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Written Question
Refugees: Afghanistan
13 Jan 2022

Questioner: Caroline Lucas (GRN - Brighton, Pavilion)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the changes to the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy published on 14 December 2021, how (a) Afghan Chevening Scholars and (b) Afghans who worked for or with the Government but not directly on military or security objectives and who are at risk as a result of those activities can apply to be resettled in the UK; and if she will make a statement.

Answered by Victoria Atkins

We have helped over 15,000 people to safety in the largest and fastest emergency evacuation in recent history, and we have continued to bring people to the UK, with around 1,500 people helped to enter since the evacuation.

The Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) will continue to offer current or former locally employed staff who are assessed to be under serious threat to life priority relocation to the UK.

During the first year the Government will offer Afghan Citizen Resettlement Scheme (ACRS) places to the most at risk British Council and GardaWorld contractors, and Chevening alumni as set out in the Oral Statement on 6th January. These cohorts played a key role in supporting the UK mission in Afghanistan, and it is right that we honour our commitments to them. Due to the success of Op Pitting and larger than anticipated number of people brought over to the UK, we plan to exceed our initial aim of 5,000 people in the first year of the ACRS.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office will be in touch with those eligible to support them through the next steps. Beyond the first year of the ACRS, we will work with international partners and NGOs to welcome wider groups of Afghans most.

Further details on referral for resettlement can be found in the recent statement to Parliament on 6 January: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/oral-statement-on-the-afghan-citizens-resettlement-scheme


Written Question
Conflict, Stability and Security Fund
12 Jan 2022

Questioner: Caroline Lucas (GRN - Brighton, Pavilion)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, with reference to the changes to the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy published on 14 December 2021, whether UK development programmes and activities funded under the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund will be included as a criterion for furthering the UK's military and national security objectives; and if she will make a statement.

Answered by James Heappey

The MOD-administered Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) scheme was established to support former Locally Employed Staff (LES) and their dependants who are assessed to be at serious risk of threat to life as a result of having been directly employed by the UK Government in Afghanistan. There is also some discretion within the rules to consider, on a case-by-case and exceptional basis, those who worked in meaningful and prominent enabling roles alongside HMG and whose responsible HMG unit builds a credible case for consideration under the scheme. Approval in such cases is dependent upon the extent of the individual's relationship with HMG, the scale of their contribution to our mission, and an assessment of the risks they face.

We owe a debt of gratitude to all Afghan nationals who risked their lives working alongside UK forces. As such, the ARAP Scheme has been one of the most generous relocation programmes in the world. It is not time-limited and will endure, facilitating the relocation of eligible Afghans and their families, from third countries if possible.


Written Question
Companies: VAT
11 Jan 2022

Questioner: Caroline Lucas (GRN - Brighton, Pavilion)

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what proportion of Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs liquidation claims to recover VAT from company directors were recovered in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement.

Answered by Lucy Frazer

HMRC is unable to advise what proportion of HMRC liquidation claims to recover VAT from company directors were recovered in each of the last five years. HMRC is not responsible for recovery of these amounts after the insolvency event. HMRC rely on the appointed Insolvency Practitioner to realise any and all available assets from the Insolvent party and are allocated their share per Insolvency legislation from funds obtained by the appointed Insolvency Practitioner. HMRC are provided with dividend payment from the liquidator as and when assets and funds are realised but are not advised of where the recoveries have come from. HMRC does not need to know whether recoveries have come from the directors, general company assets, or elsewhere.


Written Question
Schools: Admissions
10 Jan 2022

Questioner: Caroline Lucas (GRN - Brighton, Pavilion)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make it his policy to add to the criteria by which local authorities can make changes to Published Admission Numbers proposals for maintained schools to include consideration of (a) fairness for disadvantaged communities and (b) decisions to re-distribute pupil places based on the number of children living near their local school; and if he will make a statement.

Answered by Robin Walker

A school’s admission authority is responsible for setting the published admission number (PAN) for each year in which children normally enter the school. This is usually the reception year in primary school and year 7 in secondary school. They must do so in line with the requirements of the school admissions code.

The local authority is the admission authority for community and voluntary controlled schools. For voluntary aided and foundation schools, the school’s governing body is the admission authority and is therefore responsible for setting the PAN.

Once they have determined their PAN, an admission authority may admit above that number but must notify the local authority of this in time to allow it to deliver its co-ordination responsibilities effectively. They may also admit above their PAN at any time through in-year admissions.

Where an admission authority proposes to decrease their PAN, they must first consult locally in accordance with the requirements set out in the school admissions code. This includes consulting with parents and all other admission authorities within the relevant area.

Community and voluntary controlled schools have the right to object to the Office of the Schools Adjudicator if the PAN set for them by the local authority is lower than they would wish. The decision of the Adjudicator is binding and enforceable.


Written Question
DMB Solutions: VAT
10 Jan 2022

Questioner: Caroline Lucas (GRN - Brighton, Pavilion)

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the HMRC liquidation claim for DMB solutions Ltd, HMRC reference 075 2142906 03, how much of the £578,497.83 VAT element of HMRC’s claim from the company's directors has been recovered; and if he will make a statement.

Answered by Lucy Frazer

HMRC is unable to advise how much of the £578,497.83 VAT element of HMRC’s claim from DMB solutions Ltd has been recovered from the company’s directors as HMRC is not responsible for recovery of these amounts after the insolvency event. As with all other creditors in an insolvency, HMRC rely on the appointed Insolvency Practitioner to realise all available assets from the Insolvent Party and are allocated their share per Insolvency legislation from funds obtained by the appointed Insolvency Practitioner. HMRC are provided with dividend payments from the liquidator as and when assets and funds are realised but are not advised of where the recoveries have come from. HMRC does not need to know whether recoveries have come from the directors, general company assets, or elsewhere.


Written Question
Coronavirus: Disease Control
6 Jan 2022

Questioner: Caroline Lucas (GRN - Brighton, Pavilion)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of reintroducing shielding guidance for people in the clinically extremely vulnerable group.

Answered by Maggie Throup

Given the improved protections against the virus through vaccines and treatments and the significant impact that shielding can have on an individual’s physical and mental wellbeing, the clinical advice is that it is not appropriate to reintroduce shielding.

The latest guidance published on 24 December 2021 for people previously considered clinically extremely vulnerable from COVID-19 is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19

We have also issued updated public health advice for people whose immune system means they are at higher risk of serious outcomes from COVID-19, which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-people-whose-immune-system-means-they-are-at-higher-risk/covid-19-guidance-for-people-whose-immune-system-means-they-are-at-higher-risk


Written Question
Accident and Emergency Departments: Admissions
23 Dec 2021

Questioner: Caroline Lucas (GRN - Brighton, Pavilion)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the November 2021 Royal College of Emergency Medicine Acute Insight Series, Crowding and its Consequences, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the estimate published in that report that there were at least 4519 excess deaths caused by crowding in accident and emergency departments in 2020-21; and if he will make a statement.

Answered by Edward Argar

No such assessment has been made.

NHS England and NHS Improvement led detailed operational level winter planning with providers, regions and stakeholders and set out actions to support improved emergency care performance and patient flow through hospitals, supported by £5.4 billion of additional funding. This includes a new Urgent and Emergency Care Recovery Unit to coordinate support for the most challenged systems and £478 million for the enhanced patient discharge programme, to increase bed capacity and reduce crowding in accident and emergency departments.


Written Question
Biodiversity and Nature Conservation
20 Dec 2021

Questioner: Caroline Lucas (GRN - Brighton, Pavilion)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to fund in full the new area arising from the Environment Act, in particular (a) Local Nature Recovery Strategies and (b) Biodiversity Net Gain.

Answered by Rebecca Pow

The Government has committed to funding all new burdens on Local Authorities arising from the Environment Act, including those due to Local Nature Recovery Strategies and Biodiversity Net Gain.

Following the spending review settlement, Defra is working through spending plans for the next three years, including by working closely with local Government organisations to determine the level of additional capacity required to implement the Act effectively.

Further announcements regarding specific funding arrangements will be made in due course.


Written Question
Nature Conservation
20 Dec 2021

Questioner: Caroline Lucas (GRN - Brighton, Pavilion)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate he has made of the (a) upfront and (b) ongoing costs required to ensure that all Local Nature Recovery Strategies are delivered fully.

Answered by Rebecca Pow

The Government has committed to funding all new burdens on Local Authorities arising from the Environment Act. This includes those relating to the preparation of Local Nature Recovery Strategies.

As set out in our consultation, Local Nature Recovery Strategies: how to prepare and what to include , which is now closed, Local Nature Recovery Strategies are intended to inform a number of policy areas and will therefore be delivered through a variety of mechanisms operating in a complementary way. These could include mandatory biodiversity net gain, environmental land management schemes, the strengthened NERC duty on public bodies; and use by local planning authorities, for example in informing the preparation of local plans.


Written Question
Nature Conservation
20 Dec 2021

Questioner: Caroline Lucas (GRN - Brighton, Pavilion)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the (a) personnel and (b) skills required by local authorities to (i) develop and (ii) implement Local Nature Recovery Strategies; and how many local authorities have access to those resources as of 10 December 2021.

Answered by Rebecca Pow

We will shortly be appointing responsible authorities to lead the preparation of Local Nature Recovery Strategies. We envisage around fifty LNRS areas at roughly county scale, covering England with no gaps or overlaps.

Our five LNRS pilots in Northumberland, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Buckinghamshire and Cornwall gave us considerable insight into capacity needs which we have published in a lessons learned report. One of the central lessons was that capacity and skills needs will be different between responsible authorities depending on local circumstances like geography or administrative set up.

Following the completion of our business planning process we will bring forward proposals on how we intend to support responsible authorities to prepare LNRSs.

Local Nature Recovery Strategies are intended to inform a number of policy areas and will therefore be delivered through a variety of mechanisms operating in a complementary way. These could include mandatory biodiversity net gain, environmental land management schemes, the strengthened NERC duty on public bodies; and use by local planning authorities, for example in informing the preparation of local plans.


Written Question
Fossil Fuels: Taxation
17 Dec 2021

Questioner: Caroline Lucas (GRN - Brighton, Pavilion)

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make it his policy to conduct an assessment of (a) the UK’s support for fossil fuels through the tax system and (b) the compatibility of that support with the Glasgow Climate Pact.

Answered by Helen Whately

The UK does not give any subsidies to fossil fuels, and follows the approach of the International Energy Agency, which defines fossil fuel subsidies as measures that reduce the effective price of fossil fuels below world market prices.

The International Energy Agency has a long-standing track record in systematically measuring fossil-fuel subsidies using a commonly applied methodology. This definition was originally developed with the European Commission and G20 EU Member States to respond to the G20 commitment to phase out such subsidies.

The UK has been a longstanding supporter of multilateral efforts to promote fossil fuel subsidy reform since these were first proposed in 2009, including through the G20, and the G7. The UK is a signatory of the Glasgow Climate Pact and is committed to the agreed phase-out of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies across the globe that encourage wasteful consumption, and sees clear benefits in doing so.

The government takes its environmental responsibilities seriously, and recently published the Net Zero Strategy on how the UK will deliver on its commitment to reach net zero emissions by 2050. Pricing carbon (including through tax) is one of the most efficient tools for promoting decarbonisation and already plays a key role in helping the UK achieve net zero emissions. There are also a number of taxes, including the Climate Change Levy and Vehicle Excise Duty, that are designed to encourage businesses and consumers to make greener choices. The government also incorporated a climate assessment in all relevant Tax Information and Impact Notes (TIINs) for measures at Autumn Budget and will continue to do so in future TIINs.

The government keeps all taxes under review, and any changes are made in the round at fiscal events.


Written Question
Fossil Fuels: Taxation
17 Dec 2021

Questioner: Caroline Lucas (GRN - Brighton, Pavilion)

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment his Department has made of the alignment of its fossil fuel taxation policies with the Glasgow Climate Pact.

Answered by Helen Whately

The UK does not give any subsidies to fossil fuels, and follows the approach of the International Energy Agency, which defines fossil fuel subsidies as measures that reduce the effective price of fossil fuels below world market prices.

The International Energy Agency has a long-standing track record in systematically measuring fossil-fuel subsidies using a commonly applied methodology. This definition was originally developed with the European Commission and G20 EU Member States to respond to the G20 commitment to phase out such subsidies.

The UK has been a longstanding supporter of multilateral efforts to promote fossil fuel subsidy reform since these were first proposed in 2009, including through the G20, and the G7. The UK is a signatory of the Glasgow Climate Pact and is committed to the agreed phase-out of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies across the globe that encourage wasteful consumption, and sees clear benefits in doing so.

The government takes its environmental responsibilities seriously, and recently published the Net Zero Strategy on how the UK will deliver on its commitment to reach net zero emissions by 2050. Pricing carbon (including through tax) is one of the most efficient tools for promoting decarbonisation and already plays a key role in helping the UK achieve net zero emissions. There are also a number of taxes, including the Climate Change Levy and Vehicle Excise Duty, that are designed to encourage businesses and consumers to make greener choices. The government also incorporated a climate assessment in all relevant Tax Information and Impact Notes (TIINs) for measures at Autumn Budget and will continue to do so in future TIINs.

The government keeps all taxes under review, and any changes are made in the round at fiscal events.


Written Question
Climate Change and Nature Conservation: Taxation
17 Dec 2021

Questioner: Caroline Lucas (GRN - Brighton, Pavilion)

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the New Economic Foundation and Common Wealth’s report, Fossil fuels support in the UK tax system, if he will make it his policy to align the UK’s tax system with the (a) Government's climate and nature goals and (b) Glasgow Climate Pact.

Answered by Helen Whately

The UK does not give any subsidies to fossil fuels, and follows the approach of the International Energy Agency, which defines fossil fuel subsidies as measures that reduce the effective price of fossil fuels below world market prices.

The International Energy Agency has a long-standing track record in systematically measuring fossil-fuel subsidies using a commonly applied methodology. This definition was originally developed with the European Commission and G20 EU Member States to respond to the G20 commitment to phase out such subsidies.

The UK has been a longstanding supporter of multilateral efforts to promote fossil fuel subsidy reform since these were first proposed in 2009, including through the G20, and the G7. The UK is a signatory of the Glasgow Climate Pact and is committed to the agreed phase-out of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies across the globe that encourage wasteful consumption, and sees clear benefits in doing so.

The government takes its environmental responsibilities seriously, and recently published the Net Zero Strategy on how the UK will deliver on its commitment to reach net zero emissions by 2050. Pricing carbon (including through tax) is one of the most efficient tools for promoting decarbonisation and already plays a key role in helping the UK achieve net zero emissions. There are also a number of taxes, including the Climate Change Levy and Vehicle Excise Duty, that are designed to encourage businesses and consumers to make greener choices. The government also incorporated a climate assessment in all relevant Tax Information and Impact Notes (TIINs) for measures at Autumn Budget and will continue to do so in future TIINs.

The government keeps all taxes under review, and any changes are made in the round at fiscal events.


Written Question
Fossil Fuels: Subsidies
17 Dec 2021

Questioner: Caroline Lucas (GRN - Brighton, Pavilion)

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 23 November 2021 to Question 74952 on Fossil Fuels: Subsidies, if he will make it his policy to include taxation policies in his Department’s definition of a fossil fuel subsidy in line with the approach of the World Trade Organization; and if he will make representations to the International Energy Agency to revise their definition of a fossil fuel subsidy in the same way.

Answered by Helen Whately

The UK does not give any subsidies to fossil fuels, and follows the approach of the International Energy Agency, which defines fossil fuel subsidies as measures that reduce the effective price of fossil fuels below world market prices.

The International Energy Agency has a long-standing track record in systematically measuring fossil-fuel subsidies using a commonly applied methodology. This definition was originally developed with the European Commission and G20 EU Member States to respond to the G20 commitment to phase out such subsidies.

The UK has been a longstanding supporter of multilateral efforts to promote fossil fuel subsidy reform since these were first proposed in 2009, including through the G20, and the G7. The UK is a signatory of the Glasgow Climate Pact and is committed to the agreed phase-out of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies across the globe that encourage wasteful consumption, and sees clear benefits in doing so.

The government takes its environmental responsibilities seriously, and recently published the Net Zero Strategy on how the UK will deliver on its commitment to reach net zero emissions by 2050. Pricing carbon (including through tax) is one of the most efficient tools for promoting decarbonisation and already plays a key role in helping the UK achieve net zero emissions. There are also a number of taxes, including the Climate Change Levy and Vehicle Excise Duty, that are designed to encourage businesses and consumers to make greener choices. The government also incorporated a climate assessment in all relevant Tax Information and Impact Notes (TIINs) for measures at Autumn Budget and will continue to do so in future TIINs.

The government keeps all taxes under review, and any changes are made in the round at fiscal events.


Written Question
Children: Disability
17 Dec 2021

Questioner: Caroline Lucas (GRN - Brighton, Pavilion)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the open letter to the Government by the Disabled Children’s Partnership, dated 26 November 2021, seeking clarification on how spending review funding will meet the health and social care needs of disabled children and their families, how his Department’s spending review settlement will (a) help every family with disabled children get the short breaks social care support to which they are entitled and (b) allow disabled children to recover lost progress in managing their conditions; and if he will make a statement.

Answered by Will Quince

The department believes it is right for local authorities, who know their areas’ needs best, to determine what services are required locally, including short breaks.

This year, councils have access to £51.3 billion to deliver their core services, including a £1.7 billion grant for social care. The government has also given over £6 billion in funding directly to councils to support them with the immediate and longer-term impacts of the COVID-19 spending pressures. This includes children’s services.

The department will continue to work with other government departments, including the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, to ensure the needs of children’s services are met. The autumn 2021 Spending Review delivers an additional £4.7 billion for the core schools' budget by the financial year 2024-25. This settlement includes an additional £1.6 billion for schools and high needs in 2022-23, on top of the funding we previously announced. We will confirm in due course how this additional funding for 2022-23, and for the two subsequent years, will be allocated for schools and high needs.