Bill Esterson Portrait

Bill Esterson

Labour - Sefton Central

Shadow Minister (International Trade)

(since October 2016)
Shadow Minister (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Jul 2016 - 10th Apr 2020
Shadow Minister (Business, Innovation and Skills)
18th Sep 2015 - 30th Jun 2016
Treasury Committee
8th Jul 2015 - 26th Oct 2015
Education Committee
2nd Nov 2010 - 30th Mar 2015
Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee
7th Nov 2011 - 25th Feb 2013
Draft House of Lords Reform Bill (Joint Committee)
23rd Jun 2011 - 26th Mar 2012
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee
12th Jul 2010 - 27th Jun 2011


Department Event
Thursday 2nd December 2021
09:30
Department for International Trade
Oral questions - Main Chamber
2 Dec 2021, 9:30 a.m.
International Trade (including Topical Questions)
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Division Votes
Friday 22nd October 2021
Prayers
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 114 Labour No votes vs 0 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 3 Noes - 336
Speeches
Thursday 21st October 2021
Oral Answers to Questions

I add my welcome to the Secretary of State. She was asked in the previous question about a leaked document, …

Written Answers
Thursday 21st October 2021
State Retirement Pensions: Forecasts
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the extent of delays …
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
Wednesday 7th January 2015
MP Financial Interests
Monday 6th September 2021
2. (b) Any other support not included in Category 2(a)
Name of donor: Jayne Moores
Address of donor: private
Amount of donation or nature and value if donation in kind: …
EDM signed
Tuesday 22nd June 2021
GKN Automotive alternative plan
That this House is alarmed by GKN Automotive’s decision to close its Birmingham factory next year, with the loss of …
Supported Legislation
Wednesday 22nd April 2020
Public Advocate (No. 2) Bill 2019-21
A Bill to establish a public advocate to provide advice to, and act as data controller for, representatives of the …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Bill Esterson has voted in 280 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Bill Esterson 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
Gareth Thomas (Labour (Co-op))
Shadow Minister (International Trade)
(46 debate interactions)
Greg Hands (Conservative)
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
(45 debate interactions)
Matt Hancock (Conservative)
(28 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Department for International Trade
(149 debate contributions)
HM Treasury
(25 debate contributions)
Department of Health and Social Care
(24 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(20 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Bill Esterson's debates

Sefton Central Petitions

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

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

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

Petition Debates Contributed

Schools should move to online learning from 9 December so that all students and school staff have a chance to isolate for two weeks and then can safely meet older relatives.

The Government should cancel GCSEs and A Levels in 2021 due to the disruption of Covid-19. By the time students go back to normal learning, 6 months will have passed since schools were closed to most pupils. This has already had a huge impact on the studying of so many.

Close down schools and colleges due to the increase in COVID-19 cases. We are seeing cases of students and teachers catching the virus since schools have reopened.

The threat of covid19 is real. Children can’t be expected to maintain sufficient social distancing to keep this virus from spreading. They are social creatures. Allowing them back to school could cause a new spike in cases. They could bring it back home, even if they are a-symptomatic.

As the Coronavirus escalates, there are concerns that a trade deal between the UK Government and the US deal might not exempt our NHS, leaving it vulnerable to privatisation and in direct contradiction to promises this would not happen.


Latest EDMs signed by Bill Esterson

22nd June 2021
Bill Esterson signed this EDM on Tuesday 22nd June 2021

GKN Automotive alternative plan

Tabled by: Jack Dromey (Labour - Birmingham, Erdington)
That this House is alarmed by GKN Automotive’s decision to close its Birmingham factory next year, with the loss of over 500 highly skilled jobs and work transferred to continental Europe; notes that GKN’s origins trace back to the industrial revolution, with over 260 years of history that include making …
67 signatures
(Most recent: 7 Sep 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 63
Independent: 2
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Scottish National Party: 1
30th December 2020
Bill Esterson signed this EDM on Wednesday 27th January 2021

Holocaust Memorial Day 2021

Tabled by: Bob Blackman (Conservative - Harrow East)
That this House notes that on 27 January 2021 the UK will observe Holocaust Memorial Day marking the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, where an estimated 1.1 million people were murdered; commemorates the six million victims of the Holocaust; further notes that the theme for Holocaust Memorial Day 2021 …
97 signatures
(Most recent: 11 May 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 45
Scottish National Party: 31
Conservative: 7
Liberal Democrat: 4
Independent: 3
Plaid Cymru: 3
Democratic Unionist Party: 2
Green Party: 1
Alba Party: 1
View All Bill Esterson's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Bill Esterson, 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.


Bill Esterson has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Bill Esterson has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

1 Bill introduced by Bill Esterson



Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Wednesday 7th January 2015

295 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
1 Other Department Questions
6th May 2020
What recent discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government on access to safe accommodation for domestic abuse victims during the covid-19 outbreak.

This Government is committed to ensuring survivors get the support they need. I have regular discussion with colleagues across Whitehall, including my counterparts at the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice, and we have been closely informed by the latest data from the sector.

We have announced £3.2 billion to aid local authorities’ in their responses to Covid-19 pressures, including providing essential support for victims and their children.

18th Mar 2021
To ask the Attorney General, with reference to the oral contribution of the hon. Member for Sefton Central of 18 March 2021, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on concerns in respect of modern slavery in supply chains for the procurement of personal protective equipment.

I regularly meet ministerial colleagues to discuss important issues of common interest. However, it is a fundamental and longstanding principle of our system of Government that the fact of whether the Law Officers have advised on a particular issue is, by convention, not disclosed outside Government, without their consent. The Convention provides the fullest guarantee that government business will be conducted at all times in light of thorough and candid legal advice in circumstances in which Ministers and Law Officers can be fully open with one another.

The Government is committed to tackling modern slavery in supply chains. On 26 March 2020, we became the first country to publish a Government Modern Slavery Statement setting out the steps we have taken to identify and prevent modern slavery in our own supply chains. From September 2021 onwards, Ministerial departments will publish their own annual statements setting out the steps they have taken in their priority risk areas.

The Home Office is working with DHSC, NHS and external experts to develop tailored training and guidance for HMG buyers and suppliers on best practice approaches to preventing modern slavery in PPE supply chains.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
27th May 2021
What recent steps he has taken to help ensure value for money in public procurement.

We are transforming the current procurement regime so that simpler procedures can drive increased competition and innovation, ultimately saving taxpayers’ money.

We have also recently published Version 3 of the Outsourcing Playbook, rebranded as the Sourcing Playbook, alongside our new Consultancy Playbook. This suite of guidance will help government and industry work better together to deliver quality public services and value for money.

The Government Consulting Hub was also formally launched last week; a new team at the centre of Government providing expertise on management consultancy and ensuring we maximise value.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent representations he has received on (a) delays and (b) no delivery of goods exported to EU member states.

Lord Frost, the Minister of State regularly meets business representatives, including through the Brexit Business Taskforce, and hears representations on the full range of challenges faced by business in adapting to the end of the Transition Period.

The TCA provides tariff-free and quota-free trade of all goods between the UK and EU. We have received some examples of delays in goods being cleared by different Member States. Officials are working closely with Member State officials, businesses and their representatives to understand the reason for any delays or refusal of goods so that issues can be resolved and goods can move freely.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the Prime Minister's oral contribution on 15 July 2020, Official Report, column 1514, what progress has been made to establish a start date for an inquiry into the Government’s handling of the covid-19 outbreak.

COVID-19 is the biggest challenge the UK, together with nations around the world, has faced in decades. Throughout the pandemic, we have consistently adapted our response as we have learnt more about the virus and how best to tackle it. As stated by the Prime Minister on 15 July 2020 'we will seek to learn the lessons of the pandemic in the future, and certainly we will have an independent inquiry into what happened.' Any further updates will be announced in the usual way.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the Prime MInister's oral contribution on 15 July 2020, Official Report, column 1514, what progress has been made to identify the leadership of the inquiry into the Government’s handling of the covid-19 outbreak.

COVID-19 is the biggest challenge the UK, together with nations around the world, has faced in decades. Throughout the pandemic, we have consistently adapted our response as we have learnt more about the virus and how best to tackle it. As stated by the Prime Minister on 15 July 2020 'we will seek to learn the lessons of the pandemic in the future, and certainly we will have an independent inquiry into what happened.' Any further updates will be announced in the usual way.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the Prime Minister's oral contribution on 15 July 2020, Official Report, column 1514, what progress has been made to establish the format of a potential inquiry into the Government’s handling of the covid-19 outbreak.

COVID-19 is the biggest challenge the UK, together with nations around the world, has faced in decades. Throughout the pandemic, we have consistently adapted our response as we have learnt more about the virus and how best to tackle it. As stated by the Prime Minister on 15 July 2020 'we will seek to learn the lessons of the pandemic in the future, and certainly we will have an independent inquiry into what happened.' Any further updates will be announced in the usual way.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
1st Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether the Government plans to allocate financial and other support to industries affected by the imposition of tariffs in the event that the UK does not reach an agreement on future relations with the EU at the end of the transition period.

Further to the statement by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on 23 September, the Government is committed to helping business prepare for the end of the transition period. The Government has launched an information campaign to communicate the actions that all businesses need to take before 31 December 2020, and detailed guidance is available on gov.uk/transition.

The Government is negotiating with the EU and has been clear that we want a free trade deal, based on friendly cooperation. The Political Declaration sets as an aim a zero tariff and zero quota FTA. We would like to achieve that. Reducing the costs and processes associated with trade is in the interests of people and businesses across the UK and the EU.

As previously set out through the UK Agriculture Market Monitoring Group (UKAMMG), Defra and the Devolved Administrations can monitor the market situation across various agricultural commodities.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
1st Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what (a) steps he is taking and (b) infrastructure is in place to protect the continuity of trade of products of animal origin and breeding stock after the end of the transition period; and what (a) steps are required and (b) infrastructure is yet to be implemented between the UK and EU in the event that no trade deal is agreed at the end of the transition period.

Further to the statement by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on 23 September, the Government is committed to helping business prepare for the end of the transition period. The Government has launched an information campaign to communicate the actions that all businesses need to take before 31 December 2020, and detailed guidance is available on gov.uk/transition.

The Government is negotiating with the EU and has been clear that we want a free trade deal, based on friendly cooperation. The Political Declaration sets as an aim a zero tariff and zero quota FTA. We would like to achieve that. Reducing the costs and processes associated with trade is in the interests of people and businesses across the UK and the EU.

As previously set out through the UK Agriculture Market Monitoring Group (UKAMMG), Defra and the Devolved Administrations can monitor the market situation across various agricultural commodities.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the viability of coal from the proposed new coal mine in Cumbria for use in UK industrial processes.

West Cumbria Mining confirmed in their planning application (https://planning.cumbria.gov.uk/Planning/Display/4/17/9007) that, following a review of their refining process,100% of the coal retrieved would meet the specification for premium metallurgical coal.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the effect on coal imports of using coal mined from the proposed mine in Cumbria.

There is a global market for coking coal through which UK steel producers can source material at competitive prices and currently the majority of coking coal used at the UK’s two blast furnace sites (British Steel at Scunthorpe and Tata Steel at Port Talbot) is imported.

In their planning application to Cumbria County Council (https://planning.cumbria.gov.uk/Planning/Display/4/17/9007), West Cumbria Mining have stated that 360,000 tonnes per annum of premium metallurgical coal produced at the mine will be destined for use in the UK steel industry.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
12th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of fireworks on people with post traumatic stress disorder.

The Government is committed to promoting the safe and considerate use of fireworks.

On 20 October, we launched our public awareness campaign for the 2020 fireworks season. The focus of the campaign has been to educate people on how to buy, use, store and dispose of fireworks safely; ensure retailers know and understand their responsibilities when selling fireworks; and, promote the considerate use of fireworks, so that people, including those with PTSD, and animals can be better protected from any negative effects that may be caused by fireworks.

We worked with a wide range of stakeholders to share the messaging across differing audiences.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, for what reason pubs and bars are not permitted to make off licence sales during the November 2020 covid-19 lockdown in England.

Under the new national restrictions in England pubs and bars are permitted to sell alcohol through delivery or via click and collect.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what guidance he has given to businesses on allowing staff to take time off as a result of contracting covid-19 or being told to isolate by NHS Track and Trace.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has provided guidance to numerous workplaces here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19. These make it clear what steps need to be applied and link through to the Department for Health and Social Care’s latest advice around self-isolation and Test and Trace.

All guidance makes it clear that, by law, from 28 September employers must not knowingly require or encourage someone who is being required to self-isolate to come to work.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the effectiveness of legislation on hostile takeovers.

Under the Enterprise Act 2002, the Government may intervene in certain takeovers for three public interest reasons – national security, media plurality and financial stability.

In December 2019, the Queen’s Speech lobby pack confirmed the Government’s intention to legislate to “strengthen the Government’s existing powers to scrutinise and intervene in business transactions to protect national security”.

The Government continues to monitor the market closely during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the effect of the covid-19 pandemic on the potential for hostile takeovers of UK companies.

Under the Enterprise Act 2002, the Government may intervene in certain takeovers for three public interest reasons – national security, media plurality and financial stability.

In December 2019, the Queen’s Speech lobby pack confirmed the Government’s intention to legislate to “strengthen the Government’s existing powers to scrutinise and intervene in business transactions to protect national security”.

The Government continues to monitor the market closely during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
23rd Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the adequacy of existing legislation on preventing hostile takeovers.

Under the Enterprise Act 2002, the Government may intervene in certain takeovers for three public interest reasons – national security, media plurality and financial stability.

In December 2019, the Queen’s Speech lobby pack confirmed the Government’s intention to legislate to “strengthen the Government’s existing powers to scrutinise and intervene in business transactions to protect national security”.

The Government continues to monitor the market closely during the covid-19 pandemic.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions she has had with the Interim Small Business Commissioner on giving the future, permanent post holder, powers of binding arbitration to ensure prompt payment for small businesses.

The Government is completely focussed on fulfilling our manifesto commitment to clamp down on late payment and strengthen the powers of the Small Business Commissioner (SBC) to support small businesses that are exploited by their larger partners.

Good progress is being made on the policies I announced in our Government Response to the 2018 Call for Evidence to assess what further steps and intervention may be needed to create a responsible payment culture, which included:

  • consulting on the merits of strengthening the Commissioner’s existing powers, to assist and advocate for small businesses in the area of late payments; and
  • strengthening and reforming the Prompt Payment Code and moving its administration to the Office of the SBC.

BEIS Officials work closely, and meet regularly, with the Interim Commissioner and his team and share any relevant policy developments, as set out in the Small Business Commissioner Framework Document.

10th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps her Department is taking to strengthen the powers of the small business commissioner in order to improve support for small businesses dealing with late payment issues.

The Government is completely focussed on fulfilling our manifesto commitment to clamp down on late payment and strengthen the powers of the Small Business Commissioner (SBC) to support small businesses that are exploited by their larger partners.

Good progress is being made on the policies I announced in our Government Response to the 2018 Call for Evidence to assess what further steps and intervention may be needed to create a responsible payment culture, which included:

  • consulting on the merits of strengthening the Commissioner’s existing powers, to assist and advocate for small businesses in the area of late payments; and
  • strengthening and reforming the Prompt Payment Code and moving its administration to the Office of the SBC.

BEIS Officials work closely, and meet regularly, with the Interim Commissioner and his team and share any relevant policy developments, as set out in the Small Business Commissioner Framework Document.

12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, for what reason the bid for a grant from the Culture Recovery Fund from MSP, Bridle Way, Liverpool, was rejected.

We are confident the independent delivery bodies will have scrutinised all organisations against the strict criteria set for this fund, but cannot comment on the detail of individual applications.

We know that some applicants will be disappointed with the outcome and both the Arts Council and DCMS will continue to do all we can to support creativity and culture in England. Arts Council have published resources on their website both for organisations and individuals which include alternative sources of support.

12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what the appeals process is for businesses that have been turned down for a grant from the Culture Recovery Fund; and whether there will be further rounds during which businesses that have been unsuccessful can reapply.

Following the first and second rounds of funding, over £1.2 billion has been allocated across recovery, capital and repayable finance from the £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund, reaching over 5000 individual organisations and sites. We are confident the independent delivery bodies will have scrutinised all organisations against the strict criteria set for this fund. An organisation that applied for a CRF grant and would like to make a complaint about the service it has received from the relevant delivery body or the way the delivery body has handled its application can contact the delivery body directly, as detailed in the applicant guidance.

An additional £300 million investment is being made available to continue to support the cultural sectors in 2021/22 to bridge to a position of sustainability as audiences and visitors begin to return. Further details on this funding will be published in due course. We will keep support for the sector under constant review and will continue work to determine the appropriate and most effective response for the sector within the public health context.

22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what meetings he has had with representatives of the fashion industry on trade between businesses based in the UK and based in (a) the EU and (b) Northern Ireland since the end of the transition period.

The Government regularly engages with the fashion industry.

The fashion sector is represented in the DCMS-led working group, composed of creative and cultural sector representatives and other government departments, to look at issues regarding movement in the EU. The sector was also represented at the Brexit Business Taskforce (BBT) Meeting on 12th February, chaired by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, which focused on the creative industries.

The Secretary of State met with the British Fashion Council recently to discuss the impact of Covid and Brexit.

10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when the Government plans to permit horse riding lessons to resume as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

Sports and physical activity including horse riding are incredibly important for our physical and mental health, and are a vital weapon against coronavirus.

On Monday 4 January the Prime Minister announced a national lockdown and instructed people to stay at home to control the virus, protect the NHS and save lives. The National Restrictions are designed to get the R rate under control through limiting social contact and reducing transmissions and include closing riding centres. The restrictions will remain in place until this situation improves.

You can continue to exercise alone, with one other person or with your household or support bubble. This should be limited to once per day, in a public outdoor place and you should not travel outside your local area. You should maintain social distancing. Indoor and outdoor sports facilities must close. The Prime Minister is due to set out a roadmap to recovery this week.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when he plans to reopen golf courses closed in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

Sports and physical activity including golf are incredibly important for our physical and mental health, and are a vital weapon against coronavirus. Golf courses were one of the first sports facilities to be reopened following the initial lockdown and they were also able to stay open in the local tiered restrictions.

On Monday 22 February, the Prime Minister announced a roadmap out of the current lockdown in England. The approach focuses on data, not dates. Each step has a “no earlier than” date, 5 weeks later than the previous step, to allow time to assess the impact of the previous step and provide a week’s notice before changes occur. As part of step one, outdoor sports facilities like tennis and basketball courts, golf courses, including adventure golf will be opened from 29 March, subject to social contact limits.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
14th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the budget is for the Adoption Support Fund for the financial year 2021-22; and how much and what proportion of that budget has been spent as of 14 July 2021.

The Adoption Support Fund budget, spend and proportion spent as at 14 July 2021, is set out below.

2021/22 Budget

Spend

Proportion Spent

£46m

£31,203,545

67%

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to evaluate the potential (a) effects and (b) consequences of social media on contact between adopted children and their birth families.

Improving adoption is a manifesto commitment and Adoption UK’s Adoption Barometer report is a valuable resource for informing policy debate. We will be considering Adoption UK’s barometer report carefully as part of our planning for funding for future years.

Contact will continue to be a challenge for adopted children, their birth parents, and their adoptive parents, particularly when this contact comes through social media. It is important that social workers help children, birth parents, and adoptive parents to understand the implications of disclosing personal information on social networking sites, and the harm unauthorised or unmediated contact can have.

We continue to work with Regional Adoption Agencies and Voluntary Adoption Agencies to ensure that services including contact support are delivered to a high-quality standard.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the report entitled Adoption UK’s Adoption Barometer 2021, published in June 2021, on the 28 per cent of adopted young people aged between 16-25-years who were not in education, employment or training at the end of 2020.

Improving adoption is a manifesto commitment and Adoption UK’s Adoption Barometer report is a valuable resource for informing policy debate. We will be considering Adoption UK’s barometer report carefully as part of our planning for funding for future years.

Contact will continue to be a challenge for adopted children, their birth parents, and their adoptive parents, particularly when this contact comes through social media. It is important that social workers help children, birth parents, and adoptive parents to understand the implications of disclosing personal information on social networking sites, and the harm unauthorised or unmediated contact can have.

We continue to work with Regional Adoption Agencies and Voluntary Adoption Agencies to ensure that services including contact support are delivered to a high-quality standard.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when the Department will publish its SEND review, commissioned in 2019.

The special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) Review has been making good progress, but the COVID-19 outbreak has frustrated the pace of this important review and materially altered the context for reform.

The SEND Review continues to work with system experts to make sure we are designing a system fit for the future. We are drawing on the best evidence available to review the system, before publishing proposals for public consultation as soon as possible.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the (a) implications for his policies of the finding of Adoption UK’s report entitled Adoption Barometer Report 2021 that only 45 per cent of respondents felt their child’s teachers had a good understanding of the needs of care-experienced children and (b) potential merits of giving education and health professionals statutory training in early childhood trauma and associated conditions.

Improving adoption is a manifesto commitment, and Adoption UK’s Adoption Barometer report is a valuable resource for informing policy debate. We will be considering the report carefully as part of our planning for funding for future years.

We will also continue to work with regional adoption agencies and voluntary adoption agencies to ensure that services are delivered to the same high standard and quality across the country. Agencies are already working together closely to improve and standardise the front door service for prospective adopters.

With reference to the Adoption Support Fund, the department sets budgets through the Spending Review process. The 2020 Spending Review set departmental budgets for the financial year 2021-22. We will set out plans for future years funding in due course.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he plans to take in response to Adoption UK’s Adoption Barometer 2021 finding that 71 per cent of newly placed adopters surveyed did not have a support plan in place; and what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the recommendation by Adoption UK that multi-disciplinary assessments be carried out for every child to be placed for adoption, and clear support plans put in place that anticipate future as well as current support needs.

Improving adoption is a manifesto commitment, and Adoption UK’s Adoption Barometer report is a valuable resource for informing policy debate. We will be considering the report carefully as part of our planning for funding for future years.

We will also continue to work with regional adoption agencies and voluntary adoption agencies to ensure that services are delivered to the same high standard and quality across the country. Agencies are already working together closely to improve and standardise the front door service for prospective adopters.

With reference to the Adoption Support Fund, the department sets budgets through the Spending Review process. The 2020 Spending Review set departmental budgets for the financial year 2021-22. We will set out plans for future years funding in due course.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of Adoption UK’s recommendation in the Adoption Barometer Report 2021 on extending adoption support to at least age 26.

Improving adoption is a manifesto commitment, and Adoption UK’s Adoption Barometer report is a valuable resource for informing policy debate. We will be considering the report carefully as part of our planning for funding for future years.

We will also continue to work with regional adoption agencies and voluntary adoption agencies to ensure that services are delivered to the same high standard and quality across the country. Agencies are already working together closely to improve and standardise the front door service for prospective adopters.

With reference to the Adoption Support Fund, the department sets budgets through the Spending Review process. The 2020 Spending Review set departmental budgets for the financial year 2021-22. We will set out plans for future years funding in due course.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of the Adoption Support Fund being allocated on a yearly basis instead of a multi-year settlement; and what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the short-term funding announcements on families and adoption agencies accessing that Fund for therapeutic support services.

Improving adoption is a manifesto commitment, and Adoption UK’s Adoption Barometer report is a valuable resource for informing policy debate. We will be considering the report carefully as part of our planning for funding for future years.

We will also continue to work with regional adoption agencies and voluntary adoption agencies to ensure that services are delivered to the same high standard and quality across the country. Agencies are already working together closely to improve and standardise the front door service for prospective adopters.

With reference to the Adoption Support Fund, the department sets budgets through the Spending Review process. The 2020 Spending Review set departmental budgets for the financial year 2021-22. We will set out plans for future years funding in due course.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans are in place to ensure that children can access a full academic year of school from September 2021 without the need for isolation periods and home schooling.

The Department’s goal continues to be supporting children and young people to attend face-to-face education, and to reverse the long-term impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on their education, wellbeing and wider development. That is why the Government has prioritised education as it works through the steps of the roadmap to ease restrictions.

As the COVID-19 outbreak progresses, it remains important that the Government is able to respond to the evolving public health situation. Depending on COVID-19 measures in place at the time, and subject to Step 4 of the roadmap commencing on the revised date of 19 July, there may be a need for regional or local safety measures to help limit the spread of COVID-19, which could have an impact on education and childcare in the coming months. The road map is available to view here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-response-spring-2021/covid-19-response-spring-2021#roadmap.

Given the impact that restrictions on education can have on children and young people, any measures in schools should only ever be considered as a last resort, kept to the minimum number of schools or groups possible, and for the shortest amount of time possible. Any restrictions on attendance should only ever be considered as a last resort and should involve a ministerial decision.

Central Government may offer local areas of particular concern an enhanced response package to help limit increases in transmission. In enhanced response areas, Directors of Public Health may recommend some additional measures in any schools or nurseries.

These measures are detailed within the contingency framework for education and childcare, which describes how schools and nurseries should plan for spikes in infection in their local areas. This is available to view here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-local-restrictions-in-education-and-childcare-settings/contingency-framework-education-and-childcare-settings.

All schools and nurseries should have outbreak management plans outlining how they would operate if any of the measures described within the contingency framework were recommended in their setting or area, and this could include because their area is an enhanced response area.

12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the letter dated 15 March 2021 from the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the School System to the hon. Member for Sefton Central, if he will publish details of the criteria for bids for funding for the rebuilding of schools with high levels of need.

In February 2021, the Department announced the first 50 schools to benefit from the new School Rebuilding Programme as part of a commitment to 500 projects over the next decade.

School Rebuilding Programme investment is targeted on the basis of buildings’ conditions. A full explanation of the methodology used to prioritise the first 50 schools, and details of the process for prioritising the next 50, has been published at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-rebuilding-programme/school-rebuilding-programme.

We intend to consult later this year on the approach to prioritising schools for the longer-term programme. Further details will be set out at that time and we would welcome the views of the school sector and other interested parties.

12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what criteria are used to assess the eligibility of schools for the School Rebuilding Programme.

In February 2021, the Department announced the first 50 schools to benefit from the new School Rebuilding Programme as part of a commitment to 500 projects over the next decade.

School Rebuilding Programme investment is targeted on the basis of buildings’ conditions. A full explanation of the methodology used to prioritise the first 50 schools, and details of the process for prioritising the next 50, has been published at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-rebuilding-programme/school-rebuilding-programme.

We intend to consult later this year on the approach to prioritising schools for the longer-term programme. Further details will be set out at that time and we would welcome the views of the school sector and other interested parties.

8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he plans to reply to the letters from the North West Association of Primary Headteachers of (a) 19 November 2020 and (b) 2 March 2021.

I can confirm that a response has been sent to the letters dated 19 November 2020 and 2 March 2021, from the North West Association of Primary Headteachers.

28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the financial viability of out-of-school wraparound childcare providers that are not able to operate normally during the current covid-19 restrictions period; and whether he plans to offer them financial support.

Ensuring sufficient childcare for families continues to be a government priority. This is why we have ensured that wraparound childcare settings have been able to remain open for vulnerable children and children of critical workers during the current national lockdown, in line with those children eligible to attend school for onsite provision and have updated our guidance for providers of after-school and holiday clubs and other out-of-school settings to support providers to operate as safely as possible, which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/guidance-for-schools-coronavirus-covid-19.

As indicated in the answer I gave on 28 January 2021 to Question 142909, the department does not hold a central register of wraparound providers, and so we are unable to make an accurate assessment of the financial viability of providers. However, we recognise that the wraparound childcare sector, like many sectors, is facing unprecedented financial pressures as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

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

We are also still encouraging all local authorities to consider using local grants that have been made available to them during the COVID-19 outbreak, to support the wraparound childcare sector in their areas, and to safeguard sufficient childcare provision for all families, but particularly those with vulnerable children and children of critical workers. This includes the expanded Holiday Activities and Food Programme mentioned in my previous answer to Question 142909, which comprises a £220 million fund to be delivered through grants to local authorities. This programme will give children eligible for free school meals the option to join a free holiday-time programme that provides healthy food and enriching activities during the Easter, summer and Christmas holidays in 2021.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the number of out of hours school clubs that (a) have ceased and (b) will cease to operate as a result of the covid-19 outbreak; and what assessment he has made of the effect of their closure on the wellbeing of children and families who use those clubs because the parents are at work.

The department does not hold a central register of all wraparound provision (out-of-hours school clubs) and is therefore not able to give an assessment on the closure of providers. We do, however, recognise the value this sector offers to our children and young people, in terms of the enriching activities they provide and, in particular, the valuable support they provide to critical worker parents and vulnerable children. That is why, in addition to ensuring that these settings can stay open for all children eligible to attend school for onsite provision, we have encouraged all local authorities to consider using local grants that have been made available to them during the COVID-19 outbreak, to support the wraparound childcare sector in their areas, to safeguard sufficient childcare provision for children of critical workers and vulnerable children.

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

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

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will publish the latest rate of infection with covid-19 of (a) teachers, (b) teaching assistants, (c) non teaching school staff, (d) staff in registered childcare settings, (e) college staff and (f) university staff.

The Department does not hold data on infection rates amongst (a) teachers, (b) teaching assistants, (c) non teaching school staff, (d) staff in registered childcare settings, and (e) college staff.

For (f) university staff, the department has asked higher education (HE) providers to share information on their staff numbers and the number of staff COVID-19 cases that have been reported to them. For the 183 HE providers which provided this information to us for the 7 days between 10 and 16 December, our estimate is that there were 56.7 confirmed cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 non-academic and academic staff in HE providers for that period.

Estimates for more recent weeks are not available due to: i) a pause in data collection over the winter break and ii) inconsistencies arising from the effect of the national lockdown that began this month.

Advice from the Children's Task and Finish group is that children are at very low risk of serious illness from the virus, and there is also no current evidence that staff in schools and colleges are at higher risk of infection than those working in other sectors. This advice can be accessed here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/948617/s0998-tfc-update-to-4-november-2020-paper-on-children-schools-transmission.pdf.

The safety and wellbeing of staff, pupils and students in education settings is always our priority. The Government is doing all it can to minimise the risks to those working and studying in our nurseries, schools, colleges, and universities in this unprecedented situation, while mitigating the impact on education.

On 7 January, the Department published guidance to universities and students returning to higher education in the spring term. This guidance sets out how we will support higher education providers to enable students to return as safely as possible following the winter break, by staggering this process following the period of national lockdown and to facilitate testing for all. The guidance is available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/950367/Students_returning_to_and_starting_higher_education_in_Spring_Term_2021.pdf.

The Department also published ‘guidance: Actions for schools during the coronavirus outbreak’, which sets out what all schools will need to do during the COVID-19 outbreak from January 2021. The guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak.

On 7 January, the Department published guidance for all early years settings and local authorities in England, which provides information on how the national lockdown restrictions to control the spread of COVID-19 will impact early years and childcare settings. This guidance is available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/950653/Education_and_childcare_settings_-_national_lockdown_from_5_January_2021_.pdf.

On 8 January, the Department published guidance on actions for further education colleges and providers during the COVID-19 outbreak: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-further-education-provision.

The Department will continue to keep our plans under review and ensure our position is informed by the latest evidence.

6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, by what date he estimates children who require laptops to assist them with home learning will receive them.

The Government is investing over £300 million to support access to remote education and online social care services, including securing over one million laptops and tablets for disadvantaged children and young people.

This includes over 560,000 laptops and tablets that have already been delivered to schools, trusts, and local authorities in 2020.

Laptops and tablets are owned by schools, trusts, or local authorities who can lend these to children and young people who need them most, during the current COVID-19 national restrictions.

From Saturday 2 January, all secondary schools have been able to order their full allocation of devices. As a result of orders placed since then, we dispatched over 100,000 laptops to schools by the end of last week.

By the end of this week, we expect to have delivered three quarters of a million devices.

30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to ensure that staff in schools are given the highest priority for the covid-19 vaccine.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) are the independent experts who advise the Government on which vaccine/s the UK should use and provide advice on who should be offered them.

JCVI advises that the first priorities for the COVID-19 vaccination programme should be the prevention of mortality and the maintenance of the health and social care systems. As the risk of mortality from COVID-19 increases with age, prioritisation is primarily based on age.

Regarding the next phase of vaccine rollout, JCVI have asked that the Department of Health and Social Care consider occupational vaccination in collaboration with other Government departments. The Department for Education will input into this cross governmental exercise.

17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what payments have been made to schools in Sefton Central constituency to cover out-of-scope covid-19-associated costs.

The first window for schools to claim funding back for exceptional costs incurred due to the COVID-19 outbreak, between March and July 2020, closed on 21 July. Payments against claims made within the published scope of the fund were made to schools and academies in September. The funding is targeted towards the costs we have identified as the biggest barrier to schools operating as they needed to between March and July to support vulnerable children and children of critical workers. No payments have been made to any schools, including those in Sefton Central, for claims outside the published scope of the fund.

Schools in Sefton Central have received the following payments for claims made within the published scope.

School Name

Payment for claims within published scope

Aintree Davenhill Primary School

£7,795

Hudson Primary School

£12,442

Northway Primary School

£7,081

Woodlands Primary School

£4,106

Summerhill Primary School

£6,029

Freshfield Primary School

£1,323

Green Park Primary School

£3,658

Redgate Community Primary School

£2,512

Melling Primary School

£3,369

Valewood Primary School

£2,970

Lydiate Primary School

£73

St Luke's Church of England Primary School

£3,535

St Luke's Halsall Church of England Primary School

£1,651

St Nicholas Church of England Primary School

£7,551

St George's Catholic Primary School

£5,392

St Mary's Catholic Primary School

£6,204

St William of York Catholic Primary School

£1,031

St Gregory's Catholic Primary School

£5,914

Ursuline Catholic Primary School

£949

St Jerome's Catholic Primary School

£623

Holy Rosary Catholic Primary School

£9,905

Maricourt Catholic High School

£7,029

Holy Family Catholic High School

£18,875

Crosby High School

£1,510

Newfield School

£18,661

Trinity St Peter's CofE Primary School

£1,797

Formby High School

£1,775

Maghull High School

£4,930

Deyes High School

£5,505

St Michael's Church of England High School

£7,246

St Thomas Church of England Primary School, Lydiate

£4,767

St Andrews Church of England Primary School, Maghull

£1,809

Schools continue to be able to access existing support for financial issues, including a wide range of school resource management tools, and, in serious circumstances, additional funding or advances from local authorities for maintained schools, or Education and Skills Funding Agency for academies.

Schools were able to claim in a second claims window that ran in December, for any costs which they did not claim for during the first window relating to the March to July period. We will shortly process those claims and make payments to maintained schools in February and academies in March.

In addition to this, the Department has announced details of a new COVID-19 workforce fund for schools and colleges to help them remain open: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-workforce-fund-for-schools/coronavirus-covid-19-workforce-fund-to-support-schools-with-costs-of-staff-absences-from-1-november-2020-to-31-december-2020.

It will fund the costs of teacher absences over a threshold in schools and colleges, and is intended for those with high staff absences that are also facing significant financial pressures. The Department expects schools to be able to claim for workforce costs relating to November and December 2020 in spring 2021. Schools will be able to incur additional costs, backdated to November, in the knowledge that they will be reimbursed if they meet the relevant criteria.

9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the proposals of the Every Child Leaving Care Matters report entitled, Planning – The English Care Review – how should it be done?, published on 20 November 2020; and if he will make it his policy to undertake a review of the care system.

The government announced that it will review the care system in its 2019 manifesto. This review will be broad, bold and independently led, taking a fundamental look across children’s social care, with the aim of better supporting, protecting and improving the outcomes of vulnerable children and young people. The urgent local and national response to the COVID-19 outbreak has delayed the launch of the review, but the department is making preparations to launch as soon as possible and will set out further details at that point.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the letter sent to him by the Sefton Association of Primary Heads and the Sefton Association of Secondary Heads dated 11 November 2020.

As referenced in my reply, this Government remains committed to ensuring that schools receive the support they need to provide pupils with a high-quality education. We have provided additional funding to support schools with extra costs they have incurred during the first wave of the COVID-19 outbreak. To date, schools across the country have received payments totalling £102 million for all claims within the scope of the fund. We are also providing schools with another opportunity to claim for any additional costs incurred between March and July.

We have recently announced a new COVID-19 workforce fund to support schools with the costs of high levels of staff absences and ensure they can remain open. This is in addition to an unprecedented package of catch-up funding worth £1 billion and increasing school budgets year on year - £2.6 billion in 2020-21, £4.8 billion in 2021-22 and £7.1 billion in 2022-23.

The Department is clear that exams will take place in Summer 2021 because they are the best way of judging students’ performance. We recognise the challenges faced by schools, teachers, and students and that is why we have taken additional steps including making changes to grading criteria, delaying the exam timetable by 3 weeks to allow more time for teaching in the Spring Term and other adaptions, such as giving students advanced notice of topic areas and providing support in the exam hall.

System leaders are doing a very good job in ensuring our children catch up and we want to make sure that we are fair to schools. That is why Ofsted have suspended routine, graded inspections for the Spring Term 2021. Inspectors will take into account the potential impact of COVID-19 on attendance and staffing and will do the same when inspecting and regulating nurseries, childminders and social care providers.

1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he plans to respond to the email from the hon. Member for Sefton Central of 27 October 2020 on emergency coronavirus funding for primary schools in Formby.

I can confirm that a response has been sent to the email dated 27 October, ref BE3385, from the hon. Member for Sefton Central.

10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the viability of proceeding with SATs in the 2020-21 academic year.

The Department recognises that pupils have missed a critical period of their education due to school closures in the 2019/20 academic year. The Department is planning on the basis that primary assessments will take place in the 2020/21 academic year, to allow an understanding of the remaining impact of COVID-19 and to target ongoing support to those who need it most.

The Department acknowledges the concerns raised and is continuing to assess flexible options for the delivery of the 2021 primary assessments in the context of COVID-19’s impact on schools.

22nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he plans to award grants from the Coronavirus (COVID-19) fund to (a) St Luke's Halsall primary school in Crosby and (b) schools in Sefton.

The first window for submitting claims for exceptional costs related to the COVID-19 closed on 21 July. At that time, St Luke’s, Halsall had submitted a claim which included £1,651 for costs within the published scope of the funding and £6,025 for costs outside of that published scope. A payment for the in-scope costs of £1,651 was due to be made to the local authority at the end of October 2020 to be passed onto the school in line with the usual practice. The assessment process to determine which types of out-of-scope costs will be included is ongoing and we intend to write out to schools by the end of November to confirm the outcome of this part of their claim.

This applies to all schools who made a claim against this funding. The attached table includes the details of the in-scope and out-of-scope claims made by schools in the Sefton local authority area.

14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, for what reason schools are being asked to provide assessment data for (a) phonics screening and (b) key stage 1 and 2 statutory tests for academic year 2019-20 when those tests did not take place.

In the light of the COVID-19 outbreak and associated school closures, the Department made the decision to cancel Key Stage 1 and 2 national curriculum assessments in the 2019/20 academic year, including the Phonics Screening Check. The Department has made a firm commitment not to hold schools to account on data based on the 2020 assessments. The Department will not be publishing or sharing institution level data from the 2020 assessments and has advised all those working with schools, such as local authorities, to use the previous year’s data when assessing school performance, until new data is available.

13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he plans to review the covid-19 regulations on overnight stays on school residential trips.

The Department’s educational visits advice is in line with guidance from Public Health England, the Cabinet Office and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and will be reviewed again in November 2020.

12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the ability of schools to access the national tutoring programme.

The National Tutoring Programme (NTP) is an ambitious scheme that will provide additional, targeted support for those children and young people who need the most help to catch up.

Through the NTP programme for 5-16 year olds, schools will be able to access high quality, subsidised tuition from approved tuition partners. Schools in the most disadvantaged areas will be supported to employ in-house academic mentors to provide tuition to their pupils. The NTP has not gone live yet so the Department does not have figures on the number of pupils who have accessed it. It is expected that the first group of tutors will be supporting schools from November, with provision continuing into the spring term. Further information on the processes for delivering and accessing tuition support is set out here: https://nationaltutoring.org.uk/faqs.

NTP funding will also be used to provide additional targeted early language and literacy support for reception classes. The Department is inviting applications from all state-funded schools with a reception class, with priority given to those with a high proportion of pupils eligible for free school meals. The application deadline is 30 October 2020. Participating schools will begin delivering to children from January 2021.

The Department is also providing funding to support small group tuition for 16-19 year olds, in English, maths and other courses where education has been disrupted as a result of COVID-19. The 16-19 tuition fund is a one-off, ring-fenced grant available to school sixth forms, colleges and all other 16-19 providers.

12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the number of children who have accessed the National Tutoring Programme.

The National Tutoring Programme (NTP) is an ambitious scheme that will provide additional, targeted support for those children and young people who need the most help to catch up.

Through the NTP programme for 5-16 year olds, schools will be able to access high quality, subsidised tuition from approved tuition partners. Schools in the most disadvantaged areas will be supported to employ in-house academic mentors to provide tuition to their pupils. The NTP has not gone live yet so the Department does not have figures on the number of pupils who have accessed it. It is expected that the first group of tutors will be supporting schools from November, with provision continuing into the spring term. Further information on the processes for delivering and accessing tuition support is set out here: https://nationaltutoring.org.uk/faqs.

NTP funding will also be used to provide additional targeted early language and literacy support for reception classes. The Department is inviting applications from all state-funded schools with a reception class, with priority given to those with a high proportion of pupils eligible for free school meals. The application deadline is 30 October 2020. Participating schools will begin delivering to children from January 2021.

The Department is also providing funding to support small group tuition for 16-19 year olds, in English, maths and other courses where education has been disrupted as a result of COVID-19. The 16-19 tuition fund is a one-off, ring-fenced grant available to school sixth forms, colleges and all other 16-19 providers.

12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of how schools are using payments from the Coronavirus catch-up premium.

The Government has announced a catch-up package worth £1 billion, including a ‘Catch-Up Premium’ worth a total of £650 million to support schools to make up for lost teaching time. Our expectation is that this funding will be spent on the additional activities required to support children and young people to catch up after a period of disruption to their education. To help schools make the best use of this funding, the Education Endowment Foundation has published a support guide for schools with evidence based approaches to catch up for all students and a further 'school planning guide: 2020-2021'. These are available at: https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/covid-19-resources/guide-to-supporting-schools-planning/ and: https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/covid-19-resources/national-tutoring-programme/covid-19-support-guide-for-schools/#nav-covid-19-support-guide-for-schools1.

Schools are held accountable for the outcomes they achieve with all their funding and this will be no exception. The Department understands that each school will have different needs as a result of this outbreak and we trust school leaders to make the appropriate decisions for their students to ensure that this money is spent wisely.

12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on whether contact tracers are required to follow up cases of covid-19 reported in schools.

Where a member of staff or child tests positive, contact tracers will ask the individual to provide details of their contacts.

Staff or the parents of children who test positive should inform their school immediately. The school will then take swift action to ask those who have been in close contact with the confirmed case to self-isolate. Schools can contact the dedicated Public Health England (PHE) advice service via the Department’s own helpline for support on the latest public health advice.

PHE’s advice service will work with the school to carry out a rapid risk assessment and make recommendations based on the latest public health advice. If, following triage, further expert advice is required, the adviser will escalate the call to the local health protection team.

12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what payments have been made to schools in (a) Sefton, (b) Merseyside and (c) the North West from the covid-19 exceptional costs fund; and when schools that have applied for that funding will receive a decision on their application.

The first window for schools to claim funding back for exceptional costs due to COVID-19 closed on 21 July. The following payments against claims within the published scope of the fund have been arranged for schools in the named areas for those costs incurred between March to July 2020:

Paid in September 2020

To be paid in November 2020

Total

Sefton1

£289,962

£491,796

£781,758

Merseyside2

£2,133,315

£2,953,468

£5,086,783

North West3

£7,763,083

£8,738,090

£16,501,173

Schools also made claims for costs outside of the published scope of the fund and an assessment is currently being undertaken to determine which of these other costs can be reimbursed. We expect to write to schools in November to confirm the outcome of that assessment.

1 Schools in the Sefton local authority area.

2 Schools in the Liverpool, Knowsley, Wirral, St Helens, Sefton and Halton local authority areas.

3 Schools in the government office region of the North West.

26th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the covid-19 outbreak on exam results for school students sitting exams in summer 2021.

??This is a matter for Ofqual, the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation. I have asked its Chief Regulator, Sally Collier, to write to the hon. Member and a copy of her reply will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the risks to school staff who work with children with special educational needs of contracting covid-19.

The assessment made in relation to the risk to school staff who work with children with special educational needs should be undertaken by the headteacher of the education setting. Headteachers should refer to the guidance regarding the wider opening of schools as of 1 June, which can be found at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/preparing-for-the-wider-opening-of-schools-from-1-june.

We expect schools and trusts to work closely with parents, staff and unions, as they normally would, when agreeing the best approaches for their circumstances. We also expect schools and trusts to work with their local authorities to determine what services they require and to agree on any specific arrangements during this period.

To prevent the spread of COVID-19, education, childcare and children’s social care settings must use a range of protective measures to reduce the risk of transmission of infection. This includes making sure that pupils do not attend school if they, or a member of their household, experience symptoms. Other measures include promoting high standards of hand and respiratory hygiene, cleaning touched surfaces more frequently, minimising contact as much as possible and using personal protective equipment (PPE) where appropriate.

Where PPE is recommended, this means that a facemask should be worn if a distance of 2 metres cannot be maintained from someone with symptoms of COVID-19 and, if contact is necessary, then gloves, an apron and a facemask should be worn. If a risk assessment determines that there is a risk of fluids entering the eye from coughing, spitting or vomiting, for example, eye protection should also be worn.

The majority of staff in education, childcare and children’s social care settings will not require PPE beyond what they would normally need for their work, even if they are not always able to maintain distance of 2 metres from others. Additional PPE is only needed if a distance of 2 metres cannot be maintained from any child, young person or other learner displaying COVID-19 symptoms.

The department has worked with Public Health England to develop further guidance on safe working in education, childcare and children’s social care settings, including the use of PPE. This guidance can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/safe-working-in-education-childcare-and-childrens-social-care/safe-working-in-education-childcare-and-childrens-social-care-settings-including-the-use-of-personal-protective-equipment-ppe and https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-implementing-protective-measures-in-education-and-childcare-settings/coronavirus-covid-19-implementing-protective-measures-in-education-and-childcare-settings.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of increasing the range of workers that should be regarded as key workers for the purposes of giving access to schools for their children during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has published guidance on critical workers who can access schools or educational settings, which is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision.

The definition of critical workers remains unchanged.

As we have made progress in reducing the transmission of COVID-19, we are encouraging all eligible children to attend schools or educational settings, even if parents are able to keep their children at home. This is only where there are no shielding concerns for the child or their household.

18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the covid-19 outbreak, whether children returning to school in June 2020 will follow the National Curriculum.

Schools and colleges continue to be best placed to make decisions about how to support and educate all their pupils during this period, based on the local context and staff capacity.

Where year groups are returning to school, we would expect school leaders and teachers to assess the stage pupils have reached in the school curriculum and the adjustments that may need to be made.

Schools should do all they can to support pupils attending school as well as those remaining at home, making use of the available remote education support such as Oak National Academy.

No school will be penalised if they are unable to offer a broad and balanced curriculum to their pupils during this period.

These are rapidly developing circumstances; we continue to keep the situation under review and will keep Parliament updated accordingly.

24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies on the treatment of plastic waste of the Greenpeace Plastic Pledge; and whether he has plans to implement the recommendations set out in that pledge.

The Government's 25 Year Environment Plan sets out our ambition to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste by 2042. We are making great strides to tackle plastic pollution. 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. Our approach is focused on increasing supply and demand for secondary materials to be recycled in the UK. We know more needs to be done, and for the most problematic plastics we are going faster - which is why we have committed to work towards all plastic packaging on the market being recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025.

The UK Government has a manifesto commitment to ban exports of plastic waste to non-OECD countries. The Government has committed to consult on this measure and work to deliver this is underway. Defra has commissioned research to have a better understanding of plastic waste recycling capacity in the UK and OECD member countries, and this research will be key to the development of policy options to implement the manifesto commitment. We currently plan to consult before the end of 2022 on options to deliver the proposed ban.

Legitimate imports of plastic waste into the UK will be destined for recovery operations. The UK Government does not permit the import of plastic waste for disposal. The UK Government has not assessed the benefits of a ban on plastic waste imports and has no plans to do so.

The Environment Bill includes a requirement for the Government to set at least one long-term target on resource efficiency and waste reduction. This target will take a holistic approach to reduce consumption of all materials, including plastics, increasing resource productivity and reducing the volume of waste we generate. Work is already underway to develop these targets. In order to help guide the Government, the Resources and Waste Targets Expert Group has been formed. More information can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/resources-and-waste-targets-expert-group. Moreover, the Government is exploring packaging recycling targets under our proposals for extended producer responsibility for packaging. The consultation on our more detailed proposals closed on the 4 June.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 20 May 2021 to Question 4583 on Flood control, if he will publish the content of that feedback.

All organisations who submitted expressions of interest to the flood and coastal resilience innovation programme have been offered detailed feedback. The significant details included in the expressions of interest and the subsequent feedback are commercially confidential, meaning that it is only appropriate for this to be handled between the applicant organisations and the Environment Agency. The Environment Agency is continuing to work with all projects that did not secure funding via this programme to take their proposed ideas forward.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when he plans to meet the hon. Member for Sefton Central to discuss flood protection measures for the town of Maghull in the borough of Sefton; and for what reason previous meetings on that topic that were scheduled to take place between the hon. Member for Taunton Deane and the hon. Member for Sefton Central on (a) 25 March 2021, (b) 26 April 2021 and (c) 20 May 2021 were cancelled.

The meetings scheduled with me in March and April were rearranged due to Parliamentary business. The meeting on the 20 May was cancelled due to an unforeseen circumstance.

My office will be in touch soon to re-schedule this meeting as soon as possible.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will publish the feedback given to each organisation that submitted an expressions of interest to the flood and coastal resilience innovation programme.

All organisations who submitted expressions of interest to the flood and coastal resilience innovation programme have been offered feedback. Where requested, the Environment Agency has, or will, provide detailed feedback from the assessment process, providing learning opportunities for the lead applicant and their partners. The Environment Agency is continuing to work with all projects that did not secure funding via this programme to help them identify potential alternative opportunities to take their good ideas forward.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of recent bids for Flood Resilience funding for projects in the Borough of Sefton.

25 projects across England were selected to receive a share of £150 million to demonstrate how practical innovative actions can work to improve communities' resilience to flooding and coastal change.

79 eligible expressions of interest (EOIs) were received, and independently assessed by a panel of experts. Two EOI proposals were received from project teams in Sefton, one of which will receive funding from this programme.

The project approved for funding in Sefton ( Ecological Community Owned Coastal Buffer Strips) is being led by Wyre Council. Sefton Council is a key partner. This project will deliver actions across the North West coast, including Formby, to improve resilience to flooding in the area.

The Environment Agency provided feedback to the lead officer at Sefton Council on 26 April 2021 to help the team identify the strengths of the unsuccessful proposal (Increasing Community Flood Resilience in Merseyside: Novel Applications of Smart Technology and Data Analysis). The feedback also notes areas they might want to consider improving if they choose to continue to develop the ideas further.

The Environment Agency is working with all projects that did not secure funding via this programme to take their good ideas forward through other routes. Sefton Council has provided summary information about its proposal for the Environment Agency to share with partners and stakeholders who may be interested in supporting the proposal.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent representations he has received from food producers and food industry bodies in Great Britain on the grouped transport of food and food products from multiple producers to Northern Ireland.

Defra receives regular representations from industry and meets regularly with the food industry and other stakeholders to discuss transporting food into Northern Ireland and will continue to do.

Defra Ministers meet weekly with representative bodies within the food industry in addition to major producers and retailers. In addition, there are weekly official level meetings with the major supermarkets and distributors covering food supply into Northern Ireland. The Northern Ireland Directorate within Defra is focusing its work on removing any real or perceived barriers to food supply.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to Answer of 25 February to Question 156364, when the Minister for flooding will meet the hon. Member for Sefton Central.

A meeting has been scheduled for 25 March.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to promote the use of UK-made steel in projects funded by his Department.

The Departmental main user of steel products is the Environment Agency. Regular reports are submitted to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy who publish the six-year FCRM Capital programme of construction projects each year which may include steel content.

There is an expectation that supplier partners will use the Contracts Finder website to advertise any sub-contracting opportunities outside their established supply chain.

All Government departments and arms-length bodies are required to consider socio-economic and environmental factors when procuring steel, not just cost alone.

Sustainability, quality and price criteria are used when selecting suitable suppliers. Our new Social Value Model (published in September last year) requires central Government departments to expressly evaluate environmental, social and economic benefits as part of the procurement process (for qualifying procurements).

In addition, the Government is currently consulting on an ambitious package of major procurement reform. The Government’s aim is to create a simpler and more flexible regime that works much better for British businesses, including steel business, while still complying with our international obligations. The proposals made will help ensure that public procurement at all levels actively helps achieve national strategic priorities, generating economic growth, helping our communities recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and tackling climate change. The consultation closes on 10 March.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the environmental benefits of utilising more of the scrap steel produced in the UK each year.

Some ten million tonnes of scrap metal is processed into secondary raw material in the UK each year. A proportion of this is collected through the Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment (WEEE) Regulations and End of Life Vehicles Regulations schemes. As scrap metals have a commercial value, the market determines where this material will go.

The Government has commissioned research to understand the economic, environmental and social opportunities of scrap metal, particularly steel. The results of this research will be published shortly.

Additionally, in August 2019, the Government announced a £250 million Clean Steel Fund to support the UK steel sector to transition to lower carbon iron and steel production, through investment in new technologies and processes. The Fund will help the sector towards achieving our target of net zero emissions by 2050, by maximising longevity and resilience while harnessing clean growth opportunities. Dependent on company business plans, this could include supporting the sector to replace carbon intensive blast furnace production with electric arc furnaces that would utilise UK scrap.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the environmental benefits of using UK-made steel in projects funded by his Department.

Within the Environment Agency’s Collaborative Delivery Framework, the following is specified:

  • All suppliers must have Environmental Management Systems and hold ISO 14001.
  • Steel piles will be specified and sourced in line with Minimum Technical Requirements.
  • Steel used shall have a high recycled content. As a minimum this should be 70%, but higher recycled content rates are expected.
  • Contractors must demonstrate that life cycle sustainability impacts have been considered and minimised in the purchase of steel. Credible evidence must be obtained which demonstrates sustainability and traceability through the supply chain.

All Government departments and arms-length bodies are required to consider socio-economic and environmental factors when procuring steel, not just cost alone.

Our new Social Value Model (published in September last year) requires central government departments to expressly evaluate environmental, social and economic benefits as part of the procurement process (for qualifying procurements).

In addition, the Government is currently consulting on an ambitious package of major procurement reform. The Government’s aim is to create a simpler and more flexible regime that works much better for British businesses, including steel business, while still complying with our international obligations.  The proposals made will help ensure that public procurement at all levels actively helps achieve national strategic priorities, generating economic growth, helping our communities recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and tackling climate change. The consultation closes on 10 March.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will meet with the hon. Member for Sefton Central to discuss the shortfall in grant-in-aid funding for flood defences at Dover’s Brook in Maghull.

As the Minister responsible for flooding, I would welcome the opportunity to meet the hon. Member and discuss flood risk in Maghull.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the financial sustainability of animal rescue organisations.

Animal rescue organisations do excellent work, often on a voluntary basis, protecting animals against cruelty and ensuring that unwanted and abandoned animals in the UK are offered the opportunity of a forever home. I am acutely aware that the coronavirus pandemic, and specifically the measures put in place to control the spread of the virus, continue to affect individuals, businesses and charities caring for animals.

The sector has kept us regularly updated of the developing situation, sharing their surveys particularly with respect to the rescue and rehoming of companion animals, and sharing information on cruelty investigations.

The latest figures from a survey by the Association of Dogs and Cats Homes (ADCH) show that although the animal rescue sector has seen a drop in income during the pandemic the financial sustainability in the sector appears to be improving. This suggests that rescues have adapted to the new situation either through fundraising in different ways or taking advantage of grants made available by the ADCH and other sources. More rescues are now taking in dogs and cats and more are rehoming. In Quarter 4 of 2020 there was a 24% year on year reduction of cat intake and a 32% reduction in dogs entering rescues. 68% of rescues have reported more people wish to foster dogs or cats and 58% wish to rehome a dog or cat.

National equine welfare charities have also kept us closely informed of the status of the Covid-19 Equine Rescues Emergency Fund established by the Pet Plan Charitable Trust together with World Horse Welfare and the National Equine Welfare Council. The current picture of equine welfare is better than feared, but we continue to keep things under review.

Defra remains committed to continued engagement with the sector to understand the longer-term impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, monitor the animal welfare implications of this and offer appropriate advice.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, for what reason dog grooming businesses are not required to close during the covid-19 lockdown announced in January 2021, but are prohibited from offering their services, and do not qualify for Government covid-19 support.

Dog grooming businesses are not on the list of businesses required to close. The latest coronavirus regulations permit dog groomers to continue working, subject to distancing, hygiene and other safety requirements being met. This may include dog groomers collecting pets from their owners' homes and then returning them once they have been groomed. The Canine and Feline Sector Group has already issued advice for pet businesses, including dog groomers, on how to operate safely within the new restrictions. This includes a protocol for the handover of pets and may be found online: https://www.cfsg.org.uk/repository/360/

The Government has issued advice for pet owners and livestock keepers on looking after the welfare of animals during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-people-with-animals This advice makes clear that you may leave your home to take your pet to be groomed. You should do this only if necessary for your animal's welfare and not simply for aesthetic purposes. You should contact the groomer in advance to make an appointment. Ask the groomer if they operate a mobile collection and drop-off service.

The Government has put in place a range of business support measures since March 2020. These include loans, small business grants through local authorities, mortgage holidays and VAT deferral. These measures have been updated in line with local and national restrictions. In November, at the beginning of the second national lockdown, Government made available £1.1 billion in discretionary funding allocated to each local authority to support businesses via the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG). This was topped up with a further £500 million in January 2021.

Local authorities have significant discretion in the businesses they support and the amount of grant funding per business based on local priorities.

Given the new national restrictions, other amendments now include:

  • Extending the coronavirus job retention scheme to support the wage costs of employers until end of April 2021.
  • Increasing the overall level of the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme grant to 80% of trading profits covering November to January for all parts of the UK.
  • Extending the Bounce Back Loan Scheme application deadline to the end of March 2021, to further support eligible firms who need it during this ongoing period of difficulty.

We encourage businesses that have been unable to access support, or who are unsure about what support is available, to contact their Government-backed Local Growth Hub for free tailored guidance and support.

Furthermore, the Business Support Helpline (FREEPHONE 0800 998 1098) provides free, impartial business support and advice to businesses.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the flooding in the Sefton Central constituency on 20 and 21 January 2021, if he will support previously submitted bids under the National Resilience Fund from the Environment Agency for full funding of flood defence schemes in Maghull; and what plans he has to announce a new flood recovery fund.

Starting in 2021, the Government will invest £5.2 billion in a six-year capital investment programme for flood defences, better protecting 336,000 properties from flooding and coastal erosion. The capital programme is allocated in accordance with the Partnership Funding Policy. The Partnership Funding policy clarifies the level of investment communities can expect from Defra so it is clear what level of funding they need to source from other sources to allow projects to go ahead.

The Environment Agency will continue to manage flood risk in Maghull, providing flood warning and maintaining existing assets and will continue to work with the local authorities to find alternative options to reduce the multiple sources of flood risk in Maghull.

With localised flooding incidents local authorities are expected to have well established contingency arrangements in place and to be able to respond and support their local communities from within existing budgets. Following severe weather with significant impacts across multiple local authorities, the Government is able to deploy the Flood Recovery Framework. We will continue to monitor the situation and assess whether further support is needed in the event that flooding impacts increase.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what comparative assessment he has made of the effect on animals of the discharge of fireworks in (a) Sefton, (b) the North West and (c) the UK in (i) 2020 and (ii) previous years.

Defra understands concerns about the distress noisy fireworks can cause to pets, livestock and wildlife. This is one of the reasons that there is a noise level limit of 120 decibels on fireworks for home use. It is an offence under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 to cause an animal any unnecessary suffering and this includes through the misuse of fireworks. The Government is supporting the Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill, currently before Parliament, which will increase the maximum custodial penalty for this offence from six months to five years.

Defra has shared advice on our social media channels on how owners can keep their pets safe. The statutory Code of Practice for the Welfare of Dogs, made under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, encourages dog owners/keepers to act responsibly, including avoid exercising dogs during events which they may find frightening such as firework displays. We would encourage livestock owners who are concerned about planned firework displays to contact the organisers to see if any compromises can be made, such as using less noisy fireworks.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will carry out an economic impact assessment on the UK not being subject to EU REACH chemical regulations after the end of the transition period.

At the end of the Transition Period the UK will have in place its own independent chemicals regulatory framework, UK REACH. UK REACH will retain the principles and fundamental approach of the EU REACH system, with its aims of ensuring a high level of protection of human health and the environment, as well as enhancing innovation and competitiveness.

Businesses will incur costs as a result of the transition to an independent UK regime, and to maintain their access to EU markets. However, it is impossible for a single model, number or scenario to capture the complexity or represent the varying impacts that will be felt across different parts of the economy as a result


We will continue to support businesses through the transition through our range of transitional measures, and seek to minimise cost and burden on industry as far as possible.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of chemical regulation data from EU REACH after the end of the transition period.

UK REACH will adopt the same information requirements as are currently in place under EU REACH meaning there will be no difference in the nature of the available data under the respective regimes.

To support businesses to meet the separate regulatory requirements of the UK and EU markets, we aim to agree data and information sharing mechanisms with the EU, in line with the relevant provisions set out in UK and EU regulation and existing third-country mechanisms. We continue to push for this, but the EU has so far rejected sectoral annexes.

We have introduced a phased timescale for the submission of this data that should facilitate more complete and better-quality registration dossiers. This approach also mitigates against further risk to human health and the environment because information on the higher tonnage and higher risk chemicals is provided first, with lesser tonnage and lower risk chemicals following.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate he has made of the number of additional veterinary professionals required to process animal health export certificates prior to consignment after the end of the transition period in the event that a deal is not reached with the EU.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr on 5 October 2020, PQ 96843.

[https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-09-29/96843]

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to secure equivalence agreements for organic products with her international counterparts.

Defra is engaging with the 13 third countries with which we have organic equivalency arrangements and we expect to have arrangements in place for the end of the transition period. For countries with non-reciprocal arrangements, we will send them a letter confirming that we will continue to recognise their organic goods as we do now. For those countries with which we have reciprocal arrangements, we are updating the specific arrangements to reflect the end of the Transition Period.

In addition, the UK has proposed a technical annex which would include mutual recognition for organics as part of the Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement with the EU.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if the Government will make it is policy to ban all animal fur products.

The Government shares the British public's high regard for animal welfare. There are restrictions on some skin and fur products, making it illegal to import them into the UK. These include fur from cats and dogs and seal skins and products from commercial hunts. Fur farming has been banned in the UK since 2000.

In addition, we do not allow imports of fur from wild animals caught using methods which are non-compliant with international humane trapping standards. Where fur is from an endangered species protected through the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), its import or trade will be subject to CITES controls.

During the transition period it is not possible to introduce restrictions relating to the fur trade. Once our future relationship with the EU has been established there will be an opportunity for the Government to consider further steps it could take in relation to fur sales.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to remove restrictions on delivery times throughout the food supply chain to mitigate the effects of the covid-19 outbreak.

On 13 March, the Government issued a statement encouraging retailers to increase the frequency of deliveries. It also strongly encouraged local authorities not to enforce planning action unnecessarily that would restrict deliveries of food and other essentials during this time, given the exceptional circumstances.

The Government has granted a temporary relaxation of the enforcement of the drivers’ hours rules for all road haulage until 31 May 2020 (which is being kept under review), to help alleviate some of the unprecedented pressures on local and national supply chains. This is on the understanding that driver welfare and road safety must not be compromised and the relaxations only used if absolutely necessary.


The Government has well-established ways of working with the food industry during disruption to supply situations. Since the COVID-19 outbreak, we have intensified our discussions with the industry and together we continue to monitor the situation closely, taking the necessary steps to address issues wherever they arise. We welcome the actions that the industry is taking and we will continue this engagement with industry to keep food supply chains flowing and make sure people have the food and products they need.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment she has made of the potential economic effect on the chemicals industry of regulatory divergence from the EU.

When we leave the EU we will bring Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) into UK law. This will mean that any decision we take as an independent regime will be consistent with the fundamental aims and principles of REACH and based on rigorous assessment of the scientific evidence. We will not change what REACH sets out to achieve, including a high level of protection of human health and the environment.

The Government published “EU Exit: Long-term economic impacts” in November 2018. This paper provides estimates of the economic impact of a range of future trading relationships with the EU. One of the drivers of this estimate of impact is the cost of potential regulatory divergence.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of the analysis by London Economics of the Tradeshow Access Programme to the UK economy; and what discussions she has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on funding for that programme in this financial year.

The London Economics report was from 2008, and as the Tradeshow Access Programme had evolved (and now ceased), some implications no longer apply. We are discussing revised support for trade shows with HM Treasury (HMT), which considers key implications raised in the analysis. We continually review support to ensure maximum impact and that services meet business needs in the current economic context.

2021-22 programme funding was discussed with HMT during the 2020 Spending Review.

Mike Freer
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what the total value was of the 42,000 grants provided by the Government to UK businesses through the Tradeshow Access Programme between April 2009 and March 2021.

The total value of more than 42,000 grants provided by HM Government to UK businesses through the Tradeshow Access Programme between April 2009 and March 2021 was in excess of £93.4 million.

13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment her Department has made of the effect on UK competitiveness of the decision to discontinue the Tradeshow Access Programme.

We have not carried out a direct economic analysis of the decision to discontinue the Trade Access Programme. However, we are working closely with HM Treasury on alternative future arrangements for supporting businesses to participate in tradeshows as part of our plan to support exports to help drive economic growth around the whole of the UK.

13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what economic impact assessment her Department has carried out on the decision to discontinue the Tradeshow Access Programme.

We have not carried out a direct economic analysis of the decision to discontinue the Trade Access Programme. However, we are working closely with HM Treasury on alternative future arrangements for supporting businesses to participate in tradeshows as part of our plan to support exports to help drive economic growth around the whole of the UK.

13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment her Department has made of the implications for her policies of the finding by Export Partners UK that for every £1 invested by the Government in the Tradeshow Access Programme, £40 is generated in taxable revenue.

We welcome engagement from key industry players, including these findings from Export Partners UK. We will work to understand the benefits of this intervention and use it to help design future arrangements for our export support services.

24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what plans she has to revise the regulations of the Trade Remedies Authority.

HM Government designed a robust trade remedies framework to protect producers across the United Kingdom, but the world has changed since 2018 when it was initiated.

The Secretary of State is exploring her options to tackle unfair trading practices, unexpected surges of imports, and market-distorting practices, so her powers can be better tailored to the needs of British industry. Of course, trade remedies are only one part of the United Kingdom’s unilateral toolkit.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent representations has she received from relevant stakeholders on the harmonisation of intellectual property through the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.

The UK’s intellectual property regime achieves an effective balance between rewarding creators and innovation and reflecting wider public interests. Any future trade deal negotiated by the UK will seek to be consistent with the UK’s membership of international intellectual property conventions that the UK are party to.

The Government has already carried out a public consultation on UK accession to this Agreement. The Government will publish its consultation response alongside its outline approach and economic impact assessment in advance of accession negotiations.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, how many businesses have received support through the General Export Facility.

To date, UK Export Finance (UKEF) has approved 19 applications from 18 exporters for support through the General Export Facility (GEF). UKEF is currently considering for approval a further three applications for GEF support.

20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, with reference to the Trade Remedies Investigations Directorate's Statement of Intended Final Determination published 19 May 2021, when she plans to respond to the recommendations of the Trade Remedies Investigations Directorate on the UK steel industry; and what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of that analysis by representative bodies and trade unions in the UK steel industry.

The independent Trade Remedies Authority (TRA) will be formally established in June and will operate at arms-length from the Department for International Trade. Through its temporary precursor, the Trade Remedies Investigations Directorate, it has been engaging with interested parties and others throughout its review of the steel safeguard measure. The review began in October 2020.

The publication of their Statement of Intended Preliminary Decision on 19th May provides an opportunity for domestic producers and others to comment on their findings before they make a recommendation to my Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade.

When a recommendation is received, the Secretary of State may only accept or reject it, and cannot amend the details of the TRA’s recommendation. Under the Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Act 2018, the Secretary of State does not have powers to impose measures unless the TRA provides a recommendation to do so, which she may then accept.

We still expect that the review will conclude before the safeguard measure is due to expire at the end of June. The Secretary of State, fellow Ministers and I continue to engage with the industry and others.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of the letter addressed to her from Export Partners UK dated 9 April 2021 on British exporters.

We welcome engagement from Export Partners UK and we will consider proposals as we refresh our Export Strategy. Announcements in respect of grant allocations, and the 2021-22 programme for trade show support, will be dependent on how business planning discussions are concluded as part of the overall Spending Review priorities process.

1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, for what reason the interim report of the Trade and Agriculture Commission round table on ethics does not include the contributions made by the trade union representatives who were in attendance.

The Trade and Agriculture Commission’s interim progress update was written and published prior to the ethical trading roundtable, which took place on 6 November.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what plans she has to publish a strategy on trade in digital services.

HM Government aims to make the United Kingdom a global leader in digital services trade, with a network of international agreements that drive productivity, jobs and growth across the United Kingdom.

The United Kingdom is already one of the world’s largest exporters of services, with remotely delivered services exports worth £207 billion in 2019. To build on this, we will use our independent trade policy to shape the future of global rules on digital trade. Bilaterally, we are looking for advanced digital services chapters in areas like data and digital in all of the trade negotiations we are currently engaged in.

Earlier this month, my Rt. Hon Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade announced our intention to negotiate a ground-breaking Digital Economy Agreement with Singapore.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what protections are in the UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement to ensure that citizens’ data is protected in the event that companies decide to transfer that data abroad; and if she will make a statement.

The UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) ensures that data can flow between the countries while maintaining high data protection standards. The deal does not mandate that data must flow, but rather the provisions clear the way for the flow of data between both countries for business purposes; when data needs to flow across a border it can do so without coming up against unjustified barriers. CEPA does not interfere with the high level of protection afforded to personal data when it is transferred out of the UK under the UK's data protections laws.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps she is taking to ensure that existing safeguards on people’s (a) privacy and (b) data protection will be replicated as part of a future WTO agreement on cross-border data flows; and if she will make a statement.

The UK government is seeking provisions in trade agreements that remove barriers to the free flow of data, while not lowering the standard of protection afforded to the personal data of UK individuals. The UK is, and will remain, committed to maintaining high standards of protection for personal data, including when it is transferred across borders. The UK recognises the importance of data protection to enable trading partners to build trust through transparent treatment of personal data and to ensure that data is able to flow in an uninterrupted manner.

Currently cross-border data flows as well as privacy and personal information protection are being discussed at the e-commerce negotiations at the World Trade Organization (WTO). The UK will not sign up to any agreement at the WTO which will put at risk the UK’s high standards of data protection, or the personal data protection or privacy currently afforded to UK individuals.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether the exemptions for public procurement in (a) Article 8.84 3(a), (b) Article 8.85 3(a), (c) Article 8.73 3(a), (d) Article 8.73 3(b) and (e) footnote [2] in the Agreement between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Japan for a Comprehensive Economic Partnership include the processing of (i) data, (ii) data flows, (iii) data transfer, (iv) access to data, (v) source code and (vi) algorithms in (A) present and (B) future forms of public data created by (I) artificial intelligence, (II) automated decision-making and (III) digital technology; and if she will make a statement.

Articles 8.73 (Source Code), 8.84 (Cross-border transfer of information by electronic means) and 8.85 (Location of computing facilities) of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) contain exemptions for government procurement. These exemptions create a derogation from some or all the obligations contained in Articles 8.73, 8.84 and 8.85 for government procurement activities falling within the scope of these Articles. This derogation would apply to government procurement activities regarding artificial intelligence, automated decision-making and digital technologies to the extent such activities would otherwise be prohibited by these Articles.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what estimate she has made of changes in costs for (a) importers and (b) exporters during 2020 as a result of staff at Felixstowe being furloughed through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

The Secretary of State for Transport and his officials have actively engaged the Port of Felixstowe to understand the global challenge of a global peak in container traffic, so my department has not made such an estimate. Accordingly, I can assure the Hon. Gentleman that HM Government is continuing to monitor the situation, and is engaged with relevant freight trade associations.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what discussions she has had with the Chancellor of the Dutchy of Lancaster on disbanding the Expert Trade Advisory Group on Customs and Continuity in Trade.

Our previous ‘Expert Trade Advisory Groups’ have stopped meeting, in order to minimise unnecessary duplication in our engagement, following the creation of our 11 new sector-focused ‘Trade Advisory Groups’ (TAGs).

Further, we have now also established a range of cross-government ‘Thematic Working Groups’ (TWGs), including dedicated Customs and Continuity TWGs. These groups have now met as TWGs and both groups will continue to meet in this format to make sure detailed knowledge is used to inform trade policy.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
20th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment she has made of the level of changes in costs for importers and exporters of staff availability during the covid-19 outbreak.

We have no data on the level of changes in costs for importers and exporters as a result of staff absence during the Covid-19 outbreak.

19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on the effect on businesses of not being able to attend tradeshows abroad.

My Rt hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade meets Cabinet colleagues on a regular basis to discuss a range of issues, including the effect of the pandemic on business.

19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, pursuant to the Answer of 9 November 2020 to Question 111493, what assessment she has made of the potential adverse trade effects that may be brought to the WTO by UK funding for virtual tradeshow access.

There is currently no evidence of the impact made through funding or attending virtual trade shows - adverse or otherwise - published by either UK industry or other nations, on which to make an assessment at this time.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, pursuant to Answer of 9 November 2020 to Question 111493 on Trade Affairs: Internet, what assessment she has made of the potential effect on UK trade of other countries funding access to virtual trade shows.

There is currently no evidence of the impact made through funding or attending virtual trade shows - adverse or otherwise - published by either UK industry or other nations, on which to make an assessment at this time.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of the findings of the Which? report entitled National Trade Conversation, published 11 November 2020.

The Government engages with all evidence and we are committed to ensuring the voice of the consumer is represented in trade policy. We have committed to maintaining the consumer standards that the UK public currently enjoys.

The Department has worked with Which? as they have undertaken the National Trade Conversation, including sitting on the Advisory Group established as part of the programme and my personal involvement in the launch event for the Research Report.

The work of Which? represents a valuable addition to our understanding of how consumers engage on trade and their core interests and values.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what funding has been delivered as part of the Tradeshow Access Programme to date in financial year 2020-21.

The Department for International Trade (DIT) entered this financial year with a full calendar of agreed events to be supported by the Tradeshow Access Programme with a budget of £6.5 million.

Regrettably, most of the events have since been cancelled due to the impact of COVID-19.

4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether WTO rules permit subsidies being paid to businesses taking part in online trade shows.

The WTO Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures (ASCM)?applies to trade in goods only and prohibits two types of subsidies – those contingent on export performance,?and those contingent on the use of domestic over imported goods.?All other subsidies may be permitted, but if another WTO member can show that they have caused adverse trade effects, they can raise a dispute with the WTO dispute settlement body and seek removal of the subsidy or impose countervailing duties.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, when she plans to answer the letter of 23 September 2020 from Adam Mansell of UK Fashion and Textiles.

The response to this letter was sent to UK Fashion and Textiles on Tuesday 27 October.

2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of maintaining anti-dumping duties on imports of bicycles originating from the People's Republic of China after the end of the transition period.

In preparation for the end of the transition period, the Department for International Trade has assessed whether the EU anti-dumping measure on bicycles should continue to apply after the transition period. This was done through a Call for Evidence process, which was a technical exercise based on objective evidence from businesses, validated through reputable publicly available sources.

Each measure was considered against set criteria. Based on current evidence, this measure does not meet the criteria and that’s why the Department has determined that the measure should not continue to apply after the transition period. British consumers would bear the brunt of higher prices if anti-dumping measures were unnecessarily retained.

British bicycle producers can, of course, appeal this decision and provide the Department with further information if there are changes to domestic market share before the end of the transition period.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, if she will publish the economic modelling of the comparison between the EU-Japan trade agreement and the UK-Japan trade agreement.

The economic modelling in our impact assessment compares the impact of the agreement against a baseline where the UK does not have an agreement with Japan. This is the most appropriate baseline to compare impacts against because, without this agreement, at the end of the transition period the UK and Japan would revert to a trading relationship without a trade agreement. The Parliamentary Report sets out changes in the agreement from the EU-Japan trade agreement to the UK-Japan agreement and a description of their expected impacts.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether she has made an assessment of the implications for her policies of the recommendations on the scrutiny of international trade negotiations in the report report of the Global Economic Governance Programme entitled UK scrutiny of international trade agreements.

Parliament will be able to conduct scrutiny at every stage of the process in a way that is appropriate and proportionate to the British constitutional context.

In the United Kingdom, the power to negotiate and enter into treaties are prerogative powers held by HM Government. That said, we have gone well beyond the statutory framework for the scrutiny of treaties set out in the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010.

Our approach strikes the right balance between allowing Parliament to scrutinise our trade policy effectively, and maintaining the ability of HM Government to negotiate with agility in the best interests of the United Kingdom. We have, of course, considered the approach of other international systems, including the United States, but comparisons must focus on countries that use the Westminster model to draw meaningful best practice that is appropriate to our constitutional arrangements.

When similar parliamentary democracies are compared to the United Kingdom, it is clear our practice is very strong and entirely appropriate to our constitutional arrangements. For example, as the report the Hon. Gentlemen refers to states, the United Kingdom is one of the few jurisdictions to publish impact assessments at the outset of negotiations.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what plans she has to meet with the TUC to discuss the membership of the Trade Advisory Groups.

The sector-specific Trade Advisory Groups are just one way that the Department for International Trade engages on trade policy. A representative of the TUC was appointed a member of the Strategic Trade Advisory Group in 2019 and my Rt Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade and I continue to consider ways in which the Department can engage further with the TUC and individual trade unions.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
17th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps she is taking to promote the export of organic produce from the UK.

The UK’s food and drink exports increased by 5% to £23.8bn in 2019. The UK’s organic produce is exported widely around the world, and we work closely with industry to support the sector.

On 22 June, in partnership with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Department for International Trade launched a Bounce Back Plan to support the food, drink and agriculture industries. The package offers initiatives to support the organic industry including export masterclasses and virtual meet the buyer events. This bespoke package will further boost our trade efforts and complement the new opportunities presented by free trade agreements such as that with Japan.

10th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, when she plans to respond to correspondence from Paul Aiger of UK Export Partners of 11 August 2020.

The Department for International Trade (DIT) is in discussions with Her Majesty’s Treasury (HMT) regarding amendments to the Tradeshow Access Programme. Those discussions are ongoing, and the Secretary of State will reply to Mr Alger once they are resolved.

7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of EU regulations on the import of palm oil on reducing deforestation; and whether the Government plans to bring forward similar legislative proposals for the UK after the transition period.

Both the EU and the UK have sustainability criteria for biofuels. These have minimised the import of biofuels with a high risk of causing indirect land use change, such as from palm oil.

On 25 August, the Government published a public consultation on a legislative proposal for due diligence on forest risk commodities, which could include palm oil.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, with reference to the UK's potential membership of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, what representations she has received from her international counterparts on the import of palm oil into the UK after the transition period.

HM Government continues to engage with all Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) members on the United Kingdom’s potential accession – and my Rt Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade recently met High Commissioners, Ambassadors and senior officials from all CPTPP countries.

We are in discussion with the Malaysian and Indonesian Governments in relation to the very important issue of palm oil supply chains separately, and are interested in the responses from the public consultation on due diligence requirements for commodities that risk our world’s rainforests, to help protect forests being illegally converted into agricultural land.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
4th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what discussions she or her officials have had with representatives of the Malaysian and Indonesian Governments on the production of palm oil and the UK's potential accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.

HM Government continues to engage with all Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) members on the United Kingdom’s potential accession – and my Rt Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade recently met High Commissioners, Ambassadors and senior officials from all CPTPP countries.

We are in discussion with the Malaysian and Indonesian Governments in relation to the very important issue of palm oil supply chains separately, and are interested in the responses from the public consultation on due diligence requirements for commodities that risk our world’s rainforests, to help protect forests being illegally converted into agricultural land.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what progress her Department has made on a trade agreement with Greenland.

Until the end of the Transition Period, Britain’s trade relationship with Greenland will be governed by an EU framework given Greenland’s status as a Danish dependency and an EU overseas territory.

The Department for International Trade is working across government to review the future of Britain’s trading relationship with Greenland and remain in close contact with counterparts in the Greenland Representation.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what plans she has for tariffs on the import of prawns after the transition period.

On 19 May 2020, we announced our permanent Most Favoured Nation (MFN) tariff schedule, the UK Global Tariff (UKGT). The UKGT will enter in force on 1 January 2021 and will apply to all goods, such as prawns, imported in the UK unless an exception, such as preferential agreements, applies.

Businesses can check what tariffs will apply after the transition period on GOV.UK, at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/uk-tariffs-from-1-january-2021.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what plans she has to use primary legislation to implement free trade agreements with (a) the US, (b) Australia, (c) New Zealand and (d) Japan.

The Government will, where necessary, bring forward primary legislation to implement future Free Trade Agreements where existing powers do not exist on the statute book. The agreement with Japan, as with all of the countries that have an existing trade agreement with the EU, is included in the scope of the Trade Bill.

This Government remains committed to the principles of transparency and scrutiny. The Department for International Trade (DIT) is working to ensure future Free Trade Agreements such as with the US, Australia and New Zealand, are implemented smoothly and transparently. DIT is considering options on legislative implementation for these new agreements and is working closely with other Departments, including the Foreign Office.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what her objectives are in negotiations on international trade agreements with (a) Turkey, (b) Canada and (c) Mexico.

The United Kingdom’s ambition is to sign continuity trade agreements with (a) Turkey; (b) Canada; and (c) Mexico by the end of the transition period to make sure that existing trade flows are protected, as far as possible. To this end, our trade negotiators have engaged in technical discussions, including on tariffs, rules of origin and regulatory matters.

Consistent with the approach taken for all previous continuity trade agreements, agreement texts will be shared publicly after they have been laid before Parliament. My Department organises regular meetings with industry to keep them as informed as possible on our progress in this important work.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, when she plans to conclude international trade agreements with (a) Turkey, (b) Canada and (c) Mexico.

The United Kingdom’s ambition is to sign continuity trade agreements with (a) Turkey; (b) Canada; and (c) Mexico by the end of the transition period to make sure that existing trade flows are protected, as far as possible. To this end, our trade negotiators have engaged in technical discussions, including on tariffs, rules of origin and regulatory matters.

Consistent with the approach taken for all previous continuity trade agreements, agreement texts will be shared publicly after they have been laid before Parliament. My Department organises regular meetings with industry to keep them as informed as possible on our progress in this important work.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what plans she has to share negotiating texts with parties who have signed non-disclosure agreements in respect of negotiations of international trade agreements with (a)Turkey, (b) Canada and (c) Mexico.

The United Kingdom’s ambition is to sign continuity trade agreements with (a) Turkey; (b) Canada; and (c) Mexico by the end of the transition period to make sure that existing trade flows are protected, as far as possible. To this end, our trade negotiators have engaged in technical discussions, including on tariffs, rules of origin and regulatory matters.

Consistent with the approach taken for all previous continuity trade agreements, agreement texts will be shared publicly after they have been laid before Parliament. My Department organises regular meetings with industry to keep them as informed as possible on our progress in this important work.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what discussions her trade negotiators have had on tariff schedules, product conformity, rules of origin and other technical regulations with their counterparts in (a) Turkey, (b) Canada and (c) Mexico in relation to negotiating international trade agreements with those countries.

The United Kingdom’s ambition is to sign continuity trade agreements with (a) Turkey; (b) Canada; and (c) Mexico by the end of the transition period to make sure that existing trade flows are protected, as far as possible. To this end, our trade negotiators have engaged in technical discussions, including on tariffs, rules of origin and regulatory matters.

Consistent with the approach taken for all previous continuity trade agreements, agreement texts will be shared publicly after they have been laid before Parliament. My Department organises regular meetings with industry to keep them as informed as possible on our progress in this important work.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what plans she has to negotiate membership of the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans Pacific Partnership; and what derogations from its treaties would she seek.

Accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) could help Britain increase her trade and investment opportunities, diversify her trading links and supply chains, and secure her future place in the world at the centre of a modern network of Free Trade Agreements with dynamic economies.

HM Government continue to have discussions on CPTPP accession with member countries at official and ministerial level, as part of our preparatory engagement. In our engagement, we are clear that any final decision to join CPTPP will consider the progress of bilateral negotiations with member countries and whether accession will be in the British national interest.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what progress she has made on negotiating an international trade agreement with Vietnam; and if she will make a statement.

The United Kingdom is committed to seeking trade continuity of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), once it enters into force on 1st August, by transitioning it into a bilateral agreement. HM Government are working closely with the Vietnamese Government on this.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment she has made of the risk of smuggling from the EU if UK ports are not ready to carry out checks on imports after the transition period.

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) already tackle smuggling and they will continue to do so through intelligence-led targeting. My Department continues working closely with HMRC to make sure that the United Kingdom’s trade policy will be effectively operationalised at the border after the transition period ends.

Border controls on controlled goods will continue regardless of whether imports come from the European Union or Rest of the World countries. To ensure compliance with new customs procedures and controls at the border after transition period ends, my Rt Hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster recently announced a new infrastructure funding package that includes £470m to build the necessary infrastructure required.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment she has made of the risk of legal challenge against the UK at the WTO as a result of the UK’s plans to phase in border checks on imports from the EU after the transition period.

The Government does not disclose the content of any legal advice. However, as set out in the staging of import controls announcement in June, and reiterated in the announcement of the Border Operating Model, the Government will have controls in place for controlled goods from January 2021 and all goods (both controlled and standard) in place from July 2021.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what plans she has to publish a negotiating mandate for an international trade agreement with (a) Turkey, (b) Mexico and (c) Canada.

The Continuity Trade Programme seeks to replicate, as far as possible, the effects of existing trade agreements in which the United Kingdom participates as a member of the EU.

The United Kingdom remains committed to ensuring continuity in our trading relationships with Turkey, Mexico and Canada beyond the end of the transition period. Consistent with the approach taken for all other continuity trade agreements to date, HM Government does not intend to publish negotiating mandates for the continuity discussions with these three countries.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment she has made of the (a) political, (b) legal and (c) reputational risks of a difference in tariff controls between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

The Northern Ireland Protocol (the Protocol) clearly states that Northern Ireland is and remains part of the UK’s customs territory.

Businesses and consumers in Northern Ireland will be able to take advantage of the UK Global Tariff and any new trade agreements this government negotiates, like the rest of the UK.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, when she will lay the instrument of accession to the Government Procurement Agreement; and if she will make a statement.

The United Kingdom intends to deposit her Instrument of Accession to the Government Procurement Agreement (GPA) with the WTO Director-General on 2nd December 2020. The GPA will then enter into force for the United Kingdom, as an independent party, on 1st January 2021.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, pursuant to the Answer of 13 May 2020 to Question 42995, if she will publish the responses from the automotive industry.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 13 May 2020 to Question UIN: 42995.

My department published a summary of responses to the Call for Input and the Government’s response to those comments on 13 May. This is available on gov.uk, alongside the UK’s negotiating objectives for a UK-Japan Free Trade Agreement.

We took the approach of publishing a summary of responses, including from the automotive industry, rather than publishing by individual sector to protect any business sensitive information that was shared.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether it is her policy to include investor state dispute settlement mechanisms in international trade agreements.

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


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

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether it is her policy to include the cancellation of section 232 tariffs as a condition for an international trade agreement with the United States.

The UK has consistently opposed US section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminium. The UK is a close national security ally of the US and our steel and aluminium products are important for US businesses and defence, and we continue to reject any claim that they harm US national security.

The Government published its strategic and outline approach to negotiations with the United States for a UK-US Free Trade Agreement on 2 March. As set out in that paper, we will be pressing the US for the swift removal of these unjustified tariffs.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether it is her policy to include (a) mutual recognition of professional standards, (b) the movement of people and (c) visas as part of an international trade agreement with the United States; and if she will make a statement.

On 2 March 2020, the Department for International trade published our negotiating objectives, available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-uks-approach-to-trade-negotiations-with-the-us.

The Government stated its objective to enhance opportunities for UK service suppliers and investors for business travel to the US and to support the recognition of professional qualifications.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
6th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of the deadline set by the US Congress for the end of trade negotiations between the UK and the US.

Neither the UK nor US Governments have set any date for the end of negotiations, however both sides are equally committed to negotiating a comprehensive free trade agreement as swiftly as possible. The first round of negotiations began on 5th May.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
6th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what representations she has received from representatives from the UK farming sector on the effect of tariff free imports from (a) New Zealand, (b) Australia and (c) the US on UK on the competitiveness of UK farmers.

The Secretary of State regularly receives representations from the UK farming sector in our negotiations. Many representatives from the UK sector responded to the DIT consultations held in 2018 asking for industry views and priorities for these negotiations. Summaries of the responses are available on the gov.uk website.

The Government is clear that our trade agreements must work in the best interests of UK producers, consumers, and businesses.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
6th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, pursuant to her Answer of 6 May 2020 to Question 42002, on Trade: Freight, what representations her Department has made to the Treasury on the suitability of support being provided to the freight sector during the covid-19 outbreak.

I refer the Hon. Member for Sefton Central to the answer I gave him on 6 May 2020, UIN: 42002, this Department is working closely with the Department for Transport and the Devolved Administrations to support industry and continue the flow of critical freight for the whole of the UK.

This Department has an important role in representing the feedback we hear from the sectors we engage with to other Government departments, but, consistent with the practice of successive administrations, the Government does not disclose details of internal departmental meetings.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what representations she has received from the automotive industry on potential changes to the UK's international trade agreement with Japan.

The UK and Japan have agreed to negotiate an enhanced bilateral agreement using the existing Economic Partnership Agreement as a basis.

Last year we ran a Call for Input to inform our approach to our future trade relationship with Japan. We received responses from a wide range of sectors, including the automotive industry.

The Automotive Expert Trade Advisory Group facilitates expert technical policy exchanges with relevant experts from academia, regulation and business.

In addition to the above formal structures we will continue to use a variety of mechanisms and engagement structures to ensure that our trade policy works for the whole of the UK.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether she has made an estimate of the changes in UK imports and exports resulting from the covid-19 pandemic in this financial year.

The Department does not produce UK trade forecasts. The latest official figures from the Office for National Statistics (year to end February 2020) reports UK exports at £702.4bn (up 6.1% on the previous year) and imports at £714.2bn (up 1.5%). The impact of COVID-19 on UK trade would not yet have been apparent in these figures.

The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) produce the official UK Economic and Fiscal Outlook forecasts. Although the OBR published a COVID19 reference scenario in April, this scenario did not include trade forecasts – the OBR’s latest trade forecasts (March 2020) do not include the impact of COVID-19.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, how many staff of her Department have been seconded to other departments to work on the Government's response to the covid-19 pandemic.

The response to COVID-19 is a key priority for the Department for International Trade (DIT). Our current estimate is that approximately 75% of our people are working full time or part time on it. This includes our overseas workforce who are supporting the FCO-led crisis response at post.

In the UK DIT has deployed 28 people to 4 other departments for COVID-19 related activity since 4 March 2020, of which 4 people have now returned.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what (a) discussions she has had with and (b) representations she has received from the maritime industry on the effect of the covid-19 pandemic on (i) imports and (ii) exports.

This Department is working closely with the maritime industry, including regular contact with the umbrella organisation for the sector; ‘Maritime UK’. We have heard directly from the sector the effect of the pandemic on their ability to trade.

In addition to the Government’s overall package of support for business, on 24 April, we announced an unprecedented package of measures supporting 31 critical freight routes between Great Britain, Northern Ireland and mainland Europe: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-government-package-to-protect-ferry-freight-routes. These measures will support maritime companies to continue to trade globally. We continue to engage with the sector to hear their views.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, if she will make an assessment of the implications for her Department's policy of the role of the US Congress in scrutinising international trade agreements.

In formulating our approach to scrutiny of international trade agreements we have considered the approach of international comparators, including the United States and countries with similar Westminster-style democracies such as New Zealand and Canada, and drawn on international best practice.

The role that the US Congress plays in scrutinising international trade agreements is a product of the constitutional make-up of the United States. Similarly, the United Kingdom’s own scrutiny regime must reflect our own unique and specific constitutional system.

The UK Parliament will be able to conduct scrutiny at every stage of the process in a way that is appropriate to the UK constitutional context. The Government’s approach strikes the right balance between allowing Parliament to effectively scrutinise our trade policy, whilst maintaining the ability of the Government to negotiate flexibly in the best interests of the UK.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent discussions she has had with Cabinet colleagues on support for haulage firms that transport goods internationally.

This Department is working closely with the Department for Transport and the Devolved Administrations to support industry and continue the flow of critical freight for the whole of the UK.

On 24 April, the Government announced a package of support https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-government-package-to-protect-ferry-freight-routes on up to 31 critical freight routes between Great Britain, Northern Ireland and mainland Europe, which will help to maintain capacity on these vital transport routes. Ministers are working with industry and the Devolved Administrations to keep this scheme under regular review.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment she has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the flow of foreign direct investment.

The outlook for FDI in the UK will depend on the duration of the economic disruption and how businesses and markets respond.

The Department is continuing its engagement with foreign investors to understand the effect of Covid-19’s outbreak on their investment plans and to support FDI flows to the UK.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent assessment she has made of the adequacy of current processes for the scrutiny of international trade agreements.

The Government is committed to transparency and will ensure that parliamentarians, UK citizens and businesses have access to the information they need on our trade negotiations.

The Secretary of State laid a statement on 6 February, setting out the Government’s proposed approach to FTAs with priority partners including the USA, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. On 2 March, the Government published its objectives and initial scoping assessment for the proposed US trade deal and the Secretary of State for International Trade made an Oral Statement to Parliament.

Once negotiations are underway the Government will continue to keep Parliament informed via regular updates.

At the end of each negotiation, any free trade agreement treaty will be subject to the robust ratification procedures set out in the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act (CRaG) 2010, including the opportunity for Parliament to scrutinise the treaty before it is ratified.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment she has made of the level of satisfaction amongst businesses with the Tradeshow Access Programme.

The Tradeshow Access Programme (TAP) is monitored as part of DIT’s collective assessment of the support it offers to exporters.

The last published TAP-specific Business Satisfaction figures are from the UK Trade and Investment Performance and Impact Monitoring Survey, published in March 2015.

The research was conducted by an independent market research agency.

83% of the 130 businesses surveyed, who had participated in TAP as a UK group or delegation, were satisfied with the service in 2013-2014.

1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what discussions she has had with the Minister for the Cabinet Office on the accountability of the chief procurement officer to her office and other ministers.

There have been no discussions with the Minister for the Cabinet Office on this topic.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, if she will publish the budgets for UK Export Finance allocated to support projects by world region; and how much was spent from each of those budgets in each of the last five years.

UK Export Finance’s (UKEFs) available support for export transactions is not broken down by region or sector. It is used to support UKEFs mission to ensure that no viable UK export fails for want of finance or insurance, while operating at no net cost to the taxpayer. Each export transaction that is supported is considered on a case-by-case basis.

1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps she is taking to reduce barriers to trade in medical devices.

I refer the Hon.Member for Sefton Central to the answer I gave him on 4 May, UIN 41034.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what discussions she has had with her international counterparts on the lifting of export controls on medical devices throughout the world during the covid-19 pandemic.

The Coronavirus crisis highlights the importance of free trade and open supply chains. I and my Ministerial colleagues are engaging on a daily basis with international partners and multilaterally through the G7, G20 and WTO to support free trade and resilient supply chains.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment she has made of the importance for UK interests of the World Trade Organisation holding meetings during the covid-19 pandemic; and what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of those meetings being held remotely.

COVID -19 is a global challenge and requires a coordinated global response. The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has a key role to play in this effort.

The UK welcomes the use of virtual meetings for informal meetings and exchanges of views. We recently participated in the written procedure for the multilateral negotiation on fisheries subsidies and found this useful.

We have encouraged the WTO Secretariat to continue working with Members quickly to establish accessible and inclusive virtual ways of working, to allow WTO discussions to continue. The UK is prepared to support developing country participation across these virtual processes.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps the Government is taking to consult with trade unions on the text of trade negotiations with (a) the EU and (ii) non-EU countries.

Task Force Europe, working within No10, leads on the UK’s future relationship with the EU, including our trading relationship, and this is set out in “Our Approach to the Future Relationship with the EU” published on 27 February.

The Department for International Trade leads on negotiations with countries beyond the EU and its approach to engagement is set out in more detail in my answer to the Hon Member for Harrow West on 26 March, UIN: 33395.

The Government is committed to seeking views from a wide range of stakeholder groups, including trades unions, to develop a future relationship with the EU and negotiate new trade deals with other partners.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, if she will make it her policy to ensure representation of trade unions on the board of the Trade Remedies Authority.

The independence of the Trade Remedies Authority (TRA) Board will be crucial to safeguarding the impartiality and objectivity of the TRA, and to ensure it acts in the national interest. We are committed to staffing the TRA Board with an appropriate range of backgrounds and experience. It is essential that Board members are appointed on merit to ensure that the Board has the right blend of skills and expertise, rather than due to affiliations with any specific interest group.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that witnesses are able to give evidence at the Committee Stage of the Trade Bill while complying with the Government's social distancing measures.

The House Authorities are working with all parties to ensure that legislation can proceed through all parliamentary stages in accordance with guidelines on social distancing. The Government will adhere to these guidelines.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent representations she has made to ensure that a formal meeting of the World Trade Organisation takes place within a timeframe commensurate with that normally in place for the organisation.

We are living in unprecedented times. We must all rise to the challenge of COVID-19 and continue the vital work the WTO is doing. This requires Members to be flexible, agile and innovative.

At the WTO Heads of Delegation (17/04), the UK encouraged the WTO Secretariat to work with Members quickly to establish accessible and inclusive virtual ways of working, to allow WTO discussions to continue and agree to a new date for the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment she has made of the importance for international trade of the World Trade Organisation meeting in the near future.

The UK believes a strong, rules based, trading system is in the best interests of all nations.

We need to collectively strengthen and reform the WTO, so it delivers?a?free, fair, non-discriminatory, transparent framework for trade between countries. This will play an important role?in resolving the effects of the global pandemic.

This will require WTO Members being able to make decisions and WTO business to continue this year. The UK will continue to support WTO’s efforts to identify technology-driven solutions that ensure all members are able to participate in the spirit of inclusivity.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, who the (a) executive and (b) non-executive members of the Trade Remedies Investigations Directorate are; whether any of those members have (a) recently given notice of resignation or (b) had their appointments terminated.

The Chief Executive Officer Designate of the shadow Trade Remedies Authority, and Director of the Trade Remedies Investigations Directorate, is Claire Bassett. As announced on Gov.uk website on 28th April, Claire Bassett has given notice of resignation and is stepping down from her role on 31 August 2020.

The Chair Designate of the Trade Remedies Authority is Simon Walker.

The Department for International Trade has started a recruitment process for a new Chief Executive Officer Designate, and five Non-Executive Directors.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
21st Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent discussions she has had with Cabinet colleagues on protecting the UK manufacturing industry from dumping practices during the covid-19 outbreak.

My Rt Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade has been working closely with the Prime Minister, Cabinet colleagues and her ministerial team throughout the Covid-19 crisis to ensure that disruption to the UK economy, industry and supply chains are kept to a minimum.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that imported food meets UK standards as a condition of entry after the UK leaves the EU.

After EU exit, the UK will decide how we set and maintain our own standards and regulations and we have been clear that we remain firmly committed to upholding our high environmental, food safety and animal welfare standards. The UK’s independent food regulators will continue to ensure that all food imports into the UK comply with those high standards.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
22nd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what plans she has to maintain UK food production standards in future trade deals.

The Government has been clear that we remain firmly committed to upholding our high environmental, food safety and animal welfare standards post-Brexit and the EU Withdrawal Act will transfer all existing EU food safety provisions onto the UK statute book. Any future trade agreements must work for UK consumers, farmers and companies.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
22nd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps she is taking to ensure that (a) chlorinated chicken and (b) foods that do not meet UK food standards are not included in future trade deals.

The Government has made it clear that any future trade deals must work for UK consumers, farmers and companies. We remain firmly committed to upholding our high environmental, food safety and animal welfare standards post-Brexit and the EU Withdrawal Act will transfer all existing EU food safety provisions onto the UK statute book.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
9th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make an estimate of the (a) supply of and (b) demand for HGV Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency tests by region in last six months.

In line with the Statistics and Regulations Service 2007, The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) expects to publish official statistics covering April 2021 to June 2021 on or around 23 September 2021. The DVSA will also publish statistics covering July 2021 to September 2021 on or around 23 December 2021.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
9th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of provision of HGV tests by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency to meet demand by region in last six months.

In line with the Statistics and Regulations Service 2007, The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) expects to publish official statistics covering April 2021 to June 2021 on or around 23 September 2021. The DVSA will also publish statistics covering July 2021 to September 2021 on or around 23 December 2021.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how long drivers have waited on average for online driving licence renewal applications to be processed in the most recent period for which figures are available.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency’s (DVLA) online service is the quickest and easiest way to apply for a driving licence. Successful applications are processed immediately, and customers should receive their driving licence within a few days.

The DVLA sends renewal reminder forms to customers two months before licences are due to expire to ensure drivers know when they need to apply to renew their licence. These will also be sent to drivers whose licences were extended by 11 months, allowing drivers time to make their renewal application and the forms can also be used to renew a licence online or at a post office. There are no plans for further extensions to driving licence validity.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the effect of the backlog in online driving licence renewal applications on drivers whose licences expired after 31 December 2020 who have not benefited from an 11 month extension to their licences; and if he will introduce a further extension for driving licences which expired after 31 December 2020.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency’s (DVLA) online service is the quickest and easiest way to apply for a driving licence. Successful applications are processed immediately, and customers should receive their driving licence within a few days.

The DVLA sends renewal reminder forms to customers two months before licences are due to expire to ensure drivers know when they need to apply to renew their licence. These will also be sent to drivers whose licences were extended by 11 months, allowing drivers time to make their renewal application and the forms can also be used to renew a licence online or at a post office. There are no plans for further extensions to driving licence validity.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
10th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what (a) assessment he has made of the potential public health risks of allowing licensed hire vehicle drivers to cross local authority boundaries, including from areas with low rates of covid-19 infection to areas with high rates of infection and (b) representations he has received from local authorities requesting that such drivers are restricted from crossing local authority boundaries.

The Government has published guidance for the taxi and private hire vehicle sector on how to provide COVID-safe services during the pandemic. Taxis and private hire vehicles are able to operate across tier boundaries.

Passengers should follow the Coronavirus (COVID-19): safer travel guidance for passengers and any other restrictions in place.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
12th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of the inland port and connectivity concept of Sefton Council.

The Department is aware of Sefton Council's inland port and connectivity concept. It contains some interesting and innovative ideas for improving connectivity through conventional and non-conventional means. In the first instance it will be for the Liverpool City Region Port Access Steering Group to assess further as to how it contributes to its multi modal approach to addressing connectivity to the Port of Liverpool, and wider regional transport considerations.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of bringing forward legislative proposals to ban the sale of SpeedBox devices in the interests of public safety.

The Department is aware of devices such as SpeedBox which modify the performance of an electrically-assisted pedal cycle but no assessment has been made.

Once an electrically-assisted pedal cycle is modified such that it no longer complies with the speed or power limits laid down in regulation, it is considered to be a motor vehicle (most likely a moped or motorcycle). If the vehicle were to be used on public roads then it and the rider are required to comply with the laws appropriate to those vehicle categories. Enforcement of the law is a matter for the police.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what representations he has received from airlines on job creation in the aviation industry.

The Government is developing a strategic framework for the longer-term recovery of the sector, which will focus on building back better and ensuring a successful UK aviation sector for the future. In addition, the Government recognises that aviation is home to many highly skilled and highly trained workers, who are essential to the recovery and future growth of the sectors, and we have launched the Aviation Skills Retention Platform to help retain vital skills in the sector and support its recovery.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he plans to introduce a railcard for essential workers for the duration of the covid-19 outbreak.

There are currently no plans to introduce a railcard for essential workers. It is clear this year that the industry, commuters and society are all facing unusual pressures due to COVID-19.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
4th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether (a) Jigsaw Homes, (b) Bellway North West, (c) Nuffield College, (d) P&O Ferries / Ferrymasters, (e) Stagecoach Merseyside, (f) Santander UK, (g) Aintree NHS Trust, (h) the Health & Safety Executive, (i) Canal & River Trust, (j) the Forestry Commission, (k) Groundwork and (l) Hugh Baird College have made representations to Highways England on the A5036 Port of Liverpool Access scheme; and whether each of those representations were in favour of or against the proposed road.

Highways England has had contact with the stakeholders listed, and others, as part of its duty to consult in relation to the A5036 Princess Way – access to the Port of Liverpool. It is not possible to provide a simple categorisation of all views as in favour of or against the scheme.

All stakeholders will, in due course, have the opportunity to comment on the scheme proposals as part of the process of obtaining development consent under the Planning Act 2008.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will publish the minutes of meetings on the A5036 Port of Liverpool Access scheme between Highways England and (a) Jigsaw Homes, (b) Bellway North West, (c) Nuffield College, (d) P&O Ferries / Ferrymasters, (e) Stagecoach Merseyside, (f) Santander UK, (g) Aintree NHS Trust, (h) the Health & Safety Executive, (i) Canal & River Trust, (j) the Forestry Commission, (k) Groundwork and (l) Hugh Baird College.

The Department does not routinely attend, or hold minutes of, meetings between Highways England and its stakeholders.

We would not expect Highways England to publish these.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what representations he has received from the GMB trades union on the effect of the covid-19 pandemic on the aviation industry; and if he will make a statement.

It would not be appropriate to comment on individual discussions. The Department for Transport has kept an open dialogue with Unions representing the aviation sector including GMB, through regular structured engagement at both Ministerial and official levels.

Additionally, Unions are represented in the membership of the Expert Steering Group, the industry working group for the International Aviation Taskforce. Our transport systems are critical to support the restart of the wider economy, we continue to work closely with the aviation sector and those that support it, directly and through the work of the Taskforce, on these restart plans and the longer-term recovery of the sector.

15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of varying the taper rate of universal credit for workers in the social care sector.

No such assessment has been made. Universal Credit was designed with the aim of simplifying the benefits system and making work pay, and does not differentiate by different sectors of work. The single taper rate makes it much easier for people who are working or who are considering a job to see clearly how much financial support they will receive and to understand the advantages of work.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the extent of delays in responding to requests for State Pension forecasts for people who have deferred their State Pension.

Where customers have deferred making their State Pension claim, there is no delay to DWP responding to such requests for State Pension forecasts. All such requests are being processed.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of using recruitment and retention payments to tackle staff shortages in the social care sector.

The Department of Health and Social Care 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.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to NHS Supply Chain’s response of 29 June 2021 to FOI Request SCCL-FOI-2021-063, which of the 16 companies set out in that FOI response that supply the NHS with rubber gloves from Malaysia receive rubber glove supplies from (a) Top Glove, (b) Supermax, (c) Brightway Holdings, (d) WRP, (e) Ansell, (f) Kossan and (g) Hartalega.

The Department has procured rubber gloves to supply the National Health Service from the following suppliers on the NHS Supply Chain Framework, sourced from the providers in the following table.

Suppliers

Sources

Ansell Healthcare Europe

Ansell

Medicare Products

Kossan

Medline Industries Ltd

Hartelega

Supermax

Supermax

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the availability of furosemide; and what steps he is taking to help ensure that supply is secured.

We are currently unaware of any issues affecting the supply of furosemide to patients who require it. The Department has well-established procedures to deal with medicine supply issues and works with a range of stakeholders to ensure that the risks to patients are minimised should they arise.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to answer Question 13929 tabled by the hon. Member for Sefton Central on 10 June 2021.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer of 13 July to Question 13929.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what (a) assessment he has made of and (b) representations he has received on the reliability of the supply of covid-19 tests by Expert Medicals Ltd for international travel arrivals into the UK.

The Department has received representations relating to the volume of complaints and data reporting by Expert Medicals Ltd. We continue to monitor their performance and should this fall below the required standards, appropriate action will be taken.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 27 May 2021 to Question 6270 on NHS: Protective Clothing, if he will provide details of the companies that use Malaysian factories that have been contracted to supply surgical and examination gloves to the NHS since January 2020.

The following companies used factories in Malaysia to supply surgical and examination gloves under contracts with the Department:

- Cargo Services Airfreight;

- Careglove Global SDN BHD;

- CCS Mclays;

- Doja;

- Gemini Surgical;

- Unispace Global; and

- Vital Innovation.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many units of personal protective equipment his Department has sourced from factories in Malaysia since January 2020.

Under personal protective equipment (PPE) contracts held directly by the Department, 760,981,000 surgical and examination gloves have been sourced from factories in Malaysia since January 2020. No other types of PPE are sourced from Malaysian factories.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many clinically vulnerable and clinically extremely vulnerable people have been shielding during the covid-19 outbreak; and what assessment he has made of the level of risk from covid-19 of hospitalisation or death for people in those groups who have been vaccinated.

Since the inception of the Shielded Patient List (SPL) in March 2020, over 3.8 million individuals have been identified as clinically extremely vulnerable and added to the list. The first iteration of the SPL contained around 870,000 individuals, which increased to around 2.3 million following additions by general practitioners and clinicians. An additional 1.5 million people were identified and added to the SPL in February 2021 following the COVID-19 Population Risk Assessment. Clinically vulnerable individuals have never been advised to shield as they only face a moderate risk from COVID-19.

No specific assessment has been made. Those identified as clinically extremely vulnerable would have differing levels risks of hospitalisation and death from COVID-19 following vaccination, subject to the individual circumstances of each person.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the (a) implications of his policies of the report published by Salford University on 18 January 2021 entitled the prevalence of foetal alcohol spectrum disorders: an overview of current evidence and activities in the UK, published by Salford University on 18 January 2021, and (b) adequacy of service provision for people with foetal alcohol spectrum disorders.

No specific assessment has been made of the report published by Salford University. However, the Government is taking action to raise awareness and education on the dangers of drinking alcohol while pregnant and improve support for those living with foetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) and its consequences. We have also asked the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence to produce a quality standard in England for FASD to help the health and care system improve diagnosis and care of those affected, which is expected to be published later this year.

The Department will consider the report and its recommendations when developing future policies on FASD.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish details of contracts with Aurelia Ltd for the supply of personal protective equipment to the NHS, including (a) when those contracts were awarded and (b) when they will expire.

Supermax Healthcare Ltd and Ansell Ltd are on an NHS Supply Chain framework contract for the supply of examination and surgical gloves to the National Health Service. Aurelia Ltd is not on a framework contract. The Contract Award Notice for this framework contract is available at the following link:

https://ted.europa.eu/udl?uri=TED:NOTICE:445390-2019:TEXT:EN:HTML

The framework contract commenced on 30 March 2020 and ends on 29 March 2022. There is an option to extend for an additional 24 months.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish details of contracts with Supermax Healthcare Ltd for the supply of personal protective equipment to the NHS, including (a) when those contracts were awarded and (b) when those contracts will expire.

Supermax Healthcare Ltd and Ansell Ltd are on an NHS Supply Chain framework contract for the supply of examination and surgical gloves to the National Health Service. Aurelia Ltd is not on a framework contract. The Contract Award Notice for this framework contract is available at the following link:

https://ted.europa.eu/udl?uri=TED:NOTICE:445390-2019:TEXT:EN:HTML

The framework contract commenced on 30 March 2020 and ends on 29 March 2022. There is an option to extend for an additional 24 months.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish details of contracts with Ansell Ltd for the supply of personal protective equipment to the NHS, including (a) when those contracts were awarded and (b) when those contracts will expire.

Supermax Healthcare Ltd and Ansell Ltd are on an NHS Supply Chain framework contract for the supply of examination and surgical gloves to the National Health Service. Aurelia Ltd is not on a framework contract. The Contract Award Notice for this framework contract is available at the following link:

https://ted.europa.eu/udl?uri=TED:NOTICE:445390-2019:TEXT:EN:HTML

The framework contract commenced on 30 March 2020 and ends on 29 March 2022. There is an option to extend for an additional 24 months.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish details of the contracts with Unispace Global Ltd to supply the NHS with personal protective equipment, including (a) when those contracts were awarded and (b) when they will expire.

Seven contracts have been awarded by the Department to Unispace Global Ltd for the supply of personal protective equipment. The details of each contract are available at the following links:

https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/notice/acd01950-7e8b-44e0-9a77-b91602f47268?origin=SearchResults&p=1

Contract award date 19 May 2020. Expiry date upon delivery of the last batch of goods.

https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/notice/888e3921-ebe6-46ae-b695-984c62137cac?origin=SearchResults&p=1

Contract award date 10 June 2020. Expiry date upon delivery of the last batch of goods.

https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/notice/a47d06a2-51e6-45bd-81c6-fc988a7b0712?origin=SearchResults&p=1

Contract award date 16 May 2020. Expiry date upon delivery of the last batch of goods.

https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Notice/13751ae7-0d1a-4ec3-b0e6-ffae00e8e934

Contract award date 29 April 2020. Expiry date is 7 August 2020.

https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/notice/92a59e2d-aefc-4df6-b1a5-c15fb7f2b051?origin=SearchResults&p=1

Contract award date 22 April 2020. Expiry date 3 July 2020.

https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/notice/5fcc1bb2-4c17-4a11-a8d3-ee73d0acd2ac?origin=SearchResults&p=1

Contract award date 16 June 2020. Expiry date upon delivery of the last batch of goods.

https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/notice/67c96ea3-1ac5-49db-b055-372d0472588f?origin=SearchResults&p=1

Contract award date 5 June 2020. Expiry date upon delivery of the last batch of goods.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to reduce the prevalence of foetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD); and what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of services for people with FASD.

The United Kingdom Chief Medical Officers’ low risk drinking guidelines published in 2016 provide advice to women not to drink alcohol if they are planning a pregnancy or are pregnant. Public Health England, NHS England and NHS Improvement and local commissioners continue to raise awareness of the risks of drinking whilst pregnant. The Government is funding five voluntary organisations to support grassroots initiatives to prevent cases of foetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD), raise awareness among professionals and help improve support for those living with its consequences.

No recent assessment has been made of services for people with FASD. However, we have asked the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence to produce a Quality Standard in England for FASD to help the health and care system improve diagnosis and care of those affected, which is expected to be published later this year.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made for the implications of his policies on PPE contract renewal of the potential for modern slavery practices in NHS PPE supply chains.

The Government’s guidance advises public sector contracting authorities on how to assess suppliers in terms of mitigating the risk of modern slavery. Contracts are normally placed in line with Departmental terms and conditions which include clauses requiring Good Industry Practice to ensure that there is no slavery or human trafficking in supply chains. Suppliers appointed to NHS Supply Chain frameworks must comply with the Labour Standards Assurance System or they can be removed from consideration for future opportunities.

The Department takes all allegations of modern slavery very seriously. Throughout the response to the pandemic the Department has engaged with the Home Office and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office regarding modern slavery issues. In the event that allegations of modern slavery are substantiated in relation to a Departmental supplier we will consider all available options. There have been no cases of this to date.

In the September 2020 personal protective equipment (PPE) strategy, the Department advised that by 1 December 2020, the amount of PPE that is United Kingdom-made would be sufficient to meet 70% of the expected demand for PPE over the following three months.

UK-made supply comprised 82% of the expected demand for PPE in England for the period 1 December 2020 to 28 February 2021. This figure does not include gloves, which were explicitly excluded from the September target.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has (a) terminated contracts relating to, or (b) taken steps to assess reports of modern slavery practices in the NHS PPE supply chain.

The Government’s guidance advises public sector contracting authorities on how to assess suppliers in terms of mitigating the risk of modern slavery. Contracts are normally placed in line with Departmental terms and conditions which include clauses requiring Good Industry Practice to ensure that there is no slavery or human trafficking in supply chains. Suppliers appointed to NHS Supply Chain frameworks must comply with the Labour Standards Assurance System or they can be removed from consideration for future opportunities.

The Department takes all allegations of modern slavery very seriously. Throughout the response to the pandemic the Department has engaged with the Home Office and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office regarding modern slavery issues. In the event that allegations of modern slavery are substantiated in relation to a Departmental supplier we will consider all available options. There have been no cases of this to date.

In the September 2020 personal protective equipment (PPE) strategy, the Department advised that by 1 December 2020, the amount of PPE that is United Kingdom-made would be sufficient to meet 70% of the expected demand for PPE over the following three months.

UK-made supply comprised 82% of the expected demand for PPE in England for the period 1 December 2020 to 28 February 2021. This figure does not include gloves, which were explicitly excluded from the September target.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of NHS PPE procurement with relation to modern slavery practices.

The Government’s guidance advises public sector contracting authorities on how to assess suppliers in terms of mitigating the risk of modern slavery. Contracts are normally placed in line with Departmental terms and conditions which include clauses requiring Good Industry Practice to ensure that there is no slavery or human trafficking in supply chains. Suppliers appointed to NHS Supply Chain frameworks must comply with the Labour Standards Assurance System or they can be removed from consideration for future opportunities.

The Department takes all allegations of modern slavery very seriously. Throughout the response to the pandemic the Department has engaged with the Home Office and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office regarding modern slavery issues. In the event that allegations of modern slavery are substantiated in relation to a Departmental supplier we will consider all available options. There have been no cases of this to date.

In the September 2020 personal protective equipment (PPE) strategy, the Department advised that by 1 December 2020, the amount of PPE that is United Kingdom-made would be sufficient to meet 70% of the expected demand for PPE over the following three months.

UK-made supply comprised 82% of the expected demand for PPE in England for the period 1 December 2020 to 28 February 2021. This figure does not include gloves, which were explicitly excluded from the September target.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when the contracts were awarded to supply NHS PPE with Medicare Products Ltd and when those contracts are due to expire.

The Department does not hold any contracts with Medicare Products Ltd. Medicare Products Ltd is on a NHS Supply Chain framework contract for the supply of examination and surgical gloves into the National Health Service. The Contract Award Notice for this framework contract, which lists Medicare Products Ltd amongst the other suppliers, is available at the following link:

https://ted.europa.eu/udl?uri=TED:NOTICE:445390-2019:TEXT:EN:HTML

This framework contract started on 30 March 2020 and ends on 29 March 2022. There is an option to extend for an additional 24 months.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps were taken to ensure that modern slavery was not part of the working practices of (a) Ansell Ltd, (b) Supermax Healthcare Ltd, (c) Aurelia Ltd, (d) Unispace Global Ltd and (e) Medicare Products Ltd when awarding contracts to supply the NHS with PPE.

The Government’s guidance advises public sector contracting authorities on how to assess suppliers in terms of mitigating the risk of modern slavery. Contracts are normally placed in line with Departmental terms and conditions which include clauses requiring Good Industry Practice to ensure that there is no slavery or human trafficking in supply chains. Suppliers appointed to NHS Supply Chain frameworks must comply with the Labour Standards Assurance System or they can be removed from consideration for future opportunities.

The Department takes all allegations of modern slavery very seriously. Throughout the response to the pandemic the Department of Health and Social Care has engaged with the Home Office and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office regarding modern slavery issues. In the event that allegations of modern slavery are substantiated in relation to a Departmental supplier we will consider all available options. There have been no cases of this to date.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what contracts the NHS has for personal protective equipment with companies sourcing from Malaysian factories.

The Department has been supplied small quantities of examination and surgical gloves from Malaysian factories through a handful of intermediary suppliers.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish details of contracts with Supermax Healthcare Ltd for the supply of personal protective equipment to the NHS, including (a) when those contracts were awarded and (b) when they will expire.

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

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish details of the contracts with Unispace Global Ltd to supply the NHS with personal protective equipment including (a) when those contracts were awarded and (b) when they will expire.

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

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish details of contracts with Ansell Ltd for the supply of personal protective equipment to the NHS, including (a) when those contracts were awarded and (b) when they will expire.

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

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish details of contracts with Aurelia Ltd for the supply of personal protective equipment to the NHS, including (a) when those contracts were awarded and (b) when they will expire.

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

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what comparative assessment he has made of the equity of quarantine requirements for care home staff and care home residents following visits home.

Staff are essential workers required to provide care for residents. They are regularly tested for Covid-19 and use personal protective equipment while working. Residents who have visited out are asked to isolate to prevent risk of COVID-19 transmission in a closed setting at high risk of outbreaks with severe consequences. The additional risk posed by returning residents in contrast to staff coming into work, is that for residents, the care home is the full-time home – they generally move freely around the home and do not wear personal protective equipment. When the data shows it is safe, the Government wants to go further and allow more visits for more people to take place outside of the care home.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of personal protective equipment supplied to the NHS has been manufactured in the UK since 1 September 2020.

The Government’s personal protective equipment (PPE) strategy stated that by 1 December 2020, United Kingdom manufacturers would be able to provide 70% of the PPE we expected to use in England through the winter, except gloves. That commitment was met and exceeded. The volume of UK manufactured PPE supplied in the three months from 1 December 2020 to 28 February 2021 was sufficient to meet 82% of the amount required over that period.

Data prior to December 2020 is not available in a fully validated form.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason people aged 56 years and over but not people aged 55 years have been invited for a covid-19 vaccination in group 8.

Within each priority group recommended by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation for COVID-19 vaccine prioritisation, NHS England and NHS Improvement take operational decisions on how to ensure the vaccination process runs smoothly and efficiently. With the cohort of those aged 55 to 59 years old, were opened first to the older age group within that cohort. As a result of this staggered approach, 56 year olds were provided access before 55 year olds.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the need for UK citizens who have received both doses of the covid-19 vaccination while abroad to take two covid-19 tests during their period of quarantine on return to the UK.

There are currently no plans to exempt people who have received the COVID-19 vaccine from mandatory testing when returning from abroad.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many days it takes to identify new cases of the P1 Brazilian variant of covid-19 using genomic sequencing

On average, to report the variant profile for a person from taking a test to a confirmed specific variant positive result takes approximately ten days. NHS Test and Trace have established higher priority rapid processes for testing individuals who within the national surveillance programme are suspected to be at higher risk of being P1 variant positive. These higher priority channels can reduce the overall time by one to two days.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will provide funding for a new health centre in Maghull in Sefton.

Following the November 2020 Spending Review, we are carefully considering how the next round of projects are prioritised within the Department’s settlement. Trusts, including Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust and North West Boroughs Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, should continue discussing their plans with NHS England and NHS Improvement to help consider the priority of their schemes and whether they should be further developed at this time.

Local health systems will shortly be receiving confirmation of their capital envelopes for 2021-22, and the settlement from HM Treasury has enabled us to protect the level of capital funding for trusts. This enables them to progress priority investments agreed with local health partners.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what comparative assessment he has made of the implications for safety of NHS trusts waiting (a) 12 and (b) three weeks to give the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine to frontline staff who are caring for covid-19 patients.

There is insufficient data to undertake a formal comparative assessment of the implications for safety of different dose intervals with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish on a weekly basis, by parliamentary constituency and for each priority cohort, the (a) number and (b) proportion of people who have received a covid-19 vaccine.

Since 24 December 2020, NHS England has published weekly data on the total number of vaccinations amongst over 80 year olds and under 80 year olds in England. Since 11 January 2021, daily data for England is being published showing the total number vaccinated to date, including first and second doses. From 14 January and then on a weekly basis, NHS England has published more detailed data on vaccinations in England. Data is now available to national, regional and integrated care system and sustainability and transformation partnership levels, which is available at the following link:

www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/covid-19-vaccinations/

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to update the guidance on visiting care home residents following the administering of the (a) first and (b) second dose of the covid-19 vaccine to (i) care home residents and (ii) their visitors.

We recognise how important it is to allow care homes residents to meet their loved ones safely, especially for those at the end of their lives. We appreciate the particular challenges visiting restrictions pose for people with dementia, people with learning disabilities and autistic adults, amongst others, as well as for their loved ones.

Guidance documents are informed by expert advice before publication to ensure that they are based on the latest evidence. As the COVID-19 vaccine deployment continues, we will review and update the care homes visiting guidance in line with the latest evidence.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of covid-19 vaccines administered each day are administered in Sefton.

We do not hold daily data on vaccination totals by local authority.

In England, Public Health England publish daily data on the total first and second doses given to date by region of residence. NHS England and NHS Improvement release a weekly publication of vaccination data across additional cohorts, which from 25 February 2021 includes data by parliamentary constituency and by Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships / Integrated Care Systems area.

This data is available via the following links:

https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/details/vaccinations

www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/covid-19-vaccinations/

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of (a) the potential financial effect on dental practices of the requirement to meet 45 per cent of their NHS target and (b) the effect of that target on the ability of dental practices to safely socially distance patients.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have set a 45% dental activity target. This target is based upon clinical advice and modelling from the office of the Chief Dental Officer and has taken into consideration robust adherence to infection prevention and control guidance and social distancing requirements. Furthermore, data on the percentages of activity dental practices have achieved to date supports the view that the target can be safely attainable.

National Health Service commissioners have the discretion to make exceptions, for instance in cases where a dental practice has been impacted by staff being required to self-isolate and the reinstatement of shielding during the national lockdown. There are currently no plans to review or change the unit of dental activity targets for January to March 2021.

A steady increase in dental activity has been made possible following updated Public Health England’s Infection Prevention and Control guidance. However, dental services continue to operate at reduced capacity due to the need for social distancing, personal protective equipment and other measures. By following this guidance, the risk of COVID-19 transmission is significantly reduced. Dental practices have a responsibility to ensure that social distancing is always adhered to, irrespective of activity targets.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the guidance for care home visitation will be updated following the introduction of the January 2021 covid-19 lockdown restrictions; and whether care homes should be facilitating visits for care home residents during this period.

As set out in the national lockdown guidance, visits to care homes can continue to take place with arrangements such as substantial screens, visiting pods, or behind windows. Close-contact indoor visits are not currently allowed. Visits in exceptional circumstances including end of life should always be supported and enabled.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what risk assessment has been made of the decision to stop weekly testing of the all-clear siren at Ashworth high-security hospital.

Ashworth High Secure Hospital continues to test its escape alarm siren at 9am each Monday morning for a five-minute duration. This has been the case for the last 30 years. The hospital has never sounded an all clear alarm therefore no risk assessment was required.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to begin covid-19 vaccinations for residents of Formby, Hightown and Ince Blundell.

As of 11 March 2021, there have been 112,907 doses administered in Sefton, the local authority for Formby, Hightown and Ince Blundell.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will improve the time taken for local public health departments to receive data on (a) people who have tested positive for covid-19 and (b) their contacts for the purpose of contact tracing.

NHS Test and Trace is working to reduce the time taken to contact cases and their close contacts and to share data on cases with local authorities where necessary. The details of contacts are not currently shared with local authorities, as responsibility for communicating with contacts is undertaken at a national level.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he plans to take to ensure that the NHS retains control of access to health data for the purpose of (a) research, (b) planning and (c) innovation according to its own priority policies and associated regulations; and if he will make a statement.

The Government is clear that patient data will only ever be used and/or shared where used lawfully, treated with respect, held securely and where the right safeguards are in place. Access to health data is controlled by the Data Protection Act 2018, which incorporates the General Data Protection Regulation into United Kingdom domestic law and the common law duty of confidentiality and we have no plans to change these.

‘Creating the right framework to realise the benefits for patients and the NHS where data underpins innovation’, published in July 2019, is clear that any use of National Health Service data not in the public domain must have an explicit aim to improve the health, welfare and/or care of patients in the NHS or the operation of the NHS. These principles are to be adopted in practice by NHS organisations and other publicly funded healthcare organisations, as well as those contracted to deliver NHS-funded services.

The Department together with NHSX, NHS Digital, Understanding Patient Data, academia, the Health Research Authority and others have been working on how to improve access to high quality data for research whilst respecting a patient’s right to opt out. This is to retain public confidence in data confidentiality and to ensure researchers are accurate and concise with their data requests to data custodians.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to use Aintree community centre as a vaccination centre for covid 19.

Aintree community centre is being used as a vaccination centre for COVID-19.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of whether student nurses should be paid a band 4 wage while on nurse placement during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government is clear that it is the responsibility of Health Education England (HEE), clinical placement providers and higher education institutions to undertake assessments at a local level to ensure the safety of student nurses in all placement settings. HEE has also led national level work to minimise the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic on students on healthcare courses, including ensuring students have appropriate access to personal protective equipment, testing and wellbeing support whilst on placement. The detail of the support available was outlined in a letter sent by the Chief Nursing Officer for England and the Chief Nurse for Health Education England to all nursing students on 13 November 2020.

In terms of financial support, all eligible nursing students will continue to receive payments from the student loans company and also access the Learning Support Fund from the NHS Business Services Authority, which includes a non-repayable grant of at least £5,000 for eligible students, travel and dual accommodation expenses and parental support. In exceptional circumstances, whereby a student is required to self-isolate due to COVID-19, the NHS Business Services Authority is able to use discretion on a case by case basis to decide whether the student is eligible to additional support through the exceptional hardship grant.

Clinical placements provide supervised training. Student nurses are not paid but receive financial support to train. In March 2020, at the start of the pandemic, temporary opt-in paid student nursing placements were arranged to help with the COVID-19 pandemic response. Since the initiation of the opt-in paid placements, the Government was clear that this was a temporary arrangement, and that at the appropriate time, normal placements would resume.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the (a) safety of student nurses on coronavirus wards and (b) effect on the personal finances of those nurses of being at a high risk of having to isolate and lose the ability to do other part-time work.

The Government is clear that it is the responsibility of Health Education England (HEE), clinical placement providers and higher education institutions to undertake assessments at a local level to ensure the safety of student nurses in all placement settings. HEE has also led national level work to minimise the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic on students on healthcare courses, including ensuring students have appropriate access to personal protective equipment, testing and wellbeing support whilst on placement. The detail of the support available was outlined in a letter sent by the Chief Nursing Officer for England and the Chief Nurse for Health Education England to all nursing students on 13 November 2020.

In terms of financial support, all eligible nursing students will continue to receive payments from the student loans company and also access the Learning Support Fund from the NHS Business Services Authority, which includes a non-repayable grant of at least £5,000 for eligible students, travel and dual accommodation expenses and parental support. In exceptional circumstances, whereby a student is required to self-isolate due to COVID-19, the NHS Business Services Authority is able to use discretion on a case by case basis to decide whether the student is eligible to additional support through the exceptional hardship grant.

Clinical placements provide supervised training. Student nurses are not paid but receive financial support to train. In March 2020, at the start of the pandemic, temporary opt-in paid student nursing placements were arranged to help with the COVID-19 pandemic response. Since the initiation of the opt-in paid placements, the Government was clear that this was a temporary arrangement, and that at the appropriate time, normal placements would resume.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of placing student nurses on pay Band 4 while on nurse placement during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government appreciates the challenges faced by student nurses whilst completing their clinical placements. We are therefore keen to ensure that they have access to the support they need.

On 13 November, the Chief Nursing Officer for NHS England and the Chief Nurse for Health Education England, published a letter to all nursing and midwifery students to inform them of the support available, which includes appropriate access to personal protective equipment, testing and wellbeing support whilst on placement.

In terms of financial support, eligible nursing students will continue to receive payments from the student loans company and also access the Learning Support Fund from the NHS Business Services Authority, which includes a non-repayable grant of at least £5,000 for eligible students, travel and dual accommodation expenses and parental support.

The Government has no further plans for paid placements during the current COVID-19 outbreak.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the safety of student nurses working on covid-19 wards; and what assessment he has made of the effect on the finances of student nurses of being at a high risk of having to self-isolate and lose the ability to do other part-time work.

The Government appreciates the challenges faced by student nurses whilst completing their clinical placements. We are therefore keen to ensure that they have access to the support they need.

On 13 November, the Chief Nursing Officer for NHS England and the Chief Nurse for Health Education England, published a letter to all nursing and midwifery students to inform them of the support available, which includes appropriate access to personal protective equipment, testing and wellbeing support whilst on placement.

In terms of financial support, eligible nursing students will continue to receive payments from the student loans company and also access the Learning Support Fund from the NHS Business Services Authority, which includes a non-repayable grant of at least £5,000 for eligible students, travel and dual accommodation expenses and parental support.

The Government has no further plans for paid placements during the current COVID-19 outbreak.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent estimate he has made of the change in the number of mental health support workers who provide one-to-one support to those with a mental health diagnosis; and whether he has plans to increase the number of those workers providing that support.

We remain committed to growing the mental health workforce to achieve the ambitions set out in the NHS Long Term Plan.

NHS Digital publishes Hospital and Community Health Services (HCHS) workforce statistics. These include staff working in hospital trusts and clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), but not staff working in primary care, local authorities or other providers.

There is no data available which identifies staff who provide one-to-one support. The following table shows the total number of full time equivalent (FTE) staff with a mental health occupation code who provide support to clinical staff in the trusts and CCGs as at September each year since 2017 along with the latest figure, June 2020.

HCHS mental health support to clinical staff, FTE

September 2017

2,394

September 2018

2,516

September 2019

2,871

June 2020

3,256

Source: NHS Digital, NHS HCHS workforce statistics – HCHS staff in National Health Service trusts and CCGs June 2020. Mental health workforce, FTE.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
5th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he was advised that the NHS would be overwhelmed if a national covid-19 lockdown was not implemented in November 2020.

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies noted on 29 October that in order to manage the overall epidemic, interventions should seek to prevent areas of low prevalence from becoming areas of high prevalence, as well as reducing prevalence where it is high. In the face of continued growth, the ‘R’ rate should be brought below 1. Failure to do so would have risked very significant pressures on the healthcare system.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
5th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the OptiGene Direct RT-LAMP test, if he will publish the (a) clinical validity data and (b) results of the Southampton University trial of May 2020.

The Test and Trace Scientific Team are currently preparing a report covering the clinical validation of Optigene’s DIRECT RT-LAMP Test which will incorporate the findings of the pilot carried out in Southampton as well as those from other pilot sites. This report will be published on GOV.UK alongside the report on lateral flow test validation data published on 11 November.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many of the additional covid-19 tests announced last week were offered through OctiGene.

We do not publish the data in the format requested.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether travel to a funeral within the UK will be an exception to the ban on overnight stays during the November 2020 covid-19 lockdown in England.

The public will be advised to avoid travelling outside of their local area, and to reduce the number of journeys they make. Overnight stays away from primary residences will not be allowed, except for specific exceptions such as to stay in a hotel to attend a nearby family funeral.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what his policy is on the sharing of contact tracing data between (a) Serco and (b) other private sector contractors and local public health departments.

The Department and Public Health England (PHE) work in partnership with local authorities and with the support of contractors to provide contact tracing services. The Department is the data controller for the purposes of data protection legislation. Contact tracing data that is shared between the Department, PHE, contractors and local public health departments is handled in strict confidence and in line with data protection laws.

Ensuring the privacy of individuals and the security of their personal data is a priority for the Government and for NHS Test and Trace.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of reports from local public health departments that the adequacy of the telephone script used in tracing the contacts of people who have tested positive for covid-19 affects (a) the proportion of contacts traced and (b) the compliance of those people contacted with self-isolation rules.

NHS Test and Trace adopts a continuous improvement approach to develop the scripts used by contact tracers on an ongoing basis. These have been designed by expert contact tracers at Public Health England. Local teams have access to central scripts and can adapt them to mirror the way in which they are following-up cases. This includes the use of a piloting approach to trial the impacts of alternative scripts, or adjustments within scripts, to understand whether these improve the public experience of the service.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to allow local public health departments to write the scripts for telephone calls to contacts of people who have tested positive for covid-19.

NHS Test and Trace adopts a continuous improvement approach to develop the scripts used by contact tracers on an ongoing basis. These have been designed by expert contact tracers at Public Health England. Local teams have access to central scripts and can adapt them to mirror the way in which they are following-up cases. This includes the use of a piloting approach to trial the impacts of alternative scripts, or adjustments within scripts, to understand whether these improve the public experience of the service.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reasons leisure centres, gyms and soft play areas are (a) required to close in the Liverpool City Region and (b) permitted to stay open in Lancashire under the highest level covid-19 restrictions.

The package of measures to be implemented in the Liverpool City Region when it moved to Local Covid Alert Level ‘very high’ was developed in close consultation with local authorities, taking into account local circumstances and insight. Following a request from the local authorities to revisit that package we have agree to re-open gyms and soft play areas in the Liverpool City Region, as they are currently in Lancashire.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
16th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reasons gyms are (a) required to close in the Liverpool City Region and (b) permitted to stay open in Lancashire under the highest level covid-19 restrictions.

Hygiene and social distancing measures are vitally important for reducing the transmission risk of COVID-19. We know that the virus spreads readily in any indoor environment where members of different households and/or support bubbles spend time together, so the transmission risk in indoor settings, such as gyms, remains high.

We recognise the efforts that have been made to reduce risk across a range of venues. As decisions are based on a number of factors, it is possible for variation to exist between different local authority areas.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the evidential basis is for the decision to close (a) gyms, (b) leisure centres and (c) fitness and dance studios as part of the covid-19 restrictions announced on 12 October 2020.

Restrictions announced on 12 October increase the restrictiveness of social distancing measures and in particular target the chain of transmission. Due to the impact of these new measures, we are working with local authorities to shape the set of restrictions in areas under the ‘Very High’ alert level.

Gyms, leisure centres, fitness and dance studios pose a higher risk of transmission, due to the increased risk of aerosol transmission and the likelihood of prolonged exposure, therefore some local authorities may decide to close these venues if they reach the ‘Very High’ alert level. Throughout this crisis, the Government, and the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, have provided robust scientific evidence and advice to guide decisions regarding the measures taken to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has made an assessment of the level of public understanding of the covid-19 rules on household bubbles.

The Government uses a range of data to assess the level of public understanding on COVID-19 policies and has simplified COVID-19 rules to make them easier for the public to understand. Changes such as the ‘rule of six’ and the Local COVID Alert Levels mean that people should know what they can and cannot do at each level of lockdown. We continually work with a range of stakeholders and digital colleagues to ensure guidance is created in an easy to understand and accessible format.

Guidance on support bubbles have stressed that support bubbles must be exclusive to avoid chains of transmission and those that are at higher risk of exposure or are clinically vulnerable have been advised to take particular care when deciding whether to form a support bubble. This targeted policy is aimed at assisting the most isolated in society while restricting the negative effect on transmission.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of the household bubble policy on the spread of covid-19.

The Government uses a range of data to assess the level of public understanding on COVID-19 policies and has simplified COVID-19 rules to make them easier for the public to understand. Changes such as the ‘rule of six’ and the Local COVID Alert Levels mean that people should know what they can and cannot do at each level of lockdown. We continually work with a range of stakeholders and digital colleagues to ensure guidance is created in an easy to understand and accessible format.

Guidance on support bubbles have stressed that support bubbles must be exclusive to avoid chains of transmission and those that are at higher risk of exposure or are clinically vulnerable have been advised to take particular care when deciding whether to form a support bubble. This targeted policy is aimed at assisting the most isolated in society while restricting the negative effect on transmission.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the programme of testing for covid-19 in care homes.

Protecting care home residents and staff has been one of our top priorities and this includes increasing access to testing. We have now sent out over 12 million test kits to care homes. We are continuing to prioritise Care Home Testing, where we are issuing more than 120,000 tests a day to care homes across the country. We have met our 7 September target of providing testing kits to all care homes for older people and people with dementia who have registered for regular retesting kits. In addition, all other care homes have been able to place orders for test kits from 31 August. Since they were eligible to apply for regular repeat testing on the 31st August, over 5000 specialist homes in England have applied for tests. Where an outbreak has been identified, we test all staff and residents as a priority, with all those who test negative being tested again 4-7 days later.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the average time taken for care homes to receive covid-19 test results in (a) Sefton, (b) North West England, (c) England and (d) the UK.

We do not hold the data in the format requested. Test turnaround data is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/nhs-test-and-trace-statistics-england-weekly-reports

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what representations he has received on the effectiveness of the application of the overseas quarantine regulations to healthcare professionals.

The Department received feedback from a number of stakeholders and experts on the application of the quarantine regulations to healthcare professionals and they were amended as appropriate.

As of 31 July, all health and care workers entering the United Kingdom from non-exempt countries or territories are required to self-isolate for 14 days. Before this date, healthcare workers had been exempted but this was removed in order to ensure consistency with the general public and to protect public health and the wider healthcare sector. We continue to keep this position under review to ensure consistency with current evidence and developments.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to his oral contribution of 14 July 2020, Official Report, col 1409, when he plans to discuss the long-term effect of covid-19 on people who have contracted the virus with the hon. Member for Sefton Central.

The time to recovery depends on the severity of illness and varies from relatively quickly through to extremely prolonged. Typically, time to recovery is within 10-14 days for mild and moderate cases. If a person feels unwell for longer than this, they should contact their general practitioner.

It is clear that for some of those who have survived, the virus and the treatment they have received to combat it will have a lasting impact on their health.

Research into the long-term health symptoms and impacts of COVID-19 is ongoing. On 4 July the Government announced a research study into the long-term health impacts of COVID-19, which is being led by UK Research and Innovation and the National Institute for Health Research.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many children have been tested for covid-19 since guidance on attendance at schools was changed in March 2020.

The number of tests conducted between 23 March and 26 May (inclusive) for children whose ages were under 11, under 16 and under 18 at collection were:

- Under 11s tested: 25,159

- Under 16s tested: 44,954

- Under 18s tested: 54,881

This data only covers tests completed under Pillar 2 (mass swab testing for general population) of the Testing Strategy. Public Health England and the National Health Service do not compile data for the number of tests conducted for under-18s.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
3rd Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people have missed (a) inpatient and (b) outpatient appointments at Arrowe Park hospital since the quarantining of citizens from Wuhan at that location.

We have put in place proportionate, precautionary measures in response to the outbreak of coronavirus in China, informed by the clinical advice of the Chief Medical Officer and national experts in the treatment of infectious diseases. The site in Arrowe Park was chosen because it offers appropriate accommodation and medical support for those coming back from Wuhan while they stay in the North West.

The team at this site is able to ensure that infection control remains at the highest standard and that individuals have access to specialist care if required. It also allows the health of those in the group to be regularly monitored and has the necessary medical facilities close at hand should they be required.

The presence of this group in the North West does not increase the risk to local people. The accommodation facility is solely occupied by the citizens returned from Wuhan. Those providing support at the site are fully trained to ensure that they provide care and assistance in a safe way. Staff are following tried and tested procedures and using the highest safety standards possible for the protection of National Health Service staff, patients and the public.

All services within the hospital are continuing to run as usual, including emergency services, outpatients and planned surgery. The hospital is completely safe for all users and, as always in the NHS, we would strongly urge people to keep to their appointments.

The cost of quarantining citizens from Wuhan will be covered by Departmental budgets.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether an assessment was made of the (a) density and (b) risk to the health of the local population when deciding where to quarantine citizens returning from Wuhan.

We have put in place proportionate, precautionary measures in response to the outbreak of coronavirus in China, informed by the clinical advice of the Chief Medical Officer and national experts in the treatment of infectious diseases. The site in Arrowe Park was chosen because it offers appropriate accommodation and medical support for those coming back from Wuhan while they stay in the North West.

The team at this site is able to ensure that infection control remains at the highest standard and that individuals have access to specialist care if required. It also allows the health of those in the group to be regularly monitored and has the necessary medical facilities close at hand should they be required.

The presence of this group in the North West does not increase the risk to local people. The accommodation facility is solely occupied by the citizens returned from Wuhan. Those providing support at the site are fully trained to ensure that they provide care and assistance in a safe way. Staff are following tried and tested procedures and using the highest safety standards possible for the protection of National Health Service staff, patients and the public.

All services within the hospital are continuing to run as usual, including emergency services, outpatients and planned surgery. The hospital is completely safe for all users and, as always in the NHS, we would strongly urge people to keep to their appointments.

The cost of quarantining citizens from Wuhan will be covered by Departmental budgets.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, from which budget he plans to allocate funding for the cost of quarantining citizens from Wuhan.

We have put in place proportionate, precautionary measures in response to the outbreak of coronavirus in China, informed by the clinical advice of the Chief Medical Officer and national experts in the treatment of infectious diseases. The site in Arrowe Park was chosen because it offers appropriate accommodation and medical support for those coming back from Wuhan while they stay in the North West.

The team at this site is able to ensure that infection control remains at the highest standard and that individuals have access to specialist care if required. It also allows the health of those in the group to be regularly monitored and has the necessary medical facilities close at hand should they be required.

The presence of this group in the North West does not increase the risk to local people. The accommodation facility is solely occupied by the citizens returned from Wuhan. Those providing support at the site are fully trained to ensure that they provide care and assistance in a safe way. Staff are following tried and tested procedures and using the highest safety standards possible for the protection of National Health Service staff, patients and the public.

All services within the hospital are continuing to run as usual, including emergency services, outpatients and planned surgery. The hospital is completely safe for all users and, as always in the NHS, we would strongly urge people to keep to their appointments.

The cost of quarantining citizens from Wuhan will be covered by Departmental budgets.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the oral contribution of the hon. Member for Sefton Central of 18 March 2021, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Malaysian Government's investigation into the involvement of Brightway Holdings in modern slavery.

The Government has not made an assessment of allegations of Brightway Holdings involvement in modern slavery in Malaysia nor of the Malaysian Government's investigations of the company, which are still ongoing.

The UK is committed to ending modern slavery, forced labour and human trafficking worldwide by 2030. In Malaysia, NHS Supply Chain works with suppliers of personal protective equipment (PPE) to increase awareness of the issues and risks that can exist in supply chains and to provide guidance around managing labour standards and adherence to NHS Supply Chain's Supplier Code of Conduct.

The UK has funded projects in Malaysia through the Home Office's Modern Slavery Innovation Fund (£248,000 in 2020/21), including responsible recruiting in public sector supply chains, workers representation and partnership with the Ethical Trading Initiative.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
19th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the ability of UK citizens to travel abroad during the covid-19 outbreak in order to register the birth of surrogate babies and accompany them to the UK.

The FCO are assisting commissioning parents who have surrogacy arrangements overseas. We appreciate that Covid-19 has brought new challenges to what can already be a difficult and complex process. Our Embassies are liaising closely with the relevant Ministries of Foreign Affairs to support commissioning parents entering countries to collect children born through surrogacy. The FCO is also working with the Home Office and Her Majesty's Passport Office to temporarily expedite applications for Emergency Travel Documents for children born through surrogacy who have been affected by travel restrictions, where the nationality requirements and other mandatory checks have been met.

We continue to advise against non-essential international travel at this time, due to the risk of travel restrictions and transport availability changing at short notice. We encourage commissioning parents who decide they need to travel to sign up to Travel Advice email alerts for their destination country, and to follow relevant social media accounts to see our latest advice

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
8th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many businesses have received funding through the SME Brexit Support Fund.

As of 7 June 2021, nearly 2,000 businesses have been offered grants amounting to £3.1m through the SME Brexit Support Fund.

24th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent representations he has received from the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee on advance payments to pharmacies during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Treasury received representations from the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee concerning advance payments to pharmacies during the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2021.

The Government has put in place a comprehensive package of support for community pharmacy during the pandemic, including providing extra funding for Bank Holiday openings, advance cash payments, a new medicines delivery service for shielded patients and a contribution to social distancing for every pharmacy.

The Government has also put forward proposals for additional funding to meet extra costs incurred by pharmacies during the pandemic, and discussions between the Department of Health and Social Care and the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) are ongoing.

Steve Barclay
Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of the ending the VAT Retail Export Scheme on the fashion industry.

On 11 September 2020, the Government announced the VAT and excise duty treatment of goods purchased by individuals for personal use and carried in their luggage arriving from or going overseas (passengers) following the transition period. The following rules were implemented on 1 January 2021:

- Passengers travelling from Great Britain to any destination outside the United Kingdom (UK) can purchase duty-free excise goods once they have passed security controls at ports, airports, and international rail stations.

- Personal allowances apply to passengers entering Great Britain from any destination outside of the UK, with alcohol allowances significantly increased.

- The VAT Retail Export Scheme (RES) in Great Britain has not been extended to EU residents and has been withdrawn for all passengers.

- The concessionary treatment on tax-free sales for non-excise goods has been removed across the UK.

The Government published a consultation which ran from 11 March to 20 May 2020. During this time the Government held a number of virtual meetings with industry stakeholders to hear their views and received 73 responses to the consultation. The Government has also met and discussed these changes with many stakeholders following the announcement of these policies.

The detailed rationale for these changes are included in the written ministerial statement and summary of responses to the recent consultation: https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-statements/detail/2020-09-11/hcws448 and https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/a-consultation-on-duty-free-and-tax-free-goods-carried-by-passengers. A technical note has also been issued to stakeholders to expand on this document and to respond to issues raised by stakeholders.

On 25 November 2020 the independent Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) set out their assessment of the fiscal impact of the withdrawal of the VAT RES.

Factoring in a higher-than-usual elasticity of 1.9 to account for spending on luxury goods, the OBR estimate that the withdrawal of the VAT RES will result in a significant direct Exchequer saving of around £400 million per year, once passenger numbers recover from the impacts of Covid-19. Based on the 1.2 million users of the scheme who received a refund in 2019, this includes an assumption that approximately 20,000 – 30,000 fewer tourists visit Great Britain a year. That is 0.07% of the 40 million visitors to the UK in 2019.

The OBR also looked at this package in the round when assessing the indirect impact on the economy – including the effects of extending duty-free sales – alongside the substantial support provided to the economy and retail industry.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent representations he has received on the clarity of VAT payments on exports to and imports from EU member states.

The Government is working hard to support businesses to enable them to continue trading with the EU.

In addition to publishing guidance on GOV.UK, the Government has also introduced the SME Brexit Support Fund. This offers individual grants of up to £2,000 to SMEs. This pays for practical support, including training and professional advice on, for example, the VAT rules on import and export.

10th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the potential scope for fraud in claims by directors of limited companies in respect of future financial support provided in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has prioritised delivering support to as many people as possible, as quickly as possible, while guarding against the risk of fraud or abuse. This meant making difficult decisions, and the Government has acknowledged that it has not been able to support everyone as they would want.

The practical issues that prevented the Government from being able to include company owner-managers in the original Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS), namely not being able to verify the source of their dividend income without introducing unacceptable fraud risk, still remain.

Similarly, it would not be appropriate for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), designed to replace the immediate costs of employment, to be used to replace a distribution of net profits that have yet to be determined.

Opening up the CJRS or SEISS scheme to cover dividends, for which no up-to-date accurate data source is available, would either have required allowing “pay now check later” claims, which HMRC could not realistically have policed, or added one-to-one manual review steps which would have drastically slowed down payments and required unfeasible amounts of resources to process.

Company owner-managers may still be eligible for other support available including CJRS (in respect of their salary but not their dividends), Bounce Back loans, tax deferrals, rental support, increased levels of Universal Credit, mortgage holidays, and other business support grants.

5th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will publish an economic assessment of the effect of the November 2020 covid-19 lockdown.

As the Chancellor said in his letter to the Treasury Committee on 4 November, HM Treasury does not prepare formal forecasts for the UK economy, which are the responsibility of the independent OBR. They will publish their next forecast on 25 November.

In addition, within their statutory mandates, the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) produce analysis which reflect their independent judgements regarding the impact of Covid-19 on the likely path of the economy. They updated their projections in their Monetary Policy Report published on 5 November. This reflected UK restrictions announced up to 31 October, including “heightened England-wide measures for the period 5 November to 2 December”. In this scenario, GDP was revised downwards and is now expected to contract by 2% in Q4 reflecting the impact of stricter measures to control Covid-19.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when he plans to publish the report on the Government's implementation of Loan Charge changes following the Independent Loan Charge Review.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) plan to report to Parliament on the implementation of Loan Charge changes following the Independent Loan Charge Review by the end of 2020.

2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, for what reason financial assistance was not offered to limited company directors during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has not taken a principled stance against support for company owner-managers who pay themselves via dividends. Income from dividends is a return on investment in the company, rather than wages. Under current reporting mechanisms it is not possible for HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to distinguish between dividends derived from an individual’s own company and dividends from other sources, and between dividends in lieu of employment income and as returns from other corporate activity.

This means, unlike announced support schemes which use information HMRC already hold, targeting additional support would require owner-managers to make a claim and submit information that HMRC could not efficiently or consistently verify to ensure payments were made to eligible companies for eligible activity. ?This is about identifying what is operationally feasible, managing technical complexities and fraud risks, and ensuring that other forms of support the Government has already committed to are delivered in a timely way.

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme continues to be just one element of a comprehensive package of support for individuals and businesses. This package includes Bounce Back loans, tax deferrals, rental support,?increased levels of Universal Credit, mortgage holidays, and other business support grants.

22nd Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what plans he has to support self-employed wedding photographers who work from home and have not been eligible for covid-19 financial support since March 2020.

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) is helping those that have been adversely affected by COVID-19 and has already provided over £13 billion of support. Those ineligible for the SEISS may still be eligible for other elements of the unprecedented financial support available. This package includes Bounce Back loans, tax deferrals, rental support, mortgage holidays, and other business support grants. All 11 million UK self-assessment taxpayers will also be able to benefit from the recently enhanced Time to Pay ‘self-service’ facility to establish a 12-month, interest-free payment arrangement for up to £30,000 of self-assessment debt.

Furthermore, the application deadline for four temporary coronavirus loan schemes – Bounce Back Loans, Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans, Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loans (CBILS) and the Future Fund - has also been extended to 30 November. Up to half a million businesses which deferred their VAT bills will also be given more breathing space through the New Payment Scheme, which gives them the option to spread their payments over the financial year 2021-2022.

21st Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what the value was of shares issued through Share Incentive Plans by (a) partnership, (b) matching (c) free and (d) dividend shares in each of the last five years.

Share Incentive Plans (SIPs) is a tax-advantaged employee share scheme offered by the Government.

HMRC publishes annual statistics on Employee Share Schemes, including the value of shares, which are available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/employee-share-schemes-statistics#national-statistics

The table below shows the value of awarded shares for the last four years by type of share. Figures for 2014-15 are not available due to the introduction of the Employment Related Securities service.

Table 1- Initial value of SIP shares by share type (£m)

SIP – initial value of awarded shares (£m)

Free shares

Partnership shares

Matching shares

Dividend shares

14-15

-

-

-

-

15-16

240

510

310

130

16-17

120

430

260

130

17-18

120

300

160

80

18-19

110

310

170

70

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what plans he has to widen participation in the (a) Save As you Earn and (b) Share Incentive Plan all-employee share schemes.

The Government wants to promote employee share ownership in the UK, which is why it offers tax advantaged employee share schemes such as Save As You Earn (SAYE) and Share Incentive Plans (SIPs).

Employers can offer these schemes to share financial rewards with staff who choose to take part. This supports recruitment and retention and helps to encourage employee productivity. The Government keeps all the employee share schemes under review.

In 2018/19, 310,000 employees were granted share options under a SAYE scheme, and around 2.84 million employees were awarded or purchased partnership shares under a SIP.

Information on the employee share schemes for the 2020/21 tax year will not be available until 2021. However, the Government has taken steps to support employees in a SIP or SAYE scheme through the COVID-19 outbreak. This includes extending the payment holiday terms for employees in SAYE plans where the employee is furloughed, has had working hours reduced or has taken unpaid leave during the pandemic, and allowing furlough payments to constitute as salary so SIP contributions can continue to be deducted from these payments.

21st Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on employee participation levels in (a) Save As You Earn and (b) Share Incentive Plan schemes.

The Government wants to promote employee share ownership in the UK, which is why it offers tax advantaged employee share schemes such as Save As You Earn (SAYE) and Share Incentive Plans (SIPs).

Employers can offer these schemes to share financial rewards with staff who choose to take part. This supports recruitment and retention and helps to encourage employee productivity. The Government keeps all the employee share schemes under review.

In 2018/19, 310,000 employees were granted share options under a SAYE scheme, and around 2.84 million employees were awarded or purchased partnership shares under a SIP.

Information on the employee share schemes for the 2020/21 tax year will not be available until 2021. However, the Government has taken steps to support employees in a SIP or SAYE scheme through the COVID-19 outbreak. This includes extending the payment holiday terms for employees in SAYE plans where the employee is furloughed, has had working hours reduced or has taken unpaid leave during the pandemic, and allowing furlough payments to constitute as salary so SIP contributions can continue to be deducted from these payments.

13th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what financial support is available for self-employed taxi drivers who have been told by NHS England to self-isolate due to underlying health reasons and who have been told that they do not qualify for bounce back loans because they do not have business bank accounts.

The government is committed to supporting self-employed individuals through any period in which they have to self-isolate. Self-employed individuals may be eligible for “new style” Contributory Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) if they are incapable of work due to Covid-19, including those who are required to self-isolate according to Government guidance. We have made it easier for people to claim new style ESA by removing the seven-day waiting period which means people can get support from day one. If they are on a low-income, they may also be entitled to a £500 self-isolation payment.

Individuals who are self-isolating can also access the wider support which the government has made available to self-employed people. In addition to bounce back loans, self-employed individuals may be eligible for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) which remains open for applications and has recently been extended. The SEISS Grant Extension will last for 6 months, from November 2020 to April 2021.

This support for the self-employed is in addition to a comprehensive welfare offer: according to OBR estimates, the government has injected a further £9.3bn into the welfare system to support individuals who are unable to work or on a low income, including the self-employed. For those on low incomes, the government has relaxed the UC minimum income floor for all self-employed claimants.

The Government launched Bounce Back Loans on 4th May 2020 to ensure that the smallest businesses can access loans of up to £50,000 in a matter of days. However, decisions regarding which products, like business bank accounts, to offer remain at the discretion of lenders, and the Government does not intervene in these decisions.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many loan charge settlements were (a) offered and (b) agreed during July, August and September 2020.

HMRC do not hold aggregate data on when individual taxpayers were issued with settlement offers.

HMRC are currently compiling, analysing and assuring settlement data up to 30 September 2020. HMRC plan to report the number of agreed settlements when they publish their report on how they have implemented the Loan Charge changes following the Independent Loan Charge Review, later this year.

2nd Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many HMRC staff were allocated to Loan Charge counter-avoidance activities in (a) July, (b) August and (c) September 2020.

In July, August, and September 2020, HMRC had about 1,000 staff working to help taxpayers affected by the Loan Charge to settle their use of disguised remuneration tax avoidance schemes.

16th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the financial effect on working tax credits received by health and social care workers of additional hours that have been worked during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Tax Credit system has a degree of flexibility built in, in order to help claimants manage changes in income. The Tax Credit disregard means that the first £2,500 of a increase or decrease in household income, compared with the previous tax year is disregarded. Therefore carers, NHS staff and other key workers working additional hours and experiencing an increase in income of up to £2,500 per year will see no change in their overall Tax Credit award.

The Government also recognises that Tax Credits were introduced in the early 2000s and no longer fully reflect the world of work for many people. That is why we are introducing Universal Credit.

Universal Credit replaces Tax Credits and other legacy benefits, to provide a single system of means-tested support for working age people. Universal Credit is assessed and paid monthly and is based on claimants’ actual earnings in the month, rather than their annual income.

Steve Barclay
Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of whether companies have paid dividends while in receipt of the Government's covid-19 support packages.

Government support is aimed at businesses in genuine need. Our current measures are well-targeted at such businesses, bearing in mind the need to act very quickly to deliver this unprecedented package. We expect everyone to act responsibly and in the spirit of the package, and only claim and use support as intended. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) for example provides compensation for the cost of paying furloughed workers –money that goes directly to the pockets of workers who might otherwise lose their jobs, whilst Business Rates reductions and Local Authority grant schemes are targeted at sectors which are facing severe hardship. The Government is keeping all measures under constant review.

Companies borrowing more than £50million through the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) or accessing the Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF) beyond 19 May 2021, face restrictions on dividend payments, capital distributions and senior pay.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what the average time taken was for goods to clear customs (a) entering and (b) leaving the UK in each month in 2020.

95% of Import Frontier Declarations and 99% of Export Declarations receive clearance from customs in 10 minutes. The 10 minutes relate to a trade facilitation time agreed by HMRC to enable traders to be able to amend their declarations within this 10-minute period, before clearance is granted.

The remaining 5% for Imports and 1% for Exports are accounted for by Declarations that are held in order to perform Documentary or Physical Controls on the goods or to deal with other matters such as the collection of revenue.

19th Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking to extend business rate relief to food producers to mitigate the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on national food security.

The Government has provided enhanced support to the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors given the acute impacts of COVID-19 on those sectors. A range of measures to support all businesses has been made available, including the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan scheme, and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to help firms continue to keep people in employment. HMRC have also set up a dedicated COVID-19 helpline to help those in need, and they may be able to agree a bespoke Time to Pay arrangement.

This is the right response at the right time. As the wider economic picture becomes clearer, the Government will do whatever it takes to get the nation through the impacts of COVID-19, and the Government stands ready to announce further action wherever necessary.

19th Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether his Department has plans to introduce tax breaks to enable food producers in financial distress as a result of the covid-19 outbreak to main food supplies.

The Government has provided enhanced support to the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors given the acute impacts of COVID-19 on those sectors. A range of measures to support all businesses has been made available, including the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan scheme, and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to help firms continue to keep people in employment. HMRC have also set up a dedicated COVID-19 helpline to help those in need, and they may be able to agree a bespoke Time to Pay arrangement.

This is the right response at the right time. As the wider economic picture becomes clearer, the Government will do whatever it takes to get the nation through the impacts of COVID-19, and the Government stands ready to announce further action wherever necessary.

10th Feb 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking to support small businesses to afford the recent increase in the National Living Wage.

The Government recognises that increases in the National Living Wage will mean extra costs for some businesses, However, it’s right that workers are fairly rewarded for their input into the economy. By the Spring, the Government will set out the Low Pay Commission’s remit for the years beyond 2020, taking account of the potential impact on employment and economic growth.

To support businesses with the costs of employing staff, the Government has introduced the Employment Allowance to reduce employers’ National Insurance contributions bill by £3,000. Over 1 million employers are benefitting from this relief.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
10th Feb 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the proposed long-term review of the business rates model of taxation.

In line with the practice of successive administrations, details of ministerial discussions are not normally disclosed. The Government is committed to conducting a fundamental review of business rates and further information will be announced in due course.

15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what (a) correspondence and (b) representations she has received from representatives of the social care sector on adding carers to the shortage occupation list.

The Home Office regularly receives correspondence and representations from a broad range of stakeholders from all sectors, including social care.

Senior care workers were added to the Shortage Occupation List (SOL) in April 2021, joining other key health and care occupations such as nurses, occupational therapists and social workers., It is worth noting a role at RQF 3 level or above does not need to be on the SOL to qualify for recruitment via the Skilled Worker Visa.

In July, I commissioned the MAC to review the impact of ending free movement on the social care sector. The MAC have issued a call for evidence with stakeholders and we look forward to receiving their report in April 2022.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
2nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of the Newcastle University study on forced labour in the Malaysian medical glove industry, published on 1 July 2021.

The Government is committed to working with public and private sector organisations to address the risks of modern slavery in supply chains. It welcomes research on these issues and is carefully considering the findings from the Newcastle University study. The research itself was supported by the Modern Slavery Policy and Evidence Centre, a centre funded by the Government specifically to transform the evidence base underpinning our policy and operational response to modern slavery.

Government is harnessing its spending power to ensure exploitative businesses do not take a share of the £81 billion that central government spends on goods and services each year. On 26 March 2020, we became the first country to publish a Government Modern Slavery Statement setting out the steps we have taken to prevent modern slavery and incentivise responsible business conduct in our supply chains. We have launched the Modern Slavery Assessment Tool and directly worked with over 500 suppliers on implementing effective modern slavery due diligence. More than 1,800 organisations have completed the assessment since March 2019.

The Home Office also works across Government to develop best-practice to prevent modern slavery in public sector procurement. With support from DHSC and NHS Supply Chain, the Home Office commissioned the ethical trade consultancy, Impactt, to develop tailored guidance for buyers and suppliers of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) on best practice to prevent modern slavery in supply chains. As part of this project, Impactt delivered training workshops with PPE manufacturers and resellers to support them in implementing the guidance. In addition, the Government has recently launched e-learning to support public sector commercial staff to better identify and mitigate modern slavery risks in contracts.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many allegations of modern slavery in supply chains she has received in respect of the supply of personal protective equipment during the covid-19 outbreak.

We do not hold data on the number of allegations made about modern slavery in the supply of personal protective equipment (PPE), but the prevalence of modern slavery and complexity of global supply chains means that it is highly unlikely that any sector or company is immune from these risks, including PPE suppliers.

Through the landmark ‘Transparency in Supply Chains’ provision in the Modern Slavery Act 2015, the UK became the first country in the world to require businesses to report on the steps they have taken to tackle modern slavery in their operations and global supply chains.

The Home Office works across Government to develop best-practice to prevent modern slavery in public procurement. We supported the Cabinet Office to produce internal guidance reminding departments of the key steps they should be taking to mitigate modern slavery risks in COVID-related procurements.

The Home Office, with support from DHSC and NHS Supply Chain, commissioned the ethical trade consultancy, Impactt, to develop tailored guidance for buyers and suppliers of PPE on best practice approaches to preventing modern slavery in supply chains. As part of this project, Impactt delivered training workshops with PPE manufacturers and resellers to support them implement the guidance.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what estimate she has made of the number of Iraqi translators who worked for the British Army in Iraq that are seeking asylum in the UK; and what steps she is taking to support their asylum claims.

We successfully resettled interpreters and their families from Iraq in recognition of the huge debt of gratitude we owed them for risking their lives alongside UK armed forces. This scheme included relocation to the UK or a financial payment for eligible members of staff.

Although this scheme has now closed, we still have a proud record of supporting those in danger of persecution and all asylum claims lodged in the UK are carefully considered on their individual merits including those claims made by Iraqi translators who worked for the British Army.

Additionally, Migrant Help provide independent advice and guidance to assist those considering seeking asylum and those who have claimed asylum to move through and understand the asylum process.

The Home Office is unable to state how many asylum applications have been made by Iraqi translators who worked for the British Army in Iraq as such data can only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will make an assessment of the potential effect of the UK having left the EU on increasing the prevalence of modern slavery in UK garment factories.

The UK was the first country in the world to require businesses to report on the steps they have taken to tackle modern slavery.

The landmark provision in section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 requires businesses, in all sectors, including the garment industry, with a turnover of £36m or more to report annually on the steps they have taken to prevent modern slavery in their operations and supply chains. This obligation on businesses will be unaffected by our exit from the EU.

The prevalence of modern slavery and complexity of global supply chains means that it is highly unlikely that any sector or company is immune from the risks of modern slavery. The Government encourages companies to report transparently about how they are mitigating modern slavery risks and to use their modern slavery statements to demonstrate year on year progress.

The transparency legislation was designed to enable consumers, investors and civil society to scrutinise business action. To improve the quality and detail of reporting and accelerate action to prevent modern slavery, the Government has committed to strengthen the reporting requirements on businesses and to introduce financial penalties for those that fail to meet their obligations under section 54.

In March 2021, the Government launched a digital registry for modern slavery statements which will enhance transparency by making statements available in one place for the first time. It will enable greater visibility and scrutiny of the step's organisations are taking to prevent modern slavery.

In addition, following allegations of labour exploitation in Leicester’s textiles industry, a multi-agency taskforce of enforcement bodies has been set up to secure robust intelligence and to carry out appropriate enforcement activity. The taskforce is engaging directly with the garment sector to understand the issues that lead to labour market non-compliance and to consider the measures needed to protect vulnerable workers and drive-up standards.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
20th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to enforce covid-19 regulations and protect retail staff against infection from customers who refuse to wear a face covering in shops.

Throughout the pandemic, the Government has worked closely with retail representatives to ensure that regulations are understood and correctly implemented within their establishments. Shops have worked hard to adhere to Government guidance to ensure that their stores are as Covid secure as possible, protecting both customers and retail staff.

The Government introduced requirements to wear face coverings in relevant public settings including shops and supermarkets (24 July) in England. This requirement was later extended to include staff in all shops and supermarkets (24 September). The requirements apply unless an individual is exempt or has a reasonable excuse not to wear a face covering.

Businesses are encouraged to take reasonable steps to encourage customers to follow the law, including through signs and providing other information in store. The police have been given formal powers to address non-compliance including directing individuals to wear a face covering, directing individuals to leave the relevant place, and issuing a fixed penalty notice of £200 doubling upon repeat offences up to a maximum of £6,400.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
12th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent assessment she has made of trends in the level of anti-social behaviour in relation to the discharge of fireworks in (a) Sefton, (b) North West England, (c) England and Wales.

There is a comprehensive regulatory framework already in place for fireworks that controls the sale, availability and use of fireworks, as well as setting a curfew and noise limit. The Government remains committed to promoting the safe and considerate use of fireworks through the effective legislative framework and through non-legislative measures – a position also recommended by the Petitions Committee in its 2019 inquiry into fireworks (HC103).

The Government launched a public awareness campaign for the 2020 fireworks season. The focus of the campaign was to educate people on how to buy, use, store and dispose of fireworks safely; ensure retailers know and understand their responsibilities when selling fireworks; and, promote the considerate use of fireworks, so that people and animals can be better protected from any negative effects that may be caused by fireworks.

The Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 provides the police, local authorities and other local agencies with a range of tools and powers that they can use to respond quickly and effectively to anti-social behaviour. The latest police recorded incident data released on 28 October showed a continued fall in anti-social behaviour (ASB) as of June 2020 (down 33% since 2012/13). A regional assessment of trends in the level of anti-social behaviour in relation to the discharge of fireworks was not included.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
12th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of the Chief Constable of Lancashire's recommendation for the public sale of fireworks to be banned.

There is a comprehensive regulatory framework already in place for fireworks that controls the sale, availability and use of fireworks, as well as setting a curfew and noise limit. The Government remains committed to promoting the safe and considerate use of fireworks through the effective legislative framework and through non-legislative measures – a position also recommended by the Petitions Committee in its 2019 inquiry into fireworks (HC103).

The Government launched a public awareness campaign for the 2020 fireworks season. The focus of the campaign was to educate people on how to buy, use, store and dispose of fireworks safely; ensure retailers know and understand their responsibilities when selling fireworks; and, promote the considerate use of fireworks, so that people and animals can be better protected from any negative effects that may be caused by fireworks.

The Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 provides the police, local authorities and other local agencies with a range of tools and powers that they can use to respond quickly and effectively to anti-social behaviour. The latest police recorded incident data released on 28 October showed a continued fall in anti-social behaviour (ASB) as of June 2020 (down 33% since 2012/13). A regional assessment of trends in the level of anti-social behaviour in relation to the discharge of fireworks was not included.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the effect of her use of the phrase activist lawyers on the personal safety of immigration solicitors.

The Government rejects the underlying insinuation of this question. Lawyers play an important role in upholding the law and ensuring people have access to justice. They are however, just like politicians, not immune from criticism.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what plans he has to relocate staff in his Department from Liverpool to Blackpool.

In line with "A better Defence Estate", the Department announced in 2016 that it intends to consolidate its three Defence Business Services (DBS) establishments in the North West at one location to make the most efficient and cost-effective use of its property. A formal decision has not yet been reached, but I anticipate being able to announce a preferred location in the Autumn, at which point I will write to Honourable and Right Honourable Members in whose constituencies these sites are located.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)
21st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what recent representations he has received from stakeholders on the upkeep and return to occupancy of vacant residential properties.

The Department received correspondence linked to the National Day of Action on Empty Homes in April.

Local authorities have powers and strong incentives to tackle empty homes. Through the New Homes Bonus, they receive the same amount for bringing an empty home back into use as building a new one. Billing authorities in England also have the power to charge up to 100% extra council tax - on top of the standard bill - on properties that have been unoccupied and unfurnished for at least two years, up to 200% extra on properties that have been empty for at least five years, and up to 300% extra on properties that have been empty for at least 10 years.

In certain circumstances, local authorities can exercise powers to take over the management of long-term empty homes in order to bring them back into use in the private rented sector. Local authorities can apply for an Empty Dwelling Management Order (EDMO) when a property has been empty for more than two years, subject to the production of evidence that the property has been causing a nuisance to the community and evidence of community support for their proposal.

Grant funding is also available through the Affordable Homes Programme to bring empty homes back into use. Empty properties must not be existing social housing owned by the Registered Provider or by another Registered Provider.

It is for local housing authorities to decide when to use their powers to deal with empty properties, and they have the flexibility to focus on locally determined priorities and allocate their resources accordingly.

The number of long-term empty homes remains substantially lower than when records began in 2004. At May 2010, over 300,000 homes in England had been standing empty for longer than 6 months. As of October 2020, the number of long-term empty properties had fallen to 268,385.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
17th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the potential effect on tenants of the amendment from six months to four months to the minimum Section 21 notice period in England; and what representations he has received from housing charities on that amendment to that notice period.

As we gradually ease restrictions introduced during the coronavirus pandemic, the time is now right to start to lift the emergency measures that were put in place to support renters and landlords. These measures could only ever be temporary. However, we are tapering down protections gradually to minimise the impact on tenants and public services.

The Government has to balance supporting tenants with landlords' ability to exercise their right to justice where needed. Tenants will continue to benefit from longer notice periods, giving them more time to make alternative arrangements. As of 1 June, until at least 30 September, notice periods will be at least 4 months except in the most egregious cases. Bailiffs have been asked not to carry out an eviction if anyone living in the property has Covid-19 symptoms or is self-isolating.

Other protections also remain in place, including new court rules and arrangements that were introduced in September to respond to the pandemic. Courts will continue to carefully prioritise the most serious cases first, such as anti-social behaviour, and the Government is funding a new mediation pilot as part of the court process.

Extensive financial support remains in place to help people meet their outgoings, including the furlough scheme and the Universal Credit uplift, which have both been extended until the end of September.

We regularly meet with key stakeholders across the sector, including housing charities, to ensure they are informed of the latest information and have the opportunity to provide representations.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, for what reason deprivation is not part of the weighting for bids for the Levelling Up Fund.

The £4.8 billion Levelling Up Fund will prioritise bids from places in England, Scotland and Wales with the most significant need. This is measured by an index taking into account the following place characteristics: need for economic recovery and growth; need for improved transport connectivity; and need for regeneration. Using this index, places have been placed into category 1, 2, or 3, with category 1 representing places with the highest levels of identified need. These metrics are focussed on identifying places most in need of the type of investment offered through the Levelling Up Fund – including towns centre and high street regeneration, small scale transport projects, and investment in local culture and heritage assets. A methodology note has been published and can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/levelling-up-fund-additional-documents/levelling-up-fund-prioritisation-of-places-methodology-note

22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps he is taking to support pet owners in the private rented sector following recent revisions to the Model Tenancy Agreement.

The Government has revised the Model Tenancy Agreement, the Government’s recommended contract for assured shorthold tenancies in the private rented sector, to remove restrictions on responsible tenants with pets, encouraging landlords who use the Model Tenancy Agreement to offer greater flexibility in their approach to pet ownership. It provides that a landlord should accept a request from a tenant to keep a pet where they are satisfied the tenant is a responsible pet-owner and the pet is of a kind that is suitable in relation to the nature of the premises at which it will be kept. The revision aims to strike the balance between protecting private landlords from situations where their properties are damaged by badly behaved pets whilst ensuring responsible pet owning tenants are not unfairly penalised.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
5th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will make it his policy to account for population age in the Covid-19 Relative Needs Formula.

When developing the Covid-19 Relative Needs Formula, the Government used data provided by councils themselves through monitoring returns. We used this data to test potential drivers of this reported covid-related expenditure. Total population and deprivation, as well as a consideration of how costs of delivery?vary?across the country, were found to have a good statistical fit with this data.

30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will publish the criteria used for the latest allocation of covid-19 funding to councils in the Liverpool City Region.

As with the previous funding COVID-19 local authority funding package announced in July, we have used the new COVID-19 Relative Needs Formula, together with an area cost adjustment, to determine funding allocations to councils in England. This means the distribution accounts for population and deprivation, as well as the varying cost of delivering services across the country. Finally, we have taken account of the funding local authorities have already received relative to their assessed needs and applied a minimum funding floor of £100,000 to each local authority – recognising that all local areas are facing pressures especially as we head into winter. This approach ensures the funds are distributed in a way that balances the need to support all areas of our country, whilst maximising efficiency and targeting resources where they are most needed


With national restrictions replacing local ones on Thursday 5 November, Government has confirmed further support for local authorities through the extension of the Contain Outbreak Management Fund, the Additional Restrictions Grant, Business Grants for closed businesses, together with backdated cash grants for businesses in Local Alert Level 2 and 3 areas and additional funding for the clinically extremely vulnerable.

30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps he is taking to ensure that councils in the Liverpool City Region receive additional funding allocations to offset the shortfalls in funding caused by the covid-19 outbreak.

On Monday 12 October, the Prime Minister confirmed around £1 billion of new funding will be made available to councils across England, with over £900 million of this funding provided to councils for their ongoing work to support communities during the pandemic. Further details of the package were announced on Thursday 22 October. This brings the total funding given directly to councils during the pandemic to £6.4 billion. For Liverpool City Region this includes £59.6 million in un-ringfenced funding, £9 million from the Infection Control Fund and £4.1 million to support Test and Trace. Councils can also separately claim funding through a compensation scheme for lost income from sales, fees and charges.

With national restrictions replacing local ones on Thursday 5 November, Government has confirmed further support for local authorities through the extension of the Contain Outbreak Management Fund, the Additional Restrictions Grant, Business Grants for closed businesses, together with backdated cash grants for businesses in Local Alert Level 2 and 3 areas and additional funding for the clinically extremely vulnerable.

8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what representations he has received on weddings being held outdoors during the covid-19 outbreak.

We have been working with the Places of Worship Taskforce and other government departments to consider how small wedding ceremonies could take place safely in due course. Outdoor ceremonies have been raised in these discussions.

13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if he plans to bring forward legislative proposals to establish an independent public advocate.

The Government is committed to supporting bereaved families after public disasters and during public inquests.

We have consulted on proposals to establish an independent public advocate and will publish a response in due course.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
2nd Sep 2020
What steps the Government is taking to support the recovery of the Northern Ireland economy after the covid-19 outbreak.

Businesses in Northern Ireland have always exhibited tremendous resilience and ability to bounce back from adversity.

This Government has stood by the people of Northern Ireland, providing support for Northern Ireland businesses and employees throughout the pandemic with an unprecedented series of grants, loans and support schemes. We remain committed to enabling them, and the wider economy, to thrive and grow as we emerge from the lockdown.

We look forward to working with the Executive and local partners to unleash Northern Ireland’s potential by driving innovation and connecting Northern Ireland with opportunities through our new trading relationships.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
27th Jan 2021
What recent steps his Department has taken to support the Scottish fishing sector.

Since well before the end of the Transition Period, My office has been in daily contact with the Scottish seafood industry to help identify and resolve issues with exports and will continue to do so.

Last week, the Prime Minister announced a £23 million support fund to help with losses directly related to these issues.