Cat Smith Portrait

Cat Smith

Labour - Lancaster and Fleetwood

Shadow Minister (Cabinet Office) (Young People and Voter Engagement)
27th Jun 2016 - 29th Nov 2021
Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons
20th Dec 2016 - 19th Jul 2017
Junior Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities
18th Sep 2015 - 27th Jun 2016
Women and Equalities Committee
6th Jul 2015 - 26th Oct 2015


Oral Question
Tuesday 7th December 2021
11:30
HM Treasury
Topical Question No. 5
If he will make a statement on his departmental responsibilities.
Save to Calendar
Division Votes
Wednesday 1st December 2021
Finance (No. 2) Bill
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 152 Labour Aye votes vs 0 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 212 Noes - 306
Speeches
Wednesday 3rd November 2021
G20 and COP26 World Leaders Summit

Moving to rail travel and away from more carbon-intensive forms of transport will be essential if we are to meet …

Written Answers
Tuesday 23rd November 2021
Prescription Drugs
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many prescriptions were issued for each drug categorised …
Early Day Motions
Tuesday 30th November 2021
50th anniversary of The Dukes
That this House celebrates the 50th anniversary of The Dukes theatre and independent cinema in Lancaster; considers that since opening …
Bills
None available
MP Financial Interests
Monday 4th October 2021
2. (b) Any other support not included in Category 2(a)
Name of donor: The Methodist Church
Address of donor: 25 Marylebone Road, London NW1 5JR
Amount of donation or nature …
EDM signed
Wednesday 14th April 2021
Immigration
That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the Immigration (Guidance on Detention of Vulnerable Persons) Regulations …
Supported Legislation
Automatic Electoral Registration (No. 2) Bill 2017-19
The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Cat Smith has voted in 340 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Cat Smith 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
Kemi Badenoch (Conservative)
Minister for Equalities
(61 debate interactions)
Chloe Smith (Conservative)
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
(46 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Cabinet Office
(183 debate contributions)
Department of Health and Social Care
(12 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Cat Smith's debates

Lancaster and Fleetwood Petitions

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

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

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

Petitions with highest Lancaster and Fleetwood signature proportion
Cat Smith has not participated in any petition debates

Latest EDMs signed by Cat Smith

30th November 2021
Cat Smith signed this EDM as the primary signatory on Tuesday 30th November 2021

50th anniversary of The Dukes

Tabled by: Cat Smith (Labour - Lancaster and Fleetwood)
That this House celebrates the 50th anniversary of The Dukes theatre and independent cinema in Lancaster; considers that since opening its doors in 1971, The Dukes has been committed to putting arts and culture at the heart of the Lancaster City Region; notes that The Dukes has welcomed the likes …
2 signatures
(Most recent: 1 Dec 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 2
24th March 2021
Cat Smith signed this EDM on Wednesday 14th April 2021

Immigration

Tabled by: Keir Starmer (Labour - Holborn and St Pancras)
That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the Immigration (Guidance on Detention of Vulnerable Persons) Regulations 2021 (S.I., 2021, No. 184), dated 23 February 2021, a copy of which was laid before this House on 25 February 2021, be annulled.
82 signatures
(Most recent: 26 Apr 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 40
Scottish National Party: 24
Liberal Democrat: 8
Independent: 3
Plaid Cymru: 3
Alba Party: 2
Alliance: 1
Green Party: 1
View All Cat Smith's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Cat Smith, 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.


Cat Smith has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Cat Smith has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

Cat Smith has not introduced any legislation before Parliament


364 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
15 Other Department Questions
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what recent discussions he has had with Ministers from Senedd Cymru on provisions in the Elections Bill that apply to elections in Wales.

I recently met with the Counsel General and Minister for the Constitution as part of the Interministerial Group on Elections and Registration to discuss the Elections Bill and wider matters relating to elections and registration. My predecessor met regularly with Counsel General and Minister for the Constitution both bilaterally, and as part of the Interministerial Group on Elections and Registration. Details of the Inter Ministerial Group are published on gov.uk .

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, with reference to the Government's voter ID plans, whether student IDs covered by the PASS scheme will be accepted as valid ID to vote.

As set out in Schedule 1, Paragraph 15 of the Elections Bill, any identity card covered by the PASS scheme that shows a photograph of the bearer will be accepted as valid identification for the purpose of voting at a polling station.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what estimate he has made of the total cost of the Cabinet Office IFF research entitled, Photographic ID Research - Headline Findings.

The Cabinet Office commissioned IFF Research to conduct quantitative research to understand the levels of ownership of the accepted forms of photographic identification among those eligible to vote in Great Britain and to inform planning for the implementation of voter identification nationwide. Details of Government contracts and the cost of this research are published on gov.uk.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, pursuant to the Answer of 23 September 2021 to Question 48273 on Elections: Proof of Identity, if he will publish the names of the projects within the Electoral Integrity Programme that are supporting the implementation of the changes created by the Elections Bill.

The Electoral Integrity Programme is running concurrent projects to support the delivery of primary legislation, secondary legislation, digital delivery and business change. Within the programme are roles responsible for the implementation of the changes created by the Elections Bill. We continue to work with local authorities, the Electoral Commission, charities and civil society organisations to make sure that reforms are delivered in a way that is inclusive for all voters.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, pursuant to the Answer of 23 September 2021 to Question 48273, on Elections: Proof of Identity, whether his Department has appointed a voter ID implementation lead, or equivalent role, in the last three months.

The Electoral Integrity Programme is running concurrent projects to support the delivery of primary legislation, secondary legislation, digital delivery and business change. Within the programme are roles responsible for the implementation of the changes created by the Elections Bill. We continue to work with local authorities, the Electoral Commission, charities and civil society organisations to make sure that reforms are delivered in a way that is inclusive for all voters.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
11th May 2021
To ask the hon. Member for City of Chester, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, how many free local elector IDs were issued by Woking Council as part of the 2019 Voter ID trials.

Woking Borough Council issued 24 free local elector cards in 2019, as part of its participation in the UK Government's voter ID pilot. It issued 63 cards in a similar trial held in 2018.

This information was collated as part of the Commission's independant evaluations of the pilot schemes conducted in 2018 and 2019.

Christian Matheson
Shadow Minister (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the hon. Member for City of Chester, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what recent estimate the Commission has made of the number of eligible people who are (a) not on the electoral register and (b) not registered correctly; and how the Commission calculated those estimates.

The Commission carries out research studies on the accuracy and completeness of the electoral registers. These are based on an established, robust methodology involving house-to-house interviewing across the UK. The most recent study, published in 2019, found that 83% of people eligible to appear on a local government register in Great Britain were correctly registered.

The findings from this research can be used, with the Office for National Statistic's population estimates, to estimate that between 8.3 and 9.4 million people in Great Britain were not correctly registered. This estimate includes people not on a register, and people on a register but not at their current and therefore correct address. It is not possible, however, to provide a specific estimate for each category seperately.

Christian Matheson
Shadow Minister (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, when he plans to set out how the £705 million of funding for ports will be allocated by (a) region and (b) port.

On 13 July, the Government published the Border Operating Model, which details the approach to UK border controls after the end of the Transition Period. As my Rt Hon Friend, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster set out in his statement of 13 July, the Government will provide a breakdown of spend on ports by region and by port in due course. Further to the answer given on 1 September (UIN78765), the Government continues to review proportionate contingency plans for potential disruption and works with the Kent Resilience Forum to revise traffic management contingency plans, to deal with the potential congestion. Future announcements will be made in the usual way.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the statement on page 133 of the Border Operating Model, published 13 July 2020, that there could be significant queues and delays on the roads approaching ports in the UK if a high volume of HGVs do not have the correct documentation, what assessment he has made of the potential (a) scale and (b) economic effect of those queues or delays.

On 13 July, the Government published the Border Operating Model, which details the approach to UK border controls after the end of the Transition Period. As my Rt Hon Friend, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster set out in his statement of 13 July, the Government will provide a breakdown of spend on ports by region and by port in due course. Further to the answer given on 1 September (UIN78765), the Government continues to review proportionate contingency plans for potential disruption and works with the Kent Resilience Forum to revise traffic management contingency plans, to deal with the potential congestion. Future announcements will be made in the usual way.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the statement on page 133 of the Border Operating Model, published 13 July 2020, that there could be significant queues and delays on the roads approaching ports in the UK if a high volume of HGVs do not have the correct documentation, if he will publish any research undertaken on the potential scale of those queues and delays.

On 13 July, the Government published the Border Operating Model, which details the approach to UK border controls after the end of the Transition Period. As my Rt Hon Friend, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster set out in his statement of 13 July, the Government will provide a breakdown of spend on ports by region and by port in due course. Further to the answer given on 1 September (UIN78765), the Government continues to review proportionate contingency plans for potential disruption and works with the Kent Resilience Forum to revise traffic management contingency plans, to deal with the potential congestion. Future announcements will be made in the usual way.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the statement on page 133 of the Border Operating Model, published 13 July 2020, that there could be significant queues and delays on the roads approaching ports in the UK if a high volume of HGVs do not have the correct documentation, what recent assessment he has made of the risk of significant delays at Dover in (a) January 2021 and (b) July 2021.

On 13 July, the Government published the Border Operating Model, which details the approach to UK border controls after the end of the Transition Period. As my Rt Hon Friend, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster set out in his statement of 13 July, the Government will provide a breakdown of spend on ports by region and by port in due course. Further to the answer given on 1 September (UIN78765), the Government continues to review proportionate contingency plans for potential disruption and works with the Kent Resilience Forum to revise traffic management contingency plans, to deal with the potential congestion. Future announcements will be made in the usual way.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the Operation Brock traffic management plans for the end of the Transition Period on page 134 of the Border Operating Model, published 13 July 2020, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the operation on traffic in the surrounding areas.

On 13 July, the Government published the Border Operating Model, which details the approach to UK border controls after the end of the Transition Period. As my Rt Hon Friend, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster set out in his statement of 13 July, the Government will provide a breakdown of spend on ports by region and by port in due course. Further to the answer given on 1 September (UIN78765), the Government continues to review proportionate contingency plans for potential disruption and works with the Kent Resilience Forum to revise traffic management contingency plans, to deal with the potential congestion. Future announcements will be made in the usual way.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the effect of the recent voter identification pilot schemes on BAME communities.

This Government is determined to strengthen the integrity of our electoral system and give the public confidence that our elections are secure and fit for the 21st century. To that end we are committed to introducing identification to vote at polling stations in Great Britain. In Northern Ireland, voters are already required to produce photographic identification.

The voter ID pilots were a success and the overwhelming majority of electors cast their vote without a problem. There was no indication that any consistent demographic was adversely affected by the use of voter ID.

We will continue to work with the Electoral Commission and other stakeholders, including charities and civil society organisations, to make sure that voter ID works for all voters. For any voter who does not have one of the required forms of photographic ID, a local elector ID will be available, free of charge, from their local authority.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd Jan 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, if she will bring forward legislative proposals to prevent offshore employment providers recruiting in the UK from discriminating against an applicant on the grounds of a protected characteristic.

Companies based in the United Kingdom and which recruit here are subject to British laws, including those which protect people from discrimination because of their sex or any other protected characteristic. Conversely, employers based overseas who recruit British workers for overseas work are subject to the laws of the country in which they are based, and similar arrangements apply to work on ships where the ship’s ownership is outside the UK and the ship is to operate outside UK territorial waters.

This general legal position in no way excuses companies, as recently reported, which deny British women job opportunities on ships registered or owned abroad, especially where the company in question is seeking to recruit in this country. It is unacceptable to see this sort of blatant sex discrimination in 2020 if there is no genuine occupational requirement for a position to be filled by a man. The Department for Transport will be reviewing regulations on the treatment of seafarers and will be looking at this issue as part of the review.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether provisional driving licences will be considered valid voter ID.

Yes. As set out in Schedule 1, Paragraph 15 of the Elections Bill, provisional licences will be accepted as a valid form of photographic identification for the purpose of voting at polling stations. The Bill outlines that a licence to drive a motor vehicle granted under Part 3 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 will be considered acceptable, and this includes provisional driving licences.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, for what purpose the rooms within 9 Downing Street are used.

No.9 Downing Street is the south wing of 70 Whitehall and forms part of the Cabinet Office Estate.

The rooms are used for offices, storage and also the Broadcast Suite. The space is occupied and used by Cabinet Office and its immediate suppliers.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, when he plans to publish the contract awards and invoices for the most recent refurbishment and renovation of the Prime Minister's residence in Downing Street.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to PQ 3021 on 25 May 2021.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to research published in July 2021 by the Albert Kennedy Trust on LGBTQ+ youth homelessness, what assessment the Government has made of the effect of its voter ID proposals on the voting freedoms of homeless LGBTQ+ youth.

A broad range of documents already in use will be accepted as identification for voting purposes - it will not be limited to UK passports or driving licences. This will include, for example, various concessionary travel passes, Proof of Age Standards Scheme (PASS) cards, and photocard parking permits issued as part of the Blue Badge scheme. In addition, expired photographic identification will be accepted as long as the photograph is of a good enough likeness to allow polling station staff to confirm the identity of the holder.

We recognise that, notwithstanding this broad approach, a small minority of electors may not currently hold one of the required forms of photographic identification. For those people, a free, local Voter Card will be available from their local authority. A fixed address will not be a requirement to receive a Voter Card, in the same way that it is not a requirement to register to vote.


We will continue to work with the Electoral Commission and other stakeholders, including Local Authorities and a wide range of charities and civil society organisations, to make sure that voter identification is rolled out in a way that is inclusive for all eligible voters, including those who are homeless and those who are LGBT+.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the Government's voter ID plans, what steps people in assessment and treatment units, between homes or in other forms of insecure housing and without documentation of a fixed address will need to take to obtain an elector card.

A broad range of documents already in use will be accepted as identification for voting purposes - it will not be limited to UK passports or driving licences. This will include, for example, various concessionary travel passes, Proof of Age Standards Scheme (PASS) cards, and photocard parking permits issued as part of the Blue Badge scheme. In addition, expired photographic identification will be accepted as long as the photograph is of a good enough likeness to allow polling station staff to confirm the identity of the holder.

We recognise that, notwithstanding this broad approach, a small minority of electors may not currently hold one of the required forms of photographic identification. For those people, a free, local Voter Card will be available from their local authority. A fixed address will not be a requirement to receive a Voter Card, in the same way that it is not a requirement to register to vote.


We will continue to work with the Electoral Commission and other stakeholders, including Local Authorities and a wide range of charities and civil society organisations, to make sure that voter identification is rolled out in a way that is inclusive for all eligible voters, including those who are homeless and those who are LGBT+.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what plans he has to publish an Equality Impact Assessments for the forthcoming Electoral Integrity Bill; and if he will make a statement.

An Equality Impact Assessment was published alongside the Elections Bill: https://bills.parliament.uk/bills/3020/publications

The Cabinet Office will continue the detailed planning ahead of implementation nationally, working closely with those who will be responsible for delivery including Local Authorities, the Electoral Commission, Association of Electoral Administrators and Society of Local Authority Chief Executives.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 24 June 2021 to Question 21937, how many requests for advice on handling freedom of information requests the central Cabinet Office Clearing House received in 2020-21.

I refer the hon. Member to my answer given to PQ21237 on 28 June 2021.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the renovations and refurbishment of the Downing Street flat, what have the annual public grants of £30,000 specifically been spent on.

I refer the hon. Member to the answers given to PQ7856 on 7 June 2021 and PQ HL14191 on 23 April 2021.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps the Government has taken to consult with the devolved Administrations on the introduction of voter ID.

The Elections Bill will deliver this Government's manifesto commitments to strengthen the integrity of our elections and ensure that our democracy remains secure, fair, modern and transparent. It also delivers on Government commitments made in response to consultations and Select Committee recommendations.

The legislation has benefitted from extensive engagement with the Devolved Administrations as well as the input and expertise of those working in the electoral sector.

We will continue to work with the Electoral Commission and other stakeholders, including charities and civil society organisations to make sure that voter identification works for all voters.

The proposal to introduce voter identification is for reserved elections only.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether he is planning to publish a Green or White paper on the upcoming Elections Bill.

The Elections Bill will deliver this Government's manifesto commitments to strengthen the integrity of our elections and ensure that our democracy remains secure, fair, modern and transparent. It also delivers on Government commitments made in response to consultations and Select Committee recommendations.

The legislation has benefitted from extensive engagement with the Devolved Administrations as well as the input and expertise of those working in the electoral sector.

We will continue to work with the Electoral Commission and other stakeholders, including charities and civil society organisations to make sure that voter identification works for all voters.

The proposal to introduce voter identification is for reserved elections only.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether a risk assessment has been carried out on the secure holding of CCTV footage within his Department.

I refer the hon. Member to my response on 28 June 2021.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether any departmental business has been conducted on private email addresses; and what mechanisms are in place to ensure that full records are kept of that business.

I refer the hon. Member to my response on 28 June 2021.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the Government's proposals on voter ID, what plans are in place for people that wear face coverings for religious or cultural reasons when presenting photo ID.

Everyone who is eligible to vote will have the opportunity to do so.

Those whose appearance has significantly changed in comparison to their existing identification documents can apply for a free, local Voter Card that matches their current appearance.

Polling station staff will be given appropriate training and there will be a requirement for privacy screens to allow electors who wish to have their form of identification viewed in private able to do so.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the Government's proposals on voter ID, what plans are in place for voters whose gender identity may not match their photo ID.

Everyone who is eligible to vote will have the opportunity to do so.

Those whose appearance has significantly changed in comparison to their existing identification documents can apply for a free, local Voter Card that matches their current appearance.

Polling station staff will be given appropriate training and there will be a requirement for privacy screens to allow electors who wish to have their form of identification viewed in private able to do so.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether his Department has referred any freedom of information requests received by his Department to the central Cabinet Office Clearing House for advice on handling in the past two years.

The Clearing House function does not have full time members of staff, and its work is done by a small team of people in the FOI team, including the Deputy Director of Freedom of Information and Transparency, alongside their other day to day responsibilities. There is no separate budget for the Clearing House.

The Cabinet Office does not routinely capture data on the number of requests which are referred to the Clearing House. However, in 2020, Clearing House gave advice on 516 aggregated ‘round robins’ (requests made to more than one department and that have repeat characteristics); a small proportion of over 30,000 requests received by government departments in the same time period.

The Cabinet Office has referred requests to the Clearing House where appropriate and in line with the published criteria, which is available on gov.uk here - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cabinet-office-and-freedom-of-information.

Information on Freedom of Information statistics is also published on gov.uk here - https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/government-foi-statistics.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many meetings have taken place on the most recent refurbishment and renovation of the Prime Minister's residence in Downing Street; and when did these meetings take place.

Details of official Ministerial meetings with external organisations are published on gov.uk.

More generally, I refer the hon. Member to the answer by my noble friend, Lord True (Minister of State at the Cabinet Office), to PQHL14191 on 23 April 2021.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the total allocated budget was for the renovations and refurbishment of the Downing Street flat; and whether that budget has been exceeded.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer by my noble friend, Lord True (Minister of State at the Cabinet Office), to PQHL14191 on 23 April 2021.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
26th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the renovations and refurbishment of the Downing Street flat, how much of the £30,000 annual public grants allocated by his Department for that purpose has been spent.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer by my noble friend, Lord True (Minister of State at the Cabinet Office), to PQHL14191 on 23 April 2021.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
26th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 18 May 2021 to Question 1107 on Elections: Proof of Identity, whether a voter's photographic ID will need to match the address where they are registered to vote in order to be valid.

Showing proof of identification is something people of all walks of life already do everyday. It is a reasonable and proportionate approach to extend this practice to voting and give the public confidence that their vote is theirs, and theirs alone.

Of the broad range of documents that will be accepted, including, for example, various concessionary travel passes, Proof of Age Standards Scheme (PASS) cards, and photocard parking permits issued as part of the Blue Badge scheme, many do not contain a voter’s address. An address will not need to be included on identification in order to vote. In addition, expired photographic identification will be accepted as long as the photograph is of a good enough likeness to allow polling station staff to confirm the identity of the holder.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
26th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 18 May 2021 to Question 3021, who was the private supplier responsible for the works funded personally by the Prime Minister.

Works funded personally by the Prime Minister were contracted privately; there has been no cost to taxpayers.

Under successive administrations, it has been the case that spending funded personally by the incumbent Prime Minister is a private matter.

In the same way, MPs’ expenses which are funded by taxpayers are made public and rightly subject to public scrutiny; however, how Hon. Members spend their earned income is a private matter for them.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
18th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, who the suppliers were for the most recent refurbishment and renovation of the Prime Minister's residence in Downing Street; and what the criteria were for selecting those suppliers.

Works funded by the Cabinet Office have been undertaken by Mitie. Mitie has a framework agreement with the Cabinet Office for works on the Downing Street estate.

Works funded personally by the Prime Minister were contracted privately.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
17th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how much (a) public and (b) private money has been spent on renovation and refurbishment of the Downing Street flats since the Prime Minister took up office in July 2019.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer by my noble friend, Lord True (Minister of State at the Cabinet Office), of PQ HL14191, on 23 April 2021.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
17th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how much (a) funding from the public purse and (b) private funding has been spent on renovations and refurbishment of the Downing Street flat since Boris Johnson became Prime Minister in July 2019.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer by my noble friend, Lord True (Minister of State at the Cabinet Office), of PQ HL14191, on 23 April 2021.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
17th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what renovations and refurbishments have been made to the Downing Street flat since Boris Johnson became Prime Minister in July 2019.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer by my noble friend, Lord True (Minister of State at the Cabinet Office), of PQ HL14191, on 23 April 2021.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
13th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if his Department will publish the full cost of the photographic identification research carried out by IFF Research published on 31 March 2021.

As legislation is brought forward to enable the national roll out of voter identification, appropriate impact assessments, which include information on costs, will be provided for Parliament in the normal way.

Showing identification to prove who they are is something people of all walks of life already do everyday. It is a reasonable and proportionate approach to extend this practice to voting and give the public confidence that their vote is theirs, and theirs alone.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
13th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the Government's plans to introduce Voter ID, whether a voter's photographic ID will need to match the address where they are registered to vote in order to be valid.

As legislation is brought forward to enable the national roll out of voter identification, appropriate impact assessments, which include information on costs, will be provided for Parliament in the normal way.

Showing identification to prove who they are is something people of all walks of life already do everyday. It is a reasonable and proportionate approach to extend this practice to voting and give the public confidence that their vote is theirs, and theirs alone.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
13th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of the roll out of Voter ID for a local election.

As legislation is brought forward to enable the national roll out of voter identification, appropriate impact assessments, which include information on costs, will be provided for Parliament in the normal way.

Showing identification to prove who they are is something people of all walks of life already do everyday. It is a reasonable and proportionate approach to extend this practice to voting and give the public confidence that their vote is theirs, and theirs alone.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
11th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many local elector cards were issued as part of the Voter ID pilots in (a) 2019 and (b) 2018.
27th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that the requirement for photographic ID to vote will not disenfranchise blind and partially sighted people who are less likely to hold a passport or driving licence.

The list of approved photo ID will not be limited to UK passports or driving licences. A broad range of documents already in use will be accepted, including, for example, various concessionary travel passes, Proof of Age Standards Scheme (PASS) cards, and photocard parking permits issued as part of the Blue Badge scheme. In addition, expired photographic ID will be accepted as long as the photograph is of a good enough likeness to allow polling station staff to confirm the identity of the holder.

For any voter who does not have one of the required forms of photographic ID, a free, local Voter Card will be available from their local authority.

We will continue to work with the Electoral Commission and other stakeholders, including the Equalities and Human Rights Commission and a wide range of charities and civil society organisations, to make sure that Voter ID is rolled out in a way that is inclusive for all eligible voters.

Everyone who is eligible to vote will have the opportunity to do so.

As legislation is brought forward to enable the national roll out of Voter ID, appropriate impact assessments will be provided for Parliament in the normal way.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
27th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 23 April 2021 to Question HL14191, on 10 Downing Street, whether essential works were undertaken on the Prime Ministerial residence in Downing Street prior to the current occupant moving in; and how much was spent on those works.

I refer the hon. Member to Lord True, Minister of State at the Cabinet Office’s response of 23 April 2021, PQHL14191.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many counting agents will be required as a minimum for the counts at the 6 May 2021 elections.

Arrangements will be put in place by statutorily independent Returning Officers and their teams to allow the effective scrutiny of the counts while ensuring each count is COVID-secure for everyone present. The pandemic means that the arrangements for these polls will be necessarily different from those normally in place.

The Electoral Commission, in consultation with public health bodies, has provided guidance for Returning Officers on the organisation and conduct of the polls, including the count, in the context of the pandemic. We are aware that discussions on arrangements have taken place at local level and that Returning Officers are working with candidates and political parties to set out what is practicable within relevant legislation and with due regard to the need to ensure that count processes can be, and can be seen to be effectively conducted.

I have the utmost confidence in the ability of the Returning Officers to run these polls in a way that meets the highest standards of both public safety and democratic integrity.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that adequate numbers of counting agents are permitted by Electoral Registration Officers to attend and monitor the counting process during the election counts of 6 May 2021.

Arrangements will be put in place by statutorily independent Returning Officers and their teams to allow the effective scrutiny of the counts while ensuring each count is COVID-secure for everyone present. The pandemic means that the arrangements for these polls will be necessarily different from those normally in place.

The Electoral Commission, in consultation with public health bodies, has provided guidance for Returning Officers on the organisation and conduct of the polls, including the count, in the context of the pandemic. We are aware that discussions on arrangements have taken place at local level and that Returning Officers are working with candidates and political parties to set out what is practicable within relevant legislation and with due regard to the need to ensure that count processes can be, and can be seen to be effectively conducted.

I have the utmost confidence in the ability of the Returning Officers to run these polls in a way that meets the highest standards of both public safety and democratic integrity.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 23 March 2021 to Question 171645 on Electoral Register: Travellers, what meetings (a) the Minister for the Constitution and Devolution has had and (b) officials of his Department have had with members of the Gypsy, Traveller and Roma community on improving voter turnout at elections of members of the Gypsy, Traveller and Roma community.

Ministerial meetings are published regularly. Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) have the statutory responsibility for maintaining complete and accurate electoral registers for their areas. They are required to consider the presence of any gypsy or travelling communities in their area and to decide on the best approach to take locally. The Electoral Commission runs campaigns to raise awareness of how people can register to vote, and how to cast their vote.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the Government's plans to introduce voter identification, whether voters that are applying for absentee ballots will be required to provide a copy of their photo identification along with their application.

This Government is determined to strengthen the integrity of our electoral system and give the public confidence that our elections are modern, fair and secure.

Electors will be required to show an approved form of photographic ID before casting their vote in a polling station across Great Britain at national UK-wide elections, and at local elections in England.

The Government does not have plans, as part of the national rollout of Voter ID, to require applicants to supply photo identification along with their application for a postal or proxy vote.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, when the Government plans to publish findings from his Department's pilot schemes of audio voting devices.

As detailed in response to previous questions on the topic, the Government is conducting localised testing with the RNIB to inform policy development and to improve the voting process for blind and partially sighted people. These are not ‘pilot schemes’ under section 10 of the Representation of the People Act 2000.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will publish the results of the research carried out by Ipsos Mori for the Cabinet Office under the contract entitled Provision of Research for ID Pilots Survey, that had a start date of 5 March 2019.

The results of the Ipsos Mori research conducted in 2019 were published alongside the Cabinet Office evaluation of the 2019 pilots:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/evaluation-of-voter-id-pilots-2019

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 22 March 2021 to Question 169884 on Voting Methods: Visual Impairment, for what reasons the answer to that Question did not specify how many local authorities are due to take part in his Department's pilot schemes of the audio voting device.

The Government has been considering the most appropriate approach to further evidence gathering in this area. We are keen to understand how an accessible audio device would in principle operate in a 'live' poll when used in conjunction with the tactile voting device and are therefore working with the RNIB and one local authority to test that during the forthcoming polls. The decision to test with one local authority has been informed by the need to progress this work with the need to respect public health regulations, the significant workload that a difficult combination of polls has created in some areas and to ensure any testing does not create additional risk, particularly to a group of potentially vulnerable people.

This work will allow us to build on previous evidence gathering we have undertaken with both people with sight loss and electoral administrators. We are grateful to the RNIB and local authority for their hard work and commitment, noting the operational challenges more generally with these polls.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the total (a) financial and (b) administrative costs were of his Department's support for running the 2019 Voter ID pilots for each participating local authority.

Details of Government contracts, and Cabinet Office spend data are published on gov.uk.

Local authorities are required to publish annual accounts outlining their income and expenditure.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of the Government's National Democracy Week 2019; how many events the Government held during that week; and how many people attended each of those events.

Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) have the statutory responsibility for compiling and maintaining complete and accurate registers for their local areas. The Electoral Commission (EC) is responsible for providing guidance and resources to help EROs and their staff in running electoral registration, for setting standards, and for monitoring the performance of EROs. The Commission runs campaigns to raise awareness of how people can register to vote, and how to cast their vote.

The Government ensures that EROs have the tools that they need to do their job efficiently. For example, changes to the annual canvass in Great Britain has provided EROs with greater flexibility to target their resources where they are needed, rather than on the majority of properties, where nothing has changed.

The Government is committed to encouraging democratic engagement amongst all electors, including underrepresented groups. Since 2013, the Government has provided more than £27m to fund activities to promote electoral registration and democratic engagement more widely.

Third-party organisations delivered events and activities during National Democracy Week (NDW), and the Government facilitated workshops with Democratic Engagement Champions in preparation for the week. The Government has no plans to run NDW in 2021. Instead, the Government will focus on its unique responsibilities as legislator, funder and promoter of good practice.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether the Government plans to run National Democracy Week in 2021.

Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) have the statutory responsibility for compiling and maintaining complete and accurate registers for their local areas. The Electoral Commission (EC) is responsible for providing guidance and resources to help EROs and their staff in running electoral registration, for setting standards, and for monitoring the performance of EROs. The Commission runs campaigns to raise awareness of how people can register to vote, and how to cast their vote.

The Government ensures that EROs have the tools that they need to do their job efficiently. For example, changes to the annual canvass in Great Britain has provided EROs with greater flexibility to target their resources where they are needed, rather than on the majority of properties, where nothing has changed.

The Government is committed to encouraging democratic engagement amongst all electors, including underrepresented groups. Since 2013, the Government has provided more than £27m to fund activities to promote electoral registration and democratic engagement more widely.

Third-party organisations delivered events and activities during National Democracy Week (NDW), and the Government facilitated workshops with Democratic Engagement Champions in preparation for the week. The Government has no plans to run NDW in 2021. Instead, the Government will focus on its unique responsibilities as legislator, funder and promoter of good practice.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how much funding has been allocated to improving voter registration levels among Gypsy, Traveller and Roma people over the last 10 years.

Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) have the statutory responsibility for compiling and maintaining complete and accurate registers for their local areas. The Electoral Commission (EC) is responsible for providing guidance and resources to help EROs and their staff in running electoral registration, for setting standards, and for monitoring the performance of EROs. The Commission runs campaigns to raise awareness of how people can register to vote, and how to cast their vote.

The Government ensures that EROs have the tools that they need to do their job efficiently. For example, changes to the annual canvass in Great Britain has provided EROs with greater flexibility to target their resources where they are needed, rather than on the majority of properties, where nothing has changed.

The Government is committed to encouraging democratic engagement amongst all electors, including underrepresented groups. Since 2013, the Government has provided more than £27m to fund activities to promote electoral registration and democratic engagement more widely.

Third-party organisations delivered events and activities during National Democracy Week (NDW), and the Government facilitated workshops with Democratic Engagement Champions in preparation for the week. The Government has no plans to run NDW in 2021. Instead, the Government will focus on its unique responsibilities as legislator, funder and promoter of good practice.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how much funding has been allocated to improve voter registration levels among Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people since 2018.

Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) have the statutory responsibility for compiling and maintaining complete and accurate registers for their local areas. The Electoral Commission (EC) is responsible for providing guidance and resources to help EROs and their staff in running electoral registration, for setting standards, and for monitoring the performance of EROs. The Commission runs campaigns to raise awareness of how people can register to vote, and how to cast their vote.

The Government ensures that EROs have the tools that they need to do their job efficiently. For example, changes to the annual canvass in Great Britain has provided EROs with greater flexibility to target their resources where they are needed, rather than on the majority of properties, where nothing has changed.

The Government is committed to encouraging democratic engagement amongst all electors, including underrepresented groups. Since 2013, the Government has provided more than £27m to fund activities to promote electoral registration and democratic engagement more widely.

Third-party organisations delivered events and activities during National Democracy Week (NDW), and the Government facilitated workshops with Democratic Engagement Champions in preparation for the week. The Government has no plans to run NDW in 2021. Instead, the Government will focus on its unique responsibilities as legislator, funder and promoter of good practice.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how much funding his Department allocated to improving voter registration in the UK in (a) 2018, (b) 2019 and (c) 2020.

Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) have the statutory responsibility for compiling and maintaining complete and accurate registers for their local areas. The Electoral Commission (EC) is responsible for providing guidance and resources to help EROs and their staff in running electoral registration, for setting standards, and for monitoring the performance of EROs. The Commission runs campaigns to raise awareness of how people can register to vote, and how to cast their vote.

The Government ensures that EROs have the tools that they need to do their job efficiently. For example, changes to the annual canvass in Great Britain has provided EROs with greater flexibility to target their resources where they are needed, rather than on the majority of properties, where nothing has changed.

The Government is committed to encouraging democratic engagement amongst all electors, including underrepresented groups. Since 2013, the Government has provided more than £27m to fund activities to promote electoral registration and democratic engagement more widely.

Third-party organisations delivered events and activities during National Democracy Week (NDW), and the Government facilitated workshops with Democratic Engagement Champions in preparation for the week. The Government has no plans to run NDW in 2021. Instead, the Government will focus on its unique responsibilities as legislator, funder and promoter of good practice.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 11 March 2021 to Question 164520 what evidence voters will be asked to provide in order to verify their identity to local authorities when applying for their free local elector ID.

Local authorities will be responsible for issuing local elector identity documents. Further details will be set out in due course.

We will continue to work with local authorities, the Electoral Commission, charities and civil society organisations to make sure that reforms, including the provision of a local elector identity document, are delivered in a way that is inclusive for all voters.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
16th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how the results of the Government's pilot schemes of the audio voting device to make voting accessible for blind and partially sighted people will be evaluated.

The Government is committed to ensuring elections are accessible for all those eligible to vote and has been working with the RNIB to improve the voting process for blind and partially sighted people. We are currently exploring ways in which the May elections could be used to advance this work, particularly recognising the pandemic context.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
16th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many local authorities are due to take part in his Department's pilot schemes of the audio voting device to make voting accessible for blind and partially sighted people.

The Government is committed to ensuring elections are accessible for all those eligible to vote and has been working with the RNIB to improve the voting process for blind and partially sighted people. We are currently exploring ways in which the May elections could be used to advance this work, particularly recognising the pandemic context.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the Government's Voter ID plans, how voters will be asked to prove their identity to local authorities when applying for their free local elector ID.

Local authorities will be responsible for issuing local elector identity documents.

We will continue to work with local authorities, the Electoral Commission, charities and civil society organisations to make sure that reforms, including the provision of a local elector identity document, are delivered in a way that is inclusive for all voters.

Further details will be set out in due course.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether he plans to make the wearing of masks mandatory in polling stations for the May 2021 elections.

Democracy should not be cancelled because of covid. The Government has confirmed that the set of local and PCC elections scheduled for May will go ahead, and made a firm commitment that the Government will support the sector to deliver them.

The Government has published a clear Delivery Plan for the May elections, setting out how the Government will support local elections teams to deliver effective polls that are covid-secure for voters and staff.

Further guidance for all those involved in the elections will be available in due course and well in advance of the polls.

As has been the case under successive administrations, details of internal discussions are not usually disclosed. Details of ministers' meetings with external organisations and individuals are published on gov.uk periodically.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what discussions he has had with the electoral sector on the challenges of recruiting polling staff for the upcoming May 2021 elections as a result of the covid-19 pandemic.

Democracy should not be cancelled because of covid. The Government has confirmed that the set of local and PCC elections scheduled for May will go ahead, and made a firm commitment that the Government will support the sector to deliver them.

The Government has published a clear Delivery Plan for the May elections, setting out how the Government will support local elections teams to deliver effective polls that are covid-secure for voters and staff.

Further guidance for all those involved in the elections will be available in due course and well in advance of the polls.

As has been the case under successive administrations, details of internal discussions are not usually disclosed. Details of ministers' meetings with external organisations and individuals are published on gov.uk periodically.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what estimate his Department has made of the cost to the public purse of rolling out mandatory voter ID.

As legislation is brought forward to enable the national roll out of voter ID, appropriate impact assessments will be provided for Parliament in the normal way.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department plans to take to monitor the potential effects of introducing mandatory voter ID on voting uptake among different demographic groups.

As legislation is brought forward to enable the national roll out of voter ID, appropriate impact assessments will be provided for Parliament in the normal way.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what estimate his Department has made of the number of postal votes which will be used by voters in the upcoming May 2021 local elections.

Any elector is able to register to vote by post on demand, if they wish. We understand that the pandemic may change voters’ needs and preferences, and encourage anyone who is shielding, or who does not wish to visit a polling station, to apply for a postal or proxy vote and to do so early. We are working with postal vote suppliers, electoral sector partners and election teams.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many tenders or contracts have been granted by his Department to investigate the effect of introducing Voter ID on voting.

Details of Government contracts are published on gov.uk.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, regarding the upcoming May 2021 elections, whether he has plans to reform the nomination paper process currently requiring physical signatures from ten subscribers in response to the covid-19 pandemic.

We have received representations from Parliamentarians on this issue, and we are currently considering the matter.

As stated in the House by the Minister for the Constitution and Devolution, we will keep Parliament updated on the election preparations, will engage with political parties and will publish detailed guidance in due course.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 8 January 2021 to Question 134490, for what reasons the answer to the Question did not confirm where voters will collect their local elector ID from in the event that they do not possess photographic ID.

As legislation is brought forward to enable the national roll out of voter ID, appropriate impact assessments will be provided for Parliament in the normal way. Details about the full list of approved photographic ID will be set out in due course. As we have set out, for any voter who does not have one of the required forms of photographic ID, a local elector ID will be available, free of charge, from their local authority. Local authorities will be responsible for issuing local elector identity documents. Further details will be set out in due course.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he is taking to introduce fully digital postal vote applications in time for the May 2021 local elections.

As I explained to the House on 13 January, we are looking at this but the Government will not introduce digital postal vote applications ahead of the May 2021 local election.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what estimate he has made of the cost of rolling out voter ID.

As legislation is brought forward to enable the national roll out of voter ID, appropriate impact assessments will be provided for Parliament in the normal way. Details about the full list of approved photographic ID will be set out in due course. As we have set out, for any voter who does not have one of the required forms of photographic ID, a local elector ID will be available, free of charge, from their local authority. Local authorities will be responsible for issuing local elector identity documents. Further details will be set out in due course.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 11 January 2021 to Question 133009, whether Irish passports will be accepted as valid photographic ID to vote at the next elections; and if he will publish a full list of ID which will be accepted at the next election.

As legislation is brought forward to enable the national roll out of voter ID, appropriate impact assessments will be provided for Parliament in the normal way. Details about the full list of approved photographic ID will be set out in due course. As we have set out, for any voter who does not have one of the required forms of photographic ID, a local elector ID will be available, free of charge, from their local authority. Local authorities will be responsible for issuing local elector identity documents. Further details will be set out in due course.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the May 2021 elections, what criteria the Government would use to decide to postpone the elections scheduled for 6 May 2021; and what the Government's timeline is for making that decision.

I refer the hon. Member to my answer to the question on 13 January 2021.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to voter ID pilots, where voters will be able to collect their local elector ID from in the event that they do not possess photographic ID.

Our democracy is based on integrity and the potential for voter fraud in our electoral system undermines this. We will continue to work with the Electoral Commission, charities and civil society organisations to make sure that reforms, including the provision of a local elector identity document, are delivered in a way that is inclusive for all voters.

Everyone who is eligible to vote will have the opportunity to do so.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the May 2021 elections, whether he plans to change emergency proxy voting rules in light of the covid-19 outbreak.

Primary legislation states that the elections will go ahead in May 2021.

We continue to work closely with the electoral community, including electoral suppliers, and public health bodies to resolve challenges and ensure everyone will be able to cast their vote safely and securely - and in a way of their choosing.

Measures are planned to support absent voting at short notice. Guidance will be published in good time ahead of the polls and this matter will be kept under review. The House will be kept updated.

The Government has also engaged with the Parliamentary Parties Panel to ensure that views from political parties are taken on board.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what plans the Government has to plan for potential shortages in poll staffing caused by the covid-19 outbreak in advance of the May 2021 local elections.

Primary legislation states that the elections will go ahead in May 2021.

We continue to work closely with the electoral community, including electoral suppliers, and public health bodies to resolve challenges and ensure everyone will be able to cast their vote safely and securely - and in a way of their choosing.

Measures are planned to support absent voting at short notice. Guidance will be published in good time ahead of the polls and this matter will be kept under review. The House will be kept updated.

The Government has also engaged with the Parliamentary Parties Panel to ensure that views from political parties are taken on board.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what plans the Government has to tackle the potential challenge of recruiting polling staff due to the fact that a high number of polling staff are retired or elderly and in the at risk category under covid-19 guidance.

Primary legislation states that the elections will go ahead in May 2021.

We continue to work closely with the electoral community, including electoral suppliers, and public health bodies to resolve challenges and ensure everyone will be able to cast their vote safely and securely - and in a way of their choosing.

Measures are planned to support absent voting at short notice. Guidance will be published in good time ahead of the polls and this matter will be kept under review. The House will be kept updated.

The Government has also engaged with the Parliamentary Parties Panel to ensure that views from political parties are taken on board.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that supplier capacity for the running of the May 2021 local election elections is not affected by the covid-19 outbreak.

Primary legislation states that the elections will go ahead in May 2021.

We continue to work closely with the electoral community, including electoral suppliers, and public health bodies to resolve challenges and ensure everyone will be able to cast their vote safely and securely - and in a way of their choosing.

Measures are planned to support absent voting at short notice. Guidance will be published in good time ahead of the polls and this matter will be kept under review. The House will be kept updated.

The Government has also engaged with the Parliamentary Parties Panel to ensure that views from political parties are taken on board.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that people who have been advised to shield during the covid-19 outbreak are able to vote in the May 2021 local elections.

Primary legislation states that the elections will go ahead in May 2021.

We continue to work closely with the electoral community, including electoral suppliers, and public health bodies to resolve challenges and ensure everyone will be able to cast their vote safely and securely - and in a way of their choosing.

Measures are planned to support absent voting at short notice. Guidance will be published in good time ahead of the polls and this matter will be kept under review. The House will be kept updated.

The Government has also engaged with the Parliamentary Parties Panel to ensure that views from political parties are taken on board.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that people who are symptomatic of covid-19 and instructed to self-isolate (a) on the day of the May 2021 local elections and (b) the day before those elections are still able to cast their vote.

Primary legislation states that the elections will go ahead in May 2021.

We continue to work closely with the electoral community, including electoral suppliers, and public health bodies to resolve challenges and ensure everyone will be able to cast their vote safely and securely - and in a way of their choosing.

Measures are planned to support absent voting at short notice. Guidance will be published in good time ahead of the polls and this matter will be kept under review. The House will be kept updated.

The Government has also engaged with the Parliamentary Parties Panel to ensure that views from political parties are taken on board.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what plans he has to ensure that the appropriate provision of personal protective equipment used during the covid-19 outbreak is provided to poll staff ahead of the May 2021 local elections.

Primary legislation states that the elections will go ahead in May 2021.

We continue to work closely with the electoral community, including electoral suppliers, and public health bodies to resolve challenges and ensure everyone will be able to cast their vote safely and securely - and in a way of their choosing.

Measures are planned to support absent voting at short notice. Guidance will be published in good time ahead of the polls and this matter will be kept under review. The House will be kept updated.

The Government has also engaged with the Parliamentary Parties Panel to ensure that views from political parties are taken on board.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps the Government is taking to ensure the 2021 Census is covid-secure.

The information requested falls under the remit of the UK Statistics Authority. I have therefore asked the Authority to respond.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what plans the Government has to postpone the Census scheduled for March 2021 in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

The information requested falls under the remit of the UK Statistics Authority. I have therefore asked the Authority to respond.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking to ensure face-to-face surveys for the March 2021 Census can take place during the covid-19 outbreak.

The information requested falls under the remit of the UK Statistics Authority. I have therefore asked the Authority to respond.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 18 December 2020 to Question 128204 on Elections: Proof of Identity, whether expired photo ID will be deemed to be a valid form of voter ID in the list of approved photographic ID.

Electors will be required to show an approved form of photographic ID before casting their vote in a polling station across Great Britain at national UK-wide elections, and at local elections in England.

As set out in my answer of 18 December 2020 (PQ 128204), everyone who is eligible to vote will have the opportunity to do so. The list of approved photographic ID will not be limited to UK passports, a broad range of documents already in use will be accepted, including, for example, concessionary travel passes, PASS scheme cards, Ministry of Defence identity cards and photocard parking permits issued as part of the Blue Badge scheme.

We will continue to work with the Electoral Commission and other stakeholders including charities and civil society organisations to make sure that reforms are delivered in a way that is inclusive for all voters.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether an Irish passport will be accepted as a valid form of voter ID at the next general election.

Electors will be required to show an approved form of photographic ID before casting their vote in a polling station across Great Britain at national UK-wide elections, and at local elections in England.

As set out in my answer of 18 December 2020 (PQ 128204), everyone who is eligible to vote will have the opportunity to do so. The list of approved photographic ID will not be limited to UK passports, a broad range of documents already in use will be accepted, including, for example, concessionary travel passes, PASS scheme cards, Ministry of Defence identity cards and photocard parking permits issued as part of the Blue Badge scheme.

We will continue to work with the Electoral Commission and other stakeholders including charities and civil society organisations to make sure that reforms are delivered in a way that is inclusive for all voters.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, regarding the March 2021 census, how the Government plans to survey (a) homeless people and (b) other people without access to the internet or a computer.

The information requested falls under the remit of the UK Statistics Authority. I have therefore asked the Authority to respond.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the voter ID plan on proxy voting.

Further to my answers to PQs 104752 and 100442, the Government is committed to ensuring that everyone who is eligible can participate in our democracy.

The impact of voter ID on voters, including by proxy, was the subject of the independent Electoral Commission’s evaluations of the 2018 and 2019 voter ID pilots. These evaluations continue to inform planning for the implementation of voter ID.

Local authorities are responsible for designating polling places and the law requires them to make sure that, as far as is practicable, these are accessible to the local community, including those voters with a disability. Voters with disabilities are also able to get assistance in casting their vote from polling station staff or from a companion. The Government is intending to bring forward legislation to support voters with disabilities by increasing the range of support provided in polling stations and by removing restrictions on who can act as a companion.

We will continue to work with the Electoral Commission and other stakeholders including charities and civil society organisations to make sure that reforms are delivered in a way that is inclusive for all voters.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he is taking to improve the accessibility of polling stations to people with dementia at the next General Election.

Further to my answers to PQs 104752 and 100442, the Government is committed to ensuring that everyone who is eligible can participate in our democracy.

The impact of voter ID on voters, including by proxy, was the subject of the independent Electoral Commission’s evaluations of the 2018 and 2019 voter ID pilots. These evaluations continue to inform planning for the implementation of voter ID.

Local authorities are responsible for designating polling places and the law requires them to make sure that, as far as is practicable, these are accessible to the local community, including those voters with a disability. Voters with disabilities are also able to get assistance in casting their vote from polling station staff or from a companion. The Government is intending to bring forward legislation to support voters with disabilities by increasing the range of support provided in polling stations and by removing restrictions on who can act as a companion.

We will continue to work with the Electoral Commission and other stakeholders including charities and civil society organisations to make sure that reforms are delivered in a way that is inclusive for all voters.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he is taking to ensure that people suffering from dementia who lack ID will be able to vote under voter ID plans.

Further to my answers to PQs 104752 and 100442, the Government is committed to ensuring that everyone who is eligible can participate in our democracy.

The impact of voter ID on voters, including by proxy, was the subject of the independent Electoral Commission’s evaluations of the 2018 and 2019 voter ID pilots. These evaluations continue to inform planning for the implementation of voter ID.

Local authorities are responsible for designating polling places and the law requires them to make sure that, as far as is practicable, these are accessible to the local community, including those voters with a disability. Voters with disabilities are also able to get assistance in casting their vote from polling station staff or from a companion. The Government is intending to bring forward legislation to support voters with disabilities by increasing the range of support provided in polling stations and by removing restrictions on who can act as a companion.

We will continue to work with the Electoral Commission and other stakeholders including charities and civil society organisations to make sure that reforms are delivered in a way that is inclusive for all voters.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he is taking under voter ID plans to support people with disabilities in accessing local elector ID.

Further to my answers to PQs 104752 and 100442, the Government is committed to ensuring that everyone who is eligible can participate in our democracy.

The impact of voter ID on voters, including by proxy, was the subject of the independent Electoral Commission’s evaluations of the 2018 and 2019 voter ID pilots. These evaluations continue to inform planning for the implementation of voter ID.

Local authorities are responsible for designating polling places and the law requires them to make sure that, as far as is practicable, these are accessible to the local community, including those voters with a disability. Voters with disabilities are also able to get assistance in casting their vote from polling station staff or from a companion. The Government is intending to bring forward legislation to support voters with disabilities by increasing the range of support provided in polling stations and by removing restrictions on who can act as a companion.

We will continue to work with the Electoral Commission and other stakeholders including charities and civil society organisations to make sure that reforms are delivered in a way that is inclusive for all voters.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of (a) enabling expired photo ID to be valid as voter ID and (b) the length of expiry for which that ID will be valid as voter ID.

Further to the answers to PQs 104752 and 100442, we will continue to work with the Electoral Commission and other stakeholders including charities and civil society organisations to make sure that reforms are delivered in a way that is inclusive for all voters. The list of approved photographic ID will not be limited to passports and driving licences. For any voter who does not have one of the required forms of photographic ID, a local elector ID will be available, free of charge.

Everyone who is eligible to vote will have the opportunity to do so.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department plans to take to monitor the effect of the new voter ID requirements on voting uptake by (a) different disability groups and (b) Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups.

I refer the hon. Member to my answers to PQs 104752, 100442, and 100441.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the Local Authority 2018 Voter ID trials Equalities Impact Assessment in Bromley, what steps his Department is taking ahead of the national roll-out of Voter ID to ensure access to voting for the Traveller and Roma community is not limited.

I refer the hon. Member to the answers given to PQs 104752 and 100441.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking to improve voting registration rates among black people in the UK.

Electoral Registration Officers have statutory responsibility for maintaining complete and accurate electoral registers for their areas. The Government seeks to make registration as easy as possible and to work with many others to reduce any barriers to registration. We encourage everyone who is eligible to register to vote, and registering to vote has never been easier or more convenient.

The Government opposes automatic registration as it contradicts the principle that individuals are responsible for registering and that this should be done at a time and place of their choosing. Automatic registration would raise privacy and security concerns. It would also risk introducing errors and inaccuracies to the registers, creating unwarranted opportunities for fraud.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking to introduce automatic voter registration in response to the recommendations from the Joint Committee on Human Rights.

Electoral Registration Officers have statutory responsibility for maintaining complete and accurate electoral registers for their areas. The Government seeks to make registration as easy as possible and to work with many others to reduce any barriers to registration. We encourage everyone who is eligible to register to vote, and registering to vote has never been easier or more convenient.

The Government opposes automatic registration as it contradicts the principle that individuals are responsible for registering and that this should be done at a time and place of their choosing. Automatic registration would raise privacy and security concerns. It would also risk introducing errors and inaccuracies to the registers, creating unwarranted opportunities for fraud.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what evidence his Department used to complete the equality impact assessment ahead of the Government's Voter ID trials.

I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 22 October.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 14 October 2020 to Question 100441 on Elections, whether the Government has consulted the Traveller and Roma communities on the potential effect of the introduction of Voter ID on those communities' ability to vote in the next General Election.

Further to the answers to PQs 104752 and 100441 the Government will work with the Electoral Commission, charities and appropriate civil society organisations. The Government has launched a national strategy to improve the lives of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities, and the ONS will include specific recognition of these communities in the forthcoming Census.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 22 October 2020 to Question 104226 in Ballot Papers: Visual Impairment, which accessible formats they are considering providing alongside physical poll cards for blind and partially sighted people who request them.

Further to the answer to PQ104226, announcements will be made in the usual way.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 14 October 2020 to Question 100441 on Elections, whether the Government holds data identifying the proportion of the Traveller and Roma community in the UK that is in possession of a form of photographic ID.

Each pilot authority implemented an equality impact assessment, and our Public Sector Equality Duty was fulfilled. We will continue to work with the Electoral Commission and other stakeholders, including charities and civil society organisations, to make sure that reforms are delivered in a way that is inclusive for all voters. The list of approved photographic ID will not be limited to passports and driving licences. For any voter who does not have one of the required forms of photographic ID, a local elector ID will be available, free of charge.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 14 October 2020 to Question 100441 on Elections, which stakeholders from the Traveller and Roma community the Government has consulted to ensure reforms are delivered in a way that is inclusive for voters from that community.

Each pilot authority implemented an equality impact assessment, and our Public Sector Equality Duty was fulfilled. We will continue to work with the Electoral Commission and other stakeholders, including charities and civil society organisations, to make sure that reforms are delivered in a way that is inclusive for all voters. The list of approved photographic ID will not be limited to passports and driving licences. For any voter who does not have one of the required forms of photographic ID, a local elector ID will be available, free of charge.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what equality impact assessment his Department has carried out on the effect on blind and partially sighted people of the Government's local authority voter ID pilot schemes.

Each pilot authority implemented an equality impact assessment, and our Public Sector Equality Duty was fulfilled. We will continue to work with the Electoral Commission and other stakeholders, including charities and civil society organisations, to make sure that reforms are delivered in a way that is inclusive for all voters. The list of approved photographic ID will not be limited to passports and driving licences. For any voter who does not have one of the required forms of photographic ID, a local elector ID will be available, free of charge.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 14 October 2020 to Question 100441 on Elections, what assessment he has made of the effect of introducing Voter ID on the Traveller and Roma community's ability to vote in the next General Election.

Each pilot authority implemented an equality impact assessment, and our Public Sector Equality Duty was fulfilled. We will continue to work with the Electoral Commission and other stakeholders, including charities and civil society organisations, to make sure that reforms are delivered in a way that is inclusive for all voters. The list of approved photographic ID will not be limited to passports and driving licences. For any voter who does not have one of the required forms of photographic ID, a local elector ID will be available, free of charge.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether the Government plans to carry out an equality impact assessment on the effect of Voter ID on BAME communities at a General Election, before the introduction of Voter ID.

As I noted in my answer to Question 104752, the Government has taken due regard to the public sector equality duty throughout the planning for implementation. Each pilot authority implemented an equality impact assessment, and our Public Sector Equality Duty was correctly fulfilled. We will continue to work with the Electoral Commission and other stakeholders including charities and civil society organisations to make sure that reforms are delivered in a way that is inclusive for all voters. As the legislation is brought forward the appropriate impact assessments will be provided for Parliament in the normal way.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 14 October 2020 to Question 100441 on Elections: Travellers, if he plans to undertake an equality assessment on the potential effect of introducing voter ID on the ability of the Roma and Traveller community to vote.

As I noted in my answer of 14 October, the Government has taken due regard to the public sector equality duty throughout the planning for implementation. Each pilot authority implemented an equality impact assessment, and our Public Sector Equality Duty was correctly fulfilled. We will continue to work with the Electoral Commission and other stakeholders including charities and civil society organisations to make sure that reforms are delivered in a way that is inclusive for all voters. As the legislation is brought forward the appropriate impact assessments will be provided for Parliament in the normal way.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what plans he has to ensure that blind and partially sighted people can receive their poll cards in preferred formats.

The Government is committed to ensuring that elections are accessible for all those eligible to vote and has already been working with the RNIB to improve the voting process for voters with sight loss.

It is important for security purposes that a physical poll card is sent to every elector at the property where they are registered, but we have already considered how electoral information might additionally be made available in more accessible format for those who request it.

Returning Officers already publish details of candidates in the order they will appear on the ballot paper online. We will work with partners in the electoral sector to ensure this information is accessible.

The Government will continue to work with the RNIB, the Electoral Commission and other relevant organisations to make blind and partially sighted voters aware of the support available to them at the polling station, and to consider what additional support could be provided to help blind and partially sighted people to vote including by post.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he is taking to ensure that blind and partially sighted voters are made aware of the support they can expect to receive at polling stations to allow them to vote independently and in secret.

The Government is committed to ensuring that elections are accessible for all those eligible to vote and has already been working with the RNIB to improve the voting process for voters with sight loss.

It is important for security purposes that a physical poll card is sent to every elector at the property where they are registered, but we have already considered how electoral information might additionally be made available in more accessible format for those who request it.

Returning Officers already publish details of candidates in the order they will appear on the ballot paper online. We will work with partners in the electoral sector to ensure this information is accessible.

The Government will continue to work with the RNIB, the Electoral Commission and other relevant organisations to make blind and partially sighted voters aware of the support available to them at the polling station, and to consider what additional support could be provided to help blind and partially sighted people to vote including by post.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 1 October 2020 to Question 94462, if he will make an assessment of the potential effect of introducing mandatory voter ID on the ability of the Roma and Traveller community to vote.

Further to my detailed answer of 1 October 2020, showing ID is something people of all backgrounds already do every day, for example to take out a library book, claim benefits or pick up a parcel from the post office. Proving who you are before you make a decision of huge importance at the ballot box should be no different. As I noted, ID is required already in many different areas of life, including by many constituency Labour parties.

The list of approved photographic ID will not be limited to passports and driving licences. For any voter who does not have one of the required forms of photographic ID, a local elector ID will be available, free of charge. Everyone who is eligible to vote will have the opportunity to do so.

The Government has taken due regard to the public sector equality duty throughout the process to date. We will continue to work with the Electoral Commission and other stakeholders including charities and civil society organisations to make sure that such reforms are inclusive for all voters.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the effect of the Government not holding data on ethnic groups' possession of photographic ID on BAME voters in the event that the Government introduces voter ID.

Further to my detailed answer of 1 October 2020, showing ID is something people of all backgrounds already do every day, for example to take out a library book, claim benefits or pick up a parcel from the post office. Proving who you are before you make a decision of huge importance at the ballot box should be no different. As I noted, ID is required already in many different areas of life, including by many constituency Labour parties.

The list of approved photographic ID will not be limited to passports and driving licences. For any voter who does not have one of the required forms of photographic ID, a local elector ID will be available, free of charge. Everyone who is eligible to vote will have the opportunity to do so.

The Government has taken due regard to the public sector equality duty throughout the process to date. We will continue to work with the Electoral Commission and other stakeholders including charities and civil society organisations to make sure that such reforms are inclusive for all voters.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent discussions he has had with (a) Age UK and (b) other organisations representing older people and people with dementia on the potential effect of introducing mandatory voter ID on the ability of such groups of people to be able to vote.

Requiring proof of identity to vote in a polling station will strengthen the integrity of our electoral system, and give the public confidence that our elections are secure and fit for the 21st century.

Both Electoral Commission and Cabinet Office evaluations show that the voter identification pilots were a success and the overwhelming majority of electors cast their vote without a problem. There was no indication that any consistent demographic was adversely affected by asking for identification to vote.

Photo identification has been required in Northern Ireland since 2003, when introduced by the last Labour Government. Labour Ministers told Parliament: “The measures will tackle electoral abuse effectively without disadvantaging honest voters.... [ensuring that] no one is disfranchised because of them ” (Hansard, 10 July 2001, Col. 739) and “the Government have no intention of taking away people’s democratic right to vote. If we believed that thousands of voters would not be able to vote because of this measure, we would not be introducing it at this time” (Lords Hansard, 1 April 2003, Col. 1247). There has been no adverse effect on turnout or participation by such groups since then.

The Government has taken due regard to the public sector equality duty. We will continue to work with the Electoral Commission and other stakeholders including charities and civil society organisations to make sure that such reforms are inclusive for all voters. I have met with charities representing those who are elderly, suffer from dementia, are LGBTQ+, are BAME and other groups. For any voter who does not have one of the required forms of photographic ID, a local elector ID will be available, free of charge, from their local authority.

ID is already requested normally and reasonably in many areas of life, including by many constituency Labour parties, who require voter identification to vote in Labour Party selection meetings. The Labour Party’s NEC also mandates two forms of ID for any members joining an association which is in special measures.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made about the accessibility of polling stations to people with dementia.

The Government is committed to ensuring that everyone who is eligible can participate in our democracy. Local authorities are responsible for designating polling places and the law requires them to make sure that, as far as is practicable, these are accessible to the local community, including those voters with a disability.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of introducing mandatory voter ID on the ability of the Roma and Traveller community to vote.

Requiring proof of identity to vote in a polling station will strengthen the integrity of our electoral system, and give the public confidence that our elections are secure and fit for the 21st century.

Both Electoral Commission and Cabinet Office evaluations show that the voter identification pilots were a success and the overwhelming majority of electors cast their vote without a problem. There was no indication that any consistent demographic was adversely affected by asking for identification to vote.

Photo identification has been required in Northern Ireland since 2003, when introduced by the last Labour Government. Labour Ministers told Parliament: “The measures will tackle electoral abuse effectively without disadvantaging honest voters.... [ensuring that] no one is disfranchised because of them ” (Hansard, 10 July 2001, Col. 739) and “the Government have no intention of taking away people’s democratic right to vote. If we believed that thousands of voters would not be able to vote because of this measure, we would not be introducing it at this time” (Lords Hansard, 1 April 2003, Col. 1247). There has been no adverse effect on turnout or participation by such groups since then.

The Government has taken due regard to the public sector equality duty. We will continue to work with the Electoral Commission and other stakeholders including charities and civil society organisations to make sure that such reforms are inclusive for all voters. I have met with charities representing those who are elderly, suffer from dementia, are LGBTQ+, are BAME and other groups. For any voter who does not have one of the required forms of photographic ID, a local elector ID will be available, free of charge, from their local authority.

ID is already requested normally and reasonably in many areas of life, including by many constituency Labour parties, who require voter identification to vote in Labour Party selection meetings. The Labour Party’s NEC also mandates two forms of ID for any members joining an association which is in special measures.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Jul 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for International Trade on the potential effect on the Union of application of EU tariffs to all goods moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland after the end of the transition period.

I refer to the oral statement made by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on 13 July 2020. Details of internal discussions are not normally disclosed, in line with the practice of successive administrations.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
9th Jul 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if she will make it her policy to increase the funding limits on digital advertising for the May 2021 local elections, in light of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on conventional campaigning methods such as door-to-door canvassing.

The Government keeps campaign spending limits under close review.

The Government recognises that some campaigning methods for the May 2021 local elections could be affected by COVID-19.

The Government continues to engage with the electoral community and local government organisations regarding the delivery of the May 2021 local elections.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 9 June 2020 to Question 52145 on Electoral Register, what plans he has to increase funding for local authorities to support electoral registration officers in the running of local elections postponed until May 2021.

The UK Government is working with the Electoral Commission, Association of Electoral Administrators, and Society of Local Government Chief Executives, and with the Scottish and Welsh Governments to consider measures to support the effective delivery of all the elections now scheduled for May 2021, including registration services.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the oral contribution of the Minister of State on 11 June 2020, Official report, column 388, on the use of Voter ID, what evidence she referred to in stating that voter identification has no impact on any particular demographic group.

Based on the independent Electoral Commission’s evaluations of the 2018 and 2019 voter ID pilots, there is no indication that any consistent demographic was adversely affected by the use of voter ID.

The evaluation shows that the pilots were a success and the overwhelming majority of people cast their vote without a problem.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what plans the Government has to introduce voter ID requirements in the May 2021 local elections.

The Government is committed to introducing Voter ID to strengthen the integrity of our electoral system and give the public confidence that our elections are secure and fit for the 21st century.

We will bring forward legislation enabling the implementation of Voter ID and wider electoral integrity measures as stated in the Queen’s Speech. Further announcements will be made in the usual way.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, when the Constitution, Democracy and Rights Commission will be established.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer given to PQs 1274, 1275, 1276,1277, 1278 and 1279 on 13 January 2020.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many electoral registrations officers were employed in (a) total and (b) each parliamentary constituency in (i) 2016, (ii) 2017, (iii) 2018 and (iv) 2019.

The UK Government is working with the Electoral Commission, Association of Electoral Administrators and Society of Local Government Chief Executives, and with the Scottish and Welsh Governments, to consider measures to support the effective delivery of all the elections now scheduled for May 2021, including registration services.

Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) are appointed by individual local authorities and Valuation Joint Boards under the Representation of the People Act 1983. The Cabinet Office does not hold records of the number of EROs employed.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what plans she has to increase funding for local authorities to support electoral registration officers in the running of all local elections postponed until May 2021.

The UK Government is working with the Electoral Commission, Association of Electoral Administrators and Society of Local Government Chief Executives, and with the Scottish and Welsh Governments, to consider measures to support the effective delivery of all the elections now scheduled for May 2021, including registration services.

Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) are appointed by individual local authorities and Valuation Joint Boards under the Representation of the People Act 1983. The Cabinet Office does not hold records of the number of EROs employed.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the cost to the public purse has been of the 2018 Boundary Commission review for (a) England, (b) Northern Ireland, (c) Scotland and (d) Wales.

Figures for expenditure over each financial year are published by the Boundary Commissions for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland as part of their annual reports. These are available online.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the cost to the public purse has been of the Boundary Commission for England's 2018 Review.

Figures for expenditure over each financial year are published by the Boundary Commissions for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland as part of their annual reports. These are available online.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether the forthcoming independent review of the landscape of UK research organisations referenced in the UK Innovation Strategy will consider the proportion of institutions’ work that includes the use of advanced cultures of human cells and tissues, artificial intelligence and organ-on-a-chip technology and other new approach methodologies (NAMs).

As announced in the Innovation Strategy, Nobel Laureate Professor Sir Paul Nurse is leading an independent Review of the Research, Development, and Innovation Organisational Landscape. The Review will draw on the UK’s strengths and experiences and international best practice to enhance the UK research, development, and innovation (RDI) landscape for the future.

The Review focuses on those organisations performing research activity and whether the current institutional mix is calibrated to deliver the highest quality research. It will support the UK RDI landscape to remain world-class and competitive in an increasingly globalised and contested environment.

The Terms of Reference for the Review were published on 1 October 2021. A final report is expected to be published in Spring 2022.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what level of support Windermere Lake Cruises has received through business support schemes as a result of the covid-19 outbreak to date.

The Government has introduced an unprecedented package of support for businesses, including loan schemes, grant funding and wage packages. Businesses from most sectors are able to access this support, provided they meet the eligibility criteria for the schemes for which they are applying.

We do not hold information on the support accessed by individual businesses such as Windermere Lake Cruises.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much funding from the public purse has been disbursed to each region through (a) the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, (b) loans, (c) cash grants and (d) tax relief to the inland waterways sector to help tackle the economic effect of the covid-19 outbreak on businesses in that sector.

The Government has introduced an unprecedented package of support for businesses, including loan schemes, grant funding and wage packages. Businesses from most sectors, are able to access this support, provided they meet the eligibility criteria for the schemes for which they are applying.

We do not hold information that would allow us to identify the support accessed by individual businesses or individual sectors such as inland waterways across the package of Government support.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
2nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the NCS Trust Annual Business Plan 2021-2022, published on 27 May 2021, and the announcement by the Government in the December 2020 Spending Review of almost £100 million of funding to deliver the National Citizen Service (NCS) and invest in youth facilities, how much of that funding he has allocated to the NCS Trust for the purposes of delivering that business plan.

Of the almost £100 million of funding announced in the December 2020 Spending Review, £60.8m was allocated to the NCS Trust. This was in addition to £35.2m of funding that had already been allocated to NCS Trust for the purposes of delivering its 21-22 Annual Business Plan.

2nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the NCS Trust Annual Business Plan 2021-2022, published on 27 May 2021, what target the Government has set for participation in the year 2021-22.

For April 2021 - March 22 we have delayed setting annual participation targets for the number of young people participating in the NCS programme. This is because of the uncertainty caused by Covid and the need for NCS Trust to change the way it is delivering services. We will be setting participation targets shortly as we now have more certainty over the services that can be provided by NCS Trust.

While residential programmes were not possible due to Covid last year, NCS remained focused on offering young people valuable opportunities, resulting in 85,000 young people taking part in groups in NCS activities and hundreds of thousands accessing NCS digital content.

2nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the NCS Trust Annual Business Plan 2021-2022, published on 27 May 2021, whether the range of NCS experiences is offered all year round.

NCS Trust runs a series of different programmes at different points throughout the year. These include:

  • NCS Changemakers groups which run year-round in the majority of local authority areas.

  • NCS part-residential programmes, normally delivered largely through summer holidays and the autumn. These programmes will not run as normal in 2021 because of covid precautions, and will be replaced by a variety of day trips focused on activities to boost skills for life and work alongside an enhanced digital offer.

  • NCS Skills Booster personal development programme for schools, which launched in 2020. Resources are available for use year-round, including in schools, who can also draw down sessions delivered by the NCS network of delivery partners in term-time.

  • NCS as the national partner for the pilot of the UK Year of Service, where young people aged 18-24 will take part in 9-12 month work placements in their community, and will access wrap-around training and support to help them become world and work ready.

27th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether his Department made an estimate of the running costs of the UK Youth Parliament by budget heading prior to inviting other organisations to bid to run it.

DCMS monitors and reviews its grants in line with best practice. Before competing the grant for 2021/22, my department reviewed the previous UK Youth Parliament programme grants to estimate the grant recipient’s running costs for the 2021/22 programme using high level indicative budget headings.


By competing the grant for 2021/22, DCMS invited applicants to demonstrate how they would deliver the programme using the funding available, and were invited to demonstrate how they would secure external funding and partnerships to supplement the DCMS grant, as in previous years.

22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many times the Minister for Sport and the Olympics received hospitality from Camelot UK Lotteries Limited from May 2010 to October 2013.
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to Answer of 19 April to Question 180550, on voluntary work, (a) what is the definition of a core participant; and (b) what proportion of core participants completed the whole NCS programme from start to finish.

Core participant numbers reflect the young people who took part in the part-residential NCS programme during the relevant seasons. Participation numbers in other NCS activities are not counted towards this figure.

For section (b) of this Question, please refer to my answer to Question 184499.

21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 13 April 2021 to Question 180550, if he will review the Answer to that question in the context of the NCST Annual Report 2019-20's statement that the total number of core participants in financial year 2019-20 was 91,489.

The total number of core National Citizen Service participants across the Spring, Summer and Autumn programmes in 2019 was 92,041. The figure of 91,489 participants referred to in the National Citizen Service Trust’s Annual Report 2019/20 is on a financial year basis and thus covers the Summer and Autumn programmes only, excluding 552 participants in the Spring 2019 programme.

The participation numbers were reported on a calendar year basis in the 2018/19 Annual Report but reporting practices changed when the NCS became a Royal Charter Body in December 2019. Accordingly, participation KPIs for the 2019/20 Annual Report were reported on a financial year basis.

20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many young people have (a) commenced and (b) graduated from a National Citizenship Service (NCS) programme in (a) 2018-19 and (b) 2019-20; and what the Government's target for participation in the NCS was in each of those years.

As per National Citizen Service Trust’s 2018/19 Annual Report, 99,674 young people took part in the NCS programme in the 2018 calendar year (England only) with a completion rate of 93%. This compares to a target of 100,000 young people for the calendar year 2018.

In the 2019 calendar year, 92,041 young people took part in the NCS programme. This figure includes 552 young people who participated in the Spring 2019 cohort but were excluded from NCST’s 2019/20 Annual Report (which covers the April 2019 to March 2020 financial year). The target for 2019/20 was set for the financial, rather than calendar year and was for at least 100,000 young people to take part in NCS.

The completion rate for 2019 was 88% for the calendar year. Two key factors contributed to this lower participation rate in comparison to 2018:

  • Significant underperformance of one of the largest providers of NCS at the time - they exited the network at the end of 2019.

  • A tightening of criteria around what constitutes a "graduate" from the NCS programmes on the back of process reviews and systems changes that took effect from Spring 2019.

16th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will publish the full cost of unrecovered monies spent on the National Citizens Services in 2019-20.

The NCS programme is delivered by the National Citizen Service Trust, whose annual report and financial statements for the financial year 2019/20 are publicly available. NCST received a £158.6m grant-in-aid from DCMS in 2019/20. Other income amounted to £3.54m and total expenditure for the year was £156.4m.

As noted in NCST’s 2019/20 Annual Report, the Summer 2020 NCS Programme was officially cancelled because of Covid-19 on 7 April 2020, by which point NCST had paid out £3.6m worth of non-refundable deposits to 44 accommodation venues. A further three accommodation suppliers were further due £3.8m in non-refundable deposits.

These payments were disclosed as events after the reporting date in NCST’s 2019/20 accounts but will be accounted for in 2020-21 accounts because accommodation costs are treated as prepayments. As well as settling contractual commitments for 2020 accommodation, NCST was also able to negotiate, at no additional cost, a break from the second and third year of multi-year accommodation contracts, thereby reducing the future accommodation costs for NCST and the taxpayer.

Covid-19 restrictions meant that NCST was unable to offer its usual residential programme in 2020 but NCST worked with its core programme providers to repurpose the funds already committed to deliver an alternative programme, including digital content, volunteering opportunities and support within schools and colleges. Additionally, service user contributions received by NCST for young people to attend the Summer 2020 programme were refunded.

16th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will publish the full cost of the unfilled places of the National Citizens Service in 2019-20.

As detailed in the National Citizen Service Trust’s Annual Report for the financial year 2019/20, the impact of Covid-19 has meant that NCST are unable to calculate standard value for money metrics on a financial year basis due to the cancellation of the Summer 2020 programme. Instead, NCST measured their performance on cost of unfilled places on a calendar year basis.

As stated in NCST’s Annual Report 2019/20, costs of unfilled places fell year on year from £9.5m in 2018 to £5.0m in 2019. This spend went to NCST’s network of Delivery Partners (mostly made up of non-profit youth sector organisations), who the Trust gives part of their revenue upfront to support preparatory activities such as running recruitment events and hiring programme staff.

The revised supplier contracts from 2020 onwards have been designed to minimise the risks of the Trust paying for places which are not filled in future. Furthermore, centralised booking of accommodation will enable the Trust to improve payment terms and minimise unfilled bed costs.

13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how much and what proportion of the budget of the National Citizen Service was spent on advertising and marketing in 2019-20.

As detailed in the National Citizen Service Trust’s Annual Report 2019/20, ‘Communication, Marketing and Media Costs’ totalled £7,099,000. This accounts for circa 4.5% of the total expenditure of the National Citizen Service Trust for 2019/20, which was £156,384,000.

13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many people completed the National Citizens Service programme in (a) 2018-19 and (b) 2019-20.

The total number of core NCS participants in 2018/19 was 99,674 (NCST Annual Report, 2018/19). The total number of core NCS participants in 2019/20 was 92,041 (NCST Annual Report, 2019/20).

12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment the Government has made of whether obtaining commercial sponsorship for the UK Youth Parliament is (a) achievable and (b) desirable.

DCMS did not seek commercial sponsorship for the UK Youth Parliament. The grant competition for the 2021/22 UK Youth Parliament programme was open to charitable, benevolent and philanthropic organisations.

For DCMS grant competitions, an organisation's ability to bring in additional resources, for example by creating delivery efficiencies with partner organisations or through match funding may be considered as part of the assessment criteria. In the 2021/22 UK Youth Parliament grant competition, an organisation’s ability to bring in additional resource was considered. Applicants to the grant competition were invited to demonstrate how they would be able to secure external funding and partnerships to supplement the DCMS grant.

12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how his Department calculated the running costs of the UK Youth Parliament in preparation for the 2021-22 Grant.

HM Government’s core funding for the UK Youth Parliament in 2021/22 remains at the same level as the previous two years. Additional funding has been made available in 2021/22 to continue enabling UK-wide participation in this programme.

10th Dec 2020
When he plans to allocate the £500 million Youth Investment Fund.

The £500 million Youth Investment Fund remains a manifesto commitment for transformative levelling up across the country over the course of the parliament.

£30 million of the fund was committed at the Spending Review as capital investment in youth services for 2021-22, which is on top of the £750 million charity funding package. This will provide an investment in new and refurbished spaces for young people, so they can access positive activities and support from youth workers.

Further details of the timetable for allocation will be announced in due course, following a review of youth funding.

28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans he has to discuss with children and young people the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on their lives.

Government recognises that it is important to listen to young people and ensure they have a voice on issues that matter to them. Since the start of the pandemic Ministers have committed to attending monthly youth-led roundtable discussions with members of the DCMS Youth Steering Group, who oversee the development of policies and programmes across government that affect young people.

Additionally, Ministers have taken up a range of opportunities to speak to young people through events hosted by youth sector organisations, including the Jewish Lads and Girls Brigade Live event, UK Youth’s panel on youth loneliness and a roundtable with representatives involved in the national #YoungAndBlack campaign.

Ministers will continue to meet regularly with youth representatives to consider the impact of Covid-19 and engage them in recovery planning.

15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on a support package for (a) employers and (b) crew in the inland waterways sector who are affected by the decline in tourism revenue as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

We recognise that waterways businesses have been severely impacted by the current situation. My Department will continue to work closely with the Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to assess the impact on tourism businesses on inland waterways following Covid-19.

The Government has provided wide-ranging financial support across the whole economy, particularly focussing on small and medium-sized businesses. These include several loan schemes, such as the 100% Government-guaranteed Bounce Back Loan; support for self-employed people; the Local Authority Discretionary Grant Fund to accommodate small businesses previously outside the scope of the business grant funds scheme; a £10 million tourism ‘kick-start’ package to help small businesses in our tourist destinations, along with a reduced 5% VAT rate for many tourism and hospitality activities for six months.

Through the Cultural Renewal Taskforce and its working groups, we have developed Covid-19 Secure guidance which will help heritage and tourism businesses reopen safely for both visitors and workers. Further significant easing of Covid-19 restrictions from 4 July should now allow many waterways businesses to reopen to take advantage of coming summer demand.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking in each region of (a) England and (b) Wales to help protect employment in the inland waterways sector of the tourism industry from the effect of the covid-19 outbreak.

We recognise that waterways businesses have been severely impacted by the current situation. My Department will continue to work closely with the Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to assess the impact on tourism businesses on inland waterways following Covid-19.

The Government has provided wide-ranging financial support across the whole economy, particularly focussing on small and medium-sized businesses. These include several loan schemes, such as the 100% Government-guaranteed Bounce Back Loan; support for self-employed people; the Local Authority Discretionary Grant Fund to accommodate small businesses previously outside the scope of the business grant funds scheme; a £10 million tourism ‘kick-start’ package to help small businesses in our tourist destinations, along with a reduced 5% VAT rate for many tourism and hospitality activities for six months.

Through the Cultural Renewal Taskforce and its working groups, we have developed Covid-19 Secure guidance which will help heritage and tourism businesses reopen safely for both visitors and workers. Further significant easing of Covid-19 restrictions from 4 July should now allow many waterways businesses to reopen to take advantage of coming summer demand.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will make an assessment of the effect of recent Government policy statements on China on the ability of businesses in the UK that rely on tourism from China to recover from the economic effect of covid-19.

The Government welcomes the positive impact of international tourism, including from China, on the UK economy. We look forward to welcoming Chinese visitors back to all parts of the UK as soon as practicably possible. We will continue to support the recovery of the tourism and hospitality sectors, as well as the countryside, culture and heritage assets which we know are so greatly appreciated by visitors both from China and from around the world.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
12th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 6 July 2021 to Question 23236 on Special Educational Needs: Reviews, whether the system experts referred to in that Answer are the Chair of the SEND System Leadership Board and its independent advisors; and if he will list those system experts.

The special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) Review is working with system experts and other government departments across education, health and care to ensure that there is balanced input and representation from across the SEND system. The system experts referred to in the answer to Question 23236 include Tony McArdle, the Chair of the SEND System Leadership Board and wider Board members.

It also includes those system experts which the review has most recently engaged with as part of its policy development, which include but are not limited to: Association of Directors of Childrens Services, Confederation of School Trusts, Council for Disabled Children, Local Government Association, National Network of Parent Carer Forums, National Multi-Academy Ttrust (MAT) CEO Network for Alternative Provision and SEND, Office of the Children’s Commissioner, and Ofsted.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to make local areas more accountable for fulfilling their statutory obligations to children and young people with SEND; and if he will make a statement.

We are committed to ensuring greater stability of special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) services as we enter the recovery phase following the COVID-19 outbreak. We aim to have clear oversight of local areas’ performance in delivering SEND services, including those that had weaknesses before the COVID-19 outbreak and those that are struggling to respond to the challenges that the COVID-19 outbreak has brought. With this in mind, Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) re-started their revisit programme of areas where SEND services need to improve that received a Written Statement of Action in April, and full inspections in June.

We are working closely with Ofsted, CQC, our professional advisory service and our delivery support partners to identify, support and intervene effectively and early in underperforming areas.

We recognise the need to strengthen accountability in the SEND system and, therefore, the department, with the support of the Department of Health and Social Care, has commissioned Ofsted and the CQC to develop a new area SEND inspection framework to launch after the existing inspection cycle has finished. Learning from the published assessment of the current approach, this will include a greater focus on the experience of children and young people with SEND, and their families, and give more prominence to the quality integration and commissioning of education, health and care services. The new framework will take into account the COVID-19 outbreak’s impact on services and on children, young people and families.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make it his policy to maintain all existing legal entitlements for children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities when the SEND Review is published.

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. My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, will ensure that the house is kept appropriately updated.

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, including the consideration of existing legal entitlements, before publishing proposals for public consultation.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when his Department plans to publish the outcome of the SEND Review; and if he will make a statement.

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. My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, will ensure that the house is kept appropriately updated.

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, including the consideration of existing legal entitlements, before publishing proposals for public consultation.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the Government’s plans are for the return of university students during the covid-19 outbreak.

Following the review into when the remaining higher education students can return to in-person teaching and learning, the government has announced that the remaining students should return to in-person teaching no earlier than 17 May 2021, alongside Step 3 of the roadmap. Students and institutions will be given at least a week’s notice of any further return in accordance with the timing of Step 3 of the roadmap.

The government roadmap is designed to maintain a cautious approach to the easing of restrictions to reduce public health risks and ensure that we can maintain progress towards full reopening. However, the government recognises the difficulties and disruption that this may cause for many students and their families and that is why the government is making a further £15 million of additional student hardship funding available for this academic year 2020/21. In total we have made an additional £85 million of funding available for student hardship.

We are supporting universities to provide regular twice weekly asymptomatic testing for all students and staff on-site and, from May, at home. This will help break chains of transmission of the virus.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, which step of the Government’s covid-19 roadmap will allow all university students to return to their term-time addresses.

Following the review into when the remaining higher education students can return to in-person teaching and learning, the government has announced that the remaining students should return to in-person teaching no earlier than 17 May 2021, alongside Step 3 of the roadmap. Students and institutions will be given at least a week’s notice of any further return in accordance with the timing of Step 3 of the roadmap.

The government roadmap is designed to maintain a cautious approach to the easing of restrictions to reduce public health risks and ensure that we can maintain progress towards full reopening. However, the government recognises the difficulties and disruption that this may cause for many students and their families and that is why the government is making a further £15 million of additional student hardship funding available for this academic year 2020/21. In total we have made an additional £85 million of funding available for student hardship.

We are supporting universities to provide regular twice weekly asymptomatic testing for all students and staff on-site and, from May, at home. This will help break chains of transmission of the virus.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether the Turing Scheme will enable young people to go on exchange visits to other countries.

The Turing scheme will be backed by at least £100 million, providing funding for around 35,000 students in universities, colleges, and schools to go on placements and exchanges overseas, starting in September 2021 and replaces funding previously available through the education mobility element of Erasmus+. The scheme will be global and not be limited to the EU. Further details of the scheme will be published shortly.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
18th Jan 2021
What steps he is taking to support students who have paid rent for accommodation at university but are unable to use it as a result of covid-19 restrictions.

Universities and private accommodation providers are autonomous and responsible for setting their own rent agreements. The government plays no direct role in the provision of student accommodation. However, the government encourages all providers of student accommodation to review their accommodation policies to ensure that they have students best interests at heart. We also urge them to communicate their policy clearly and be fair.

We recognise that in these exceptional circumstances some students may face financial hardship. The department has worked with the Office for Students to clarify that providers are able to draw on existing funds, worth around £256 million for academic year 2020/21, towards hardship support. The government is making available up to a further £20 million on a one-off basis to support those that need it most, particularly disadvantaged students.

Maintenance loans are available as a contribution towards a student’s living costs while attending university. The system targets the most living cost support at those from the lowest income families, who need it most.

Maximum living costs support increased by 10.3% in cash terms for eligible new students on the lowest incomes in 2016/17 compared to the maximum support available for new starters in 2015/16 under the previous system. Further inflationary increases in living costs support have been made in each academic year since, with an increase of 2.9% announced for the 2020/21 academic year and 3.1% for the 2021/22 academic year, taking the support available for the lowest income students to record levels in cash terms.

Students who have applied for a loan for living costs for 2020/21 and have been awarded a lower amount than the maximum and believe their household income for the current tax year (2020-21) will drop by at least 15% compared to the household income they provided when they were initially assessed, can apply for their entitlement to be reassessed.

If students have concerns about their accommodation fees, they should first raise their concerns with their accommodation provider. If their concerns remain unresolved, and their higher education provider is involved in the provision of the accommodation, students at providers in England or Wales can ask the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education to consider their complaint.

If a student thinks their accommodation provider is treating them unfairly, they can raise a complaint under the accommodation codes of practice as long as their provider is a code member. The codes can be found at: https://www.thesac.org.uk/, https://www.unipol.org.uk/the-code/how-to-complain and https://www.rla.org.uk/about/nrla-code-of-practice.shtml.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what proportion of funding available to young people leaving care announced in 2019 has been allocated to initiatives which provide dedicated support for girls and young women as a named group; and what steps he is taking to monitor and evaluate the effect of that funding on girls and young women leaving care and experiencing poor mental health.

In October 2019, during care leavers week, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, announced £19 million additional funding in financial year 2020-21 to support care leavers.

Of the additional funding, £10 million was allocated to local authorities to increase the resources available to them to implement Staying Put, which enables young people in foster care at age 18 to remain with their former foster carers until age 21. In total, £33 million will be allocated to local authorities to implement Staying Put this financial year.

Although Staying Close supports both young men and young women, some of the pilots are working with particular cohorts. For example, one of the pilots is supporting young women leaving a specialist children’s home that accommodates young women who have been victims of child sexual exploitation, and a number of Staying Close participants are young parents. As well as the core Staying Close offer, a number of pilots also provide access to specialist mental health services.

The final £3 million funding was to provide extra funding for Virtual School Heads to enable them to provide additional support to care leavers in further education. Again, this funding will support all care leavers in further education and is not targeted at young women specifically.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the number of children in care who have participated in education (a) at school and (b) online since March 2020.

The government is committed to ensuring that looked-after and previously looked-after children are supported to succeed in education. Being at an early years setting, school or college is vital to prevent vulnerable children from falling behind in their education, and as a protective factor from harm. Educational settings remained open to vulnerable children, including children in care, during the lockdown period. We expect educational providers, local authorities, social workers and other professionals to continue to work together to support families and pupils, including those in vulnerable groups, to return to schools, colleges and early years settings.

During lockdown, we prioritised vulnerable children and young people’s attendance. This included raising vulnerable children and young people’s attendance from around 5% in early April to over 25% by the end of June through consistent communications, guidance and local-level support, including working with schools and Virtual School Heads to encourage attendance. The department is continuing to publish data on attendance, including the attendance of vulnerable children, on a regular basis and the latest figures are available here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

Where a pupil is unable to attend school because they are complying with clinical or public health advice, we expect schools to be able to immediately offer them access to remote education. Schools should monitor engagement with this activity. We have also invested over £100 million to support remote education and have delivered over 220,000 laptops and tablets to children who would not otherwise have access. In the summer term, we provided over 50,000 4G wireless routers to local authorities and academy trusts for care leavers, children with a social worker at secondary school, and disadvantaged children in year 10 who did not have internet connections to support remote education. We are now supplementing this support by making an initial 150,000 additional devices available in the event face-to-face schooling is disrupted as a result of local COVID-19 restrictions.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many care leavers have benefited from the Government’s scheme to provide care leavers with access to technology and data.

The department has delivered over 220,000 laptops and tablets and over 50,000 4G wireless routers to children and young people, as part of a £100 million investment to support remote education for disadvantaged students and to allow children with a social worker and care leavers to access support and services online. This includes over 148,000 devices for children with a social worker and care leavers.

Guidance to local authorities identified care leavers as one of three priority groups for receipt of the laptops and routers. Local authorities are responsible for the distribution of devices, as they are best placed to identify which young people need one. The guidance is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/laptops-tablets-and-4g-wireless-routers-provided-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

The department does not collect data on the number of care leavers who do not have internet access. However, research published by Coram Voice in 2019 identified that 80% of care leavers had internet access at home, compared to 91% of young people aged 16-24 in the general population. A summary of the report is available here:
https://coramvoice.org.uk/sites/default/files/cv-olbc-snapshot-a2-poster_1.4.19.pdf.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the number of care leavers aged 18 to 21 who do not have access to internet-enabled technology.

The department has delivered over 220,000 laptops and tablets and over 50,000 4G wireless routers to children and young people, as part of a £100 million investment to support remote education for disadvantaged students and to allow children with a social worker and care leavers to access support and services online. This includes over 148,000 devices for children with a social worker and care leavers.

Guidance to local authorities identified care leavers as one of three priority groups for receipt of the laptops and routers. Local authorities are responsible for the distribution of devices, as they are best placed to identify which young people need one. The guidance is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/laptops-tablets-and-4g-wireless-routers-provided-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

The department does not collect data on the number of care leavers who do not have internet access. However, research published by Coram Voice in 2019 identified that 80% of care leavers had internet access at home, compared to 91% of young people aged 16-24 in the general population. A summary of the report is available here:
https://coramvoice.org.uk/sites/default/files/cv-olbc-snapshot-a2-poster_1.4.19.pdf.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the accessibility of the free school meal vouchers system for families who (a) do not have access to internet-enabled technology and (b) do not feel able to use that technology.

The government has taken unprecedented and substantial action to ensure that no child should go hungry as we take measures to tackle COVID-19, including in relation to free school meals.

In the first instance, we asked schools to support eligible pupils by providing meals or food parcels through their existing food providers wherever possible. We also established a national voucher scheme to support schools and families where required.

Schools were best placed to decide how to support families eligible for free school meals in their areas, and this includes considerations over access to the internet. Where parents were not able to access the national voucher scheme, we recommended that the school print and post the voucher to families. If there were issues with postal deliveries, we advised schools to consider a safe collection point for families to collect their vouchers.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to encourage young people to stay in education and training during the covid-19 outbreak.

All young people are now required to continue in education or training until their 18th birthday. Local authorities have a statutory duty to identify and track the participation of 16 and 17-year-olds. This includes supporting those who are not participating to do so and making sure that there is sufficient and suitable education and training provision to meet their needs.

During the COVID-19 outbreak, colleges and providers have moved more learning online to allow students to continue with studies remotely. We have provided advice and signposted to support to help with this.

We know that remote learning has been working well for many students in post-16 education. We will continue to work with the sector to establish the best way to support students to make up for the disruption due to COVID-19.

Although online education should remain the predominant way of learning for now, further education providers are re-opening for 16-19 learners on the first year of a 2-year study programme (this also includes apprentices). In addition, all learners under 19 years old can be offered a face-to-face meeting before the end of the summer term, subject to the required safety measures being met.

We are currently reviewing options for the autumn term. We would like to see as full a return as soon as possible in order to support young people and make up for time spent out of education.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to his oral contribution of 20 May 2020 (Volume 676 Column 574) on the new national skills fund worth £2.5 billion to support young people during the pandemic, what additional objectives have been allocated to the fund since it was announced in the Queens Speech.

Over the course of this Parliament, the government are providing £2.5 billion (£3 billion when including Barnett funding for devolved administrations) for a new National Skills Fund to help adults learn new skills and prepare for the economy of the future.

The National Skills Fund will re-energise the adult skills landscape and help to ensure that businesses can find and hire the workers they need and help people fulfil their potential.

Work is progressing to develop detailed plans for the National Skills Fund, and a consultation will be launched at a time when all those who have an interest will be better able to engage actively in it. We will continue to engage closely with users, employers and stakeholders throughout the process, before setting out more detailed plans after the consultation.

The insights gained will help to build an understanding of how best to target the fund and which groups will benefit and what types of training it should cover, to ensure we can provide the best return on investment.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what declaration of interests has been made by his Department’s non-executive directors; and when that declaration will be published.

Non-executive directors comply with the provisions of the Cabinet Office’s Code of Conduct for Board Members of Public Bodies.

In Defra, board members are required to submit any declarable interests twice a year; this information forms part of the independent National Audit Office review ahead of the publication of Departmental annual report and accounts. Information on any relevant interests will be published shortly on gov.uk and this will be referenced in the Department’s annual report and accounts.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what financial payments his Department makes to its non-executive directors; how many times his departmental Board will meet in 2021-22; and what work do non-executive directors undertake.

This information is published in the department’s annual report and accounts, available on gov.uk at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/defras-annual-report-and-accounts-2019-to-2020

The department’s report and accounts for 2021-22 will be published in due course, in the usual way.

Departmental boards provide strategic leadership for each central Government department, as well as advising on/challenging how the department is performing. Each board is chaired by the Secretary of State and includes junior ministers, the permanent secretary and non-executive board members. Non-executives are appointed to Government departments from the public, private and voluntary sectors. Their role is to provide advice and bring an external perspective.

A summary of the work of non-executive directors across Government can be found in the Government Lead Non-Executive's annual report, available at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/government-lead-non-executives-annual-report-2019-to-2020. The Non-Executive Directors’ Report in the annual report and accounts provides more information on the work of Defra’s non-executive directors (link above).

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the Government’s plan to introduce management measures in 40 English offshore Marine Protected Areas (MPA) over the next three years, whether the Government has made an assessment of the potential benefits to mobile fish stocks of banning supertrawlers from the offshore MPA network.

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are a devolved competency and the information provided therefore relates to England only.

We will manage fishing within existing, sustainable use MPAs to ensure recovery of the features to a good, healthy condition, and will designate Highly Protected Marine Areas to allow full recovery. We are developing ambitious plans to protect our existing MPAs from any fishing activity that could prevent them achieving their conservation objectives, such as trawling on the seabed. 98 MPAs in inshore waters have management measures in place to protect sensitive features from bottom towed fishing gears. All existing MPAs in our offshore waters will be protected from fishing as required through a three-year programme being undertaken by the Marine Management Organisation.

Supertrawlers generally target pelagic species of fish within the water column and are unlikely to damage the seabed habitats for which most MPAs are designated. We are currently reviewing our policy on these vessels and working to develop more robust management of non-quota stocks which these vessels are targeting, as well as quota stocks.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many requests for advice on handling freedom of information requests the central Cabinet Office Clearing House has received in each year since 2016.

Defra has referred requests to the Cabinet Office Clearing House where appropriate and in line with the published criteria which are available on gov.uk here - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cabinet-office-and-freedom-of-information.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Jun 2021
What funding his Department is providing for the maintenance of flood defences.

The Government recognises the importance of maintaining flood defence assets. Investment in Environment Agency asset management in England will be £178 million in 2021-22, an increase on the previous year. The Government will continue to review the future requirements for flood defence maintenance investment as part of future Spending Reviews.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure the effectiveness of the UK’s offshore marine protected areas.

Marine protection is a devolved matter and the information provided relates to England only.

One of Defra’s biggest challenges in seeking to ensure effective management of offshore Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) has been the need to secure the agreement of other countries through the Common Fisheries Policy process. This requirement will end when the Transition Period has finished.

The Fisheries Bill proposes a new power enabling the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) to implement fisheries management measures for conservation purposes both within our MPAs and more widely across English waters. The MMO will be able to use this power after the expiry of the Transition Period.

Activities within MPAs that require planning or licensing consent are assessed by the relevant regulator, including the MMO, to prevent damage to these designated areas.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect of supertrawler fishing on the UK’s offshore marine protected areas.

Marine protection is a devolved matter and the information provided relates to England only.

The Common Fisheries Policy has restricted our ability to implement fisheries management measures within offshore Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). The Fisheries Bill proposes a new power to allow the introduction of measures for conservation purposes, both within our MPAs and more widely across English waters.

Not all fishing activities within MPAs will require management, only those likely to damage the designated features, such as trawling on the seabed. The Marine Management Organisation monitors activity to ensure fishing boats are complying with current rules, and will ensure compliance with new measures as they are introduced.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure fishing catch limits do not exceed scientifically recommended sustainable levels.

The Government’s priority in relation to annual negotiations on fishing opportunities is to ensure that the total allowable catch for each fish stock that we have an interest in is set within sustainable limits taking account of scientific advice. Management measures, both technical and control based, are in place throughout the year to ensure monitoring and compliance of agreed catch limits and methods of capture. Enforcement of management measures is carried out through physical and electronic means as appropriate. The Fisheries Bill will put in place Fisheries Management Plans to help deliver and maintain stocks at sustainable levels into the future.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, whether he has plans to allocate funding for a programme to replace Connecting Classrooms through Global Learning when that programme ends in 2021.

Connecting Classrooms through Global Learning is a high performing programme that equips young people with the knowledge, skills and attitudes to live and work in a global economy and to take action on global issues. To date the programme has trained over 25,000 teachers and school leaders, and reached over 6,000 schools.

Given the programme is less than halfway through implementation, DFID is focused on delivering current results. Future iterations of the programme will be considered alongside other priorities.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, when her Department’s non-executive directors were appointed; what oversight officials had of Ministerial appointments of non-executive directors; and what assessment was made of their experience against the requirements for breadth and depth of experience set out in the Cabinet Office guidance on departmental boards of November 2014.

Departments follow the principles set out in Cabinet Office/HM Treasury ‘Corporate governance in central government departments: code of good practice.

The Department’s current Non-Executive Board Members are as follows:

Dominic Johnson, Interim Lead Non-Executive Board Member (joined November 2020)

Douglas Carswell (joined November 2020)

Noel Harwerth (joined January 2017)

Dambisa Moyo (joined November 2020)

Sir Stephen O’Brien (joined June 2019)

The announcements of these Non-Executives’ appointments can be found below:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/liz-truss-announces-four-new-non-executive-board-members

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/sir-stephen-obrien-named-as-new-dit-board-member

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-export-finance-appoints-new-board-chair-and-non-executive-director

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what declarations of interests have been made by her Department’s non-executive directors; and where is that information published.

Non-Executive Board Members comply with the provisions of the Cabinet Office’s Code of Conduct for Board Members of Public Bodies.

Board members are required to submit any declarable interests annually; this information forms part of the independent National Audit Office review ahead of the publication of Departmental annual report and accounts.

Information on any relevant interests is published in the Departmental annual report and accounts, which are available on gov.uk.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, how many freedom of information requests her Department has referred to the central Cabinet Office Clearing House for advice on handling in each year since 2016.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 24 June 2021 to Question UIN: 15188.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether her Department operates a red, amber and green rating system for categorising Freedom of Information requests according to their presentational sensitivity.

All Freedom of Information (FOI) requests are treated exactly the same, regardless of who the request is from and their occupation. The Department’s internal FOI case management system, which includes a colour-coding system, is used to track timeliness and progress of responses in addition to the sensitivity of the information in all FOI cases. The Department’s case management system helps evidence our compliance with our FOI obligations.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
23rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what progress his Department has made on reconnecting Fleetwood to the railway network.

Lancashire County Council has completed a Feasibility Study for the Fleetwood to Poulton scheme. We are reviewing the recommendations of the Study and expect to confirm next steps for the scheme following the conclusion of the Spending Review.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
2nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 29 June 2021 to Question 21939, on Department for Transport: Freedom of Information, how many freedom of information requests his Department has referred to the central Cabinet Office Clearing House for advice on handling in the year 2020-21.

The Department’s records show that between 1 April 2020 and 31 March 2021, of the 2,512 requests we received that were made under the Freedom of Information Act and the Environmental Information Regulations, 167 were referred to the Cabinet Office for advice on handling.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what private companies are contracted to provide security services at his Department’s buildings that contain Ministerial private offices; and whether there are closed circuit television cameras in any Ministerial private office within his departmental estate.

As has been the case under successive Administrations, it is not government policy to comment on security procedures in government buildings.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when his Department’s non-executive directors were appointed; what oversight did officials have of ministerial appointments of non-executive directors; and what assessment was made of their experience against the requirements for breadth and depth of experience set out in the Cabinet Office guidance on departmental boards of November 2014.

Departments follow the principles set out in Cabinet Office/HM Treasury ‘Corporate governance in central government departments: code of good practice.

The Department for Transport’s current Non-Executive Directors (NED) are listed below with their appointment dates:

Ian King (Lead NED): Appointed on 1st November 2017

Tony Poulter: Appointed on 19th September 2016

Tracy Westall: Appointed on 1st November 2017

Richard Keys: Appointed on 1st December 2017

Dame Sarah Storey: Appointed on 1st April 2021

Ranjit Baxi: Appointed on 1st April 2021

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many freedom of information requests his Department has referred to the central Cabinet Office Clearing House for advice on handling in each year since 2016.

The information requested can only be provided at disproportionate cost, as we do not have a central record of referrals to the clearing house over this period.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether bus operators in receipt of the COVID-19 Bus Services Support Grant are permitted to amend ticket validity times.

The terms and conditions of the COVID-19 Bus Services Support Grant do not exclude operators from amending ticket validity times. However, payment of the grant is based on the operator’s original fare structures.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether prior consent is required from his Department for a bus operator in receipt of the COVID-19 Bus Services Support Grant to change ticket validity times.

The terms and conditions of the COVID-19 Bus Services Support Grant does not require operators to seek consent from the Department to change ticket validity times. However, payment of the grant is based on the operator’s original fare structures.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the terms of the COVID-19 Bus Services Support Grant define an amendment to ticket validity times as a fare price increase.

The terms and conditions of the COVID-19 Bus Services Support Grant does not define an amendment to ticket validity times as a fare price increase. However, payment of the grant is based on the operator’s original fare structures, and operators are not permitted to increase or decrease the price of tickets.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
12th Mar 2020
What steps he is taking to help protect seafarers from nationality-based pay discrimination.

The Equality Act 2010 (Work on Ships and Hovercraft) Regulations 2011 provides protection for EEA seafarers and those from designated States. These Regulations will be reviewed later this year.

21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether Wallem Ship Management has been listed by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency as an approved recruitment and placement agency, in line with the requirements of the Merchant Shipping (Maritime Labour Convention) (Recruitment and Placement) Regulations 2014.

Approval of recruitment & placement agencies is the responsibility of the State in whose territory the agency is located. Wallem Ship Management is not located in the UK; hence they are not approved by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

5th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 30 January 2020 to Question 7222 on Offshore Industry: Discrimination, when his Department's review of regulations on the treatment of seafarers will commence; when the terms of reference of that review will be published; and when the trade unions organising seafarer (a) Ratings and (b) Officers will be consulted.

The Equality Act 2010 (Work on Ships and Hovercraft) Regulations 2011 were designed to harmonise legislation as well as provide full protection to the individual. We are currently considering necessary amendments to the Regulations.

As part of that review we will consider all the Regulations therein. In undertaking such a review, we will of course work with our social partners, including the relevant trade unions.

5th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to his Department's Maritime 2050 strategy, whether the social framework for the UK maritime workforce proposed in that strategy will include steps to prevent offshore-based maritime employers from discriminating against seafarers on the grounds of protected characteristics.

We are committed to develop the concept of a social framework, as referred to in the Maritime 2050 strategy. The aspiration is to provide clarity on the standards of welfare expected for our maritime workforce, regardless of whether they are working on land or at sea. This could include a review of all employment legislation explicitly pertaining to seafarers’ work and social protection, ensuring close alignment with the protections available to those working in land-based roles.

As a coastal and flag State, international law generally restricts the UK applying its domestic legislation to vessels operating outside its territorial waters and not registered in the UK.

5th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with the Minister for Women and Equalities on employer discrimination against seafarers on grounds of protected characteristics.

I have not had any recent discussions with the Minister for Women and Equalities on employer discrimination against seafarers on the grounds of protected characteristics. However, officials from my Department have been liaising with counterparts in the Government Equalities Office (GEO). Furthermore, officials have also been working with the International Maritime Organization and the International Labour Organization as part of the international work on women in maritime which has included discussions on how to prevent discrimination on the grounds of protected characteristics

5th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what his policy is on the enforcement of the Equality Act 2010 (Work on Ships and Hovercraft) Regulations 2011 for seafarers from European Economic Area countries following the UK's departure from the EU.

Any seafarer of an EEA country working in Great Britain is currently able to bring a discrimination claim against their GB-based employer to employment tribunal under the Equality Act 2010 (Work on Ships and Hovercraft) Regulations 2011. The UK’s departure from the EU will not change this in any way.

24th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to reduce the number of uninsured drivers.

The Department remains committed to ensuring that motorists comply with motoring laws, including the compulsory requirement for motor insurance.

Since 2011 Continuous Insurance Enforcement (CIE) has enabled action to be taken against those who keep a vehicle without insurance. The scheme allows uninsured vehicles to be identified from a comparison of the DVLA’s vehicle register and the Motor Insurance Database managed by the Motor Insurers’ Bureau.

Keepers of vehicles which appear uninsured are sent advisory letters. Those who take no action receive a fixed penalty of £100, followed by enforcement action including prosecution if they remain uninsured.

CIE supplements police powers to seize an uninsured vehicle being used on the road. Police records show that 133,000 vehicles were seized in 2018. Since 2010, Motor Insurers’ Bureau figures show uninsured vehicles had fallen from 1.4 million in 2010 to 1 million by 2016.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he plans to bring forward legislative proposals to extend the application and enforcement of the National Minimum Wage Act 1998 for seafarers.

An Order in Council making the legislative changes is expected to be laid in draft before Parliament next month. This will be subject to the affirmative process and debates will be scheduled as the parliamentary timetable permits before final approval is sought from the Privy Council.

21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the length of time between people reaching State Pension age and receiving their first State Pension payment in each of the last three months.

DWP is aware that a small number of new State Pension claims have been subject to delays in receiving payment.

The Department is working hard to clear the current backlog, many of which have accrued since the Covid Pandemic.

We are prioritising overdue payments and payments that are imminent within the next few weeks. Normal service will be resumed by the end of October 2021.

Claimants don’t need to act, we have identified the cases and will process them as soon as possible.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 1 July 2021 to Question 23230, what her timeframe is for the publication of the equality impact assessment on the Kickstart Scheme.

The Equality Impact Assessment for the Kickstart Scheme has now been published online, and can be accessed here.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 24 June 2021 to Question 21940 on Department for Work and Pensions: Freedom of Information, if she will publish the number of freedom of information requests her Department has referred to the central Cabinet Office Clearing House for advice on handling in 2020-21.

The Department currently has no plans to publish this information. We do not capture data on the number of requests which are referred to the Cabinet Office Clearing House.

Official statistics on Freedom of Information requests are published by the Cabinet Office on a quarterly basis, available on gov.uk here - https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/government-foi-statistics

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what declarations of interests have been made by her Department’s non-executive directors; and where that information is published.

Non-executive directors comply with the provisions of the Cabinet Office’s Code of Conduct for Board Members of Public Bodies.

Board members are required to submit any declarable interests annually; this information forms part of the independent National Audit Office review ahead of the publication of Departmental annual report and accounts.

Information on any relevant interests will be published in the Department annual report and accounts, which will be available on gov.uk.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what private companies are contracted to provide security services at her Department’s buildings that contain ministerial private offices; and whether there are closed circuit television cameras in any ministerial private office within the departmental estate.

As has been the case under successive Administrations, it is not government policy to comment on security procedures in government buildings.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many freedom of information requests her Department has referred to the central Cabinet Office Clearing House for advice on handling in each year since 2016.

DWP has referred requests to the Cabinet Office Clearing House where appropriate and in line with the published criteria, which is available on gov.uk here - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cabinet-office-and-freedom-of-information

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether her Department operates a red, amber and green rating system for categorising Freedom of Information requests according to their presentational sensitivity.

The Department does not operate any rating system for categorising Freedom of Information requests according to their presentational sensitivity.

We respond to all Freedom of Information requests under our obligations as set out in the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

All Freedom of Information requests are judged purpose-blind and presentational sensitivity has no bearing on whether we should release information under the Freedom of Information Act or not.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential effect of youth unemployment on the level of national output in 2021.

No assessment of the potential effect of youth unemployment on the level of national output in 2021 has been made.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is committed to supporting everyone who has been affected by the unprecedented impact of COVID-19 on the economy and the labour market. We want everyone to be able to find a job, progress in work and thrive in the labour market, whoever they are and wherever they live.

Through Plan for Jobs, the government invested £30bn in measures to create, support and protect jobs. This included over £3bn investment in the Kickstart programme for young people and an additional 13,500 Work Coaches in our Jobcentres, as well as other measures focussed on boosting work search, skills and apprenticeships.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the report by the Prince’s Trust and Learning and Work Institute entitled Facing the future: employment prospects for young people after Coronavirus published in March 2021, if she will respond to the finding in that report that youth unemployment will have a fiscal cost of £2.5 billion in 2021.

We have reviewed the report to which the Honourable Lady refers. DWP has made no assessment of the fiscal cost of unemployment outlined in the report.

We recognise that younger people have been some of the hardest hit by the pandemic. Our DWP Youth Offer provides the wrap-around support to help this group access so much of the positive provision stood up as part of the Plan for Jobs. Our Youth Employment Programme is complemented by joined-up local delivery through Youth Hubs, as well as specialist Youth Employability Coaches for those with complex needs. Our £2bn Kickstart programme is helping young people into jobs and opportunities which will enhance their future employment prospects and help the economy to recover.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when her Department plans to publish the Equality Impact Assessment on the Kickstart scheme.

The Department for Work and Pensions plans to publish the Equality Impact Assessment on the Kickstart Scheme in due course.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effect of job (a) losses and (b) insecurity as a result of the covid-19 outbreak on Black, Asian and ethnic minority young people.

Data from the Annual Population Survey shows a rise of 5.2 percentage points year on year in the unemployment rate for BAME young people. It also suggests they are over-represented in sectors such as Accommodation and Food Services and Wholesale and Retail which have been particularly affected by the pandemic.

The Government is committed to levelling up and uniting the country, including improving the employment outcomes of people from ethnic minority backgrounds. Throughout these unprecedented times the Government has provided a crucial safety net to record levels of claimants, ensuring all our customers receive the support they need, when they need it.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans she has to extend the Kickstart Scheme until 2022.

There are currently no plans to extend the Kickstart Scheme. Eligible young people will be able to start new Kickstart jobs until December 2021, meaning the final cohort of six-month jobs will end in Summer 2022.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to support young people from marginalised groups entering employment.

This Government is committed to providing support to help all young people move into work and avoid the scarring effects of unemployment, as we recover from the Covid pandemic.

Youth Employability Coaches are providing flexible support to young people with significant complex needs and barriers to help them move into employment and offering six weeks of in-work support when they start work. This support is one element of the DWP Youth Offer, alongside the Youth Employment Programme and Youth Hubs designed to support young people enter the labour market.

In addition, the Kickstart scheme is available for young people aged 16-24, on Universal Credit and at risk of long term unemployment. Work Coaches refer eligible young people to Kickstart jobs and support them through the application process.

DWP also have a national programme of mentoring circles, involving employers offering specialised support to young (16-24 years old), unemployed, ethnic minority jobseekers. These provide customers with an opportunity to build confidence and job search skills, whilst at the same time helping employers understand and revise their recruitment practices. As a result of Covid-19, we are additionally delivering virtual Mentoring Circles sessions to comply with national lockdown and social distancing guidelines.

   

Young people identified as being involved or at risk of being involved in gangs or serious violence are recognised as a priority group and eligible for early entry to the Work and Health Programme in England and Wales. In addition, Jobcentres work with local partners to provide local support to suit individuals' needs.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to increase the number of people with epilepsy entering employment.

The Government has put in place a range of measures to support disabled people and people with long term health conditions, including those with epilepsy, to enter and stay in work. During the Covid-19 outbreak, we have made changes to ensure disabled people have still been able to access specialist employment support.

We have two large-scale nationally contracted programmes that support disabled people:

  • The Work and Health Programme was launched in 2017 throughout England and Wales for people who expect to find work within 12 months. It enables participants to receive coordinated and person-centred support from local services, and provides targeted support for disabled people, as defined in the Equality Act 2010, who can volunteer to join the programme at any time. It also provides extra tailored support to find employment for other groups, including long term unemployed people.

  • IPES launched with the first referrals on 2 December 2019 and is now in place across England and Wales. It is a voluntary programme designed to help disabled people with more complex needs or barriers, who want to work but also require specialist support to achieve their goal of sustained employment. This includes people with Autistic Spectrum conditions, mental health issues, substance abuse, or history of sensory impairments, learning difficulties or recurring and fluctuating health conditions. IPES is expected to provide support for around 2,500 starts a year for four years, totalling 10,000 on the programme.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, we provided this support remotely and made these programmes easier to access by allowing self-referrals as well as referrals through work coaches.

Additionally, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we introduced the Work and Health Programme Job Entry: Targeted Support (JETS) which went live across Wales and England this Autumn and provides light touch employment support which will complement the provision already available for disabled people under the Work and Health Programme. We will protect funding and capacity for helping disabled people and priority disadvantaged groups.

Alongside provision aimed at individuals, we continue to support employers to attract, recruit, retain and develop disabled people in the workplace through the Disability Confident scheme. The scheme was designed as a journey with three levels. All employers start at Level 1, progressing through the scheme at their own pace.

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether any formal training criteria exist as part of the Government's Kickstart Scheme.

Guidance for what the employability support should include can be found on the Kickstart gov.uk pages. We carefully assess each bid to ensure Kickstart jobs also support young people to develop basic work skills and build their experience.

The £1500 grant for support can be spent in any way that makes a young person more employable but must be detailed in their bid; this could include payment for equipment, training and/or uniform. Full details of this can be found on the Kickstart gov.uk site.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 19 October 2020 to Question 103536, how many spot checks have been carried out to ensure placement quality as part of the Kickstart Scheme.

The Enhanced Checking Service currently carry out a pre-payment spot check on all Kickstart jobs as agreed by the grant funding agreement. Where required, deeper investigation is conducted into the quality of the job placement and young person’s experience.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 5 February 2021 to Question 140162, how many Kickstart jobs have been confirmed through grant agreements with the employer and uploaded as a vacancy through jobcentres.

As of 04/02/2021 there were around 15,000 jobs uploaded to Job Centre Plus provision service.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how much of the £2 billion budget for the Kickstart scheme has been allocated to participating businesses.

There have been over 100,000 job placements approved and offers made for funding from the Department for Work and Pensions’ Kickstart Scheme. A Kickstart employer receives funding when a young person starts their placement and periodically through the length of their placement.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether her Department is planning to collect data on the proportion of jobs created as part of the Kickstart scheme, allocated to young people with a disability.

The Department of Work and Pensions will track the success of Kickstart amongst young people on the scheme who have a disability or health condition and will aim to do this as part of the evaluation. We plan to do this using a combination of evidence sources including management information (Universal Credit claimants are asked if they have an illness, disability or health condition and we can link to other datasets to see if they are on any kind of disability benefits) and survey data.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Kickstart scheme, how many work coaches have been employed to date; and what their average salary is.

Work Coach Recruitment is separate to the Kickstart Scheme but both are key tools to help people into the labour market. All Job Centre Plus Work Coaches are able to refer young people to the Kickstart scheme. As at 22 January, 8,685 new work coaches have started since March 2020. Work Coaches are employed in the Executive Officer grade for which DWP applies a spot rate, which is currently £27,565.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many work placements have been created under the Kickstart scheme as of January 2021.

As of 19/01/2021 there have been over 110,000 jobs approved by the Department for Work and Pensions’ Kickstart Scheme.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Kickstart Scheme, how many and what proportion of Kickstart work placements have been created in the North West.

The location of Kickstart jobs is not known until bidders have signed their grant agreement and provided full details of the role in the format which enables us to make it available for work coaches to refer suitable young people. We are not currently able to provide regional breakdowns of data.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Kickstart Scheme, how many and what proprotion of Kickstart work placements have been created in the North East.

The location of Kickstart jobs is not known until bidders have signed their grant agreement and provided full details of the role in the format which enables us to make it available for work coaches to refer suitable young people. We are not currently able to provide regional breakdowns of data.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many Kickstart work placements have been created by industry since that scheme was introduced.

As of 19/01/2021 there have been over 100,000 job placements approved by the Department for Work and Pensions’ Kickstart Scheme. Of these, we are only able to collect data on those jobs that have been confirmed through grant agreements with the employer and then uploaded as a vacancy through our jobcentres.

The sector information for each job is not categorised by ‘industry’.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many Work Coaches have been employed under the Kickstart scheme since that scheme was introduced.

The Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) Kickstart Scheme is available across Great Britain. All Job Centre Plus Work Coaches are able to refer young people to the scheme. A number of other local staff have also been involved throughout the development and implementation of the scheme to bring local knowledge and expertise to the programme.

As part of the Government’s Plan for Jobs, the DWP is recruiting an extra 13,500 new Work Coaches, and this process is underway. This recruitment is separate to the Kickstart Scheme.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to ensure young deaf people who are not eligible for universal credit can access the Kickstart Scheme.

A young person is eligible for a job on the Kickstart Scheme if they are aged 16-24, on Universal Credit (UC), and considered to be at risk of long term unemployment by their work coach. The Department of Work and Pensions has no current plans to extend the eligibility for the scheme beyond UC claimants, but we will keep that under review. If a young person is deaf or has hearing difficulties this would not prevent them from being referred to a Kickstart Scheme job as it is open to all young people who are on UC as long as they meet the eligibility/suitability criteria.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to enable service users of supported accommodation to access employment services.

The department (DWP) provides a range of support to the different vulnerable groups who may live in supported accommodation.

For people at risk of homelessness, we help them to make Universal Credit claims, provide tailored support through Jobcentre Plus and priority access to the Work and Health Programme.

DWP has also put into place a range of measures to support disabled people and their employers, including specialised employment support programmes such as Access to Work and Disability Confident. During the Covid-19 outbreak, we have made changes to ensure disabled people have still been able to access this specialist employment support.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 16 November 2020 to Question 114936 on Kickstart Scheme: Ethnic Groups, what steps her department i taking to help ensure collection of data on the proportion of jobs created as part of the Kickstart scheme allocated to Black, Asian and minority ethnic young people; and what her timescale is for making information available on (a) ethnicity, (b) disability and (c) other disadvantaged groups amongst Kickstart participants.

The Department for Work and Pensions’ Kickstart Scheme is providing job placements for 16-24 year olds at risk of long term unemployment. Young people will be directed to the scheme through a Job Centre by a Work Coach. This will ensure that those who need support the most are able to benefit, regardless of ethnicity, disability or any disadvantage.

Some personal information, including ethnicity of participants, is voluntarily provided when a young person applies for a placement. This means that any information might not be a fully accurate representation of demographics.

Our data gathering is still in its early stages but we have plans for a wider evaluation of Kickstart that will draw on available data and insights (such as case studies from young people, participant surveys and feedback from Work Coaches) where possible showing outcomes and effects for different groups, including by gender, ethnicity and those facing additional barriers to employment. We will feed this insight into the programme as we continue to roll it out. No information is currently available but we will consider how this might be published in due course.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what proportion of jobs created as part of the Kickstart scheme have been allocated to Black, Asian and minority ethnic young people to date.

Data gathering is in its early phase and as such we are not able to reliably break Kickstart participant data down by ethnicity, disability or other disadvantaged group.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what proportion of jobs created as part of the Kickstart scheme have been allocated to young people with disabilities to date.

Data gathering is in its early phase and as such we are not able to reliably break Kickstart participant data down by ethnicity, disability or other disadvantaged group.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many new jobs the Government aims to create through the Kickstart Scheme.

The Kickstart Scheme is a £2 Billion programme, planning to create thousands of new jobs for young people aged 16-24 at risk of long term unemployment. Whilst we will not limit our ambitions, our first priority is to ensure the quality of experiences created for young people.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what specific steps she is taking to support women and girls facing multiple disadvantage into employment.

Jobcentre Plus provides a range of support to people with multiple barriers to employment. Work Coaches provide support tailored to the individual, referring as appropriate to specialist provision such as the Work and Health Programme and local partner support, often funded by the department’s Flexible Support Fund. This support is being strengthen further by the Chancellor’s Plan for Jobs package, including the Kickstart Scheme, and the new Youth Offer.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether the Kickstart scheme will include childcare provision to ensure that young parents are able to participate in that scheme.

Kickstart scheme funding does not include covering the costs of childcare. Universal Credit allows for up to 85% of childcare costs to be claimed back, and young people with dependent children considering a Kickstart opportunity should speak with their Work Coach for further information.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether the Opportunity Guarantee announced by the Prime Minister on 30 June 2020 remains Government policy.

The Chancellor’s Plan for Jobs announcement in July outlined a comprehensive package of support for young people. As part of this, our new Youth Offer will provide a guaranteed foundation of support to all 18-24 year olds in the Intensive Worksearch group on Universal Credit. This includes our new 13-week Youth Employment Programme, the national expansion of the Youth Employability Coaches initiative and the Youth Hubs being rolled out nationally to help young people access wider support. These will be co-located and co-delivered with our network of external partners. Young people can be attached to a Youth Hub for up to 6 months to help them move either into work or onto appropriate training.

In addition, the Kickstart Scheme was launched on 2 September 2020 and will create hundreds of thousands of high quality, 6-month work placements aimed at young people aged 16-24.

We also continue to deliver our Mentoring Circles programme. This aims to increase the confidence, motivation and job search skills of the participants and will help them move closer to employment.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans she has to roll out the Opportunity Guarantee announced by the Prime Minister on 30th June.

The Chancellor’s Plan for Jobs announcement in July outlined a comprehensive package of support for young people. As part of this, our new Youth Offer will provide a guaranteed foundation of support to all 18-24 year olds in the Intensive Worksearch group on Universal Credit. This includes our new 13-week Youth Employment Programme, the national expansion of the Youth Employability Coaches initiative and the Youth Hubs being rolled out nationally to help young people access wider support. These will be co-located and co-delivered with our network of external partners. Young people can be attached to a Youth Hub for up to 6 months to help them move either into work or onto appropriate training.

In addition, the Kickstart Scheme was launched on 2 September 2020 and will create hundreds of thousands of high quality, 6-month work placements aimed at young people aged 16-24.

We also continue to deliver our Mentoring Circles programme. This aims to increase the confidence, motivation and job search skills of the participants and will help them move closer to employment.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans she has to ensure that the Government’s Opportunity Guarantee, announced by the Prime Minister on 30th June, reaches young people in the North West of England.

The Chancellor’s Plan for Jobs announcement in July outlined a comprehensive package of support for young people. The Kickstart programme was launched on 2 September and our new Youth Offer will provide a guaranteed foundation of support for 18-24 year olds in the Intensive Work Search Regime of Universal Credit.

A key part of the Youth Offer will be the national introduction of Youth Hubs, which will be co-located and co-delivered with local partners. Two Youth Hubs are now open in the North West of England and (subject to local COVID-19 restrictions) we expect a further four to open by the end of October. We are also introducing two demonstrator Youth Hubs where we can test our approach and share good practice with other areas.

We will build on the learning from these demonstrator sites with further expansion and additional Youth Hubs planned. In addition, all our Work Coaches – including those in the North West – will continue to signpost young people to the most appropriate local or national provision and ensure that no young person falls through the cracks.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans she has to use (a) a Future Jobs Fund or (b) a similar scheme to support young people unemployed as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

DWP is engaging cross-government to understand supply & demand across the labour market throughout and beyond the COVID-19 crisis. We are in discussions with other Government Departments and a range of stakeholders to explore all options. This is to ensure the right support is in place for individuals who have been adversely impacted by COVID-19 that will meet the needs of both the individuals, as well as local priorities. This engagement includes the Youth Employment Group, which includes Prince’s Trust, Youth Employment UK, Institute for Employment Studies, Youth Futures Foundation and Impetus.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps he is taking to ensure that non-graduate education leavers are supported to secure employment as the covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

We acknowledge that it is important that Jobcentres continue to support young people through the economic recovery. They have already started to re-engage with new and existing claimants.

DWP is also engaging with a number of external organisations including the Youth Employment Group (set up by Prince’s Trust, Youth Employment UK, Institute for Employment Studies, Youth Futures Foundation and Impetus) as well as continuing to work across Whitehall to ensure a range of appropriate support aimed at young people including those from more complex backgrounds.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that employers signed up to the Disability Confident Scheme are actively supporting disabled employees.

The Department for Work and Pensions is working at a district, regional and national level with Disability Confident employers, encouraging them to pro-actively attract, recruit and retain disabled people, offering help and support at every stage of the journey. The department provides employers with a range of material, videos and toolkits, to help them to develop best practice.

We are working closely with our stakeholders, including all main government departments, the Local Government Association, and Councils. The DWP Business Leaders Group, consisting of corporate influencers, is also helping to promote the benefits of employing a diverse range of employees, including disabled people.

Last year, we made a number of improvements to the scheme, including adding the requirement for Disability Confident Leader employers to use the Voluntary Reporting Framework (VRF) to publicly report on how they encourage and support disabled staff. Although there is flexibility in how employers can use the VRF, we expect that most would choose to combine it with their annual report and accounts.

In November 2018, we published the results of survey research commissioned from Ipsos MORI, which explored the effect that signing up to the Disability Confident scheme had on recruitment and retention attitudes towards disabled people. Half of all employers interviewed for the study said they had recruited at least one person with a disability, long-term health or mental health condition as a result of joining the scheme. Among larger employers, nearly two thirds reported the same. Eight in ten (80%) of employers interviewed had adopted at least one disability-related retention practice as a result of joining the scheme.

29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what specialist training Work Coaches receive to help people with hidden and fluctuating health conditions (a) find and (b) stay in work.

Training and guidance is provided for work coaches to support customers with fluctuating health conditions to find and stay in work.

They receive health and complex needs learning that provides them with the skills and knowledge to:

  • coach claimants to equip them with the tools and skills they need to progress towards or into work
  • invest in knowing the claimants they coach by asking the right questions to establish their needs
  • know how they can support claimants with complex needs in specific areas
  • state where they can find assistance and refer claimants to personalised provision for themselves with regard to their health condition
  • challenge claimants by setting and agreeing personalised, achievable steps that are reviewed at every attendance.

In addition, support is also provided for the work coach by the Disability Employment Advisers and Work Psychologists. Work Coaches can refer individuals to personalised provision and support such as the Work and Health Programme (available in England and Wales) or Fair Start Scotland (devolved programme available in Scotland).

Work Coaches have access to further learning in the form of ‘bitesize’ learning and guidance spotlights to refresh and support them. For example:

  • Health and Work Conversation Techniques ‘bitesize’ – this provides learning on how to keep claimants engaged with the world of work and to keep thinking about the work they could do now or in the future, if not possible now. The Health and Work Conversation techniques have been specifically designed to enable the work coach to support a claimant who has:

- a health condition

- become disengaged with the labour market, perhaps, because they have been long term unemployed

  • Spotlight: Work and Health Programme (WHP) published November 2019

- Spotlight: Universal Credit Health Offer published April 2019 – This provides guidance on what is available for customers to support them to and in work. For example, Access to Work, Specialist Employability Support

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
17th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many prescriptions were issued for each drug categorised under the drug groups (a) benzodiazepines including clonazepam, (b) z-drugs, (c) antidepressants and (d) opioids in the (i) last 12 months for which figures are available and (ii) most recent comparative 12 month period prior to the last 12 month period for which those figures are available.

The following table shows the number of items prescribed in England for benzodiazepines including clonazepam, z-drugs, antidepressants and opioids in the latest two full years of available data.

Benzodiazepines including clonazepam

Z-drugs

Antidepressants

Opioid analgesics

October 2019 to September 2020

8,968,513

5,714,149

77,747,592

23,296,870

October 2020 to September 2021

8,659,089

5,603,196

81,908,280

23,083,291

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will ensure that the Valproate Pregnancy Prevention Programme be given a SNOMED code.

In October 2021 NHS Digital received requests to add additional codes to specify 'valproate' in the term. NHS Digital, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency and NHS England and NHS Improvement’s sodium valproate programme are working together to support the SNOMED CT coding requirements of the programme.

NHS Digital are currently developing the Valproate Annual Risk Acknowledgement Form and Referral for Valproate Annual Risk Acknowledgement Form and intend to publish them in the SNOMED CT UK Clinical Edition release on 1 December.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason antidepressant use has not been included as a possible cause of suicide in suicide prevention strategies.

The national strategy for suicide reduction in England does not seek to list all potential causes of suicide. The strategy notes that the factors leading to someone taking their own life are complex and supports action to reduce suicide rates by bringing together knowledge about groups at higher risk of suicide, rather than potential causes and by applying evidence of effective interventions and highlighting resources available. As the strategy looks at preventing suicide in high risk groups, it does not include the potential risk that some forms of antidepressant may cause for some people.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency introduced warnings within prescribing and patient information leaflets (PIL) for the most commonly used selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor class of antidepressants. The PIL contains information about the need for close supervision of patients and advises that caregivers should be alerted to monitor for any changes in mood or behaviour and to seek medical advice immediately if these occur.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason the effect of antidepressant use has not been included in suicide prevention strategies.

The national strategy for suicide reduction in England does not seek to list all potential causes of suicide. The strategy notes that the factors leading to someone taking their own life are complex and supports action to reduce suicide rates by bringing together knowledge about groups at higher risk of suicide, rather than potential causes and by applying evidence of effective interventions and highlighting resources available. As the strategy looks at preventing suicide in high risk groups, it does not include the potential risk that some forms of antidepressant may cause for some people.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency introduced warnings within prescribing and patient information leaflets (PIL) for the most commonly used selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor class of antidepressants. The PIL contains information about the need for close supervision of patients and advises that caregivers should be alerted to monitor for any changes in mood or behaviour and to seek medical advice immediately if these occur.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what information he holds on the effect of antidepressant use on suicidal ideation and behaviour.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) holds details of the suspected side effects of antidepressants, such as suicidal ideation and behaviour reported through the Yellow Card scheme. The MHRA also has access to information from clinical studies and published literature as well as periodic safety update reports produced by the licence holders.

This is used to monitor the safety of these medicines and ensure the product information provides appropriate guidance to prescribers and patients. The guidance currently includes advice about the risk of suicide and the need for close supervision of patients and advises that patients and their caregivers should be alerted to monitor any changes in mood or behaviour and to seek medical advice immediately.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his Department will increase the funding allocated to research on motor neurone disease.

We are currently working on ways to significantly boost further research on dementia and neurodegeneration, including motor neurone disease (MND). The Department funds research through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). It is not usual practice to ring-fence funding for particular topics or conditions. The NIHR welcomes funding applications for research into any aspect of human health, including MND. Applications are subject to peer review and judged in open competition, with awards being made on the basis of the importance of the topic to patients and health and care services, value for money, and scientific quality.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions his Department had with Her Majesty's Treasury, prior to the publication of the Government response to the Report of the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review on 26 July 2021, on setting up a redress scheme to meet the cost of providing additional care and support to people who have experienced avoidable harm as a result of (a) hormone pregnancy tests, (b) sodium valproate and (c) pelvic mesh.

The Department engaged with HM Treasury on redress prior to cross-Government approval of the response to the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent estimate he has made of the number of people who have turned off contact tracing on the NHS covid-19 app.

The Department does not hold data in the format requested.

We do not hold a cumulative total of the number of individuals who have contact tracing paused.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people were told to isolate by the NHS Test and Trace app on (a) 18, (b) 19 and (c) 20 July 2021.

The Department does not hold data in the format requested. We are considering what further metrics we may be able to publish about app usage.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people deleted the NHS Test and Trace app on (a) 18, (b) 19 and (c) 20 July 2021.

The Department does not hold data in the format requested. We are considering what further metrics we may be able to publish about app usage.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will upgrade the NHS Test and Trace app so that people who have had one covid-19 vaccine dose in England and one covid-19 vaccine dose in Wales can demonstrate their covid-19 vaccination status.

Obtaining an NHS COVID Pass via the NHS App is available to citizens registered with a general practitioner (GP) in England. Individuals who are not registered with a GP, but who have a National Health Service number can obtain an NHS COVID Pass through the NHS.uk or by calling 119. Currently, vaccines administered in other systems such as Wales are not automatically recorded in the vaccination system used in England.

A Vaccine Data Resolution Service is being established by NHS Digital to support any patient residing in England, registered with an English GP, who may have incomplete COVID-19 vaccination records, either because a vaccination event has not registered appropriately or may have taken place in a different part of the United Kingdom. This service, expected to be available by early August, will initially address issues around vaccination records for those who have been vaccinated in the UK and queries about vaccinations displaying in the NHS App.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
8th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what representations he is making to his international counterparts on allowing people participating in the Novavax covid-19 vaccine trial to travel overseas.

Discussions are ongoing with other countries, including through groups such as the G7, the European Union and the World Health Organization to shape the approach taken around the world to sharing health status for travel, including vaccination status. The Chief Medical Officer for England has written to his counterparts in the EU on this matter.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether it is his policy that people who are homeless will be a priority group within the covid-19 booster vaccination programme.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) published interim advice on a potential COVID-19 booster vaccination programme on 30 June, which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/jcvi-interim-advice-on-a-potential-coronavirus-covid-19-booster-vaccine-programme-for-winter-2021-to-2022

However, based on the JCVI’s interim advice, those eligible for phase one of the COVID-19 vaccination programme are likely to be offered a booster, including people experiencing homelessness and rough sleeping. Decisions on the timing, scope and cohort eligibility of any booster programme will be confirmed once the JCVI has provided their final advice.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that covid-19 vaccination uptake among people who are homeless is in line with uptake among the general population.

People who are experiencing homelessness were prioritised for vaccination in phase one of the programme alongside those with underlying health conditions, as advised by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). To ensure access, we have followed the JCVI recommendation that this group should be offered the vaccine without the need for a National Health Service number or general practitioner registration.

Vaccination rates amongst the homeless population is monitored at a regional level within England and is used to inform deployment decisions so that uptake is maximised where possible. Data on vaccination uptake is not currently available as it has not been centrally validated. This is because data provides a snapshot of homelessness rates and as such, any vaccine uptake data relating to homeless people and COVID-19 vaccination uptake is also an estimate that cannot currently be validated. NHS England and NHS Improvement continue to work with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to support outreach services and further work is being done to explore the availability of effective on-street models. Local vaccination services also play a vital role in reaching vulnerable groups, including people experiencing homelessness.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the criteria for the allocation of funding for life sciences that was announced in the Queen’s Speech 2021 will prioritise research on (a) women’s health and (b) safer medicines for pregnant women.

The exact topics that will be addressed by the Women’s Health Strategy have not yet been decided. The evidence gathered through the call for evidence will inform the priorities, content and actions in the new Strategy.

Decisions over which individual research projects or programmes to support are made through independent evaluation by experts, based on the quality and likely impact of that research.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assistance he is providing to people participating in the Novavax covid-19 vaccine trial to enable those people to show proof of vaccination when travelling overseas.

Since 17 May, individuals in England can demonstrate their COVID-19 vaccination status for the purposes of outbound travel via the NHS App, the National Health Service website or by requesting a letter through 119, for those countries where they are accepted. The Government is working on an upgrade to the App to allow residents in England who have taken part or are participating in a clinical trial to demonstrate their COVID-19 vaccine status.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department operates a red, amber and green rating system for categorising Freedom of Information requests according to their presentational sensitivity.

The Department does not operate a red, amber and green rating system for categorising Freedom of Information requests. All requests for information are treated equally.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the Commissioner for Patient Safety will make an assessment of the impact on patients of the reliance on data from animal tests in the early stages of developing new medicines and the difficulty in accurately translating those test results to people.

Once appointed, it will be for the Patient Safety Commissioner to determine what they review within their remit of medicines and medical devices.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the terms of reference are of the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Review working group.

There is a cross-system working group which meets to discuss the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review. There are no formal terms of reference as the working group is not a decision-making forum and is focused on monitoring progress towards delivering the Government’s response to the recommendations in the Review.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, which age groups will have received a covid-19 vaccination ahead of the elections on 6 May 2021.

Phase two of the vaccination programme, which will cover those aged 18 to 49 years old not already included in phase one, commenced on 13 April with the vaccine being offered first to those aged 45 to 49 years old. It is not possible to say how many of the remaining age cohorts will have been offered a first dose vaccination by 6 May as operational factors influence decisions on the exact date when each cohort is opened. However, the programme is on track to offer a first dose of the vaccine to all those aged 18 years old or over in England by 31 July.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the report published by MBRRACE entitled Saving lives, improving mothers' care, what data his Department holds on the number of (a) women that die from Sudden Unexplained Death in Epilepsy and (b) children (i) exposed to and (ii) affected by sodium valproate in pregnancy.

The information requested is not held centrally.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what criteria were used to determine the membership of the Patient Reference Group that will consider the recommendations in the report of the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review.

The criteria for membership was set out in a recruitment pack made available to all applicants and included:

- Have a personal experience or understand the context of the Review and the content of the report from the perspective of patients, carers or families;

- Are committed to improving the experience of patients;

- Want to engage with others on the group and representatives of the Department to support the implementation of the Review;

- Can consider complex and emotive issues in a balanced and sensitive way; and

- Have good communication skills and want to build strong working relationships with the rest of the group.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to advise (a) schools, (b) colleges and (c) universities on the mental health needs of children and young people with epilepsy.

Each mental health support team is expected to advise schools and colleges on the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people, including for those with epilepsy. They work alongside pre-existing mental health services and liaise with external specialist services to help children and young people receive the right support and stay in education.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that children with epilepsy have mental health support integrated into their care.

The 2019 Clinical Audit on Paediatric Epilepsy recommended that integrated services should be designed around paediatric epilepsy patients, so their physical and mental health needs are diagnosed and treated together in a holistic approach. NHS England and NHS Improvement are supporting the Organisation of Paediatric Epilepsy Networks and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health in the implementation of these recommendations.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Commission on Human Medicines report, Epilepsy Medicines in Pregnancy, published on 7 January 2021, what plans he has to ensure greater awareness among health professionals of the risk of physical and neurodevelopmental harm associated with the use of many anti-epileptic drugs taken in pregnancy.

The Registry is being built around routinely collected data of all women in England who are taking National Health Service-prescribed valproate and identifies when they are pregnant and accessing NHS care for that pregnancy. Work is now ongoing to extend the Registry to include women in the devolved administrations. In the next phase of development, the Registry will be extended to include all girls and women prescribed an antiepileptic drug.

The conclusions of the Commission on Human Medicines’ safety review of the risk of physical and neurodevelopmental harm in children of mothers who took epilepsy medicines in pregnancy were communicated publicly to support decisions around the best treatment options for girls and women. These communications were via the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency’s (MHRA) Drug Safety Update bulletin, an accompanying public assessment report and a patient safety leaflet. A news release and social media accompanied the publication alongside email alerts that targeted relevant healthcare professionals, prescribing publications and professional organisations. The MHRA is also working with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, the Royal College of General Practitioners and the Association of British Neurologists to update relevant clinical guidance to reflect the findings of the review. The impact of this review and the uptake of communications will be monitored.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has for extending the MHRA and NHS Digital Medicines in Pregnancy Valproate Registry to include all anti-epileptic drugs.

The Registry is being built around routinely collected data of all women in England who are taking National Health Service-prescribed valproate and identifies when they are pregnant and accessing NHS care for that pregnancy. Work is now ongoing to extend the Registry to include women in the devolved administrations. In the next phase of development, the Registry will be extended to include all girls and women prescribed an antiepileptic drug.

The conclusions of the Commission on Human Medicines’ safety review of the risk of physical and neurodevelopmental harm in children of mothers who took epilepsy medicines in pregnancy were communicated publicly to support decisions around the best treatment options for girls and women. These communications were via the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency’s (MHRA) Drug Safety Update bulletin, an accompanying public assessment report and a patient safety leaflet. A news release and social media accompanied the publication alongside email alerts that targeted relevant healthcare professionals, prescribing publications and professional organisations. The MHRA is also working with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, the Royal College of General Practitioners and the Association of British Neurologists to update relevant clinical guidance to reflect the findings of the review. The impact of this review and the uptake of communications will be monitored.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to invest in epilepsy medicines research to ensure safer drugs for pregnant women with epilepsy.

The National Institute for Health Research has funded three studies on anti-epilepsy medication use during pregnancy.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to implement the recommendations of the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review report, First Do No Harm, published on 8 July 2020.

My Written Ministerial Statement of 11 January 2021 (HCWS692) updated hon. Members on current progress on each of the nine recommendations. The Government will respond in full to the report later this year.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department is holding discussions with relevant stakeholders on making the Medicines in Pregnancy Valproate Registry mandatory for all pregnant women who take anti-epilepsy medication.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency is exploring how mandation of inclusion in the valproate registry can be implemented and will hold discussions with relevant stakeholders.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the Patient Safety Commissioner's responsibilities are planned to be.

The Commissioner’s core role will be to promote the safety of patients and the importance of the views of patients in relation to medicines and medical devices.

The Commissioner’s statutory functions include the power to make reports or recommendations and the power to request and share information with relevant persons, either in the National Health Service or independent sector.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has taken steps to create a redress agency for people harmed by medicines, including sodium valproate, as recommended in the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review.

We have no current plans to establish a redress agency. The Government is able to establish redress schemes on individual issues without the need for a new organisation and has done so several times. Our primary focus is on improving medicines and medical devices safety, setting high standards for industry to market and manufacture products, with the aim of reducing harm in the future.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to increase funding into safer medicines research for drugs taken by pregnant and postnatal women.

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) has funded three studies on anti-epilepsy medication use during pregnancy, one study on blood pressure medication for pregnant women and one study on antidepressant use during pregnancy. The NIHR welcomes funding applications for research into any aspect of human health, including safer medicines research for drugs taken by pregnant and postnatal women.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what criteria were used to award the contract for running the Patient Reference Group established following the publication of the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review report First Do No Harm in July 2020.

The Department awarded the contract through an open and competitive tender process. The criteria for award were as follows:

- Excellent communication skills, including a proven ability to work and communicate with a diverse range of stakeholders and maintain good working relationships;

- Excellent knowledge of the English healthcare system;

- Strong facilitation skills in order to empower the group to effectively feed in strategic views to Departmental stakeholders;

- Previous experience (minimum of five years) of working at the interface between patient engagement and high profile and high priority national policy relating to the health service;

- A clear understanding of the context surrounding the Review and the content of the report;

- Experience of working on highly sensitive issues, some of which are of a distressing and emotive in nature; and

- Awareness of any potential conflicts of interest that may arise in accepting a contract, and where necessary a plan for managing these.

The Most Economically Advantageous Tender criteria was also applied to award the contract with a quality/price weighting set at 80:20.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the names of the members of the Patient Reference Group that consider the recommendations in the report of the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review.

The membership of the Patient Reference Group is available at the following link:

https://traverse.ltd/application/files/4416/1538/1520/IMMDS_Patient_Reference_Group_members.pdf

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what criteria were used to determine the membership of the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review team.

Baroness Cumberlege was asked by the Secretary of State to chair the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review. The review is independent and members were selected by Baroness Cumberlege.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to UK Covid-19 Vaccines Delivery Plan published on 11 January 2021, what the timetable is for the use of the mobile model to deliver the covid-19 vaccine to people experiencing homelessness.

The Government is following the independent advice of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), which agrees priority groupings for vaccine. Anyone who is homeless and falls into these groups is eligible for the vaccine and we are working closely with partners to ensure they can access it. NHS England and NHS Improvement are working with voluntary community and social enterprise partners, inclusion health providers and others to develop an accessible model for delivery of the vaccine to people from inclusion health populations. As a result of having two vaccines now deployable, we are considering a number of options and will co-design these with partners based on the different local and logistical considerations.

In the immediate period we are asking partners to support their clients and service users to register with a general practice, where they are not already and if they have health conditions that would make them clinically vulnerable/clinically extremely vulnerable that this is recorded to ensure they receive the vaccine in line with the JCVI’s advice on prioritisation. Over the coming weeks we will consider a range of possible delivery models, including mobile models, to ensure all those prioritised in accordance with the JCVI’s advice receive the vaccine at the appropriate time regardless of their circumstance.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many (a) consultants and (b) suppliers are employed by NHS Test and Trace; and what the total expenditure on those contractors is to date.

Approximately 2,500 consultants and suppliers have been employed by NHS Test and Trace. £438 million is budgeted to Professional Services which includes management consultants and suppliers.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 12 January 2021 to Question 133917 on Prescription Drugs, what progress has been made on implementing the recommendations of the Public Health England review entitled Dependence and withdrawal associated with some prescribed medicines; and what his timescale is for publishing a report on progress on implementing those recommendations.

An oversight group has been established by NHS England and NHS Improvement to oversee the recommendations of the Public Health England Review on prescribed medicines.

The group is focusing on the implementation of the recommendations, ensuring alignment with other relevant programmes already underway in the National Health Service and overseeing any new policy initiatives being taken forward in in response to the review.

This work is a priority and implementation of the recommendations is being taken forward as quickly as possible, taking into account other pressures on healthcare professionals and the NHS. With progress having been initially delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, an update on the programme is expected later this year or early in 2022.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what information his Department holds on the number of unique patients who have been prescribed drugs categorised under the drug groups (a) benzodiazepines including clonazepam, (b) z-drugs, (c) antidepressants and (d) opioids in the each of the last three years.

The following table shows the number of unique patients that were prescribed for benzodiazepines including clonazepam, z-drugs, antidepressants and opioids on a National Health Service prescription and dispensed in the community in England in each of the last three calendar years. Data up to and including October 2020 is the latest available data.

Drug Grouping

Calendar Year

Total number of unique identified patients

Percentage (%) of items where the patient has been identified

Benzodiazepines (including clonazepam)

2018

1,559,025

95.26

2019

1,513,747

95.77

2020 to October

1,254,238

96.86

Z-drugs

2018

967,510

96.93

2019

925,384

97.14

2020 to October

794,626

98.01

Antidepressants

2018

7,513,214

97.90

2019

7,800,136

98.12

2020 to October

7,473,047

98.88

Opioid analgesics

2018

3,057,077

95.33

2019

2,998,104

96.93

2020 to October

2,661,874

98.30

Source:

NHS Business Services Authority Information Services ePACT2 system.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 22 October 2020 to Question 95679 on Drugs: Misuse, for what reason the independent review by Dame Carol Black into illicit drug use will inform the implementation of recommendations relating to prescription drug dependency.

Phase two of Dame Carol Black’s review covering treatment services will be published later this year and will be made available to the National Oversight Group overseeing the National Health Service’s implementation of recommendations from Public Health England’s prescribed medicines review alongside other relevant materials.

Medicines optimisation is defined in the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s guidelines as ‘a person-centred approach to safe and effective medicines use, to ensure people obtain the best possible outcomes from their medicines’. This includes prescription of medicines which may give rise to dependency when these are clinically justified.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 12 January 2021 to Question 133917 on Prescription Drugs, if he will provide an explanation of the meaning of the phrase to optimise prescribing of dependence forming medicines provided in that Answer.

Phase two of Dame Carol Black’s review covering treatment services will be published later this year and will be made available to the National Oversight Group overseeing the National Health Service’s implementation of recommendations from Public Health England’s prescribed medicines review alongside other relevant materials.

Medicines optimisation is defined in the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s guidelines as ‘a person-centred approach to safe and effective medicines use, to ensure people obtain the best possible outcomes from their medicines’. This includes prescription of medicines which may give rise to dependency when these are clinically justified.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when the national review of overprescribing in the NHS led by Chief Pharmaceutical Officer Dr Keith Ridge will be published.

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care asked Dr Keith Ridge, Chief Pharmaceutical Officer for England, to lead a review of overprescribing in December 2018. The work was paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic because the majority of the participants have National Health Service clinical roles but has now resumed. The report will be finalised in the coming weeks.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many prescriptions were issued for each drug categorised under the drug groups (a) benzodiazepines including clonazepam, (b) z-drugs, (c) antidepressants and (d) opioids in the (i) last 12 months for which figures are available and (ii) most recent comparative 12 month period prior to the last 12 months period for which those figures are available.

The following table shows the number of items that were prescribed in England for benzodiazepines including clonazepam, z-drugs, antidepressants and opioids in the latest two full years of available data.

Time Period (12 months aggregated)

Benzodiazepines including clonazepam

Z-drugs

Antidepressants

Opioid analgesics

November 2018 to October 2019

9,184,594

5,840,375

74,211,675

23,398,430

November 2019 to October 2020

8,925,206

5,694,737

77,973,765

23,255,294

Source:

NHS Business Service Authority Information Services ePACT2 system.

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, what assessment he has made of the ability for the public to respond to the PHE Prescribed Medicines Review: Call for case studies issued on 15 December 2020 by the 8 January 2020 deadline.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have been coordinating implementation of the recommendations of the Public Health England review, ‘Dependence and withdrawal associated with some prescribed medicines: An evidence review’. This includes developing a framework to support commissioners to optimise prescribing of dependence forming medicines.

To support the development of the framework, a call for case studies was issued on 15 December 2020. The call was aimed primarily at commissioners, providers and other appropriate organisations such as those in the third sector. The deadline for submissions has recently been extended to the 29 January 2021 to allow stakeholders more time to respond.

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, pursuant to the Answer of 17 November 2020 to Question 908883 and the Answer of 7 December 2020 to Question 122771 on Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review, when he plans to update Parliament on his Department's response to that review; and for what reason an update was not provided before the end of 2020.

It was not possible to secure a date to update Parliament before Christmas due to parliamentary timetabling. However, I refer the hon. Member to my Written Ministerial Statement (HCWS692) of 11 January 2021.

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, pursuant to the Answer of 15 December 2020 to Question 123626, what the Government's timescale is for (a) concluding their learnings from the Visiting Professionals pilot and (b) providing an approach for the regular covid-19 testing of adult social care staff providing essential in-person rehabilitation.

We recognise the need to ensure professionals are able to visit care homes safely. Our Visiting Professionals pilot ended in November 2020.

We provided further guidance on 14 December for professionals, such as adult social care staff providing essential in-person rehabilitation in care homes, who are not covered by an existing testing regime, to be tested using lateral flow devices at the care home door.

There is regular testing of National Health Service staff, some of whom may be visiting care homes. Further information is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/asymptomatic-staff-testing-for-covid-19/

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to help ensure the covid-19 vaccination programme will reach all homeless people.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are working with voluntary community and social enterprise partners, inclusion health providers and others to develop an accessible model for delivery of the vaccine to people from inclusion health populations. We are considering a number of options and will co-design these with partners.

In the immediate period we are asking partners to support their clients and service users to register with a general practice, where they are not already and if they have health conditions that would make them clinically vulnerable/clinically extremely vulnerable, that this is recorded to ensure they receive the vaccine in line with the Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisation’s advice on prioritisation.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, at what stage in his vaccination timetable critical workers will receive a covid-19 vaccine.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation’s (JCVI) advice on prioritisation for phase one included frontline health and social care workers as a part of cohort two. Cohorts one to four have now all been offered the vaccine by our target date of 15 February. Frontline healthcare workers who have not received their vaccination can arrange this through the National Booking System or by calling 119.

For phase two of the vaccination programme, the JCVI published its interim advice on 26 February setting out that the most effective way to minimise hospitalisations and deaths is to continue to prioritise people by age and not occupation.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether frontline homeless service workers will receive a covid-19 vaccine under phase 1 of the Joint Committee on Vaccines and Immunisation prioritisation list.

The Joint Committee on Vaccines and Immunisation’s (JCVI) advice has stated that Phase 1 of the vaccine roll out should have the prevention of mortality at the forefront of its objectives, as well as to support the National Health Service and social care system. For the first phase, the JVCI have therefore advised that the vaccine be given to care home residents and staff, as well as frontline health and social care workers, then to the rest of the population in order of age and clinical risk factors. Included in this are those with underlying health conditions, which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality.

Phase 2 of the roll out may include further reduction in hospitalisation and targeted vaccination of those at high risk of exposure and/or those delivering key public services.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what his definition is of frontline health and social care workers as set out in phase 1 on the Joint Committee on Vaccines prioritisation list.

Frontline healthcare staff includes those staff involved in direct patient care, as well as non-clinical staff in secondary or primary care/community healthcare settings.

The definition of front line social care workers includes those working in long-stay residential and nursing care homes, or other long-stay care facilities where rapid spread is likely to follow introduction of infection and cause high morbidity and mortality,. This definition also includes social care staff directly involved in the care of their patients or clients and others involved directly in delivering social care such that they and vulnerable patients and clients are at increased risk of exposure.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that home covid-19 testing is accessible for (a) people who are blind or partially sighted and (b) other people with a disability.

NHS Test and Trace has worked with and sought feedback from a number of charities, including the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), the Macular Society, Thomas Pocklington Trust and Visionary. We have worked particularly closely with the RNIB to introduce a range of service improvements including alternative formats of instructions in Braille; audio CD; large print; and an RNIB information line to hear a recorded version of the instructions. ‘Be My Eyes’ live video assistance will also be launched shortly.

The 119 booking service now enables people without access to the internet or an active email address, to book a polymerase chain reaction test and receive their results by phone. Hearing-impaired people can use their computer and webcam, or the ‘InterpreterNow’ app on a smartphone or tablet to make a three-way video call to a British Sign Language interpreter. COVID-19 test kit instructions can be accessed via GOV.UK in easy read, plain text, large print and accessible format for use via assistive technology. By the end of February translated versions of the easy read instructions in the 12 most common foreign languages used in the United Kingdom will also be available.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking ensure that people who are digitally excluded and do not have an email address are able to (a) register for and (b) receive their coronavirus home testing results.

There are a number of ways individuals can access testing without a mobile phone number or email address. Individuals can ask someone they trust who has a mobile number or email address, for example a family member, to book a test or receive their results. If this is not possible, individuals can contact 119 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and 0300 303 2713 in Scotland to book a test at their nearest test site and to receive their results, either via a call back to a landline or by contacting 119 once the results are available. We are working to further improve the accessibility of testing via non digital routes.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if the weekly covid-29 tests for care workers will be made available for adult social care staff providing (a) vision rehabilitation and (b) other in-person rehabilitation.

We recognise the need to ensure professionals are able to visit care homes safely. Regular asymptomatic testing is currently being rolled out to all patient-facing National Health Service staff.


While this will cover the majority of professionals visiting care homes, we recognise the important role played by professionals who visit care homes who are not included in the NHS staff testing, such as adult social care staff who provide different forms of rehabilitation. We are using our learning from our previous ‘Visiting Professionals’ pilot to determine the best approach for asymptomatic testing professionals who are not NHS staff.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to respond to the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review recommendations (a) holistically or (b) separately in relation to the three separate health issues, Sodium Valproate, surgical mesh and Primodos.

All recommendations of the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review are being considered carefully. We will update Parliament before the end of the year.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
17th Nov 2020
If he will publish a timescale for the implementation of the recommendations of the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review report, published in July 2020.

We welcome the report and we are considering Baroness Cumberlege’s recommendations carefully.

There are currently no plans to publish a timescale for the implementation of the recommendations.

The report took over two years to compile and we therefore consider it vitally important – for the sake of patients and especially those who have suffered greatly – that we give this independent report the full consideration it deserves.

We will update hon. Members before the end of the year.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the oral contribution of the the Minister for Patient Safety, Mental Health and Suicide Prevention of 9 July, Official Report, Column 1151, what discussions he has had with the Minister on implementing recommendation one of the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review report entitled First Do No Harm, published on 8 July 2020.

Recommendation one of the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review has been implemented.

In my statement to the House of Commons on 9 July following the publication of the Independent Medicines and medical Devices Safety Review, (Official Report, vol. 678, cols 1147-1148), I apologised on behalf of the health and care sector to the patients and families affected by Primodos, sodium valproate and pelvic mesh for the time the system took to listen and respond.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will implement recommendation one of the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review report entitled First Do No Harm, published on 8 July 2020.

Recommendation one of the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review has been implemented.

In my statement to the House of Commons on 9 July following the publication of the Independent Medicines and medical Devices Safety Review, (Official Report, vol. 678, cols 1147-1148), I apologised on behalf of the health and care sector to the patients and families affected by Primodos, sodium valproate and pelvic mesh for the time the system took to listen and respond.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that new NHS 24/7 mental health support lines are (a) accessible to autistic people and (b) are staffed with advisers that have received autism training.

NHS England and NHS Improvement encourages National Health Service 24 hours per day, seven days a week mental health support line services to be universal and inclusive of people with co-existing conditions, including by making appropriate adjustments to support autistic people. This message has been reinforced through a series of webinars and various tools aimed at newly established local open-access crisis services.

In addition to existing training, the NHS England and NHS Improvement Learning Disability and Autism Programme commissioned Autistica to prepare a resource to help new crisis lines adapt to the needs of autistic children and young people, as well as the needs of parents. The resource is being finalised and there will shortly be two webinars to brief and support crisis line staff, managers and commissioners.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many autistic (a) children and (b) adults have contacted mental health services since 23 March 2020.

The data is not available in the format requested.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on autism diagnosis waiting times for (a) children and (b) adults.

We have not yet been able to assess the impact of COVID-19 on autism diagnosis waiting times. NHS Digital started collecting and reporting on diagnosis waiting times in November 2019. These are experimental statistics and NHS Digital is working to improve the data quality and completeness of these statistics for future use.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he has taken to ensure that the mental health needs of girls and young women are met; and what funding has been allocated to mental health provision for girls and young women.

Supporting everyone’s mental wellbeing, including girls and young women, is a priority for this Government. National Health Service mental health services have remained open for business throughout this time, including delivering support digitally and by phone. For those with severe needs or in crisis, NHS mental health providers have established all-age 24 hours per day, seven days a week mental health crisis lines.

We have launched a mental wellbeing campaign for children and young people, extending Public Health England’s Every Mind Matters webpage with content specifically for young people.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 6 October 2020 to Question 94459 on Mental Health Services: Children and Young People, how many people on average have accessed the new Every Mind Matters website each day.

Public Health England and NHS England follow the Information Commissioner’s Office’s guidance whereby website visitors are opted out from being tracked unless they accept the analytics cookie set on the NHS.UK domain which delivers the Better Health-Every Mind Matters website. In the absence of a clear picture from web analytics data, the number of website visits can be estimated based on paid media reports. These indicate 208,020 visits or an average of 6,303 per day since the launch of the new Every Mind Matters parent and youth focused-content on 8 September 2020.

Since the launch of Every Mind Matters the site has received 7.15 million visits (subject to the above caveat around data opt in) and 2.4 million mental health action plans have been completed.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 6 October 2020 to Question 94459 on Mental Health Services: Children and Young People, what the estimated cost to the public purse is of hiring Snapchat influencers to promote the Every Mind Matters campaign.

£20,000 was invested in using 32 influencers to promote mental health self-care messages to young people as part of the Better Health-Every Mind Matters campaign. So far there have been 1.9 million views of this influencer content.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
25th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what comparative assessment his Department has made of the increase in number of prescriptions for (a) benzodiazepines, (b) z drugs, and (c) antidepressants compared with the previous year's figures; and whether his Department will assess the need for increasing withdrawal services.

No recent comparative assessment has been made on the number of prescriptions for benzodiazepines, z drugs, and antidepressants.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many (a) hospital admissions and (b) deaths related to (i) benzodiazepines, (ii) z drugs and (iii) antidepressants were recorded in the last year.

Information on hospital admissions and deaths in hospital settings only related to benzodiazepines and antidepressants is shown in the following tables. We are unable to provide data for Z drugs in the format requested. It should be noted that this is not a count of people, as an individual may have more than one admission in any given period.

The following table shows a count of finished admission episodes (FAEs) in 2019/20 with primary diagnosis of benzodiazepines and antidepressants and a count of FAEs in 2019/20 with any diagnosis of benzodiazepines and antidepressants. Activity in English National Service hospitals and English NHS commissioned activity in the independent sector.

Financial year

Primary diagnosis - benzodiazepines

Primary diagnosis - antidepressants

All diagnosis - benzodiazepines

All diagnosis - antidepressants

2019/20

6,454

14,898

14,402

29,199

Source: Hospital Episode Statistics (HES), NHS Digital

The following table shows a count of finished discharge episodes in 2019/20 with primary diagnosis of benzodiazepines and antidepressants who passed away. Activity in English NHS hospitals and English NHS commissioned activity in the independent sector.

Financial year

Primary diagnosis - benzodiazepines

Primary diagnosis - antidepressants

2019/20

9

16

Source: HES, NHS Digital

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the National Oversight Group overseeing implementations on dependence forming medicines, if he will (a) list the members of the group, (b) announce when the recommendations will be published and (c) state which patient groups and experts are being consulted; and whether the independent review by Professor Dame Carol Black into the misuse of illegal drugs will inform the implementations.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have established an oversight group to oversee the NHS recommendations from Public Health England (PHE)’s prescribed medicines review. The oversight group is jointly chaired by Dr Keith Ridge, Chief Pharmaceutical Officer, and Dr Nikiita Kanani, Primary Care Medical Director for NHS England and NHS Improvement.

The membership of the group includes:

- NHS England and NHS Improvement

- The Department of Health and Social Care

- Public Health England

- The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence

- The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency

- NHS Clinical Commissioners

- NHSX

Further consideration is being given on wider engagement with patient groups, charities and people with lived experience, alongside clinical experts, professional bodies and Royal Colleges, including the potential for a separate advisory stakeholder group to support development and implementation.

The remit of the group is dependence forming prescription medicines, as this is the scope of the PHE review. However, the group will be considering relevant evidence and reviews from a range of sources, including the independent review by Professor Dame Carol Black into illicit drug use.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many prescriptions for (a) benzodiazepines, (b) z drugs and (c) antidepressants were issued in the last year.

The following table shows the number of prescription items prescribed in England in the last year for benzodiazepines, z drugs and antidepressants.

Drug Group

Items

Antidepressants

77,610,982

Benzodiazepines

9,081,258

Z Drugs

5,767,191

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to invest in child and adult mental health services for children and young people up to the age of 25.

We are committed through our NHS Long Term Plan to investing at least £2.3 billion of extra funding a year into mental health services by 2023-24. This will see an additional 345,000 children and young people able to access support through National Health Service-funded services or school- and college-based mental health support teams.

On the 8 September, Public Health England (PHE) launched a mental wellbeing campaign for children and young people. This involves an expansion of PHE’s Better Health-Every Mind Matters website with content specifically for children and young people and their parents and carers. The Every Mind Matters campaign also targets university students with content on dealing with change, promoted via Snapchat influencers, and signposting them to resources from charity partner The Mix, which offers free information and support for under 25s on mental health, as well as relationships, sex, drugs, money and jobs.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he has taken to support the mental health and wellbeing of children in and leaving care.

Supporting children and young people's mental health, including the most vulnerable, is a priority for the Government. We know that mental health needs are more prevalent among looked after children which is why we are working with the Department for Education to develop and trial new high-quality mental health assessments for looked after children. These pilots ensure that young people are assessed at the right time, with a focus on their individual needs as they enter care. The Department for Education has awarded £240,000 to a group of organisations, led by the Anna Freud Centre, to deliver up to nine local pilots over two years.

Our £8 million Wellbeing for Education Return programme will provide schools and colleges all over England with the knowledge and access to resources they need to support children and young people.

The NHS Long Term Plan will see an expansion of specialist services, including crisis care, as part of a comprehensive offer that reaches across mental health services for children, young people and adults.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to help ensure equitable access to contact tracing for people who do not have a smartphone after the Covid-19 contact tracing app is launched on 24 September 2020.

The National Health Service COVID-19 app requires users to be owners of smartphones that can install Apple iOS 13.5 and above and Android Marshmallow and above. This is related to the hardware needed for this Bluetooth technology to work effectively and is the same in all countries with apps using the Google and Apple exposure notification API for contact tracing.

People who do not have a compatible smartphone will still benefit from other people downloading the app. This is because people who use the app will help to break chains of transmission.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 7 September 2020 to Question 82079 on Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Independent Review: Sodium Valproate, whether his Department plans to respond to the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review and the recommendations of Baroness Cumberlege within the next three months.

As I have stated in my response to Question 82079, the recommendations of the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review are being considered carefully.

We do not consider it appropriate to commit to a specific timeframe for a response while these recommendations are being considered. While this report was published on 8 July, it took over two years to compile and we therefore consider it vitally important that it is given full consideration.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he has taken to ensure that child and adolescent mental health services will have adequate capacity to meet demand when the covid-19 lockdown restrictions are lifted.

National Health Service mental health services have remained open and, in his letter to local NHS organisations setting out the third phase of the NHS response to COVID-19, Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England, has asked that local areas maintain the growth in the number of children and young people accessing care mental health care, as set out in the NHS Long Term Plan.

We are also taking action to ensure that children and young people have access to support in schools. Our £8 million Wellbeing for Education Return programme will support staff to respond to the emotional and mental health pressures some children and young people may be feeling. We also continue to establish mental health support teams in and around schools and colleges.

This complements the new Relationships, Sex and Health Education curriculum, which makes mental health a key part of primary- and secondary-school education.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many women of child bearing potential receive prescriptions for Valproate in England.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has been monitoring trends in the prescribing of sodium valproate in women and girls to assess the impact of regulatory restrictions including the introduction of the Pregnancy Prevention Programme in April 2018.

The number of pregnancies estimated to have been exposed to valproate in the United Kingdom during 2018 and 2019 were 370 and 190 respectively. These estimates are extrapolated from data from the Clinical Practice Research Datalink as national data are not collected. No data are available on the number of children harmed by valproate or the number of diagnoses with Fetal Valproate Spectrum Disorder since 2018.

Data from the NHS Business Services Authority show that in the second quarter (April-June) of 2020 13,574 women of child-bearing age (14-45 years) were dispensed with a prescription for valproate in England.

The MHRA is working on developing a valproate registry, the main aims of which would be to monitor the use of valproate in girls and women in the UK and compliance with the current regulatory requirements, and to identify and monitor outcomes in any children born to women on valproate.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many children have been (a) exposed to Valproate in pregnancy, (b) harmed by Valproate in pregnancy and (c) diagnosed with Fetal Valproate Spectrum Disorder since April 2018.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has been monitoring trends in the prescribing of sodium valproate in women and girls to assess the impact of regulatory restrictions including the introduction of the Pregnancy Prevention Programme in April 2018.

The number of pregnancies estimated to have been exposed to valproate in the United Kingdom during 2018 and 2019 were 370 and 190 respectively. These estimates are extrapolated from data from the Clinical Practice Research Datalink as national data are not collected. No data are available on the number of children harmed by valproate or the number of diagnoses with Fetal Valproate Spectrum Disorder since 2018.

Data from the NHS Business Services Authority show that in the second quarter (April-June) of 2020 13,574 women of child-bearing age (14-45 years) were dispensed with a prescription for valproate in England.

The MHRA is working on developing a valproate registry, the main aims of which would be to monitor the use of valproate in girls and women in the UK and compliance with the current regulatory requirements, and to identify and monitor outcomes in any children born to women on valproate.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 19 August 2020 to Question 74648 on Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Independent Review: Sodium Valproate, what his definition is of in due course.

As I have stated in my response to Question 74648, the recommendations of the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review are being considered carefully.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review by Baroness Cumberlege, what the planned timescale is for implementing recommendations 1,2,3 4, and 6 of that report with regard to sodium valproate.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is working with stakeholders to improve compliance with the valproate Pregnancy Prevention Programme which aims to rapidly reduce and eventually eliminate pregnancies exposed to valproate. The MHRA is also working on developing a valproate registry, the main aims of which would be to monitor the use of valproate in girls and women in the United Kingdom and compliance with the current regulatory position, and to identify and monitor any children born to women on valproate.

The Department is carefully considering the recommendations of the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review and will respond in due course.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review by Baroness Cumberlege, what assessment his Department has made of the accuracy of the findings of that review in respect of sodium valproate.

The Department is currently considering the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review and the independent findings in respect of sodium valproate and will respond to the review and the recommendations of Baroness Cumberlege in due course.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to work with (a) Epilepsy Action and (b) other (i) patient groups and (ii) charities to ensure that the recommendations of the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review are implemented.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is working with the Valproate Stakeholder Network (which is composed of over 40 representatives including Epilepsy Action, other charities and patient groups) to improve compliance with the valproate Pregnancy Prevention Programme which aims to rapidly reduce and eventually eliminate pregnancies exposed to valproate. The MHRA is also working on developing a valproate registry, the main aims of which would be to monitor the use of valproate in girls and women in the United Kingdom and compliance with the current regulatory position, and to identify and monitor any children born to women on valproate.

Baroness Cumberlege was asked to review what happened in the three cases and we will consider her recommendations carefully.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
26th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when his Department plans to publish the strategy on addiction; and when a 24-hour helpline for patients needing support for dependence on prescribed medicines will be created.

Due to the pressures of the Covid-19 pandemic on departmental resources, the Addiction Strategy is likely to be published early next year. The development of a time-limited national helpline and associated website was recommended in Public Health England’s review of dependency-forming prescription medicines, published in September 2019. The Department of Health and Social Care is working with NHS England and NHS Improvement to oversee the implementation of the relevant recommendations of the review. This includes considering a number of evidence-based interventions to support patients and reduce dependency on prescription medicines, with an initial focus on opioids. The second part of a major independent review by Professor Dame Carol Black into the misuse of illegal drugs in England was launched on 2 July. The Review findings will inform the development of the Strategy.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to create specialist withdrawal services to help patients who are dependent, providing information on prescribed (a) benzodiazepine and (b) z drug tranquillisers.

We are publishing a new United Kingdom-wide cross-Government addiction strategy in 2020. We will be establishing clear ambitions for reducing drug deaths and including problem gambling for the first time. More detail on the strategy will be announced later this year.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if she will include treatment for patients who have become dependent on prescription drugs in the new cross-government addiction strategy.

We are publishing a new United Kingdom-wide cross-Government addiction strategy in 2020. We will be establishing clear ambitions for reducing drug deaths and including problem gambling for the first time. More detail on the strategy will be announced later this year.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reasons no points have been allocated to ongoing management for epilepsy medication in the General Medical Services contract Quality and Outcomes Framework.

Changes to the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF)- including allocation of points- are agreed as part of wider amendments to the General Medical Services (GMS) Contract. These changes are negotiated by NHS England and the British Medical Association’s (BMA) General Practitioners Committee England. Guidance on the 2019/20 GMS Contract concerning the QOF was published by the BMA and NHS England in April 2019. This guidance includes an epilepsy indicator which states that ‘the contractor establishes and maintains a register of patients aged 18 or over receiving drug treatment for epilepsy’. QOF points are generally weighted to the estimated workload associated with an indicator. Registers generally incur a lower workload than other indicators and therefore tend to attract a lower points value than other types of indicators.

Care of patients with long term conditions in general practice is described in the essential services element of the contract and funded through the global sum payment. Patients should expect to receive high quality care irrespective of whether or not their condition is included in the QOF. The QOF indicators will continued to be reviewed going forward.

It is a Care Quality Commission regulatory requirement for general practitioners (GPs) to follow the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency’s (MHRA) guidance on valproate prescribing. The MHRA advises that ‘Valproate medicines must no longer be used in women or girls of childbearing potential unless a Pregnancy Prevention Programme is in place’.

NHS England are also taking broader action to support implementation of the MHRA pregnancy prevention guidelines. In April 2019, they introduced a new Quality Improvement module on prescribing safety into the QOF. As part of this module they expect practices to audit three measures, one of which is that girls and women of childbearing potential currently being prescribed valproate have had an annual specialist medication review and are taking this in compliance with the pregnancy prevention programme as documented by a specialist in the annual risk acknowledgement form. It is the responsibility of every healthcare professional involved in the prescribing and dispensing of valproate medicines to make sure women are aware of the risks and are on the pregnancy prevention programme.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reasons epilepsy is allocated one point in the General Medical Services Statement of Financial Entitlements (Amendment) Directions 2019; and what steps GPs take to ensure that women of child bearing age who are prescribed Valporate are enrolled in a pregnancy prevention programme.

Changes to the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF)- including allocation of points- are agreed as part of wider amendments to the General Medical Services (GMS) Contract. These changes are negotiated by NHS England and the British Medical Association’s (BMA) General Practitioners Committee England. Guidance on the 2019/20 GMS Contract concerning the QOF was published by the BMA and NHS England in April 2019. This guidance includes an epilepsy indicator which states that ‘the contractor establishes and maintains a register of patients aged 18 or over receiving drug treatment for epilepsy’. QOF points are generally weighted to the estimated workload associated with an indicator. Registers generally incur a lower workload than other indicators and therefore tend to attract a lower points value than other types of indicators.

Care of patients with long term conditions in general practice is described in the essential services element of the contract and funded through the global sum payment. Patients should expect to receive high quality care irrespective of whether or not their condition is included in the QOF. The QOF indicators will continued to be reviewed going forward.

It is a Care Quality Commission regulatory requirement for general practitioners (GPs) to follow the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency’s (MHRA) guidance on valproate prescribing. The MHRA advises that ‘Valproate medicines must no longer be used in women or girls of childbearing potential unless a Pregnancy Prevention Programme is in place’.

NHS England are also taking broader action to support implementation of the MHRA pregnancy prevention guidelines. In April 2019, they introduced a new Quality Improvement module on prescribing safety into the QOF. As part of this module they expect practices to audit three measures, one of which is that girls and women of childbearing potential currently being prescribed valproate have had an annual specialist medication review and are taking this in compliance with the pregnancy prevention programme as documented by a specialist in the annual risk acknowledgement form. It is the responsibility of every healthcare professional involved in the prescribing and dispensing of valproate medicines to make sure women are aware of the risks and are on the pregnancy prevention programme.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what support the Government is providing to Christians in Afghanistan.

Minister for Human Rights Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon addressed the UN Human Rights Council on 24 August to underscore the UK's commitment to protecting the human rights of all Afghan people, including Christians and others at risk of persecution, and holding the Taliban to account. The UK is formally launching a separate resettlement programme, the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme, providing a safe and legal route for up to 20,000 Afghans in the region over the coming years, with 5,000 in the first year. This scheme will include Afghans who face a particular risk from the Taliban, for example because of their role in standing up for democracy and human rights or because of their gender, sexuality or religion.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether his Department operates a red, amber and green rating system for categorising Freedom of Information requests according to their presentational sensitivity.

The FCDO does not operate a RAG rating system to categorise Freedom of Information (FOI) requests. All FOI requests are treated exactly the same, regardless of who the request is from and their occupation.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, how much funding from the public purse the UK Government has contributed to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative in each of the last ten years.

The UK is a strong supporter of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, having given £585 million in funding over the last 10 years and a total of £1.37 billion since 1995. Specifically, funding for each of the last 10 years has been:

2011/12 - £65 million

2012/13 - £40 million

2013/14 - £110 million

2014/15 - £50 million

2015/16 - £65 million

2016/17 - £39 million

2017/18 - £63 million

2018/19 - £50 million

2019/20 - £33 million

2020/21 - £70 million

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, how funding from the public purse the UK Government plans to contribute to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative in each of the next five years.

The UK is a strong supporter of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) having provided £1.37 billion in total since 1995. Future commitments to GPEI will be determined as part of the next Spending Review.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to his Written Statement of 21 April 2021 on UK Official Development Assistance departmental allocations 2021-22, Official Report, HCWS935, in addition to Yemen, Syria, Somalia, and South Sudan which other countries will receive humanitarian aid in 2021; and how much official development assistance has been allocated to each country.

The Foreign Secretary has outlined via Written Ministerial Statement to Parliament the thematic and regional allocations for FCDO ODA spend. Official Development Assistance budgets per country for 2021/22, along with final audited spend for 2020/21, will be published in the Annual Report and Accounts in due course.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
30th Jun 2020
What recent assessment he has made of the level of risk of Russian interference in UK democratic processes; and if the Government will publish the Intelligence and Security Committee's Russia report.

It is, and always will be, an absolute priority to protect our democratic and electoral processes. The Government took steps during the election to protect the safety and security of our democratic processes. The Government worked with a large number of organisations to do this, and would like to thank them for their continued support and work in this area.

As you would expect, the Government examines all aspects of the electoral process, and that work is ongoing. With regards to the Intelligence and Security Committee’s report on Russia, the Prime Minister has cleared the report for publication, which is now a matter for the new Committee.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what support his Department is providing to UK nationals in Wuhan who are unable to access medication.

As the Foreign Secretary said on 30 January, the safety and security of British nationals will always be our top priority. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is in crisis mode to respond to those British Nationals effected by the outbreak of the Coronavirus. Our Embassy in Beijing and consular teams remain in close contact with British nationals in the region to ensure they have the latest information they need. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has also organised a repatriation flight for British Nationals and other entitled persons in Hubei Province which landed on 31 January at RAF Brize Norton.

Heather Wheeler
Assistant Whip
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he or any of the Ministers of his Department use personal email addresses to conduct Government business.

I refer the Hon. Member to the Cabinet Office guidance to departments on use of private emails (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-departments-on-private-email-use). This states that civil servants and Ministers are generally provided with access to Government email systems. Other forms of electronic communication may be used in the course of conducting Government business, in line with security and record-keeping requirements.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, which of his Department's non-executive directors were appointed through open competition.

All HM Treasury Non-Executive Directors were recruited according to the guidance set out in the Corporate governance code for central government departments.

HM Treasury announces the appointments (including reappointment dates) of Non-Executive Directors, as well as their experience, in the Annual Report and Accounts. Our current Non-Executives are covered in the following Annual Report and Accounts.

Annual Report and Accounts 2014-15 (Page 24, 41)

Annual Report and Accounts 2015-16 (Page 41)

Annual Report and Accounts 2018-19 (Page 45)

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, which Minister is responsible for the allocation of the £22 billion of funding for research and development announced in the Queen's Speech 2021.

Many government departments and agencies fund and undertake Research and Development. Departmental allocations are determined at Spending Reviews.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what criteria his Department plans to use for the allocation of the £22 billion of funding for research and development announced in the Queen's Speech 2021.

Many government departments and agencies fund and undertake Research & Development. Decisions on R&D spending beyond 2021-22 will be taken as part of the next Spending Review.

The Government carefully considers its plans to spend public money and how best to ensure value for the taxpayer. Regular spending reviews set budgets across all government departments and provide an opportunity to take a systematic view across all spending.

Further details about the Spending Review will be set out in due course.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what fiscal steps he is taking to support community pharmacies.

We recognise the vital role community pharmacies have played throughout the pandemic, and have put in place a comprehensive package of support:

  • We have provided extra funding for Bank Holiday openings, a new medicines delivery service for shielded patients and a contribution to social distancing for every pharmacy.
  • Between April and July 2020, a total of £370 million in increased advance payments were made to support community pharmacies with cash-flow pressures due to Covid-19.
  • Most community pharmacies have been able to access general Covid-19 business support, including business rate relief and Retail, Leisure, Hospitality grants - we estimate community pharmacies have had access to some £82 million in grants.
  • We provide personal protective equipment (PPE) free of charge and reimburse community pharmacies for PPE purchased.
  • The Government has put forward firm proposals for additional funding to meet extra costs incurred by pharmacies during the pandemic, which are under active discussion with the PSNC.
  • We have also provided non-monetary support such as the removal of some administrative tasks, flexibility in opening hours, support through the Pharmacy Quality Scheme for the sector’s response to Covid-19 and the delayed start of new services.
Steve Barclay
Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will update the EU Settlement Scheme to ensure that people with pre-settled status do not have that status automatically removed from their online permit when they apply for settled status.

Anyone with pre-settled status who applied for settled status on or after 15 July 2021 will continue to see a pre-settled status profile on their eVisa.

For pre-settled status holders who applied for settled status before 15 July 2021 and whose eVisa was updated to show a Certificate of Application (CoA), work is underway to change their eVisas back to a pre-settled status profile automatically.

In the meantime, anyone in this position who would like their eVisa changed back to pre-settled status can contact the UKVI Resolution Centre, who can arrange to manually update their eVisa.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, which of her Department's non-executive directors were appointed through open competition.

Seven Home Office Non-Executive Directors were recruited according to the guidance set out in the Corporate governance code for central government departments.

The Home Office announces the appointments (including reappointment dates) of Non-Executive Directors in the Annual Report and Accounts. Our current Non-Executives are covered in the following Annual Report and Accounts - HO annual report and accounts 2020-21 (publishing.service.gov.uk).

Further information about their experience can be found at Home Office - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she or any of the Ministers of her Department use personal email addresses to conduct Government business.

Home Office Ministers have confirmed they do not use personal accounts to conduct government business.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
8th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the performance and reliability of the View and Prove service for the EU Settlement Scheme.

We have designed our digital services to be highly resilient, with rigorous testing to build assurance, and deployed them across multiple data centres. This ensures customer data is backed up across those data centres, meaning if one fails another will take over, maintaining continuity of service.

Our digital services and their constituent parts are proactively monitored for failures, which will highlight any potential problems to allow support teams to triage and resolve as quickly as possible.

Our dedicated Resolution Centre is able to assist users who are experiencing technical issues with their online immigration status, and where necessary, enable individuals’ status to be verified through alternative means.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether her Department operates a red, amber and green rating system for categorising Freedom of Information requests according to their presentational sensitivity.

The Home Office does not use a red, amber and green rating system for categorising FOI requests according to their presentational sensitivity.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent assessment her Department has made of the ability of third party suppliers to conduct asylum interviews effectively.

Asylum Operations are exploring many options to reduce the number of outstanding asylum claims. Alongside seeking temporary resource from within the Home Office and other government departments, we are also exploring with third-party suppliers, through a proof of concept, to test the viability of whether they can deliver the support required as a temporary, short term measure. An eight-week controlled mobilisation of testing has been confirmed. Once we have completed the proof of concept exercise, an evaluation will be completed, and this will inform any further recommendations or actions.

Asylum interviews have not been outsourced, and at this stage we are only exploring the potential feasibility. The increased interview throughput will help rebalance the system, but also speed up decision making, reduce the number of outstanding cases and support costs.

Asylum Operations will be looking to source resource with the right competency and recent experience in conducting sensitive interviews. To ensure external suppliers are suitably equipped to carry out the role, third-party interviewing officers will complete a bespoke training package, delivered by the qualified asylum operations training team, that has been designed specifically to meet their needs. Anyone who conducts asylum interviews receives thorough training to ensure they are fully equipped for the role.

To guarantee governance and accountability, mechanisms are in place for the oversight of third-party interviews, the department has a quality assurance process which assesses the quality of decisions, interviews and the application of Home Office policy.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent assessment she has made of the potential effect of using third-party suppliers for asylum interviews on the level of outstanding asylums (a) claims and (b) interviews.

Asylum Operations are exploring many options to reduce the number of outstanding asylum claims. Alongside seeking temporary resource from within the Home Office and other government departments, we are also exploring with third-party suppliers, through a proof of concept, to test the viability of whether they can deliver the support required as a temporary, short term measure. An eight-week controlled mobilisation of testing has been confirmed. Once we have completed the proof of concept exercise, an evaluation will be completed, and this will inform any further recommendations or actions.

Asylum interviews have not been outsourced, and at this stage we are only exploring the potential feasibility. The increased interview throughput will help rebalance the system, but also speed up decision making, reduce the number of outstanding cases and support costs.

Asylum Operations will be looking to source resource with the right competency and recent experience in conducting sensitive interviews. To ensure external suppliers are suitably equipped to carry out the role, third-party interviewing officers will complete a bespoke training package, delivered by the qualified asylum operations training team, that has been designed specifically to meet their needs. Anyone who conducts asylum interviews receives thorough training to ensure they are fully equipped for the role.

To guarantee governance and accountability, mechanisms are in place for the oversight of third-party interviews, the department has a quality assurance process which assesses the quality of decisions, interviews and the application of Home Office policy.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
10th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps the Government has taken to mitigate the risk of goods being smuggled into the UK from the EU from 1 January 2021 as a result of the phased introduction to border controls.

The UK has now left the EU, providing a once in a generation opportunity to take back control and strengthen the security of the UK border.

In December, the Government announced a plan to strengthen our border security. This included introducing the collection of pre-arrival goods data to stop smuggling and reduce £5 billion revenue leakage, the power to stop EU criminals at the border once we have ended free movement, the phasing out the use of European ID cards that are regularly used fraudulently given their insecurity compared to passports as well as introducing Electronic Travel Authorisation to provide an enhanced ability to screen arrivals and block threats from entering the UK.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
21st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what her policy is on the return of rejected asylum seekers to Iran.

The UK has a proud history of granting asylum to those who need our protection.

All asylum and human rights claims are carefully considered on their individual merits in accordance with our international obligations under the Refugee Convention and European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

Each individual assessment is made against the background of the latest available country of origin information and any relevant caselaw. Our assessment of the situation in Iran is set out in the relevant country policy and information notes, which are available on the Gov.uk website.

The Home Office only enforces removal to Iran when it and the courts conclude that it is safe to do so, with a safe route of return. By definition, those whose asylum claim have been unsuccessful do not need protection and are not at risk on return.

Enforced removals are carried out in the most sensitive way possible, treating those being removed with respect and courtesy.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
22nd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how much his Department spends on average per annum on recruitment to the (a) Merchant Navy and (b) Royal Navy, by region of the UK.

The annual spend on Royal Navy (RN) and Royal Fleet Auxiliary recruitment incurred by the RN is as follows:

  • Financial Year 20-21 - £62,467,335
  • Financial Year 19-20 - £60,740,041
  • Financial Year 18-19 - £53,073,272
  • Three Year Average - £58,760,216

The spend cannot be broken down to UK regional level.

The Merchant Navy is not a Ministry of Defence organisation. Individual Merchant Navy organisations are responsible for their own recruiting costs.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether he or any Ministers of his Department use personal email addresses to conduct Government business.

Ministers will use a range of digital forms of communication for discussions in line with relevant guidance on information handling and security.

Ministry of Defence Security Policy states that, as a general rule, government information should be processed and stored on government systems, both for security reasons and to preserve the integrity of public records.

Consequently, it should not normally be worked on using private email addresses.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, which of his Department's non-executive directors were appointed through open competition.

Departments follow the principles set out in Cabinet Office/HM Treasury 'Corporate governance in central government departments: code of good practice'. The current Ministry of Defence Non-Executive Directors were recruited through fair and transparent routes, with multiple candidates considered for each appointment. Appointments were made on merit.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 2 June 2021 to Question 6340, on Porton Down: Animal Experiments, on which species of animal were scientific procedures conducted in 2019 and 2020; and how many scientific procedures were conducted on each species.

The numbers of scientific procedures conducted pursuant to the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, by species for 2019 and 2020, are set out in the table below:-

Common name

Species name

2019

2020

Mice

Mus musculus

1,328

1,014

Pig

Sus scrofa domestica

49

47

Marmoset

Callithrix jacchus

58

55

Rat

Rattus norvegicus

56

16

Guinea Pig

Cavia porcellus

0

32

Hamster (Syrian)

Mesocricetus auratus

9

30

Total Procedures

1,500

1,194

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many experiments were conducted on animals by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory on behalf of his Department in (a) 2019 and (b) 2020.

Animal experiments are regulated by the UK Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 (ASPA). Under ASPA, "animal experiments" are referred to as "scientific procedures". In accordance with ASPA, the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) makes an annual report of scientific procedures to the Home Office.

The numbers of scientific procedures using animals conducted at Dstl in 2019 was 1,500 and in 2020 the figure was 1,194.

Animal experiments at present remain a necessary part of Defence research and enable Dstl to develop protective measures for the UK and its Armed Forces that save lives. Examples of protective measures are vaccines and treatments that prevent or reduce the effects of exposure to chemical and biological agents and treatments for traumatic injuries. Dstl does not conduct animal experiments for the development or testing of offensive weapons and the Home Office does not grant licences for these purposes.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
5th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, pursuant to the Answer of 30 January 2020 to Question 7222 Offshore Industry: Discrimination, what recent discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Transport on his proposed review of regulations on the treatment of seafarers.

The provisions of The Equality Act 2010 (Work on Ships and Hovercraft) Regulations 2011 are a matter for the Secretary of State for Transport. Officials from the Government Equalities Office are however liaising with those in the Department for Transport on the forthcoming review.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many experiments were conducted on animals by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory on behalf of his Department in each of the last 10 years.

The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) makes has an active programme to reduce and replace animal experiments and in recent years we have developed a number of alternative methods for testing that do not require animals. We will continue to look for alternatives so that we minimise our use of animals.

Animal experiments are regulated by the UK Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 (ASPA). Under ASPA, “animal experiments” are referred to as “scientific procedures”. In accordance with ASPA, Dstl makes an annual report of scientific procedures to the Home Office.

The numbers of scientific procedures using animals conducted at Dstl Porton Down between 2009 and 2015 have been previously reported to the House as in the table below:

Year

Total

2009

8,452

2010

9,438

2011

9,722

2012

8,830

2013

6,461

2014

4,124

2015

3,249

For the years 2016 to 2018, the numbers of procedures are in the table below. Data for 2019 will be available later this year.

Year

Total

2016

2,747

2017

3,905

2018

1,941

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, which of his Department's non-executive directors were appointed through open competition.

I can confirm that all six of the current Non-Executive Directors within the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government were appointed through fair and open competition. Recruitment campaigns were run in line with standard practice for public appointments as set out in the Cabinet Office guidance.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
22nd Feb 2021
What support he is providing to social housing providers to help meet the net zero emissions target by 2050.

We are providing a range of support to social housing providers on net zero, including technical support for planning improvements, funding supporting innovative approaches to retrofit, and capital funding to deploy low carbon heat at scale. Support is being provided through several schemes, including the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund, Green Homes Grant Vouchers and Local Authority Delivery, the Whole House Retrofit Innovation Programme and the Energy Company Obligation. We are also reviewing the Decent Homes Standard.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many people aged 16 to 25 have become homeless since the start of the covid-19 outbreak in March 2020.

Tackling homelessness and rough sleeping in all its forms is a key priority for this Government and we have taken huge steps this year, working with local authorities and their partners to protect vulnerable rough sleepers during the pandemic. The ‘Everyone In’ campaign has supported over 29,000 vulnerable people, with over 10,000 in emergency accommodation and nearly 19,000 provided with settled accommodation or move on support.

We have also put in place bespoke support for local authorities through our Homelessness Advice and Support Team, which includes dedicated youth homelessness advisor roles that have a commitment to work with local authorities to proactively promote positive joint working across housing authorities and children’s services, offering training, advice and support to all local authorities.

This year we have provided £90,000 to St Basil’s to fund Youth Voice, a training scheme for 40 young homeless people across the country. Youth Voice includes the Youth Homelessness Parliament which provides insight and advice to government on issues affecting young homelessness people.

17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what support the Government is providing to young homeless LGBTQ+ people.

We recognise that many LGBT people who find themselves homeless may have a different experience of homelessness. In the Rough Sleeping Strategy, we announced a range of measures, including undertaking research that is underway with the Government Equalities Office into the nature of LGBT homelessness. The Department has provided local authorities with free training to help tackle issues facing vulnerable groups, including LGBT people. Delivered to frontline workers by Stonewall Housing, the training package sets out why LGBT people may be at greater risk of homelessness, and the barriers LGBT people can face when seeking homelessness support.

We have also put in place bespoke support for local authorities through our Homelessness Advice and Support Team, which includes dedicated youth homelessness advisor roles that have a commitment to work with local authorities to proactively promote positive joint working across housing authorities and children’s services, offering training, advice and support to all local authorities.

23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what proportion of the £4.3 billion provided to local authorities to help deal with costs due to the covid-19 outbreak has been allocated to the cost of running the May 2021 elections.

We are providing local authorities with an unprecedented package of support, including over £4.8 billion of support for?spending?pressures, comprising £3.7 billion of un-ringfenced grants and over £1.1 billion for the Infection Control Fund.?The unringfenced funding will support the pressures?councils?have reported. We have been clear that councils should prioritise services such as adult and children’s social care, public health services and managing excess deaths.

29th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that employers meet their obligations to provide reasonable adjustments to the workplace to ensure that people with hidden or invisible condition are able to (a) access and (b) stay in employment.

The Government is committed to protecting people with disabilities in the workplace. The Equality Act 2010 places obligations on employers in relation to disabled employees and job applicants, including a duty to provide reasonable adjustments. However, the legislation recognises the need to strike a balance between the needs of disabled people and the interests of employers. What is ‘reasonable’ will vary from one situation to another. This is because factors like the practicability of making the adjustment, the cost of the adjustment and the resources available to a business, will vary from one situation to another. Although employers may in some cases make anticipatory adjustments, many will be at the request of the employee, including those where the disability may not be obvious or may be entirely hidden.

The government runs Access to Work, a demand-led discretionary grant scheme that offers up to £59,200 funding per year for in-work support for people whose disability or health condition affects the way they do their job. The scheme is designed to offer support above the level of employers’ statutory obligations under the Equality Act 2010, as well as providing advice to employers on in work support available for their employees which could include reasonable adjustments.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, which of his Department's non-executive directors were appointed through open competition.

All Ministry of Justice Non-Executive Board Members were recruited according to the guidance set out in the Corporate governance code for central government departments.

The Ministry of Justice announces the appointments (including reappointment dates) of Non-Executive Board Members, as well as their experience, in the Annual Report and Accounts. Our current Non-Executives are covered in the following Annual Report and Accounts: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/936835/moj-annual-report-accounts-2019-2020.pdf

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many convictions there have been for in-person electoral fraud since 2010.

The Ministry of Justice has published information on convictions for in-person electoral fraud offences in England and Wales, up to December 2020, available in the ‘Principal offence proceedings and outcomes by Home Office offence code’ data tool, which can be found here:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/987731/HO-code-tool-principal-offence-2020.xlsx

In the data tool linked above, select ‘Personation’ from the ‘Detailed Offence’ drop down list to see records for convictions since 2013.

For the period prior to 2013, please find data on in-person electoral fraud convictions between 2010 and 2020 in the attached table.

In this response, ‘in-person electoral fraud’ has been interpreted to mean the following

offences under the relevant legislation:

  • Personation at local / parliamentary election, Contrary to section 60(1) and 168 of the Representation of the People Act 1983.
  • Aid / abet personation at local / parliamentary election, Contrary to section 60(1) and 168 of the Representation of the People Act 1983.
Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if he will publish the equality impact assessment his Department carried out for enabling outdoor civil marriages.

On 30 June, a time limited statutory instrument was laid to amend the Marriages and Civil Partnerships (Approved Premises) Regulations 2005. This follows a commitment made in 2019 to accelerate plans to allow civil weddings and civil partnerships to be held outside through secondary legislation. The change took effect on 1 July and gives more options to couples and the sector in terms of how civil weddings and civil partnerships are celebrated by allowing all aspects of the ceremony to take place outdoors, within the boundary of the land of which the built premises form part. The proposed location for the outdoor proceedings must be assessed to be seemly and dignified.

This change provides greater flexibility especially during the pandemic when there are important public health considerations to take into account. This is not radical reform and ultimately it does not change the current law’s focus on premises.

These are time-limited amendments to the regulations which came into force on 1 July 2021 and will expire at the end of 5th April 2022. A consultation will be undertaken in the Autumn 2021 to consider the practical impacts of this policy in detail and to enable a later amending Statutory Instrument which is not time limited. A full impact assessment and equality impact assessment will be undertaken on completion of the consultation and will be published in due course.

Amending the 2005 Regulations will benefit many thousands of couples who seek a civil marriage or civil partnership formation on approved premises. The power to make provision in regulations for approved premises is set out in statute and extends only to civil marriage and civil partnership formation. In bringing in these time-limited changes to civil weddings and civil partnerships on Approved Premises, I am content that the department has met its Public Sector Equality Duty.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what his policy is on children visiting their mothers in prison on a socially distanced basis where it is safe for them to do so.

The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) recognises the importance and positive impact that can benefit children and families by visiting offenders in prison. The decision to stop visits was based on public health advice and mirrored the restrictions faced by the whole country, we know the difficult impact this has on mothers in prison and it was not taken lightly.

As a result of the success of these measures, we are now formulating plans for how these restrictions can be cautiously rolled back over the coming weeks and months. We have now reintroduced family visits at some establishments housing female offenders and plan to reintroduce them to the remainder of the female estate over the coming weeks. Currently a single adult visiting can be accompanied by up to two children, but if two adults visits only one child may accompany them. All visitors must live together in the same household except for parents of a prisoner who live apart. Guidance on visiting someone in prison during the pandemic is published on GOV.UK at the following link;

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/visit-someone-in-prison-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic

We are conscious of the impact that these restrictions have on prisoners’ wellbeing and rehabilitation. Taking into consideration the recommendations made in the 2017 Farmer Review and the 2019 Farmer Review for Women, we have invested in various measures to maintain family contact and improve wellbeing. We have provided additional pin credit for phone calls, distributed locked mobile phones for establishments without access to in-cell telephony and deployed new video call technology at all women’s prisons.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
28th Apr 2021
What recent discussions he has had with the Scottish Government on the implementation of the covid-19 vaccination programme in Scotland.

UK Government Ministers are in frequent contact with Scottish Government Ministers on all aspects of the response to Covid-19, including the vaccination programme.

The UK Government's vaccine taskforce has successfully procured the vaccines we need and ensured they are available to all across the whole of the UK.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
10th Mar 2021
If he will have discussions with the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on ensuring that public sector broadcasters uphold obligations on impartiality during election periods in Scotland.

The Secretary of State for Scotland has raised concerns previously about BBC Scotland broadcasting the First Minister's daily press briefing, which so frequently is about SNP politics rather than public health information. In the run-up to the Holyrood elections, BBC Scotland must look carefully at its legal requirement for impartiality.

Iain Stewart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Scotland Office)