Government recognises the continued importance of access to banking. However, decisions on opening and closing branches are a commercial issue for banks and building societies.

The largest banks and building societies have been signed up to the Access to Banking Standard since 2017, which commits them to ensure that customers are well informed about branch closures, the bank’s reasons for closure and options for continued access to banking services.

Guidance from the Financial Conduct Authority also sets out its expectation of firms when they are deciding to reduce their physical branches or the number of free-to-use ATMs. Firms are expected to carefully consider the impact of planned branch closures on their customers’ everyday banking and cash access needs and consider possible alternative access arrangements. This ensures that the implementation of closure decisions is undertaken in a way that treats customers fairly.

Alternative options for access can be via telephone banking, through digital means such as mobile or online banking, and the Post Office. The Post Office Banking Framework allows 99% of personal banking and 95% of business banking customers to deposit cheques, check their balance and withdraw and deposit cash at 11,500 Post Office branches in the UK.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
8th Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether officials in his Department have had discussions with representatives of Barclays Bank on its bank closure program.

Treasury ministers and officials engage with Barclays on a variety of issues.

The Government recognises the continued importance of access to banking. However, decisions on opening and closing branches are a commercial issue for banks and building societies.

The largest banks and building societies have been signed up to the Access to Banking Standard since 2017, which commits them to ensure that customers are well informed about branch closures, the bank’s reasons for closure and options for continued access to banking services.

Guidance from the Financial Conduct Authority also sets out its expectation of firms when they are deciding to reduce their physical branches or the number of free-to-use ATMs. Firms are expected to carefully consider the impact of planned branch closures on their customers’ everyday banking and cash access needs and consider possible alternative access arrangements. This ensures that the implementation of closure decisions is undertaken in a way that treats customers fairly.

Alternative options for access can be via telephone banking, through digital means such as mobile or online banking, and the Post Office. The Post Office Banking Framework allows 99% of personal banking and 95% of business banking customers to deposit cheques, check their balance and withdraw and deposit cash at 11,500 Post Office branches in the UK.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
4th Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the findings of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation of 3 February 2022, that lone parent families on low incomes will spend 22 per cent on average of their income after housing costs on energy bills.

The Government understands that people are concerned about pressure on household budgets, particularly due to rising energy bills, and is taking action to help. That is why we have announced a package of support to help households with rising energy bills, worth £9.1 billion in 2022-23.

Alongside this package, we are already taking steps to ease cost of living pressures. This includes a reduction in the Universal Credit taper rate from 63% to 55%, and an increase in Universal Credit work allowances by £500 p.a. to make work pay, freezing alcohol and fuel duties to keep costs down, and increasing the National Living Wage by 6.6% to £9.50 an hour for workers aged 23 and over in April 2022, which will benefit more than 2 million workers.

Lastly, the government’s Plan for Jobs is helping people into work and giving them the skills they need to progress – the best approach to managing the cost of living in the long term. At Spending Review 2021, to continue to boost employment, wages and living standards, we invested in our most successful Plan for Jobs schemes and introduced a new package of measures – taking the total DWP spend on labour market support to more than £6 billion over the next three years. The Government also recently announced the ‘Way to Work’ campaign to get 500,000 jobseekers into jobs by the end of June. We know work is the best way for people to get on, to improve their lives and support their families because people on benefits are at least £6,000 better off in full time work.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
4th Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the findings of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation findings of 3 February 2022, that single adult households on low incomes will spend 43 per cent on average of their income after housing costs on energy bills.

The Government understands that people are concerned about pressure on household budgets, particularly due to rising energy bills, and is taking action to help. That is why we have announced a package of support to help households with rising energy bills, worth £9.1 billion in 2022-23.

Alongside this package, we are already taking steps to ease cost of living pressures. This includes a reduction in the Universal Credit taper rate from 63% to 55%, and an increase in Universal Credit work allowances by £500 p.a. to make work pay, freezing alcohol and fuel duties to keep costs down, and increasing the National Living Wage by 6.6% to £9.50 an hour for workers aged 23 and over in April 2022, which will benefit more than 2 million workers.

Lastly, the government’s Plan for Jobs is helping people into work and giving them the skills they need to progress – the best approach to managing the cost of living in the long term. At Spending Review 2021, to continue to boost employment, wages and living standards, we invested in our most successful Plan for Jobs schemes and introduced a new package of measures – taking the total DWP spend on labour market support to more than £6 billion over the next three years. The Government also recently announced the ‘Way to Work’ campaign to get 500,000 jobseekers into jobs by the end of June. We know work is the best way for people to get on, to improve their lives and support their families because people on benefits are at least £6,000 better off in full time work.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
4th Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the findings of the Resolution Foundation of 3 February 2022 that lowest-income decile households will see the energy bills as a share of their total spending rise to 10 per cent.

The Government understands that people are concerned about pressure on household budgets, particularly due to rising energy bills, and is taking action to help. That is why we have announced a package of support to help households with rising energy bills, worth £9.1 billion in 2022-23.

Alongside this package, we are already taking steps to ease cost of living pressures. This includes a reduction in the Universal Credit taper rate from 63% to 55%, and an increase in Universal Credit work allowances by £500 p.a. to make work pay, freezing alcohol and fuel duties to keep costs down, and increasing the National Living Wage by 6.6% to £9.50 an hour for workers aged 23 and over in April 2022, which will benefit more than 2 million workers.

Lastly, the government’s Plan for Jobs is helping people into work and giving them the skills they need to progress – the best approach to managing the cost of living in the long term. At Spending Review 2021, to continue to boost employment, wages and living standards, we invested in our most successful Plan for Jobs schemes and introduced a new package of measures – taking the total DWP spend on labour market support to more than £6 billion over the next three years. The Government also recently announced the ‘Way to Work’ campaign to get 500,000 jobseekers into jobs by the end of June. We know work is the best way for people to get on, to improve their lives and support their families because people on benefits are at least £6,000 better off in full time work.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
4th Feb 2022
Pay
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the Bank of England Monetary Policy Report of 3 February 2022, what steps he is taking with regard to firms passing through increases in wage costs to prices.

On 3 February, the Bank of England published their Monetary Policy Report, which updated their forecasts for a range of economic indicators. The government continually monitors such forecasts and economic developments, including changes to wages, to consider the impact on firms and households.

The government is taking action to support a high-productivity, growing economy. This includes through a £3.8bn investment in skills at the Budget and Spending Review last year.

As the global economy recovers from Covid, many economies are experiencing high inflation, in part due to pressures from rising energy prices and disruptions to global supply chains. However, the government understands people’s concerns around increasing prices.

We are taking targeted action worth around £12 billion this financial year and next to help families with the cost of living. We are cutting the Universal Credit taper to make sure work pays, freezing alcohol and fuel duties to keep costs down, and providing support to help households with the costs of essentials. Alongside this, the government has announced a package of support to help households with rising energy bills, worth £9.1 billion in 2022-23.

The separation of fiscal and monetary decisions is a key feature of the UK’s economic framework, and essential for the effective delivery of policy. The government therefore does not comment on the conduct or effectiveness of monetary policy.

Simon Clarke
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
4th Feb 2022
Pay
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the statement of the Governor of the Bank of England of 3 February 2022 on the need to see moderation of wage rises.

On 3 February, the Bank of England published their Monetary Policy Report, which updated their forecasts for a range of economic indicators. The government continually monitors such forecasts and economic developments, including changes to wages, to consider the impact on firms and households.

The government is taking action to support a high-productivity, growing economy. This includes through a £3.8bn investment in skills at the Budget and Spending Review last year.

As the global economy recovers from Covid, many economies are experiencing high inflation, in part due to pressures from rising energy prices and disruptions to global supply chains. However, the government understands people’s concerns around increasing prices.

We are taking targeted action worth around £12 billion this financial year and next to help families with the cost of living. We are cutting the Universal Credit taper to make sure work pays, freezing alcohol and fuel duties to keep costs down, and providing support to help households with the costs of essentials. Alongside this, the government has announced a package of support to help households with rising energy bills, worth £9.1 billion in 2022-23.

The separation of fiscal and monetary decisions is a key feature of the UK’s economic framework, and essential for the effective delivery of policy. The government therefore does not comment on the conduct or effectiveness of monetary policy.

Simon Clarke
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
4th Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the findings of the Resolution Foundation of 3 February 2022 that there will be an average fall in real household disposable incomes of around £1,000 per household in 2022.

We understand that inflation, if higher than income growth, can reduce households’ real income, and that higher prices can increase the cost of living for people and households.

The government is providing support worth around £12 billion this financial year and next to help families with the cost of living. Much of the support in place that will help ease these pressures is UK-wide, for example the increase to the National Living Wage, the change to the Universal Credit taper rate and increase to the Work Allowance, as well as freezes to alcohol duty and fuel duty.

In addition, the government has announced a package of support to help households with rising energy bills, worth £9.1 billion in 2022-23.

The government’s Plan for Jobs is also helping people into work and giving them the skills they need to progress – the best approach to managing the cost of living in the long term.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
4th Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the Bank of England Monetary Policy Report of 3 February 2022 projection of a 7.25 per cent inflation rate in April, what steps he is taking to prevent a fall in real incomes.

We understand that inflation, if higher than income growth, can reduce households’ real income, and that higher prices can increase the cost of living for people and households.

The government is providing support worth around £12 billion this financial year and next to help families with the cost of living. Much of the support in place that will help ease these pressures is UK-wide, for example the increase to the National Living Wage, the change to the Universal Credit taper rate and increase to the Work Allowance, as well as freezes to alcohol duty and fuel duty.

In addition, the government has announced a package of support to help households with rising energy bills, worth £9.1 billion in 2022-23.

The government’s Plan for Jobs is also helping people into work and giving them the skills they need to progress – the best approach to managing the cost of living in the long term.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
4th Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the findings of the Bank of England Monetary Policy Report of 3 February 2022, that real post-tax labour income will fall by 2 per cent in 2022.

We understand that inflation, if higher than income growth, can reduce households’ real income, and that higher prices can increase the cost of living for people and households.

The government is providing support worth around £12 billion this financial year and next to help families with the cost of living. Much of the support in place that will help ease these pressures is UK-wide, for example the increase to the National Living Wage, the change to the Universal Credit taper rate and increase to the Work Allowance, as well as freezes to alcohol duty and fuel duty.

In addition, the government has announced a package of support to help households with rising energy bills, worth £9.1 billion in 2022-23.

The government’s Plan for Jobs is also helping people into work and giving them the skills they need to progress – the best approach to managing the cost of living in the long term.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
4th Feb 2022
Pay
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the findings of the Bank of England Monetary Policy Report of 3 February 2022, that pay has risen by less than prices, such that households real incomes are being squeezed.

We understand that inflation, if higher than income growth, can reduce households’ real income, and that higher prices can increase the cost of living for people and households.

The government is providing support worth around £12 billion this financial year and next to help families with the cost of living. Much of the support in place that will help ease these pressures is UK-wide, for example the increase to the National Living Wage, the change to the Universal Credit taper rate and increase to the Work Allowance, as well as freezes to alcohol duty and fuel duty.

In addition, the government has announced a package of support to help households with rising energy bills, worth £9.1 billion in 2022-23.

The government’s Plan for Jobs is also helping people into work and giving them the skills they need to progress – the best approach to managing the cost of living in the long term.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
4th Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate his Department has made of the number of families who are (a) eligible and (b) not eligible for the Energy Bills Rebate; in (i) Cynon Valley constituency and (ii) Rhondda Cynon Taff local authority.

The Government is providing a £200 reduction in households’ energy bills this October which will benefit all domestic electricity customers in Great Britain to reduce pressure on energy bills this year when global gas prices are high. This will be paid back automatically over the next 5 years.

The £150 Council Tax Energy Rebate applies in England only, as Council Tax policy is devolved in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. As a result, the devolved administrations will receive around £565 million extra funding through the Barnett formula, which will enable them to provide similar support.

Simon Clarke
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
27th Jan 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment has been made by the Money and Pensions Service of potential job losses following its recommendation to reduce community-based debt advice funding provision by 50 per cent.

Supporting people in problem debt is a Government priority. This is why the Government provided recorded levels of funding during the pandemic to the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) for free-to-client debt advice provision in England.

The Government has also given MaPS a statutory duty to have close regard for vulnerable people and is working closely with MaPS regarding its next steps for local debt advice provision.

MaPS has not recommended a 50% reduction in community-based debt advice funding as part of its commissioning exercise. The evaluation of bids on the regional lot of their commissioning exercise was recently completed. The evaluation revealed concerns that the services being offered would not adequately meet the needs of people in vulnerable circumstances at the scale MaPS had hoped to achieve, or provide value for money. Therefore, MaPS will not be awarding contracts under the regional lot at this time.

The Government is working closely with MaPS to provide further information to the bidders and the sector shortly with regards to its commissioning exercise and next steps.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
27th Jan 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps she is taking to secure the future of face-to-face debt advice in the UK following the Money and Pension Services’ procurement exercise.

Supporting people in problem debt is a Government priority. This is why the Government provided recorded levels of funding during the pandemic to the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) for free-to-client debt advice provision in England.

The Government has also given MaPS a statutory duty to have close regard for vulnerable people and is working closely with MaPS regarding its next steps for local debt advice provision.

MaPS has not recommended a 50% reduction in community-based debt advice funding as part of its commissioning exercise. The evaluation of bids on the regional lot of their commissioning exercise was recently completed. The evaluation revealed concerns that the services being offered would not adequately meet the needs of people in vulnerable circumstances at the scale MaPS had hoped to achieve, or provide value for money. Therefore, MaPS will not be awarding contracts under the regional lot at this time.

The Government is working closely with MaPS to provide further information to the bidders and the sector shortly with regards to its commissioning exercise and next steps.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking to prevent rural bank closures.

The decision to close a branch is a commercial issue for banks and building societies and the Government does not intervene in these decisions.

However, the Government firmly believes that the impact of branch closures should be understood, considered and mitigated where possible so that all customers and businesses continue to have access to banking services. That is why the Government continues to be supportive of the Access to Banking Standard which commits firms to ensure customers are well informed about branch closures, the bank’s reasons for closure and options for continued access to banking services.

Alternative options for access include the Post Office, which allows 95% of business and 99% of personal banking customers to carry out their everyday banking at 11,500 Post Office branches across the UK. Regarding rural access, the Post Office is required by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to ensure that 95% of the total rural population across the UK is within 3 miles of their nearest Post Office outlet.

In September 2020, the Financial Conduct Authority also published guidance setting out its expectation of firms when they are deciding to reduce their physical branches or the number of free-to-use ATMs. Firms are expected to carefully consider the impact of a planned closure on their personal and small business customers’ everyday banking and cash access needs, and other relevant branch services and consider possible alternative access arrangements. This will ensure the implementation of closure decisions is undertaken in a way that treats customers fairly.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
27th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many households in (a) Cynon Valley and (b) Wales have been affected by the loss of the child element of child tax credit and universal credit for a third or later child born on or after 6 April 2017 as a result of not meeting any listed exceptions; and how much money those affected households have not been entitled to as a result of the social security changes that took place on 6 April 2017 for the tax year 2019-20.

The government has committed to annual statistics releases related to the operation of the policy to provide support for a maximum of two children. Statistics related to the period up to April 2020 were published in July 2020.

Table 5 shows that as at April 2020, across Child Tax Credit and Universal Credit, 11,320 households in Wales had reported a third or subsequent child on or after 6 April 2017 and were not receiving a child element/amount.

On Universal Credit there were 130 households in Cynon Valley reporting a third or subsequent child on or after 6 April 2017 and not receiving a child element/amount in April 2020. This data is for households that had an open UC claim in April 2020, and so will have been included in the 2020 publication "Child Tax Credit and Universal Credit claimants: Statistics related to the policy to provide support for a maximum of two children".

Information on the number of households in Cynon Valley on tax credits reporting a third or subsequent child on or after 6 April 2017 and not receiving a child element/amount in April 2020 is not readily available.

An estimate of the total tax credits entitlement foregone as a result of the changes on 6 April 2017 is not available for 2019-20 until tax credits finalised awards data for that year has been processed, which is expected to be completed by summer 2021.

As households on Universal Credit would be affected differently by their individual circumstances, an estimate of the amount of money those affected households would not have been entitled to is not available. On average, if there were no other circumstances impacting the amount received, most households would not be entitled to the £237.08 per month child element for the third or subsequent child.

Steve Barclay
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment his Department has made of the level of personal debt due to the covid-19 outbreak in (a) Cynon Valley, (b) Rhondda Cynon Taf and (c) Wales.

Data on levels of over-indebtedness in Cynon Valley, Rhondda Cynon Taf and Wales was last published in 2018 by the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS). MaPS is currently completing a review of its measure for need for debt advice and will publish the outcome and latest data later in 2021.

The Government has delivered unprecedented support for living standards during this challenging time, protecting livelihoods with the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS), the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), and temporary welfare measures.

The Government will extend the CJRS for a further five months from May until the end of September 2021. Furloughed workers in the UK will continue to receive 80% of their current salary for hours not worked, up to £2500 per month. The scheme will be extended on current terms – with no additional employer contributions – until the end of June 2021. The SEISS will also continue until September, with a fourth and a final fifth grant.

At Budget 2021, the Government also announced a six-month extension to the temporary £20 per week uplift to the Universal Credit (UC) standard allowance, well beyond the expected end of restrictions and reopening of the economy. The Government has also announced similar support for eligible Working Tax Credit (WTC) claimants.


The Government is also maintaining the increase to Local Housing Allowance rates for UC and Housing Benefit in cash terms in 2021-22, an increase which is worth an extra £600 on average in 2020-21 for over 1.5 million households.

To help people in problem debt get their finances back on track, an extra £37.8 million support package has been made available to debt advice providers this financial year (2020-21), bringing this year's budget for free debt advice in England to over £100 million. Delivery of debt advice is a devolved matter and this additional funding was matched for the devolved administrations, resulting in an extra combined £5.9 million that was made available to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Last year, the Government also announced the immediate release of £65 million dormant assets funding to Fair4All Finance, an independent organisation that has been founded to support the financial wellbeing of people in vulnerable circumstances. The funding is used to increase access to fair, affordable and appropriate financial products and services for those in financial difficulties


From May, the Breathing Space scheme will offer people in problem debt a pause of up to 60 days on most enforcement action, interest, fees and charges, and will encourage them to seek professional debt advice.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when he last discussed freeports with the Welsh Government; and what the outcomes were of those discussions.

Freeports will allow the UK to take advantage of the benefits of leaving the EU, they will level up the regions by spreading opportunity, and help drive our economic recovery from the impacts of Covid-19.

We want to ensure that the whole of the UK can benefit, not just England. We remain in ongoing discussions to establish at least one Freeport in Wales as soon as possible.

Steve Barclay
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of not taxing the £500 payment for care workers announced by the Welsh Government.

HM Revenue and Customs are working with the Welsh Government to understand the nature of the payments and the potential recipients. These details are required to determine the cost to the Exchequer.

Under the longstanding rules of income tax, any payments made in connection with an employment are chargeable to income tax and National Insurance contributions.

This is consistent with the Government’s approach across different forms of financial support during COVID-19, including payments made under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, which are liable to tax.

16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether her Department has received representations on amending time limits to validity for entry on a visa issued under the Homes for Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme.

The Home Office has indicated that it will not be possible to answer this question within the usual time period. An answer is being prepared and will be provided as soon as it is available.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the time limit is on validity for entry into the UK on a visa issued under the Homes for Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme.

The Home Office has indicated that it will not be possible to answer this question within the usual time period. An answer is being prepared and will be provided as soon as it is available.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 11 Feb 2022 to Question 119880 on Alcoholic Drinks: Minimum Prices, what assessment her Department has made of the potential merits of introducing minimum unit pricing for alcohol in England following its introduction in Scotland and Wales.

The Government notes the decision of the Scottish Government and the Welsh Government to introduce minimum unit pricing for alcohol. An assessment of the impact is a matter for those governments.

There are no plans to introduce minimum unit pricing in England.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to monitor the (a) health and (b) other impacts of minimum unit alcohol pricing in Wales.

The Government notes the decision of the Welsh Government to introduce minimum unit pricing for alcohol in Wales. There are no plans to introduce minimum unit pricing in England

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
24th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether the breeding of beagles at MBR Acres, Cambridgeshire, is subject to the requirements of the Animal (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986; and whether a harm-benefit analysis process retrospective assessment of PPL has been carried out in connection to that matter.

The breeding of animals which does not result in the generation of a genetically altered animal does not require a project licence under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 (ASPA).

However, an establishment which breeds protected animals intended for use in regulated procedures does require an establishment licence. Thus MBR Acres does not need, and does not hold, a project licence for the breeding of dogs but holds an establishment licence under ASPA.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
20th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to assess gaps in the existing legal framework regarding making public sexual harassment a specific criminal offence.

Sexual harassment in public places is an appalling practice, which this Government is committed to tackling. Women and girls have the right to both be and feel safe on our streets.

As set out in the Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) Strategy, published last July, we are looking carefully at where there may be gaps in existing law and how a specific offence for public sexual harassment could address those. This includes paying close attention to the views and reports of campaigners in this area. We are also closely considering the recent comments of the Law Commission on this subject.

In addition, in order to tackle public sexual harassment:

  • In September 2021, we launched the pilot of an online tool, StreetSafe, which enables the public to report anonymously areas where they feel unsafe and identify what about the location made them feel this way. The data is then used to inform local decision-making. Several thousand people have used the tool to date.
  • In October we announced awards of £23.5 million to Police and Crime Commissioners and local authorities under Round 3 of the Safer Streets Fund to make public spaces safer for everyone through projects to help women and girls feel safer on the streets.
  • In November we announced the results of our separate, £5 million Safety of Women at Night fund, funding interventions which focus on preventing violence against women and girls in public spaces at night, including in the night-time economy
  • In December the College of Policing published a new advice product for police officers, advising them about the preventative strategies and criminal offences which they can use to respond to reports of various different types of public sexual harassment.
  • The public communications campaign to which we committed in the Tackling VAWG Strategy will seek to change public attitudes and tolerance towards crimes such as public sexual harassment and help create an atmosphere in which women and girls can report such crimes to the police with confidence.
Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
27th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many versions of the Windrush Lessons Learned review his Department has received; and on which date those versions were received.

The Independent Adviser, Wendy Williams, lead the Windrush Lessons Learned Review. In line with the published Terms of Reference for the review, information was provided to a small number of officials in the department to support due process with regard to Maxwellisation, defamation and GDPR, and any other HR and legal considerations; and to enable the department to fact check the report.

This is common practice for this type of review. The processes associated with Maxwellisation and fact-checking were led by the Independent Adviser and were a matter for her. The Independent Adviser’s conclusions remain a matter for the Independent Adviser.

On 19 March 2020 we published the Windrush Lessons Learned immediately after we received the final version. We remain determined to right the wrongs experienced by the Windrush generation, and we have said we accept the findings of this important review, and that we agree with the recommendations. The Home Secretary will be setting out to Parliament before summer recess how this will be taken forward. https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2020-07-21/debates/CF88BF2D-55E5-4672-8103-E28A1136C3F1/WindrushLessonsLearnedReview

Priti Patel
Home Secretary
27th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether officials in her Department are fact-checking the Windrush Lessons Learned report.

The Independent Adviser, Wendy Williams, lead the Windrush Lessons Learned Review. In line with the published Terms of Reference, information was provided to enable the department to fact check the report. This is common practice for this type of review. The Independent Adviser’s conclusions remain a matter for the Independent Adviser.

On 19 March 2020 we published the Windrush Lessons Learned Review. We remain determined to right the wrongs experienced by the Windrush generation, and we have said we accept the findings of this important review, and that we accept the recommendations. The Home Secretary will be setting out to Parliament before summer recess how this will be taken forward. https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2020-07-21/debates/CF88BF2D-55E5-4672-8103-E28A1136C3F1/WindrushLessonsLearnedReview

Priti Patel
Home Secretary
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment his Department has made of trends in the number of hate crimes committed against the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller community.

All forms of hate crime are completely unacceptable, which is why this Government has funded projects to tackle racially motivated hatred, including that targeted at Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities. This includes funding to GATE Herts for an assessment published in 2020 of hate crimes directed against Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities.

22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many bids have been submitted for the Levelling Up Fund as at 22 July 2021.

The first round of the Levelling Up Fund received significant interest from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland bidding authorities across the three investment priorities of the Fund. Bids are currently being assessed in line with the published assessment process. Outcomes from the first round of bids for the Levelling Up Fund will be announced later in the year and bidding authorities will be informed in due course.

22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many households are currently on waiting lists for authorised caravan sites.

The Department has made no assessment on the adequacy of the provision of authorised sites. It is the responsibility of local planning authorities to make their own assessment of need for traveller sites and in producing their local plan, to identify sites to meet that need. Local authorities are best placed to make decisions about the number and location of such sites locally, having had due regard to national policy and local circumstances.

The Department does not hold data on how many households are currently on waiting lists for authorised sites. This information is held by each individual local authority


Local authorities are responsible for repairs and maintenance of permanent Gypsy and Traveller sites they own, under the Mobile Homes Act 1983. Local authorities set out these responsibilities in individual Mobile Homes pitch agreements. Privately run Gypsy and Traveller sites with appropriate planning permission are subject to the local authority site licencing regime under the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960. Local authorities have discretion to attach conditions to a licence and can issue a compliance notice for a breach of a condition.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what recent assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of the facilities available on authorised caravan sites for the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller community.

The Department has made no assessment on the adequacy of the provision of authorised sites. It is the responsibility of local planning authorities to make their own assessment of need for traveller sites and in producing their local plan, to identify sites to meet that need. Local authorities are best placed to make decisions about the number and location of such sites locally, having had due regard to national policy and local circumstances.

The Department does not hold data on how many households are currently on waiting lists for authorised sites. This information is held by each individual local authority


Local authorities are responsible for repairs and maintenance of permanent Gypsy and Traveller sites they own, under the Mobile Homes Act 1983. Local authorities set out these responsibilities in individual Mobile Homes pitch agreements. Privately run Gypsy and Traveller sites with appropriate planning permission are subject to the local authority site licencing regime under the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960. Local authorities have discretion to attach conditions to a licence and can issue a compliance notice for a breach of a condition.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what recent assessment his Department made of the adequacy of the provision of authorised caravan sites for the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller community.

The Department has made no assessment on the adequacy of the provision of authorised sites. It is the responsibility of local planning authorities to make their own assessment of need for traveller sites and in producing their local plan, to identify sites to meet that need. Local authorities are best placed to make decisions about the number and location of such sites locally, having had due regard to national policy and local circumstances.

The Department does not hold data on how many households are currently on waiting lists for authorised sites. This information is held by each individual local authority


Local authorities are responsible for repairs and maintenance of permanent Gypsy and Traveller sites they own, under the Mobile Homes Act 1983. Local authorities set out these responsibilities in individual Mobile Homes pitch agreements. Privately run Gypsy and Traveller sites with appropriate planning permission are subject to the local authority site licencing regime under the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960. Local authorities have discretion to attach conditions to a licence and can issue a compliance notice for a breach of a condition.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to his Department's document entitled End of Custody Temporary Release, how many prisoners have been released from custody to alleviate the spread of covid-19 in prisons since 7 April 2020.

The Ministry of Justice has started publishing a weekly release of COVID-19 related statistics. This includes the number of prisoners that have been released from custody under COVID-19 early release schemes, including End of Custody Temporary Release.

The statistics release can be found here each Friday:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/hm-prison-and-probation-service-covid-19-statistics

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
30th Jun 2021
What recent discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on financial support for people in Wales affected by the covid-19 outbreak.

I have regular discussions with my Rt. Hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer on our financial support to people affected by the Covid-19 outbreak.

We have provided the Welsh Government with an extra 8.6 billion pounds to tackle the pandemic, that’s over £2,700 per person in Wales. That is on top of 7.4 billion pounds of additional UK Wide support through the welfare system.

Simon Hart
Secretary of State for Wales