Charles Walker Portrait

Charles Walker

Conservative - Broxbourne

Liaison Committee Sub-committee on the effectiveness and influence of the select committee system
13th Feb 2019 - 6th Nov 2019
Liaison Committee (Commons)
6th Nov 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority
31st Oct 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Procedure Committee
12th Jul 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Panel of Chairs
22nd Jun 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority
10th Nov 2015 - 3rd May 2017
Liaison Committee (Commons)
10th Sep 2015 - 3rd May 2017
Procedure Committee
18th Jun 2015 - 3rd May 2017
Panel of Chairs
21st Jun 2010 - 3rd May 2017
Procedure Committee
17th Oct 2012 - 30th Mar 2015
Liaison Committee (Commons)
17th Oct 2012 - 30th Mar 2015
Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority
23rd Jun 2010 - 30th Mar 2015
Public Administration Committee
26th Feb 2007 - 9th May 2011
Scottish Affairs Committee
12th Jul 2005 - 6th May 2010
Draft Marine Bill (Joint Committee)
8th May 2008 - 22nd Jul 2008


Select Committee Meeting
Tuesday 8th February 2022
17:00
Division Votes
Tuesday 11th January 2022
Household Energy Bills: VAT
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 320 Conservative No votes vs 1 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 229 Noes - 319
Speeches
Friday 10th December 2021
Children and Young People with Complex Needs
Sadly, some children and young people are not able to live safely with their families. The significant majority of these …
Written Answers
Friday 14th January 2022
Department of Health and Social Care: Written Questions
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to answer Question 79292, tabled by …
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
None available
Tweets
None available
MP Financial Interests
Monday 1st November 2021
2. (a) Support linked to an MP but received by a local party organisation or indirectly via a central party organisation
Name of donor: William Moores
Address of donor: private
Amount of donation or nature and value if donation in kind: …
Supported Legislation
Wednesday 19th July 2017
Mental Health Units (Use of Force) Act 2018
To make provision about the oversight and management of the appropriate use of force in relation to people in mental …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Charles Walker has voted in 285 divisions, and 20 times against the majority of their Party.

25 Mar 2021 - Coronavirus - View Vote Context
Charles Walker voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 35 Conservative No votes vs 305 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 484 Noes - 76
22 Mar 2021 - Trade Bill - View Vote Context
Charles Walker voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 29 Conservative Aye votes vs 318 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 300 Noes - 318
22 Mar 2021 - Trade Bill - View Vote Context
Charles Walker voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 26 Conservative No votes vs 318 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 319 Noes - 297
10 Feb 2021 - Public Health - View Vote Context
Charles Walker voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 24 Conservative No votes vs 327 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 526 Noes - 24
9 Feb 2021 - Trade Bill - View Vote Context
Charles Walker voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 31 Conservative No votes vs 318 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 318 Noes - 303
19 Jan 2021 - Trade Bill - View Vote Context
Charles Walker voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 34 Conservative No votes vs 319 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 319 Noes - 308
6 Jan 2021 - Public Health - View Vote Context
Charles Walker voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 12 Conservative No votes vs 322 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 524 Noes - 16
1 Dec 2020 - Public Health - View Vote Context
Charles Walker voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 53 Conservative No votes vs 290 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 291 Noes - 78
4 Nov 2020 - Public Health - View Vote Context
Charles Walker voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 33 Conservative No votes vs 308 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 516 Noes - 38
21 Oct 2020 - Public Health - View Vote Context
Charles Walker voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 1 Conservative No votes vs 331 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 333 Noes - 1
21 Oct 2020 - Public Health - View Vote Context
Charles Walker voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 3 Conservative No votes vs 330 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 332 Noes - 4
13 Oct 2020 - Public Health: Coronavirus Regulations - View Vote Context
Charles Walker voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 42 Conservative No votes vs 298 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 299 Noes - 82
6 Oct 2020 - Public Health - View Vote Context
Charles Walker voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 12 Conservative No votes vs 285 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 287 Noes - 17
30 Sep 2020 - Coronavirus Act 2020 (Review of Temporary Provisions) - View Vote Context
Charles Walker voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 7 Conservative No votes vs 330 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 330 Noes - 24
2 Sep 2020 - Recall of MPs (Change of Party Affiliation) - View Vote Context
Charles Walker voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 41 Conservative No votes vs 47 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 55 Noes - 52
30 Nov 2021 - Public Health - View Vote Context
Charles Walker voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 19 Conservative No votes vs 268 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 434 Noes - 23
30 Nov 2021 - Public Health - View Vote Context
Charles Walker voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 32 Conservative No votes vs 259 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 431 Noes - 36
14 Dec 2021 - Public Health - View Vote Context
Charles Walker voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 38 Conservative No votes vs 271 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 441 Noes - 41
14 Dec 2021 - Public Health - View Vote Context
Charles Walker voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 97 Conservative No votes vs 224 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 369 Noes - 126
14 Dec 2021 - Public Health - View Vote Context
Charles Walker voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 60 Conservative No votes vs 258 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 385 Noes - 100
View All Charles Walker 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
Edward Argar (Conservative)
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
(9 debate interactions)
Sajid Javid (Conservative)
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
(6 debate interactions)
Helen Whately (Conservative)
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
(5 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Department of Health and Social Care
(42 debate contributions)
HM Treasury
(12 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Charles Walker's debates

Broxbourne 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).

Charles Walker has not participated in any petition debates

Latest EDMs signed by Charles Walker

Charles Walker has not signed any Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Charles Walker, 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.


Charles Walker has not been granted any Urgent Questions

1 Adjournment Debate led by Charles Walker

Friday 10th December 2021

Charles Walker has not introduced any legislation before Parliament


158 Written Questions in the current parliament

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department
4 Other Department Questions
6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what recent discussions he has had with district councils on the development of county deals; and if he will make a statement.

District council representatives were invited to an online seminar held by the Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government on July 27 2021. Since then a series of meetings have taken place between local representatives, officials and ministers to understand areas’ proposals for county deals; district councils were welcome at these meetings. In discussions thus far, we have been pleased to see collaboration between county and district councils on devolution proposals to deliver better outcomes for their area. Further details on county deals will be set out in the forthcoming Levelling Up White Paper.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment his Department has made of the (a) effectiveness of the that role district councils played in the rapid deployment of the £9 billion covid-19 business support grants programme and (b) impact that role had on preserving businesses and jobs; and if he will make a statement.

The Government has introduced an unprecedented package of support for businesses, including grants for those businesses that are required to close, or which are severely affected by the restrictions put in place to tackle Covid-19 and save lives. Since the start of the pandemic, the Government has allocated a total of over £26 billion on business grants. All Covid-19 Business Grant schemes have been administered through lower tier local authorities in England


The Government recognises the important and valuable contribution that local government employees make to the delivery of excellent public services, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic, which has presented real and complex challenges for local authorities and has put their resources under pressure.  

The Government continues to work closely with local authorities in England to support the implementation of business grants during the Covid-19 pandemic and monitor the distribution of grant funds.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
3rd Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, when the December 2021 round of the Community Ownership Fund will open for bids; and if he will make a statement.

21 successful projects have been announced in the first round of the Community Ownership Fund, supporting communities across the United Kingdom to take ownership of assets and amenities at risk of closure.

We are currently conducting a review of the outcomes of the first round of the Fund. Information on the opening of the next round will be published in the prospectus on GOV.UK shortly.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
5th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, when local authorities will begin to allocate the £1.5 billion made available under the Business Rates Relief Fund announced in March 2021; and if he will make a statement.

The Government announced a £1.5 billion pot of additional business rates relief for properties affected by the COVID-19 pandemic that have not otherwise been eligible for existing reliefs. My Department will publish guidance to help local authorities set up their local schemes once the legislation relating to COVID-19 Material Change of Circumstances provisions has passed.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will (a) list the calendar month for each year from 2004 to 2019 in which the most deaths attributed to seasonal flu occurred and (b) provide the figure for the number of flu deaths that fell within each of those months.

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

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what progress the Government has made on ensuring that UK citizens living overseas retain the right to vote in UK general elections; and if he will make a statement.

I refer the Honourable Gentleman to my answer to PQ133213, published on 11 January 2021.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the accuracy of the finding of the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, published on 9 October 2020, that the average age of death from covid-19 is 82.4 years; and if he will make a statement.

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)
4th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans his Department has to support and invest in medical research charities, as part of the Government's ambition for the UK to be a global science superpower; and if he will make a statement.

The Government is aware of the challenges, caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, that medical research charities are currently facing. We appreciate the globally recognised expertise of these charities, and the substantial contributions they make to our world-leading life sciences sector.

BEIS and the Department of Health and Social Care regularly discuss the impacts of Covid-19 on charity-funded research with the Association of Medical Research Charities. We are continuing to engage with them and receive intelligence on the impacts facing the sector, such as the challenges facing fundraising activities.

The Government already provides significant funding to charities’ research, for example through Research England’s Quality Related (QR) charity support funding. This year charity QR will amount to £204m, to support charity funded research in universities in England and equivalent support is provided in Scotland through devolved funding arrangements. Government has demonstrated its ambitions for research by committing £14.6bn to R&D next year.  This funding will support the life sciences sector within which Medical Research Charities operate alongside other research areas.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what support the Government is providing to the development of nasal spray vaccines such as (a) the Open Orphan and Codagenix collaboration and (b) SaNOtize; and if he will make a statement.

There are over 300 COVID-19 vaccines in development around the world, in addition to the 7 vaccine candidates already secured for the UK. The Vaccine Taskforce is continuing to monitor vaccines in development globally.

Innovate UK is funding a number of COVID-19 vaccine projects with the aim to identify vaccines with alternative mechanisms of action and delivery, improved utility in low and middle-income countries, and greater scalability for mass manufacture.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if his Department will make an assessment of whether covid-19 vaccine nasal sprays would be easier to (a) store, (b) distribute and (c) administer compared to such needle-based vaccines; and in the event that such a nasal spray passes its trial stages, if the Government will support it going forward for regulatory approval for use in all four nations of the UK; and if he will make a statement.

There are over 300 COVID-19 vaccines in development around the world, in addition to the 7 vaccine candidates already secured for the UK. The Vaccine Taskforce is continuing to monitor vaccines in development globally.

Innovate UK is funding a number of COVID-19 vaccine projects with the aim to identify vaccines with alternative mechanisms of action and delivery, improved utility in low and middle-income countries, and greater scalability for mass manufacture.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what guidance his Department is providing to businesses considering relocating overseas on domestic support that businesses might be able to access which could make remaining in the UK a more attractive option; and if he will make a statement.

The UK is one of the best places in the world to start and grow a business as is shown by our position as a leading destination for foreign direct investment. For example , commenting on the publication of the EY 2020 UK Attractiveness Survey, EY’s UK Chief Economist, Mark Gregory, said “The UK’s performance in attracting FDI in the digital economy in 2019 was impressive. The UK is the stand out digital economy in Europe, while UK R&D projects leapt to a decade-high”. Officials in the Department and across the Government stand ready to assist UK businesses keen to grow and make the most of their investments in the UK. Businesses wishing to do so should contact the Department’s enquiry line on 020 7215 5000 where they will receive assistance in contacting the relevant sector team that leads on their sector - in BEIS or in the correct alternative other government department.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans his Department has to review the adequacy of the underwriting and risk processes required in advance of an offer being made of a loan under the (a) Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme Loan and (b) Bounce Back Loan Scheme; and if he will make a statement.

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) are delegated schemes; meaning the decision to lend to a prospective borrower remains at the discretion of the lender. The rules of the schemes are overseen by the Government in conjunction with the British Business Bank.

CBILS is operated on the same basis as fully commercial loans, with lenders conducting the full range of checks they would usually make, subject to the specific eligibility requirements of the scheme. As part of the BBLS application process lenders undertake fraud checks, including Know Your Customer and Anti Money Laundering checks as required. Lenders do not undertake credit checks for BBLS applications and rely on the information provided by the borrower as part of the application. We continue to review the schemes to consider whether further measures can be introduced to reduce the risk of fraud.

The British Business Bank audits accredited lenders against their compliance with the scheme rules and can take action where lenders are not following the appropriate processes.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when (a) nail bars, (b) tanning salons, (c) beauticians and (d) tattoo parlours will re-open as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased; and if he will make a statement.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister made a statement to the House on 23 June where he announce that hairdressers and barbers in England will be able to reopen from 4 July, once they are following the COVID-secure guidelines.

Other close contact services, like tanning salons, beauticians, and tattoo parlours remain closed until further notice.

We are taking a phased, cautious approach to reopening our economy, working with businesses, trade associations and medical experts on the safest way to reopen close contact services like beauty salons, where there is often greater risk of transmission due to prolonged periods of face-to-face contact and close proximity between staff and customers.

We appreciate that this is difficult for some businesses, and we intend to allow close contact services, such as nail bars, to re-open as soon as it is safe to do so. Our approach is guided by the scientific and medical advice, and every step is weighed against the evidence.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
19th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions he has had with so-called umbrella employment companies about waiving the obligation to fund the additional 12 per cent entitlement to holiday pay, to enable contractors of those companies to access the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

The Department has talked to a number of different groups and organisations in relation to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), including representatives of umbrella companies.

Employment rights remain unchanged under the CJRS. Therefore, all workers’ right to holiday accrues to the extent and in the same way it did prior to being placed on to furlough under the CJRS, as provided by the individual’s statutory and contractual rights.

Employers are able to use the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme grant to cover wages paid to their workers, up to 80% of the worker’s usual pay. This includes payments made to a worker on annual leave, but where holiday pay owed exceeds the amount in the grant, the employer is required to make up the difference.

Further guidance to help employers manage holiday pay during Coronavirus is available on gov.uk.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
25th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether the Government plans to compensate people who lost money as a result of the collapse of Football Index; and if she will make a statement.

The Government appreciates the significant impact that the collapse of the novel gambling product Football Index had on former customers. BetIndex, the company which operated Football Index, went into liquidation on 5 November. The process is continuing and it is likely that this will result in some amounts being reimbursed to creditors. There is no compensation scheme for losses caused by a gambling firm ceasing to operate and the government does not think it would be appropriate to use public funds for these purposes.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if she will extend the support available to the events and exhibition industry due to the ongoing impact of the covid-19 outbreak on that sector.

The government recognises the important contribution that events and exhibitions make to the UK’s culture and economy, and the significant challenges the COVID-19 pandemic has presented. We have engaged closely with the sectors affected and listened to their concerns throughout the pandemic. We continue to engage with Her Majesty's Treasury to ensure that support for the events sector remains a focus.

This government has provided significant financial support throughout the pandemic including extending the £1.57 billion package of support for the Culture Recovery Fund with £300 million of additional funding for 21/22, the biggest arts funding package in history. To date, over £1.2 billion has been allocated from the £2 billion Fund, reaching over 5,000 individual organisations and sites.

We would encourage businesses in the events sector to review the initiatives in the government’s support package. Information on the government’s support for businesses and employees can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus/business-support.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many pieces of content his Department's Rapid Response Unit flagged to social media platforms in 2020; and if he will make a statement.

The Government takes the issue of disinformation very seriously. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been vitally important that the public has accurate information and DCMS is leading work across Government to tackle disinformation.

The Counter Disinformation Unit brings together cross-Government monitoring and analysis capabilities. The Unit’s primary function is to provide a comprehensive picture of the extent, scope and impact of disinformation and misinformation regarding COVID-19 and to work with partners to ensure appropriate action is taken. It would not be appropriate for the Unit to provide a running commentary on the volume of content flagged with social media platforms.

Throughout the pandemic, we have been working closely with social media platforms to quickly identify and help them respond to potentially harmful content on their platforms, including removing harmful content in line with their terms and conditions, and promoting authoritative sources of information.

1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many pieces of content the Counter Disinformation Cell flagged to social media platforms in 2020; and if he will make a statement.

The Government takes the issue of disinformation very seriously. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been vitally important that the public has accurate information and DCMS is leading work across Government to tackle disinformation.

The Counter Disinformation Unit brings together cross-Government monitoring and analysis capabilities. The Unit’s primary function is to provide a comprehensive picture of the extent, scope and impact of disinformation and misinformation regarding COVID-19 and to work with partners to ensure appropriate action is taken. It would not be appropriate for the Unit to provide a running commentary on the volume of content flagged with social media platforms.

Throughout the pandemic, we have been working closely with social media platforms to quickly identify and help them respond to potentially harmful content on their platforms, including removing harmful content in line with their terms and conditions, and promoting authoritative sources of information.

15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to reopen the conference, events and exhibitions industry as the covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased; and what assessment his Department has made of the effect on the safe reopening of that industry of the ability of conferences, exhibitions and events to use effective tracking and tracing as a result of the high proportion of pre-registered attendees at those events; and if he will make a statement.

The events industry and its suppliers have been severely affected by the current situation. I fully understand their desire for a reopening date.

Meetings of up to 30 people indoors are now allowed in permitted venues if social distancing can be maintained and the venue can demonstrate that it has followed the Covid-19 guidance.

From 1 August, exhibition and conference centres are allowed to show small groups (of up to 30 people with social distancing requirements) around to view the facilities and plan future events and to enable government-backed pilots to take place. They should not be open fully to host events more widely.

From 1 October, it is expected that events of all types (such as trade shows, consumer shows, exhibitions and conferences) will be allowed at a capacity allowing for compliance with social distancing. As with all aspects of the Government’s response to COVID-19, our decisions have been and will continue to be based on scientific evidence and public health assessments.

We have worked closely with events stakeholders through both the Visitor Economy and Events & Entertainment Working Groups to develop Covid-19 Secure reopening guidance for the business events industry. We continue to meet with the Events Industry Senior Leaders Advisory Panel to discuss the specific issues facing the industry.

Since 11 July, a range of outdoor events have been able to take place - including agricultural shows, literary fairs and car boot sales.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
19th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans the Government has to publish guidance on the opening of dance studios and other providers of activity for young and school-aged children; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister has set out a clear roadmap through which we can begin to resume normal activities safely. The content and timing of future steps, however, will be dependent on the risk posed by the virus.

We recognise that organisations need time to plan and implement guidance. As such, DCMS remains in close contact with its sectors and, as part of that, has launched the Recreation and Leisure taskforce which will support plans for recovery across DCMS sectors. This will be informed by eight working groups, including an Entertainment and Events Working Group and a Sport Working Group that will bring together representatives from the sector as well as medical advisors to develop advice and guidance on reopenings.

3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether training organisations other than Further Education colleges offering English as an additional language (EAL) and LCL accredited qualifications can deliver courses under the Lifetime Skills Guarantee; and what guidance his Department has produced explaining how eligible training organisations register as a provider of courses through that Guarantee.

The Lifetime Skills Guarantee which my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, announced in September 2020, promises to help people across England get the skills they need at every stage of their life as we build back better from COVID-19. We know that now, more than ever, we need to invest in adult skills and training.

As part of this, the Free Courses for Jobs offer gives an estimated 11 million adults in England who are 24 and over and do not yet have A levels or equivalent qualifications the opportunity to take their first level 3 qualification for free. The courses available offer good wage outcomes and address skills needs in the economy, empowering adults with the tools they need to secure a better job.

Providers delivering to adult learners resident in areas not devolved to Mayoral Combined Authorities or the Greater London Authority can deliver level 3 qualifications included in the Lifetime Skills Guarantee if they have received funding for this offer via the recent Adult Education Budget (AEB) procurement, or if they have received funding for the offer via an Education and Skills Funding Agency grant. Any providers with an AEB grant, who did not receive funding for the offer due to a lack of historic delivery, have been able to request funding for first time delivery.

Providers seeking to deliver the qualifications in areas with devolved or delegated adult education functions should contact the relevant Mayoral Combined Authority.

Further details about the performance management and funding arrangements for this policy can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1010290/AEB_2021_to_2022_funding_rules_v2_FINALAugust2021.pdf.

Also under the Lifetime Skills Guarantee, Skills Bootcamps offer free, flexible courses of up to 16 weeks, giving people the opportunity to build up sector-specific skills and fast-track to an interview with a local employer.

In January 2021, we launched a procurement process for a second wave of Skills Bootcamps to be delivered through the 2021/22 financial year. This was open until 12 February to further education providers, employers, and other sector bodies across England. We have carefully evaluated the bids submitted through this competitive process and selected the highest-quality projects to be awarded funding. The list of Skills Bootcamps is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/free-courses-for-jobs. We will continue to update it as new Skills Bootcamps become available.

For learners requiring English for Speakers of Other Languages provision, we fully fund or co-fund adults through the AEB for courses and qualifications from pre-entry through to level 2. Full funding is also available through the AEB for learners who need English and maths skills (and have not previously attained a GCSE grade 4 or higher) to undertake a range of courses from entry level to level 2; and for adult learners with no or low digital skills to undertake new Essential Digital Skills qualifications at entry level and level 1.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether FE and apprenticeship training providers are (a) required to close and (b) may open in specific circumstances during the national covid-19 lockdown announced in January 2021; and if he will make a statement.

Further education (FE) providers will remain open for on-site attendance to vulnerable students and the children of critical workers.

A small number of FE students and apprentices who would otherwise be completing their courses or apprenticeships in January, February or March are able to attend where it is not possible for their training or assessment to be completed remotely.

This includes:

  • Those who are due to do a licence to practise, or other occupational competence, assessment in January, February or March.
  • Those training for some critical worker roles, for example, engineering, health and social care, manufacturing technologies, nursing and subjects and vocations allied to medicine, transportation operations and maintenance, agriculture, education and training and building and construction (where this is connected to utilities and communications) that are due to complete in the next 3 months.

All other students will continue to learn remotely.

We will continue to review restrictions and will ensure that remaining students and apprentices return to face-to-face education as soon as possible.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if his Department will take into account the effect of covid-19 absences on each school teaching faculty when assessing GSCE and A-Level grades for school exam cohorts, in the context of varying regional rates of covid-19; and if he will make a statement.

In light of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, the Government considers that exams cannot be held in a way which is fair. The Department has therefore announced that GCSE, AS and A level exams will not go ahead this summer as planned. To provide further clarity to the sector as soon as possible, Ofqual and the Department have launched a two week consultation on how to fairly ensure all young people are supported to progress to the next stage of their lives.

The Department has confirmed our proposal that, in summer 2021, pupils taking GCSE, AS and A levels regulated by Ofqual should be awarded grades based on an assessment by their teachers. To ensure that grades this year remain meaningful, we propose that they should be based on teachers’ assessments of the evidence of the standard at which their pupils are performing. Grades should indicate pupils’ demonstrated knowledge, understanding and skills.

The Department knows that there has been learning loss, and that some pupils have suffered more disruption to their learning than others. The Department wants pupils to be assessed on the content they have covered and to recognise loss of learning. We propose that there will be flexibility for teachers in what they assess students on. If externally set papers are used, we propose that teachers should also have some choice of the topics on which their students could answer questions. The same principle could apply in assessments conducted by the school or college, while ensuring sufficient breadth of content coverage so as not to limit progression.

In December 2020, the Department confirmed the launch of an expert advisory group to consider the differential impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak on pupils and recommend mitigations for these impacts. In light of the decision to cancel exams, the Department is refocusing this group and is working to finalise the terms of reference and membership. We will ensure that membership is representative of the sector and is geographically diverse. Further details on membership and priorities of the group will be provided in due course.

19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking during the covid-19 outbreak to (a) help schools cover the additional costs incurred and (b) provide additional emergency funding to help meet exceptional costs that would otherwise have been met from schools' reserves where these have been exhausted during the covid-2019 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

The Department has provided a range of additional support to schools, on top of existing budgets, in relation the COVID-19 outbreak.

To cover unavoidable costs incurred between March and July 2020, schools have been eligible to claim for funding for three specific categories of spend:

  • Increased premises related costs associated with keeping schools open over the Easter and summer half term holidays;
  • Support for free school meals for eligible children who were not in school, where schools were not using the national voucher scheme; and
  • Additional cleaning costs required due to confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases, over and above the cost of existing cleaning arrangements.

The Department has paid schools £102 million for all claims in the first claims window within the published scope of the fund, and we will shortly process claims made in the second window that was open in December.

In addition, last term the Department announced a COVID-19 Workforce Fund for schools and colleges, to help those with high staff absences and facing significant financial pressures to stay open. This has funded the costs of teacher absences over a threshold between 1 November 2020 until the end of the autumn term. We expect the schools claims form to be launched in spring 2021.

The Department will fund school and colleges which have remained open for costs relating to testing. We will publish a replacement workforce planning tool which will illustrate the levels of funding available.

In addition, the Department has provided schools with extensive support for online education during the COVID-19 outbreak, and will spend £1 billion over the 2020/21 academic year so that schools can support pupils to catch up.

Schools have continued to receive their core funding throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, regardless of any periods of full or partial closure, with this year marking the first year of a three-year increase to core funding - the biggest in a decade. This will ensure they can continue to pay their staff and meet other regular financial commitments. Schools should use these existing resources when making arrangements for this academic year.

Ministers and officials continue to engage regularly with school leaders and their representatives on a wide range of issues around COVID-19, including discussions in relation to costs faced by schools at this time.

17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what (a) steps he is taking and (b) guidance he has issued to ensure that drama schools that provide training as part of a recognised qualification can open for the teaching of coursework during the November 2020 period of covid-19 lockdown restrictions; and if he will make a statement.

On Saturday 31 October 2020, my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister announced New National Restrictions from Thursday 5 November until Wednesday 2 December to control the spread of COVID-19. On 4 November, the Department for Education published guidance for education and childcare settings on the impact of these restrictions. The guidance can be found through the following link: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/education-and-childcare-settings-new-national-restrictions-from-5-november-2020.

Schools that provide a full-time education should continue to remain open for all children and young people, as they have since the start of the autumn term, for the duration of the New National Restrictions. This includes schools that specialise in in drama, music and/or performing arts, such as Tring Park School for the Performing Arts in Hertfordshire or the BRIT School for Performing Arts and Technology in Croydon.

Where provision is taking place outside of school, this provision should only operate where the provision is reasonably necessary to enable parents to work, search for work, or attend education or training, or where the provision is used for the purposes of respite care, including for vulnerable children. This includes provision by supplementary schools offering drama, music or performing arts activities for children and young people on a part-time basis.

Out-of-school activities that are primarily used by home educating parents as part of their arrangements for their child to receive a suitable full-time education (which can include supplementary schools, tuition centres or private tutors) may also continue to operate.

All other out of school activities, not being primarily used by parents for these purposes, should close for face-to-face provision but can offer remote education for the duration of the New National Restrictions.

Exams and other assessments for regulated qualifications, including regulated qualifications in the performing arts, can go ahead during the restrictions, so long as they are conducted in line with the public health guidance on autumn exams and the guidance specified by the relevant awarding organisation. The guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/responsibility-for-autumn-gcse-as-and-a-level-exam-series/public-health-arrangements-for-autumn-exams.

17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of restricting the exam curriculum for (a) GCSE and (b) A-Levels taken in Summer 2021 to reflect the attendance levels during the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

It is a priority for the Department that there is a consistent approach to what is taught and will be assessed across schools. We know schools will be making every effort, including in areas where there is a high prevalence of COVID-19, to deliver high quality teaching, including through remote education. All schools are expected to plan to ensure any pupils educated at home for some of the time are given the support they need to master the curriculum and make good progress.

Changes to assessments in certain subjects, announced by Ofqual over the summer, will give schools and colleges extra time to plan teaching, and pupils extra time to study. The outcome of Ofqual’s consultation on summer 2021 exams is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/proposed-changes-to-the-assessment-of-gcses-as-and-a-levels-in-2021.

The Department will continue to work with Ofqual and engage widely with the education sector to identify risks to examinations at a national, local, and individual student level, and to consider measures needed to address any potential disruption. This could, for example, be a student unable to sit examinations, or schools affected by a local outbreak. More details will be published shortly.

16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will amend the guidance on the teaching of music in private homes during the covid-19 outbreak to ensure that it includes the private home of the (a) student and (b) teacher, and if he will make a statement.

Music teachers providing one-to-one tuition outside of a school or college setting are advised to provide tutoring online where possible. Where online lessons are not reasonably possible, face-to-face provision is permitted in specific circumstances.

As outlined in the guidance for education and childcare settings on new national restrictions from 5 November, out of school activities such as private tuition may continue to operate during the period of national restrictions, whether in a student’s home or a teacher’s home. The guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/education-and-childcare-settings-new-national-restrictions-from-5-november-2020#ooss. Teachers who are operating out of their own homes or private studios should ensure they are only being accessed for face to face provision by parents if their primary purpose is registered childcare, or where they are providing other activities for children, where it is reasonably necessary to enable parents to work, search for work, undertake training or education, or for the purposes of respite care.

Tutoring that is primarily used by home educating parents as part of their arrangements for their child to receive a suitable full-time education (which could include, for example, private tutors) may also continue to operate for face to face provision for the duration of the national restrictions.

Tutors that continue to operate face-to-face provision during this period should continue to undertake risk assessments and implement the system of controls set out in the protective measures for holiday clubs and after-school clubs and other out-of-school clubs for children during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak guidance, available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/protective-measures-for-holiday-or-after-school-clubs-and-other-out-of-school-settings-for-children-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak/protective-measures-for-out-of-school-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak. Providers operating out of other people’s homes should also implement the guidance on working safely in other people’s homes, which is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/homes.

24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he plans to inform schools of the outcome of their Condition Improvement Fund bid; and if he will make statement.

The outcome of the Condition Improvement Fund 2020-21 bidding round was announced on Monday 29 June. The list of successful applications can be found on here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/condition-improvement-fund-2020-to-2021-outcome

15th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the work being undertaken by the British Association for Shooting and Conservation on (a) promoting lead free and environmentally sustainable shotgun and rifle ammunition and (b) the eventual voluntary phase out of lead ammunition in the next four years; and if he will make a statement.

I continue to welcome the British Association for Shooting and Conservation’s decision to promote the use of lead-free ammunition and its ambition to see an end to lead and single-use plastics in ammunition for taking live quarry within the next four years.

Lead is highly toxic and the majority of its potential uses are regulated to control exposure to humans and the environment. A large volume of lead ammunition is discharged every year over the countryside and research suggests up to a hundred thousand wildfowl die annually in the UK by lead poisoning from spent gunshot.

During debates on the Environment Bill, Defra Ministers recognised the importance of restricting the use of lead shot, and asked officials to look further into the most effective options for tackling the issue.

As a result, Defra has asked the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the Environment Agency (EA) to prepare a UK REACH restriction dossier for lead ammunition. HSE and EA will examine the evidence of risks posed by it on human health and the environment and consider the case for introducing a restriction on lead in ammunition. The process will take approximately two years after which the Secretary of State (with the consent of Scottish and Welsh Ministers) will, on the basis of this review, make a decision on whether to further restrict the use of lead ammunition. These restrictions will explore a ban on the sale of lead shot as well as its use.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 6 July 2021 to Question 25745 on Animal Products: Imports, what plans he has to incorporate the 2016 CITES resolution that well managed and sustainable trophy hunting is consistent with and contributes to species conservation, in any future domestic legislation on trophy hunting.

We are mindful of the importance of protecting our most threatened and endangered species and aware of the recommendations contained in CITES Resolution 17.9 on trade in hunting trophies of endangered species.

This Government is committed to halting and reversing global biodiversity loss and that is why we will ensure that our approach on hunting trophies will be comprehensive, robust and effective and will deliver the change we promised to help protect thousands of species worldwide. We will set out our plans soon.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of bringing forward legislative proposals to ensure that trophy hunting does not limit the ability of (a) private and (b) public landowners to engage in the culling of domestic deer stocks; and if he will make a statement.

Deer management in England and Wales is covered by the Deer Act (1991) which sets out, for example, close seasons and prohibited methods of control. This legislation aims to manage wild deer to achieve the best combination of benefits for the economy, environment, people and communities for now and for future generations. In addition, as set out in the recent English Tree Action Plan, we will develop a national deer management strategy for England.

This Government has also committed to ban the import of hunting trophies from endangered species. Our approach will be comprehensive, robust and effective and will deliver the change we promised to help protect thousands of species worldwide. This action will not prevent landowners from culling deer in the UK. We will be setting out plans soon

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made for the implications of his policies of the 2016 CITES resolution that well managed and sustainable trophy hunting is consistent with and contributes to species conservation; and if he will make a statement.

This Government takes the conservation of endangered species very seriously, which is why we will be banning the import of hunting trophies from endangered species. Our approach will be comprehensive, robust and effective and will deliver the change we promised to help protect thousands of species worldwide. We held a consultation on this issue between 2 November 2019 and 25 February 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic has delayed the publication of the Government response. We will be setting out our plans soon.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will provide a definition of sustainable abstraction in respect of removing water from chalk steam (a) aquifers and (b) rivers; and what criterion his Department takes into account in protecting such water environments from environmental damage.

Restoring England’s internationally important chalk streams is a Government priority.

The Environment Agency (EA) regulates abstraction from chalk streams and aquifers in the same way as from any other source. It set out its approach in a recent policy paper, Managing Water Abstraction.

An abstraction licence is unsustainable if:

  • the River Basin Management Plan actions cannot be achieved because:
    • it contributes to a reason for not achieving the water body flow objective
    • it has caused or contributed to deterioration against the current RBMP baseline
    • increasing abstraction within the limits of the licence risks deterioration
  • it is affecting or could affect a site designated under the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017
  • it is affecting or could affect a site designated under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (Sites of Special Scientific Interest)
  • it could compromise Biodiversity 2020 objectives

For rivers, the EA uses the Environmental Flow Indicator as the default flow required to support Good Ecological Status in water bodies and to prevent deterioration. For existing abstraction, local ecological evidence is used to show whether an abstraction is causing environmental damage.

For groundwater, the EA uses 4 tests to assess groundwater bodies:

  1. Groundwater balance - a numerical quantification based on fully licensed abstraction, recent actual abstraction and recharge.
  2. Check of the water resource availability of any rivers fed by the groundwater body.
  3. Assessment of any saline or other intrusions occurring within the unit because of groundwater abstraction.
  4. Check of the quality of any wetlands fed by the groundwater body.

The EA is developing long term plans to reduce our reliance on chalk streams. The publication of the CaBA Chalk Stream Restoration Strategy later this year will set out recommendations on how to restore and protect England’s chalk streams. The EA is committed to working with all chalk stream stakeholders to better understand what more it can do in both the short and long term to make a difference on the ground.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many abstraction licences have been (a) revoked and (b) altered by the Environment Agency since commencement of its powers under the Water Act 2014; and if he will make a statement.

Since the Water Act 2014 provisions came into force the Environment Agency has (a) revoked 23 abstraction licences and (b) made changes to an additional 172 abstraction licences.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what progress has been made on the Environment Agency’s Restoring Sustainable Abstraction Programme; how many potentially unsustainable licenses it is investigating; and if will make a statement.

The Restoring Sustainable Abstraction (RSA) programme is a key part of the Abstraction Plan (2017) and has changed 320 damaging abstraction licences, returning 47 billion litres of water a year to the environment.

85% of the RSA Programme was completed by 31 March 2020. The Environment Agency is currently investigating 55 remaining, complex licence changes.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when he plans to implement water consumption standards for new houses; what plans he has in place to ensure compliance with those standards; and if he will make a statement.

There are already minimum standards for water efficiency that apply to new homes. Building regulations require that new homes are built to a standard of 125 litres of water used per person per day, or 110 litres per person per day if required by the local authority. The Government consulted on measures to reduce personal water use, including potential amendments to building regulations, last year and intends to publish a response as soon as possible in 2021.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what financial requirements his Department places on housing developers in relation to meeting the costs of providing water and sewerage resources to new developments; and if he will make a statement.

In 2016, Defra published its ‘Water industry: guidance to Ofwat for water and sewerage connections charges’. This guidance covers the rules which Ofwat may set, about the charges that water and sewerage companies may make to developer, self-build, and self-lay customers for connections to their water and sewerage services.

The guidance ensures that Ofwat’s Charging Rules reflect the Government’s policy priorities for the water sector, which include: stable and predictable charges; transparent and customer focused charging; fairness and affordability, and environmental protection.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many catchment management schemes were included in each of the water companies’ environmental programmes agreed by Ofwat in the recent periodic review (PR19), and what proportion those environmental programmes are of all schemes and expenditures in the total PR19 programme; and if he will make a statement.

There are 550 catchment management schemes in the PR19 Water Industry National Environment Programme (WINEP) for England and the National Environment Programme (NEP) for Wales. This is 20% of total WINEP/NEP programmes, which have a combined total of 11084 separate schemes. Water companies were funded £4.8 billion to deliver the environmental improvements WINEP and NEP. This compares with a total PR19 final determination package of £51 billion to water companies for the period 2020 to 2025.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans the Environment Agency has to take steps to improve the quality of chalk streams under River Basin Management Plans under the Water Framework Directive; and if he will make a statement.

The Environment Agency is working with its partners to update the River Basin Management Plans (RBMPs). Actions to improve the quality of chalk streams are being developed in discussion with the new national chalk stream restoration group. The updated RBMPs will include measures to improve low flows by reducing unsustainable abstraction and reducing demand for water, improvements to water quality from point source discharges and diffuse pollution, and actions to improve habitats through river restoration and removal of barriers to fish migration. Taken together these actions will help tackle pressures facing chalk streams.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Environment Agency has taken to consult (a) locally and (b) nationally on the development of River Basin Management Plans; if he will make a statement.

The Environment Agency is working with a range of stakeholders in updating the river basin management plans, including the many catchment partnerships across England.

The Environment Agency has completed two statutory consultations to date as part of updating the plans: the Working Together consultation in 2018 and the Challenges and Choices consultation launched in October 2019. The original 6 month consultation period for Challenges and Choices was extended by 5 months in response to the coronavirus pandemic, closing on 24th September 2020. The Environment Agency received over 600 responses from individuals and organisations. These responses will help to inform the updated plans.

Draft updates to the river basin management plans will be published for consultation in 2021.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what research his Department has undertaken on the effect of pet parasitical treatments on the (a) land-based and (b) water-based natural environment; and if he will make a statement.

The Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) has commissioned a research project, with the University of Sussex, to investigate the potential direct and indirect environmental exposure pathways for cat and dog parasiticide products to assess the significance of veterinary use on levels of neonicotinoids (e.g. imidacloprid) and other parasiticides (e.g. fipronil) in the aquatic environment. No results are available yet from the project.

The VMD has not commissioned any research on the potential effect of pet parasitical treatments on the land-based natural environment as the priority is to assess the impact on the aquatic environment.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether oxo-degradable plastics which are produced in the UK will be excluded from EU Directive 2019/904 Article 5 after the end of the transition period; and if he will make a statement.

The measures taken in EU Directive 2019/904 Article 5 place restrictions on items which can be placed on the market within the EU. Any item listed in Article 5 which is produced in the UK will therefore not be able to be sold in the EU from July 2021.

Waste is a devolved matter. Having left the EU, the UK Government now has the opportunity to reprioritise and refresh our environmental policy. We will be focusing on tackling single-use plastic items in ways that work best for us, including considering alternative approaches to the Directive to deliver the same or better overall outcome.

The Government published a call for evidence last year to help consider the development of product standards or certification criteria for bio-based, biodegradable and compostable plastics as well as to better understand their effects on the environment and our current waste system. We are currently analysing the responses received to inform future policy in this area. More information can be found on the GOV.UK website:

www.gov.uk/government/consultations/standards-for-biodegradable-compostable-and-bio-based-plastics-call-for-evidence.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to page 65 of the Benyon review Into Highly Protected Marine Areas; if he will make it his policy to not assign recreational angling with the red designation that applies to dredging, littering, discharges and commercial fishing; and if he will make a statement.

We welcome the publication of the Review into Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs) on 8 June 2020, which is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/highly-protected-marine-areas-hpmas-review-2019. We will consider Richard Benyon’s report and issue a formal response to him in due course. The panel recommended that HPMAs would represent the upper end of environmental protection and should exclude all extractive activity, including recreational sea angling, to allow for full ecosystem recovery.

Defra recognises the importance of recreational sea angling to the economy, its benefits to the health and welfare of society, and the contribution anglers and angling bodies make to environmental improvements. We appreciate and understand the concerns raised by the recreational sea anglers since publication of the Benyon Review. We would consider the socio-economic impact of HPMAs on all sectors, including recreational sea angling, and consult extensively before any decision to designate a site.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the Benyon Review Into Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs), if he will take steps to ensure that, as in the case of motorised boating, scuba diving, surfing, and personal watercraft, recreational anglers will continue to have access to HPMAs and not be excluded along with mineral extraction, dredging, commercial fishing; and if he will make a statement.

We welcome the publication of the Review into Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs) on 8 June 2020, which is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/highly-protected-marine-areas-hpmas-review-2019. We will consider Richard Benyon's report and issue a formal response to him in due course. The panel recommended that HPMAs would represent the upper end of environmental protection and should exclude all extractive activity, including recreational sea angling, to allow for full ecosystem recovery.

Defra recognises the importance of recreational sea angling to the economy, its benefits to the health and welfare of society, and the contribution anglers and angling bodies make to environmental improvements. We appreciate and understand the concerns raised by the recreational sea anglers since publication of the Benyon Review. We note that the report describes the opportunities that could arise as a result of HPMA introduction, including for recreational fisheries, such as spillover for anglers in adjacent areas. In introducing HPMAs, we note the Panel's recommendation to designate pilot sites by placing them within existing Marine Protected Areas. We would consider the socio-economic impact of HPMAs on all sectors, including recreational sea angling, before any decision to designate a site. Extensive consultation will take place before any decisions are made.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether the Government has powers to attach conditions to the granting of export licenses, in relation to sale and export of riot and crowd control equipment to the US and other countries which if not met could result in a license being cancelled; and if she will make a statement.

My Rt Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade and I have been sorry to see the violence that has taken place in the United States of America.

All export licence applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (‘Consolidated Criteria’). In reaching a decision, the Department for International Trade receives advice from a number of Departments including the Ministry of Defence and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Together, we draw on all available information, including reports from NGOs and our diplomatic missions. The Consolidated Criteria provides a thorough risk assessment framework and requires us to think hard about the impact of exporting any equipment. These are not decisions my Department takes lightly, and we will not license the export of items where to do so would be inconsistent with the Consolidated Criteria.

Any licence granted by my Rt Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade may be subject to conditions. In addition, in line with the Consolidated Criteria, my Department is able to review licences – and suspend or revoke as necessary – when circumstances require. There are currently eight extant licences that may be linked to law enforcement agencies. Six are Open Individual Export Licences (‘OIELs’), which have potential end users that include law enforcement agencies. Two are Standard Individual Export Licences (‘SIELs’), which have numerous potential end users that include law enforcement agencies. There are also 15 Open General Licences (‘OGLs’) for which businesses can register that cover the export of anti-riot gear.

Much information is in the public domain already. We publish information on all export licences issued, refused and revoked on a quarterly and annual basis as official statistics on GOV.UK – at: gov.uk/government/collections/strategic-export-controls-licensing-data – and whilst data on actual exports is not required to be centrally held, the licences issued until the end of December 2019 are available.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what discussions she has had with Cabinet colleagues on the potential future granting or withholding of export licences in relation to crowd and riot control equipment manufactured in the UK and destined for the US; and if she will make a statement.

My Rt Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade and I have been sorry to see the violence that has taken place in the United States of America.

All export licence applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (‘Consolidated Criteria’). In reaching a decision, the Department for International Trade receives advice from a number of Departments including the Ministry of Defence and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Together, we draw on all available information, including reports from NGOs and our diplomatic missions. The Consolidated Criteria provides a thorough risk assessment framework and requires us to think hard about the impact of exporting any equipment. These are not decisions my Department takes lightly, and we will not license the export of items where to do so would be inconsistent with the Consolidated Criteria.

Any licence granted by my Rt Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade may be subject to conditions. In addition, in line with the Consolidated Criteria, my Department is able to review licences – and suspend or revoke as necessary – when circumstances require. There are currently eight extant licences that may be linked to law enforcement agencies. Six are Open Individual Export Licences (‘OIELs’), which have potential end users that include law enforcement agencies. Two are Standard Individual Export Licences (‘SIELs’), which have numerous potential end users that include law enforcement agencies. There are also 15 Open General Licences (‘OGLs’) for which businesses can register that cover the export of anti-riot gear.

Much information is in the public domain already. We publish information on all export licences issued, refused and revoked on a quarterly and annual basis as official statistics on GOV.UK – at: gov.uk/government/collections/strategic-export-controls-licensing-data – and whilst data on actual exports is not required to be centrally held, the licences issued until the end of December 2019 are available.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will take steps to introduce an alternative means of registration and identification for disabled car users to eliminate the problem of blue badge disabled parking discs being taken from cars; and if he will make a statement.

The Department of Transport has no plans to make changes to the legislation that governs the Blue Badge Scheme. The Department works closely with local authorities to improve the consistency of local enforcement to tackle fraud and misuse of the Blue Badge Scheme, including the use of powers to tackle abuse provided in the Disabled Persons Parking Badges Act 2013, such as the power to retain and cancel badges found to be stolen.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions his Department is having with (a) coach operators and (b) the Department for Education on ensuring that there is sufficient capacity within the commercial transport sector to transport children to and from school at the start of the next academic year as a result of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on those providers; and if he will make a statement.

Ministers and officials from my Department have regular meetings with representatives from the coach industry and other government departments on this topic. We continue to work closely with the coach sector to understand what the ongoing risks and issues are, and how these could be addressed.

The Secretary of State for Transport, The Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Baroness Vere of Norbiton have met with ministers and officials from the Department of Education to discuss home to school transport. On 8 August, the Department for Transport announced a further funding package for bus operators with rolling funding at up to £27.3 million per week until a time when the funding is no longer needed. Also on 8 August the Department for Education announced a new £40 million funding package for local authorities to support home to school transport, including the provision of additional coach services.

In addition, the Department for Transport has provided support and grants totalling £7.25 million to local authorities to develop a Travel Demand Management Plan to understand school and work travel patterns and ensure there is safe and sufficient transport for schools.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the covid-19 outbreak, whether trainee driving instructors who are practising for their test will continue to be permitted to instruct learner drivers on a no fee basis; when he plans that DVSA instructor ability tests will resume; and if he will make a statement.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency’s (DVSA) priority throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has been the safety of its staff and the wider public. That remains its priority as it restarts its services.

A trainee licence allows someone preparing for their instructional ability test to consolidate their training by teaching learner drivers. A trainee licence allows trainees to charge those pupils and cover their costs. It is not necessary to hold a trainee licence to prepare for the instructional ability test. A potential instructor could teach learners for practice so long as the pupil does not pay for the lesson or contribute to any costs, such as fuel or insurance.

As different approaches to easing lockdown are currently being adopted across England, Scotland and Wales, the DVSA is following published guidance in each of those countries as it restarts its services safely for its customers and its staff. It will continue to observe the guidance and scale up its services when it is permissible and lawful to do so.

Approved driving instructor part 3 tests (instructional ability) resumed in:

  • England on 22 July 2020

  • Wales on 17 August 2020

  • Scotland – date to be confirmed

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
18th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 17 June 2020 to Question 59192 on Taxis: Coronavirus, which part of that guidance applies to the licensed taxi trade; whether black cabs are allowed to pick up passengers from international airports serving London; and if he will make a statement.

The Coronavirus (COVID-19): how to self-isolate when you travel to the UK guidance instructs those arriving in the UK and required to self-isolate to only use public transport (which includes taxis and private hire vehicles) if they have no other option.

Passengers are advised in the Coronavirus (COVID-19): safer travel guidance for passengers that a face covering should be worn when using a taxi or private hire vehicle and that they may be refused carriage if they do not wear one. Face coverings should also be worn in other enclosed spaces where it is difficult to maintain social distancing, for example, at stations, interchanges and ports.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
12th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to ensure that licensed black cabs can continue to drive people arriving in the UK from international airports to (a) London and (b) surrounding areas after the introduction of the fourteen day quarantine period; and if he will make a statement.

The Government guidance: Coronavirus (COVID-19): how to self-isolate when you travel to the UK advises how those arriving in the UK can reduce the chance of a second wave of coronavirus in the UK and help prevent family, friends and the community from contracting coronavirus, as well as helping to protect the NHS. This includes using public transport only if no other option is available.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
11th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to answer Question 79292, tabled by the hon. Member for Broxbourne on 22 November 2021, regarding coronavirus and vaccination.

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

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if the Government will make an assessment of the potential merits of providing financial compensation to UK citizens who were required to quarantine in hotels for the period starting at 4:00am on 28 November 2021; and if he will make a statement.

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

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he expects the MHRA to license a covid-19 nasal vaccine; and whether approval of nasal vaccines will be fast-tracked in line with injectable covid-19 vaccines; and if he will make a statement.

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

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the Local Authority Services and National Health Service Complaints (England) Regulations 2009 allow for two separate complaints, made by a patient, on the delivery of NHS care and treatment to be investigated concurrently by the relevant professional bodies of qualified healthcare staff; and if will make a statement.

The Local Authority Social Services and National Health Service Complaints (England) Regulations 2009 do allow for two separate complaints made by a patient to be investigated concurrently. There is nothing in the regulations that would prevent this from taking place.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the answer of 20 October 2021 to Question 56847, on the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, if he will provide the details of the people comprising the UK delegation at the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control COP9.

The Deputy Director for Addictions and Inclusion Policy for the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities will lead the delegation COP9, supported by members of the Tobacco Control team and support from the United Kingdom Mission in Geneva.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether provision is being made for observers, outside the national delegations, to attend the Ninth Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP9) to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

The Department has no plans to provide a submission to the Ninth Session of the Conference of the Parties' secretariat ahead of the Conference. The Deputy Director for Addictions and Inclusion Policy at the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities will lead the United Kingdom delegation with support from officials at the UK Mission in Geneva.

Applications to attend as an observer are a matter for the Conference secretariat and consequently, we are not aware of exclusions of third party representatives.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when the UK delegation to the Ninth Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP9) to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control will be announced; and who will form the UK delegation.

The Department has no plans to provide a submission to the Ninth Session of the Conference of the Parties' secretariat ahead of the Conference. The Deputy Director for Addictions and Inclusion Policy at the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities will lead the United Kingdom delegation with support from officials at the UK Mission in Geneva.

Applications to attend as an observer are a matter for the Conference secretariat and consequently, we are not aware of exclusions of third party representatives.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will place a copy of the UK's submission to the Secretariat in the Library in advance of the forthcoming Conference of the Parties of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

The Department has no plans to provide a submission to the Ninth Session of the Conference of the Parties' secretariat ahead of the Conference. The Deputy Director for Addictions and Inclusion Policy at the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities will lead the United Kingdom delegation with support from officials at the UK Mission in Geneva.

Applications to attend as an observer are a matter for the Conference secretariat and consequently, we are not aware of exclusions of third party representatives.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the report of the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review entitled First Do No Harm, what steps the Government is taking to help ensure greater transparency of the reporting of research and sponsorship payments made by medical device manufacturers to (a) doctors, (b) teaching hospitals, (c) research institutions and (d) charities; and if he will make a statement.

The Government’s response to the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review was published on 26 July 2021. The Government accepted in principle the recommendation on the ‘mandatory reporting for the pharmaceutical and medical device industries of payments made to teaching hospitals, research institutions and individual clinicians'. The Department is exploring options in relation to expanding and reinforcing current industry schemes and making reporting mandatory through legislation. We aim to publish an update on progress in summer 2022.

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, what plans the Government has to recognise covid-19 vaccines administered to UK nationals who are living or resident overseas; and if he will make statement.

Individuals, including United Kingdom nationals living overseas, vaccinated in over 100 countries and territories who have had a full course of the Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer BioNTech, Moderna or Janssen vaccines from a relevant public health body are now recognised in the same way as returning fully vaccinated UK residents if they have not visited a ‘red list’ country or territory in the 10 days before arriving in England. We continue to work to expand the list of countries and territories whose vaccine certificates are recognised.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the timeframe is for rolling out the covid-19 booster vaccine to people identified as being clinically extremely vulnerable.

The first COVID-19 booster vaccination was administered on 16 September from 20 September, over 1.5 million people were invited to receive the vaccine.

Booster vaccines will be offered to individuals who received vaccination in phase one of the vaccination programme in priority groups one to nine, including all those aged 16 to 49 years old with underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk of severe COVID-19. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation advises that the dose is offered no earlier than six months after completion of the primary vaccine course, and that the programme should as far as possible be deployed in the same order as phase one.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many deaths recorded within 28 days of positive covid-19 test occurred on each day from (a) 1 August 2020 to 13 September 2020 and (b) on the corresponding days in 2021.

The information requested is shown in the following table.

Date of Death

2020

2021

1 August

9

73

2 August

8

65

3 August

14

66

4 August

10

70

5 August

3

85

6 August

9

79

7 August

7

85

8 August

11

65

9 August

8

68

10 August

11

68

11 August

10

79

12 August

6

91

13 August

7

86

14 August

6

79

15 August

11

70

16 August

4

69

17 August

12

93

18 August

7

78

19 August

2

91

20 August

8

101

21 August

7

87

22 August

6

102

23 August

13

94

24 August

5

102

25 August

11

86

26 August

11

102

27 August

8

104

28 August

8

99

29 August

5

103

30 August

6

88

31 August

7

92

1 September

2

92

2 September

8

100

3 September

6

118

4 September

6

107

5 September

12

106

6 September

8

113

7 September

13

107

8 September

9

96

9 September

9

107*

10 September

12

74*

11 September

10

55*

12 September

18

56*

13 September

14

13*

Source: UK Coronavirus Dashboard - Number of deaths of people who had had a positive test result for COVID-19 and died within 28 days of the first positive test. Data extracted 14 September 2021. https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/details/deaths?areaType=nation%26areaName=England#card-deaths_within_28_days_of_positive_test_by_date_of_death

Note:

*As the above data is based on date of death, data for the most recent days are subject to reporting delay as death reports can take several days to be submitted to Public Health England following the death of a person.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department plans to provide similar guidance to the temporary clinical authorisation granted by the Medicine and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine on 2 December 2020, to the MHRA in regards to the fast-tracking of nasal covid-19 vaccines; and if he will make a statement.

COVID-19 vaccines which can be administered nasally are currently in early clinical trials. Any route to approval of such treatments will be subject to the developer seeking regulatory approval from the United Kingdom’s independent medicines regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what guidance he has published on mixing covid-19 vaccine doses in people aged under 40; and if he will make a statement.

Mixing COVID-19 vaccines is not currently advised, unless in exceptional circumstances as there is currently limited evidence of effectiveness and the duration of protection. Guidance on when mixing COVID-19 vaccines may be appropriate has been published in the Green Book, which provides guidance for public health professionals on use of COVID-19 vaccines in the vaccine deployment programme. This advice is also reflected in the guidance on the vaccination programme for healthcare practitioners.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has plans to make Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy surgery fully available on the NHS; and if he will make a statement.

NHS England routinely commissions selective dorsal rhizotomy palsy, for patients who meet certain criteria, in five hospitals across England with known expertise and recent clinical experience for this procedure.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what criterion his Department will use when deciding on the selection of UK Government accredited observers for the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (COP9); and if he will make a statement.

The criteria for accredited observers is determined by the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the timeline is for selecting the UK Government accredited observers for the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (COP9); and how his Department will notify interested parties of that process.

The United Kingdom delegation for Conference of the Parties (COP9) will be comprised of officials from the Department of Health and Social Care and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, as has been the case for previous COPs. No registration details, agenda or papers for the November COP ninth session are available at present.

The process for the accreditation of other interested parties such as international inter-governmental organizations and non-governmental organizations for the COP is set out by the Secretariat of the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which is available at the following link:

https://fctc.who.int/who-fctc/governance/observers

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, what the distinguishing criteria are between the categories of (a) the Government delegation and (b) observers accredited by the UK Government ahead of the Ninth Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP9).

The United Kingdom delegation for Conference of the Parties (COP9) will be comprised of officials from the Department of Health and Social Care and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, as has been the case for previous COPs. No registration details, agenda or papers for the November COP ninth session are available at present.

The process for the accreditation of other interested parties such as international inter-governmental organizations and non-governmental organizations for the COP is set out by the Secretariat of the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which is available at the following link:

https://fctc.who.int/who-fctc/governance/observers

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what advice his Department has provided to General Practitioners on the provision of in person appointments; and if he will make a statement.

General practice is open and has been throughout the pandemic. Practices must ensure they offer face to face appointments and respect patient preferences for face to face care where clinically appropriate, in line with the NHS England and NHS Improvement’s letter to general practice of 13 May 2021.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to bring (a) tobacco pouches and (b) nicotine pouches within the scope of the Tobacco and Related Product Regulations 2016; and if he will make a statement.

Tobacco pouches are illegal under the Tobacco and Related Product Regulations 2016 (TRPR) (Regulation 17) which states that no person may produce or supply tobacco for oral use in the United Kingdom. Nicotine pouches are not regulated under the TRPR, but they are covered under the General Product Safety Regulations 2005.

The Department is currently undertaking a post implementation review on the TRPR. We are exploring areas of regulation that could be strengthened and we will publish our response later this year.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what criteria are used to determine which countries are red listed for travel as a result of covid-19; and if he will make a statement.

The Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) produces risk assessments of the spread of variants of concern internationally. These risk assessments cover a range of factors for each country including assessment of surveillance and sequencing capability, available surveillance and genome sequencing data, evidence of in-country community transmission of COVID-19 variants, evidence of exportation of new variants to the United Kingdom or other countries and travel connectivity with the UK.

Decisions on ‘red-listing’ are taken by Ministers informed by evidence including the JBC’s analysis as well as other relevant information about the risk of the spread of variant. The list of countries on the red list is kept under constant review.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department takes to ensure that when people choose to opt-out of the REACT covid-19 testing research study that their wishes are recorded and that they cease to be contacted; and if he will make statement.

The REACT study is being conducted by Imperial College London and Ipsos MORI on behalf of the Department. Participation in the REACT study is voluntary and participants can withdraw from the study at any time. This is managed by Ipsos MORI via a dedicated helpline and inbox that handle all queries including opt out. This ensures that participants who opt out will no longer be contacted by the study. If Ipsos MORI receive a request to cease future contact indefinitely, participants’ details are also added to their corporate ‘do not contact’ database, against which all future survey samples are screened.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what support his Department makes available to fund research into (a) Stargardt disease and (b) other inherited retinal diseases; and if he will make a statement.

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) supports research in response to proposals from the research community and welcomes high-quality applications for support into any aspect of human health, including Stargardt’s disease and other inherited retinal diseases.

In the last five years the NIHR directly funded three studies related to Stargardt’s disease for a total of £1.87 million. Six further studies on Stargardt’s disease were additionally supported by the NIHR through Central Commissioning Facility-managed and Clinical Research Network Coordinating Centre infrastructure.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to bring forward proposals in the Green Paper, Advancing our health: prevention in the 2020s, in the upcoming Tobacco Control Plan; and if he will make a statement.

The Prevention Green Paper set out an ambition to go ‘smoke-free’ in England by 2030. We have committed to publishing a new Tobacco Control Plan this summer to outline our Smokefree 2030 plans.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the role that heated tobacco products have to play in helping to achieve England's 2030 smoke-free target; and if he will make a statement.

The latest evidence to the Government, published by the Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food on the 12 December 2017, show that although products still pose harm to users, they are likely to be less harmful than conventional cigarette smoking. Data on the impacts to human health are very limited, and it is recommended that smokers quit completely rather than move to these products. Use of these products has remained low at less than 1% of the adult population in England.

The Government will be publishing a new Tobacco Control Plan for England to outline our Smokefree 2030 vision later this summer.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the efficacy has been of the seasonal flu vaccine, in percentage terms, for people in receipt of it aged 65 and over, in terms of (a) preventing infection, (b) preventing hospitalisation of people infected after receiving the vaccine and (c) preventing influenza being listed as the cause of death for people infected after receiving the vaccination, in each of the last 10 years for which information is available; and if he will make a statement.

Data on the efficacy of the flu vaccine are not available in the format requested.

Public Health England monitors the effectiveness of influenza vaccines each year against all the influenza strains in circulation. Vaccine effectiveness varies from one season to the next. Overall effectiveness has been estimated at between 30-60%. Vaccine effectiveness for each flu season is published in the Annual Flu Report, available from winter 2012/13 is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/annual-flu-reports

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the minimum efficacy threshold is that the NHS sets when commissioning the annual seasonal flu vaccine from the presented candidates, in percentage terms, in terms of (a) preventing serious infection in people in receipt of the vaccine (i) aged 45 to 64 and (ii) aged 65 and over, (b) preventing hospitalisation of people in receipt of the vaccine (i) aged 45 to 64 and (ii) aged 65 and over and (c) preventing death from influenza of people in receipt of the vaccine (i) aged 45 to 64 and (ii) aged 65 and over; and if he will make a statement.

Flu vaccines are assessed for minimum efficacy thresholds at the point of licensure. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is responsible for licensing flu vaccines based on efficacy and safety results from clinical trials in the specific age groups intended for the license application.

The World Health Organization monitors flu globally and each year convenes a vaccine composition group that recommends the strains of flu virus that should be included in the licensed flu vaccines for the forthcoming flu season. The effectiveness of influenza vaccines can vary from year to year depending on a range of factors, including how well the vaccine strain is matched to circulating strains.

The Department and NHS England receive advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) about which vaccines are suitable or preferred for which age groups in the flu programme. The JCVI makes its advice from the available scientific evidence from a variety of sources including clinical and observation studies on the safety and performance of flu vaccines in the United Kingdom and globally. In advance of each flu season, NHS England publishes guidance on the vaccines that are included in the National Health Service programme, based on the JCVI’s, advice alongside operational aspects, such as availability of supply and affordability.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will take steps to establish a Smokefree 2030 Fund in Budget 2021, funded by the tobacco industry, to help the UK meet its smoking reduction targets; and if he will make a statement.

We are unable to comment on announcements for Budget 2021. However, the Government is committed to addressing the harms from tobacco and will set out its ambition for England to be smoke-free by 2030 in a new Tobacco Control Plan to be published this summer.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the 2020 Spending Review, what additional resources he plans to allocate to the NHS to clear the backlog of cancer treatments as a result of the response by the NHS to the covid-19 outbreak; and whether his Department has plans to publish a detailed cancer strategy once that outbreak has concluded.

In August 2020, the National Health Service announced a £160 million initiative to extend access to ‘COVID-19 friendly’ cancer treatments and in October £150 million funding was provided to expand diagnostic capacity. A further £325 million for diagnostic equipment was announced in November’s Spending Review. Cancer patients continue to be prioritised within the additional £1 billion announced within Spending Review 2020 to tackle the elective backlog.

NHS England’s Cancer Recovery Plan sets out the aims and actions needed to recover from the impact of COVID-19, while the NHS Long Term Plan remains the detailed strategy for cancer services and will continue to apply after the pandemic.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
29th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether a Band 4 Immuniser approved to administer the Pfizer vaccine has concurrent approval to administer the Astra-Zeneca vaccine; and if he will make a statement.

Public Health England has developed protocols in accordance with Regulation 247A of the Human Medicines Regulations 2012, inserted into Human Medicines (Coronavirus and Influenza) (Amendment) Regulations 2020, for the administration of both the Pfizer BioNtech and AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines.

The protocols do not specify which professional groups, grades or bands may administer COVID-19 vaccines under them. Instead, the protocols state that registered or non-registered persons may administer the vaccines, as long as they are competent to do so and experienced registered healthcare professionals must adequately supervise any non-professionally qualified persons.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
29th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what data his Department collects on the effect of covid-19 restrictions on (a) addiction and (b) substance abuse rates.

Recent statistical publications by NHS Digital, the Office of National Statistics and Public Health England covering alcohol and substance misuse do not include the pandemic period, so it is difficult to draw conclusions on the full impact of COVID-19 on addiction and substance misuse rates. Data covering this period will be available in late 2021 and we shall monitor all data as it emerges.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason the official with responsibility for mental health, of the equivalent seniority to the Chief Medical Officer and the Government Chief Scientific Officer, has not been invited to take the podium at a televised Number 10 coronavirus press conference; and if he will make a statement.

As Chief Medical Officer, Professor Whitty’s interest covers both mental and physical health. Both the Chief Medical Officer and Chief Scientific Officer are permanent secretary level appointments.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that (a) elderly people and (b) people with underlying health conditions who are housebound receive the covid-19 vaccine in a timely manner within their home; and if he will make a statement.

Local vaccination services play a vital role in reaching those who may be elderly or housebound. These services mobilise general practice, working together in groups of Primary Care Networks plus large and small community pharmacy sites. These services provide the largest number of locations and are well placed to support our highest risk individuals, many of whom already have a trusted relationship with their local health services. They also coordinate and deliver vaccination to people who are unable to attend a vaccination site, including visiting care homes, the homes of housebound individuals and other settings such as residential facilities for people with learning disabilities or autism.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether immunosuppressed people will receive the second dose of the covid-19 vaccine within the recommended three week period; and if he will make a statement.

The Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has recommended that as many people on the JCVI priority list as possible should be offered a first vaccine dose as the initial priority. The four United Kingdom Chief Medical Officers agree with the JCVI that at this stage of the pandemic prioritising the first doses of vaccine for as many people as possible on the priority list will protect the greatest number of at-risk people overall in the shortest possible time. This will have the greatest impact on reducing mortality, severe disease and hospitalisations and in protecting the National Health Service and equivalent health services.

For both vaccines, data provided to the Medicines and Healthcare products and Regulatory Agency demonstrates that whilst efficacy is optimised when a second dose is administered, both offer considerable protection after a single dose, in the short term. For both vaccines the second dose completes the course and is likely to be important for longer term protection.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of prioritising (a) paramedics, (b) healthcare professionals and (c) other staff involved in the transporting of covid-19 patients across regions for covid-19 vaccination; and if he will make a statement.

All frontline healthcare staff who are eligible for seasonal influenza vaccination should be offered the vaccine in phase one of the COVID-19 vaccination programme, including paramedics, healthcare professionals and staff involved in the transporting of COVID-19 patients.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what procedures are in place to ensure the names of the deceased are removed from NHS databases to prevent families receiving letters addressed to someone who has died months or years previously; and if he will make a statement.

We are making improvements to health records to resolve cases where letters have unfortunately been addressed to deceased individuals. Data quality checks are regularly carried out to reduce the number of patients who may be registered with the wrong general practitioner practice or who are no longer patients, either due to death or because they are no longer resident in England.

It is the responsibility of local systems to ensure records are up to date by using the Patient Demographic Service. For letters sent from NHS Digital-based systems, both formal and informal flags relating to status of death are used for assessment prior to sending, which is designed to ensure letters are not sent.

There are recent changes to increase the speed with which a death can be registered which informs Office for National Statistics data. This includes the ability to verify that death has occurred via remote consultation, sending Medical Certificates of Cause of Death electronically to the local registry office and telephone rather than physical appointments with the next of kin to complete registration.

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, whether he plans to simplify the forms that are used to inform deprivation of liberty safeguards decisions; and if he will make an assessment of the extent to which that process requires people to provide duplicate data on behalf of the person they are helping; and if he will make a statement.

Forms for processes under the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) are not prescribed in law. In 2015 the Department supported the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services and others to simplify and improve recommended forms. The number of forms was reduced from 32 to 13. These are available online should local authorities and others wish to use them to discharge their legal duties under DoLS.

The Government has published extensive guidance on the application of DoLS during the pandemic. This includes a single, shortened form for requesting an urgent and standard authorisation.

Although DoLS is due to be replaced by the Liberty Protection Safeguards, until then, it is vital that all bodies with legal duties under DoLS continue to operate these important safeguards to ensure the rights of people without relevant mental capacity are protected.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the planned publication date is of the 2020 Improving Access to Psychological Therapies Workforce Census; and if he will make a statement.

Health Education England has commissioned the NHS Benchmarking Network to complete a census of the Adult Improving Access to Psychological Therapies workforce, as of 31 March 2020. The report is in the final stages of data collection and then will be finalised and, following approval, should be published within the current financial year (31 March 2021).

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government has taken to implement the (a) recommendation to increase the availability of talking therapies as an alternative to psychiatric medication and (b) other recommendations of Public Health England's Prescribed medicines review report, published in September 2019; and if he will make a statement.

The most appropriate form of treatment is a matter for clinicians and patients, based on each patient’s individual clinical circumstances.

Over 1 million people with mental health conditions are now accessing psychological and talking therapies through Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services each year. Under the NHS Long Term Plan, our ambition is that an additional 380,000 people per year will being able to access National Institute for Health and Care Excellence-approved IAPT therapies by 2023/24.

NHS England and NHS Improvement has established a group, chaired by the Chief Pharmaceutical Officer and the Primary Care Medical Director, to oversee implementation of the recommendations for the NHS from Public Health England’s prescribed medicines review, on dependence forming prescription medicines. 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.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the availability of evidence-based talking therapies other than cognitive behavioural therapy in Improving Access to Psychological Therapies services throughout England; and if he will make a statement.

In addition to cognitive behavioural therapy, the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme provides the following National Institute for Health and Care Excellence approved therapies: guided and non-guided self-help through a book or a computer, counselling for depression, psychoeducational peer support, behavioural activation (high and low intensity), eye movement desensitisation reprocessing, interpersonal psychotherapy, mindfulness, collaborative care, couples therapy for depression, brief psychodynamic psychotherapy, structured physical activity, applied relaxation and ante/post-natal counselling.

NHS Digital publishes annual reports on the IAPT programme and this includes a therapy-based outcome analysis, detailing all the therapies available through IAPT services. The latest report can be found at the following link:

https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/psychological-therapies-annual-reports-on-the-use-of-iapt-services/annual-report-2018-19

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to announce the appointment of the new Chair of NHS Resolution; and if he will make a statement.

The assessment process for recruiting a new Chair of NHS Resolution is well advanced and the appointment will be announced in due course.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answers of 30 January 2020 to Question 8193 on Tobacco: Research and Question 8194 on Smoking, when the Government plans to announce the call for evidence to assess further the effectiveness of heated tobacco products in helping people to quit smoking and reducing associated health harms.

In the prevention Green Paper consultation ‘Advancing our health: Prevention in the 2020s’ the Government indicated that we will consider running a call for independent evidence to assess further how effective heated tobacco products are, or are not, in helping people quit smoking and reducing health harms from smoking. This forms part of our commitment to evaluate the evidence on new products. This work is currently paused due to the need to prioritise work on the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

We will consider looking at this at a later date to form part of our smokefree 2030 plans.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the established contact tracing expertise in (a) sexual health services, (b)TB clinics and (c) environmental health services is being used as part of the covid-19 response; and if he will make a statement.

There are currently approximately 1,300 staff working within Public Health England’s (PHE) contact tracing cell, health protection teams and field services across the country, with more recruitment underway to further strengthen support to local outbreaks and incident responses, including COVID-19 contact tracing. New staff come from a range of backgrounds including retired medical personnel, local authority staff, environmental health advisors, sexual health advisors and agency nurses. PHE staff work closely with local authority and National Health Service teams to follow up contacts and manage complex settings.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent discussions he has had with the Home Secretary on ensuring that care homes and care providers can continue to recruit staff from outside the UK in the event that vacancies remain unfilled when advertised to the domestic labour market; and if will make a statement.

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and the Home Secretary have regular discussions about the design of the future Points-Based Immigration system. The independent Migration Advisory Committee has repeatedly advised that migration should not be a solution to workforce shortages in social care. We recognise that the changes to the immigration system and the ending of freedom of movement will mean that social care employers will need to redouble efforts to promote jobs in social care to workers in the United Kingdom.

In order to attract more people into social care, we launched a new national recruitment campaign, ‘Care for others; Make a difference’ and an online platform to fast-track recruitment, which sits alongside many local initiatives that have been put in place to recruit staff.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he is taking steps to enable care homes to access supplies of centrally purchased personal protective equipment; and if he will make statement.

We are doing everything we can to ensure the social care sector has the support it needs during this unprecedented global outbreak. To date, we have released over 172 million items of personal protective equipment (PPE) to designated wholesalers for onward sale to social care providers. As a result, the majority of PPE continues to be sourced by care providers themselves from wholesalers, as it was prior to COVID-19.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent discussions he has had with representatives from the care sector on the role that sector will play in providing the Government with early data in the event of a future increase in cases of covid-19; and if he will make a statement.

Since the start of this pandemic we have been working closely with the care sector, including engaging through regular meetings.

Care home managers and providers are required to contact their local Health Protection Team (HPT) as soon as possible if they have a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19. This enables rapid public health risk assessment and deployment of testing. Data from testing is reported to Public Health England (PHE) daily and formally reviewed weekly in Departmental meetings.

PHE HPTs already work closely with local authorities to monitor the local patterns of COVID-19 infection in the community and care sector.

In addition, in order to receive funding from the infectious Control Fund, Care homes are required to regularly submit data on Covid Case numbers and infection control measures.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to offer (a) financial and (b) other assistance to care homes as a result of the nationwide fall in occupancy rates; and if will make a statement.

We recognise that COVID-19 is imposing significant pressures on the social care sector. We have now made £3.7 billion available to local authorities so they can address pressures on local services caused by the pandemic, including in adult social care.

At the 2019 Spending Review we provided additional funding for adult and children’s social care using pre-COVID-19 occupancy rates. The Government has now provided councils with access to an additional £1.5 billion for adults and children’s social care in 2020/21 on top of maintaining £2.5 billion of existing social care grants.

The Government will continue to monitor pressures in the National Health Service and local government and will keep future funding under review.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that powers in Schedule 21 of the Coronavirus Act 2020 will not be used to coerce people to comply with the voluntary Test and Trace scheme.

We launched the NHS Test and Trace service on 28 May 2020.

We are confident that members of the public will want to play their part in reducing the spread of the virus to keep themselves, their families and communities safe and to protect the National Health Service. This means cooperating with instructions to self-isolate. However, if we find that people are not complying with isolation instructions, we will not hesitate to introduce tougher measures.

The powers in Schedule 21 of the Coronavirus Act 2020 are not designed to be used on a large scale and cannot feasibly be used to enforce compliance with this service. We anticipate that the powers in Schedule 21 will only be used in support of the Government’s COVID-19 response in exceptional individual circumstances and will be based on an assessment carried out by a Public Health Officer.

Data about the use of powers under Schedule 21 is published every two months and can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-act-report-july-2020

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
17th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he will amend the Health protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) Regulations (England) 2020 to clarify that peaceful demonstrations constitute a reasonable excuse for a gathering; and if he will make a statement.

The Government strongly supports the right to peaceful protest; however, this pandemic has led to many of our individual freedoms temporarily being curtailed in order to protect and save lives. Peaceful demonstrations are a vital part of democratic society and we understand the strength of feeling around the death of George Floyd. However, COVID-19 remains a real and present threat to all of us. As the Prime Minister announced in his oral statement to the House on 23 June, Official Report, columns 1167-1170, the social distancing Regulation are being amended from 4 July to allow for increased social contact, however gatherings of 30 or more people will remain illegal.

The management of protests and the use of powers are an operational matter for the police.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
12th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his Department will undertake a review its decision to withdraw funding for the distribution of fruit with free school meals; and if he will make a statement.

It was announced on 18 March that all schools in England would remain open only for a very limited number of pupils (children of key workers and vulnerable children) until further notice. At this time the Government made a decision to pause the School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme (SFVS) so that as little fresh produce as possible would go to waste.

In the Government’s ‘Our Plan to Rebuild’, published on 11 May, primary schools were asked to plan to welcome back nursery, reception, Year 1 and Year 6 pupils as of 1 June 2020. However, it was not possible to restart the SFVS from 1 June.

The Department for Education and schools themselves are ensuring that children who attend school continue to receive healthy and nutritious food at school, as well as making provision to support families usually in receipt of free school meals and whose children are not attending school.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what guidance the Medical Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency has issued in relation to the releasing of results to laboratories analysing test results of swabs provided to them by employers; and if he will make statement.

The release of results to laboratories analysing test results of swabs provided to them by employers is not within the remit of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency and so it has not issued any guidance on this subject.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to evaluate and harness the potential benefits of (a) heated tobacco products and (b) other new technologies in order for the Government to meet its smoke-free target by 2030.

As announced in the Prevention Green Paper, as part of our commitment to evaluate the evidence on new products , we will run a call for independent evidence to assess further how effective heated tobacco products are, or are not, in helping people quit smoking and reducing the associated health harms.

The call for evidence will be announced by summer 2020. We continue to monitor the evidence base on e-cigarettes and novel tobacco products. The next Public Health England annual review is to be published shortly.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Green Paper entitled Advancing our health: prevention in the 2020s, when he will call for independent evidence to assess the effectiveness of heated tobacco products in helping people to quit smoking and reduce the health harms from smoking.

As announced in the Prevention Green Paper, as part of our commitment to evaluate the evidence on new products , we will run a call for independent evidence to assess further how effective heated tobacco products are, or are not, in helping people quit smoking and reducing the associated health harms.

The call for evidence will be announced by summer 2020. We continue to monitor the evidence base on e-cigarettes and novel tobacco products. The next Public Health England annual review is to be published shortly.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether she plans to make any changes to the process of selecting delegates to represent the UK at all Conferences of Parties within the UN treaty system.

There are numerous international Conferences of the Parties (COPs) organised on a range of issues (e.g. Biodiversity COP, Desertification, Chemical Weapons). The UK's engagement with each depends on the specific of these and there is no single process for the selection of delegations. The Government does not plan to introduce one.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what plans she has to introduce guidelines for future delegation selection criteria for all Conferences of Parties within the UN treaty system in response to UK delegations no longer being bound by an EU common position.

There are numerous international Conferences of the Parties (COPs) organised on a range of issues (e.g. Biodiversity COP, Desertification, Chemical Weapons).

The UK's engagement with COPs depends on the specifics of each. The Government has no plans to introduce a set of guidelines for selection criteria for UK delegations. The UK's departure from the EU does not affect that view.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations he has made to his Cypriot counterpart on ensuring that UK nationals residing in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus will still be able to readily cross the Green Line to (a) use facilities on the Greek Cypriot side of the island of Cyprus and (b) access Larnaca airport for travel after the UK leaves the EU on 31 January 2020.

​The Prime Minister has been consistently clear that safeguarding the rights of United Kingdom nationals living in the EU after Brexit is a priority. The Withdrawal Agreement has now received Royal Assent. Under the terms of this Agreement, United Kingdom nationals will be able to travel freely within the EU until the end of the transition period on 31 December. During this time there will be no change to the rules on travel to, from or within Cyprus for United Kingdom nationals, including motorists crossing the Green Line. On 16 January, I discussed arrangements beyond the end of 2020 with the Cypriot Minister of the Interior, building on discussions that the British High Commissioner in Cyprus has taken forward. On 24 January, the High Commissioner also wrote an open letter to the British community on the latest developments. We will keep United Kingdom nationals updated as we have more information.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
29th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what the Government's policy is on the continued use of physical currency in the form of notes and coins; and if he will make a statement.

The Government recognises that cash is important to the daily lives of millions of individuals and businesses across the UK, particularly to those who may be in vulnerable groups.

Therefore, the Government has committed to protecting access to cash for those who need it and ensuring that the UK's cash infrastructure is sustainable for the long term.

The Government made legislative changes via the Financial Services Act 2021 to support the widespread offering of cashback without a purchase, which will allow shops and other businesses to offer a new form of cash withdrawal service to local communities.

On 1 July the Government published a consultation on broader legislative proposals to protect access to cash. These proposals seek to ensure that people only need to travel reasonable distances to pay in or take out cash, and that the right regulatory oversight for cash access is in place for the future. The consultation is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/access-to-cash-consultation.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make it his policy to bring forward the date of payment of the next Self-Employment Income Support Scheme grant; and if he will make a statement.

The fourth Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant will be available to claim from late April.

Grants are now based on 2019-20 tax returns which is the most up to date information HMRC hold for self-employed individuals. As the deadline for 2019-20 tax returns has now passed, HMRC will use these tax returns for the fourth and fifth grants, provided they were submitted by 2 March.

The 2 March cut-off point comes after HMRC gave until 28 February for individuals to file these returns without incurring a late filing penalty. The effect of this is that the Government is now in a position to provide support to hundreds of thousands of newly eligible self-employed individuals.

Using these returns requires time to deliver, due to the increased population and new data. The Government publishes guidance on how to claim the SEISS grants on GOV.UK.

29th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when he plans to publish details on the level of the next Self-Employment Income Support Scheme; and if he will make a statement.

The Government recognises the importance of supporting the self-employed during the COVID-19 outbreak. The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) provides generous support to self-employed people who meet the eligibility criteria.

There will be a fourth SEISS grant covering February to April 2021. Further details on the SEISS, including the fourth grant, will be announced on 3 March.

21st Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the (a) potential merits of the issuance of a 50 year coronavirus recovery bond to cover the debt generated by Government borrowing in the last 12 months and (b) size of the attached interest coupon that would be required to make that product attractive to institutional and retail investors; and if he will a make a statement.

Throughout the past year, the Government had announced an extensive package of measures in order to provide the critical support needed by individuals, families, and businesses facing disruption caused by COVID-19. This has significantly increased the Government’s financing requirement in the near term and, as previously announced by the Chancellor, this additional financing will be fully funded via additional borrowing through the Government’s normal debt management operations.

Our core gilt financing programme is the most stable and cost-effective way of raising finance to fund the day-to-day activities of the Government. This includes the significant funding increase required specifically to address the period of economic disruption arising from COVID-19 and the Government’s policy response. The gilt market is deep and liquid, with a good track record in responding smoothly to increases in gilt supply.

At present, the UK Government does not have any plans to introduce coronavirus recovery bonds to help fund the response to COVID-19. The Government remains open to the introduction of new debt instruments but would need to be satisfied that any new instrument would meet value-for-money criteria, enjoy strong and sustained demand in the long term, and be consistent with wider fiscal objectives. The Government recently announced its intention to issue a first sovereign Green Bond in 2021, for example. We keep the introduction of new debt financing instruments under regular review.

The UK already has comfortably the longest average duration to maturity in its debt stock across the G7, at around 15 years. This compares to around 8 years for our closest G7 peer and helps to reduce refinancing risk in the UK. The conventional and index-linked yield curves stretch out to 2071 and 2068, respectively. When setting gilt issuance plans – including on the average duration of issuance – for the year ahead in the spring, HM Treasury and the Debt Management Office (DMO) seek to minimise, over the long term, the costs of meeting the Government’s financing needs, taking into account risk.

Regarding interest rates, the Government is ultimately a price-taker, with the price of government debt determined by the market. The Treasury and DMO do not have target levels for the yields at which debt is issued. When new instruments are issued, the coupon rate is set with reference to prevailing market rates for bonds of the equivalent maturity.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of supporting commercial coach hire companies in (a) relation to their fuel costs and (b) extending the furlough scheme beyond October 2020 to assist with the payment of drivers' wages for those periods outside the morning and afternoon school runs; and if he will make a statement.

The Government has delivered on its promise to stand by businesses and workers throughout the pandemic and has provided one of the most comprehensive and generous packages of support globally. This support has included billions of pounds for businesses through loans and grants, support for millions of jobs through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS).

Coach companies, along with other businesses, continue to have access to a range of support measures including, but not limited to:

• A Discretionary Grant Fund for Local Authorities in England

•The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)

• The Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBL) for small and micro enterprises

• VAT deferral for up to 12 months (for the period 20 March – 30 June 2020)

• The Time To Pay scheme, through which businesses in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, can receive support with their tax affairs

• Protection for commercial leaseholders against automatic forfeiture for non-payment until September 30, 2020.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme opened to all employers on 20th April.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
2nd Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps the Government has taken to help regulate the advertising of spread-betting sites across television channels; and if he will make a statement.

The Government takes the issue of consumer protection in relation to spread betting very seriously. Spread bets are subject to financial regulation, and as such the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) ensures consumers are properly informed and protected from any harms that arise from them.

On 1 July 2019, the FCA published Policy Statement (PS)19/18 that finalised rules restricting the sale, marketing and distribution of contract for differences (CFDs) and CFD-like options to retail clients in or from the UK. This includes spread bets. These rules include the mandatory inclusion of standardised risk warnings, and restrictions on the monetary and non-monetary incentives that can encourage retail customers to buy these products, when marketing them.

More broadly, the UK Code of Broadcast Advertising (BCAP Code) restricts spread betting adverts so that they can only be placed on specialist financial channels or in the breaks between programming that is on financial issues.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
8th Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what (a) financial and (b) economic modelling his Department is undertaking to assess the effect of the Government's guidance on (a) travelling, (b) social distancing and (c) social gatherings during the covid-19 outbreak on the UK economy; and if he will make statement.

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the UK economy and the Government has taken swift action to deliver unprecedented rescue packages.

While the actions we have taken have come at significant fiscal costs, the costs of inaction would have been far higher.

Treasury officials undertake a wide range of internal analysis to support policy development and advice to ministers. However, the Treasury does not publish forecasts of the economy or the public finances. Indeed, the Office for Budget Responsibility are the UK’s official forecasters.

We continue to monitor the impact of the policies to tackle Covid-19 as circumstances develop. The Chancellor will set out further details on his plans for sustainable and balanced fiscal policy at the next Budget, as the economic and fiscal outlook becomes clearer.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 4 June 2020 to Question 52118, what recent discussions he has had with representatives of the private coach hire sector on the ongoing risks and issues to that sector of the covid-19 outbreak in order to allocate additional funding to support that sector; and if he will make a statement.

Treasury Ministers and officials have meetings with a wide variety of organisations in the public and private sectors, as part of the process of policy development and delivery. Details of ministerial and permanent secretary meetings with external organisations on departmental business are published on a quarterly basis and are available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/hmt-ministers-meetings-hospitality-gifts-and-overseas-travel.

The Government has announced unprecedented support for business and workers to protect them against the current economic emergency including almost £300 billion of guarantees – equivalent to 15% of UK GDP. Coach companies, along with other businesses, may be able to benefit from a range of the available support measures.

There are no plans to make any further statements at this time.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
18th Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will issue guidance to (a) banks and (b) other financial institutions on the timely provision of information to Executors seeking to wind-up estates for probate during the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government, alongside the financial regulators, has been working closely with the financial services industry to ensure that individuals and businesses have the support they need. If anyone has concerns or questions about their banking, including the administration around bereavement, we urge them to speak to their provider. Frontline staff in banks, building societies and credit unions are working tirelessly to deal with a significant volume of customer enquiries.

The treatment of customers by UK firms which are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is governed by its Principles of Business. This includes a general requirement for firms to provide a prompt, efficient and fair service to all of their customers, including those who have recently suffered a bereavement. The Government is also supportive of previous industry efforts to improve handling of these sensitive cases, including the implementation of the British Bankers’ Association’s (now known as UK Finance) Bereavement Principles. These Principles include a commitment from firms to provide support to meet individuals’ needs throughout the bereavement process and to work to resolve everything as quickly and simply as possible.

The Government will continue to work with the FCA and industry to understand how they are handling bereavement processes and policies around probate in the current context.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
12th Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of extending the (a) Business Rates Relief and (b) Hospitality, Retail and Leisure Grant to the food and drink wholesale sector; and if he will make a statement.

The Government recognises that this is a very challenging time for businesses in a wide variety of sectors.

Businesses occupying properties for retail, hospitality or leisure purposes are likely to have been particularly affected by COVID-19 due to their reliance on customer footfall. The Government has provided enhanced support to these businesses through a twelve-month business rates holiday. The Government also recognises that small businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors are less likely than larger businesses to have sufficient cash reserves to meet their high fixed property-related costs. To help these small businesses, the Government created the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund, which gives grants of up to £25,000 to businesses which occupy properties used for these purposes with a rateable value below £51,000.

Local Authorities (LAs) can choose to make discretionary grants to businesses in retail, hospitality and leisure supply chains, like the wholesale food and drink sector, if they feel there is a particular local economic need. The Government has allocated up to an additional £617 million to LAs to enable them to give discretionary grants. While food and drink wholesalers are not one of the priority groups which Government has asked LAs to focus on, LAs may choose to make payments to businesses outside of these priority groups, so long as the business was trading on 11th March, and has not received any other cash grant funded by central Government (with the exception of grants from the SEISS).

Small businesses which are not eligible for business grants should still be able to benefit from other elements of the Government’s unprecedented package of support. The Business Support website provides further information about how businesses can access the support that has been made available, who is eligible, when the schemes open and how to apply - https://www.gov.uk/business-coronavirus-support-finder.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of introducing a Coronavirus Recovery Bond with an above market, fixed coupon to help generate an income return for existing and new small scale investors and savers; and if he will make a statement.

The Government will continue to fulfil its financing requirements via its normal debt management operations. This includes the package of measures to provide the critical support needed by individuals, families and businesses in the wake of COVID-19, which as previously announced by the Chancellor will be fully funded through the Debt Management Office’s (DMO’s) core gilt programme.

The Government also raises finance through National Savings and Investments (NS&I), which operates in the retail sector and offers a number of savings products for retail customers, which can help generate income for small-scale investors. NS&I’s core remit is to raise cost-effective financing for government. In effect, customers’ deposits with NS&I are a form of Government borrowing, and the rates that NS&I offer impact the cost to Government of this borrowing. HM Treasury therefore has a close interest in whether borrowing through NS&I is cost effective when compared with other methods of government financing.

At present, the UK Government does not have any plans to introduce a special gilt in response to COVID-19, nor does it have any plans to introduce a special NS&I product. The Government remains open to the introduction of new debt instruments, but would need to be satisfied that any new instrument would meet value-for-money criteria, enjoy strong and sustained demand in the long-term and be consistent with wider fiscal objectives.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will review the tax charge on company cars in cases where the covid-19 outbreak has reduced their use or resulted in them being unused by the beneficiary.

Where a car is made available to an employee which they can use for private purposes, this represents a taxable non-cash benefit, regardless of whether the employee uses the car.

Normally, HMRC would only consider a company car to be unavailable if it has been physically handed back. However, the Government recognises the challenges faced by households as a result of COVID-19, including restrictions on movement that may prevent a company car from being handed back or collected. Therefore, during this period HMRC will accept that a car is unavailable if its keys are returned and either the contract is terminated or thirty consecutive days pass.

HMRC’s guidance on this can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/how-to-treat-certain-expenses-and-benefits-provided-to-employees-during-coronavirus-covid-19

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
19th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will amend the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme so that sole traders, acting as limited companies, that complete their yearly payroll after 19 March can access that scheme.

To be eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), firms must have created and started a PAYE payroll scheme on or before 19 March 2020; enrolled for PAYE online; and have a UK bank account.

Processing claims for the CJRS where there was no RTI data by 19 March would require much greater manual handling by HMRC and significantly slow down the system, while risking substantial levels of fraud. It would also require greater resource for HMRC when they are already under significant pressure to deliver the system designed.

Individuals may have access to a range of grants and loans depending on their circumstances, including the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, Bounce Back Loan Scheme and the deferral of tax payments.

5th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when vulnerable female Afghan nationals sheltering in Tehran, and other cities and countries outside Afghanistan, will be able to access the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme; and if she will make a statement.

Through the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS), the UK will relocate up to 20,000 people at risk. It will prioritise those who have stood up for values such as democracy and women’s rights in Afghanistan, as well as vulnerable groups, including ethnic and religious minorities. This will include some of those who arrived in the UK under the evacuation programme, which prioritised individuals who were considered to be at particular risk – including women’s rights activists, prosecutors and journalists.

The scheme is not yet open and remains under development. Further information on the eligibility, prioritisation and referral of people for the ACRS is set out in the policy statement published on gov.uk on 13 September, available at www.gov.uk/government/publications/afghanistan-resettlement-and-immigration-policy-statement.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 3 March 2021 to Question Visas on Visas, whether (a) priority and (b) super priority visa services have been fully reinstated in the UK for (i) in-country routes, (ii) study routes and (iii) applications for indefinite leave to remain; and if she will make a statement.

Super Priority and Priority services have been reinstated in the UK for Work and Study routes, including applications for Indefinite Leave to Remain.

It is anticipated these services for Marriage and Settlement routes in the UK will be reinstated by the end of March 2021.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent assessment she has made of whether the 10 working days target for the issuance of the Biometric Residence Permit to EU citizens residing in the UK is being met; what assessment she has made of the average time taken to issue such permits in the most recent period for which figures are available; what steps her Department is taking to improve the process to issue such permits in order to meet that target; and if she will make a statement.

UVKI does not hold figures relating to the number of customers who received their BRP within 10 working days. However, it does have service level agreements with its production provider the Driver and Vehicle Licencing Agency (DVLA) and its secure delivery provider FedEx.

The DVLA have a target of producing 90% of BRPs within 24 hours of receiving the production request and 100% within 48 hours. For the financial year 1 April 2020 to 12 March 2021 DVLA were achieving 71.5% BRPs produced within 24 hours, 97.7% within 48 hours and 2.3% took longer than 48 hours to produce, all of which were produced within 72 hours and was due to a production problem experienced during October 2020. Since October no BRPs have taken longer than 48 hours to produce.

UKVI meets with DVLA weekly to monitor performance. The impacts of Covid-19 restrictions and safe working practices have reduced staffing capacity within the production site and contributed to the delays experienced.

FedEx has a target to attempt first delivery for 99% of BRPs within 48 working hours of collection of the BRP from DVLA. FedEx have recently provided revised data which indicates they have attempted first time delivery within 48 hours for 99.2% of BRPs between 1 July 2020 and end of February 2021.

FedEx has a detailed improvement plan in place, and UKVI meet with them at least twice a week to progress actions within the plan. We are confident we will see improvements in service as they are implemented.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment has been made of the effect on freedom of speech of bringing forward further legislative proposals to limit protests.

In the development of legislation that will allow police to take a more proactive approach in managing highly disruptive protests, the Home Office has paid due regard to the European Convention on Human Rights, most notably articles 10 and 11 which relate to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly and association, respectively.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the timescale is for bringing forward legislative proposals to introduce new police powers to manage protest; and if she will make a statement.

Legislation, that will allow police to take a more proactive approach in managing highly disruptive protests, will be brought forward shortly.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
29th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of extending Tier 5 visas for overseas 18 to 30 year olds; and if she will make statement.

The Youth Mobility Scheme (YMS) is a cultural exchange programme, allowing young people aged 18 to 30 from participating countries and territories to experience life in the UK for up to two years.

The UK currently operates nine Youth Mobility Scheme (YMS) arrangements with Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Korea, San Marino, Japan, Monaco, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. We have indicated our desire to negotiate further agreements with our international partners.

However, as each YMS is subject to a bilateral, reciprocal agreement which also provides benefit to UK Nationals, the Home Office will not add nations to the scheme unilaterally in the absence of such an agreement.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 26 November 2020 to Question 117954, if she will publish which provisions under the Serious Crime Act 2007 which allow for someone engaging in peaceful protest that is in breach of Coronavirus regulations to be detained and/or charged under that Act; and if she will make a statement.

People are required to follow the rules under the current national measures that are in place for large gatherings, including protests. They are in place to protect the public and save lives during this national pandemic.

Sections 44 to 46 of the Serious Crime Act 2007 provide for offences of encouraging or assisting an offence. Whether someone engaging in peaceful protest that is in breach of Coronavirus regulations has committed an offence under sections 44 to 46 of the Serious Crime Act of encouraging or assisting an offence will depend on the circumstances.

Individual decisions on detaining or charging an individual are operational matters for the police and the Crown Prosecution Service.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 18 December 2020 to Question 91956, whether people speaking and attending peaceful protests against the (a) autumn 2020 covid-19 lockdown restrictions and (b) Government's use of powers attached to that lockdown can be (i) arrested and (ii) charged with provisions under in the Serious Crime Act 2007 around the commissioning of an offence and incitement; and if she will make a statement.

Decisions regarding whether to arrest and charge individuals is a matter for the police and the Crown Prosecution Service.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
13th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether the removal of the protest exemption from The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (No. 4) Regulations 2020 makes all protests attended by more than two people illegal during the November 2020 lockdown restrictions; what steps her Department is taking to protect the fundamental right to protest; and if she will make a statement.

The right to peaceful protest is one of the cornerstones of our democracy. However, in these unprecedented circumstances, any gathering risks spreading the disease, leading to more deaths, so it is vital we all play our part in controlling the virus.

People must follow the rules on meeting with others, which apply to all gatherings and therefore protests too. Any larger gatherings, save for very limited exemptions such as funerals, are unlawful. The current measures are time limited and are due to come to an end on 2 December.

As they have done throughout the pandemic, the police and local authorities will engage, explain and encourage people to follow the rules before moving on to enforce the law.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
12th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what progress her Department has made on ensuring that people eligible for compensation under the Windrush scheme have received the financial recompense they are entitled to; and if she will make a statement.

There has been significant outreach and communication activity to publicise the Windrush Compensation Scheme. These events have been promoted by stakeholders and on local and social media. We are now continuing events online: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/windrush-online-engagement-events.

We also work with MPs, local councils and stakeholders to raise awareness and materials on the scheme are available on GOV.UK and have been provided to community groups to try to ensure that all those affected are aware of the scheme.

Our recently published statistics on the payments made under the Windrush Compensation Scheme, show a clear increasing trajectory of payments: £362,997 paid in the first 12 months of the scheme, of which £300,799 was paid in the most recent three months of that period. Comprehensive data can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/windrush-compensation-scheme-data-may-2020.

The Home Office has additionally made offers of approximately £280,000 in compensation through the scheme. Once the offers are accepted by the applicants, the payments will be made.

We work with claimants throughout the process to obtain as much information about the claim as possible. This approach ensures that claimants receive the maximum possible amount to which they are entitled under the scheme.

Priti Patel
Home Secretary
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of allowing recipients of the Territorial Efficiency Medal (TED) to place the award letters post nominally after their name, in line with recipients of the Territorial Decoration (TD); and if he will make a statement.

Reserve forces personnel are fully eligible for all state honours, operational awards, and campaign medals, providing they are recommended and meet the associated eligibility criteria. In addition, they are eligible for the award of the Volunteer Reserve Services Medal (VRSM) when long service and conduct criteria is met - this award is similar in criteria to the award of the Long Service & Good Conduct Medal awarded to qualifying regular service personnel. There are currently no plans to widen the reserves specific medallic recognition and commendation eligibility criteria.

As the Territorial Efficiency Medal and Territorial Decoration are no longer awarded and were replaced in April 1999 by the VRSM, there are currently no plans to review the policy on post nominal recognition for the Territorial Efficiency Medal.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of expanding the range of medals and commendations that can be awarded to men and women serving in the Territorial armed services to increase recognition of their commitment and contribution to the service and protection of the UK; and if he will make a statement.

Reserve forces personnel are fully eligible for all state honours, operational awards, and campaign medals, providing they are recommended and meet the associated eligibility criteria. In addition, they are eligible for the award of the Volunteer Reserve Services Medal (VRSM) when long service and conduct criteria is met - this award is similar in criteria to the award of the Long Service & Good Conduct Medal awarded to qualifying regular service personnel. There are currently no plans to widen the reserves specific medallic recognition and commendation eligibility criteria.

As the Territorial Efficiency Medal and Territorial Decoration are no longer awarded and were replaced in April 1999 by the VRSM, there are currently no plans to review the policy on post nominal recognition for the Territorial Efficiency Medal.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether there is an appeals process for former service men and women, serving in the Territorial armed forces, who missed out on receiving the 2002 Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal as a result of being unable to produce a certificate of efficiency for one or more of the five qualifying years that fell immediately before the awarding of the medal.

The Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal was awarded to all personnel who were in effective military service with the Volunteer Reserve Forces on 6 February 2002 and had completed five annual bounty earning training years, for which a certificate of efficiency would have been received, and who were properly enlisted on, or prior to, 7 February 1997. The annual bounty training year 2001/2002 was required to be one of the five years to count. The total of five annual bounty earning training years could be aggregated.

A former service person who believes that they may have been eligible to receive the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal is welcome to write to the Ministry of Defence to request a review of their circumstances. Medals enquiries may be made by post to: MOD Medal Office, Innsworth House, Imjin Barracks, Gloucester, GL3 1HW; or by e-mail to: dbs-medals@mod.gov.uk

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, for what reason the awarding of the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal to serving members of the Territorial armed services, who had unbroken service for the immediate five years preceding the Jubilee, was dependant on eligible recipients being able to produce a certificate of efficiency for each of those qualifying years; and if he will make a statement.

The Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal was awarded to all personnel who were in effective military service with the Volunteer Reserve Forces on 6 February 2002 and had completed five annual bounty earning training years, for which a certificate of efficiency would have been received, and who were properly enlisted on, or prior to, 7 February 1997. The annual bounty training year 2001/2002 was required to be one of the five years to count. The total of five annual bounty earning training years could be aggregated.

A former service person who believes that they may have been eligible to receive the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal is welcome to write to the Ministry of Defence to request a review of their circumstances. Medals enquiries may be made by post to: MOD Medal Office, Innsworth House, Imjin Barracks, Gloucester, GL3 1HW; or by e-mail to: dbs-medals@mod.gov.uk

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps his Department has taken to notify surviving D-Day veterans of their eligibility for the Légion d'Honneur; and if he will make a statement.

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) supports the French in their award of the Légion d'Honneur to D-Day veterans by administering applications on their behalf. The MOD subsequently informs veterans when their application has gone forward to the French Embassy who act as the interface with the French Government whose award this is.

19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether his Department has any grant funding schemes in place to help local authorities meet the cost of providing more authorised sites for travellers; and if he will make a statement.

The Government encourages local planning authorities to increase the number of traveller sites in appropriate locations and are supporting efforts through the new Affordable Homes Programme. Local authorities, and social housing providers can bid for funding through the £11.5 billion Affordable Homes Programme 2021-26 which will leverage up to £38 billion of private and public investment, and includes funding for permanent traveller sites and transit sites.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what plans he has to ensure that the National House Building Council guarantee for new builds is fit for purpose; and what assessment he has made of the potential merits of ensuring that all new builds are approved and signed off by local authority officers; and if he will make a statement.

It is the responsibility of the Financial Conduct Authority to regulate new build warranties and protect consumers. If a consumer is unhappy with the warranty provider’s action, they can contact the Financial Ombudsman Services and raise a complaint for free.

The Building Safety Regulator will be responsible for oversight of the competence and performance of building control professionals and the building control bodies in which they work, taking a wider view of the professionalism and culture that needs to support building safety in all classes of work, not just in-scope buildings. To do this, we are introducing a system of oversight of the performance of building control bodies (Local Authorities and Approved Inspectors), and a system of individual registration based on competence and adherence to a code of conduct, all overseen by the Building Safety Regulator.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what plans his Department has to bring forward legislative proposals to protect leaseholders from unreasonable charges when they seek to extend the lease on their property; and if he will make a statement.

The Government is committed to promoting fairness and transparency for homeowners and ensuring that consumers are protected from abuse and poor service. We are taking forward a comprehensive programme of reform to end unfair practices in the leasehold market.

Through our reforms, the length of a statutory lease extension will increase to 990 years, from 90 years (for flats) and 50 years (for houses). Leaseholders will be able to extend their lease with zero ground rent on payment of a premium. Leaseholders will also be able to voluntarily agree to a restriction on future development of their property to avoid paying ‘development value’.

The Law Commission’s report on enfranchisement includes recommendations relating to lease extensions, including payment of costs incurred by this process and the terms of the new lease. We will bring forward a response to these and the other remaining Law Commission recommendations in due course.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what statutory guidance has been provided to Local Planning Authorities on seeking water companies’ advice on risks to water resources from proposed major housing developments; and if he will make a statement.

Water companies are already statutory consultees on local plans under The Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012. Water supply and quality are considerations in strategic environmental assessment and sustainability appraisal. Sustainability appraisal objectives could include preventing deterioration of current water body status, and seeking opportunities to improve water bodies. The National Planning Policy Framework sets out that local planning policies and decisions should prevent new or existing development from contributing to unacceptable levels of water pollution. Development should wherever possible help to improve local environmental conditions such as water quality. The Framework is supported by our on-line planning guidance, revised in July last year, available on GOV.UK. This sets out how planning can ensure water quality and the delivery of adequate water and wastewater infrastructure. The guidance explains how development plans can steer potentially polluting development away from the most sensitive areas, particularly those in the vicinity of drinking water supplies.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps he can take against lenders that continue to require the provision of an EWS1 form in cases where the building or property falls outside the scope of that requirement; and if will make a statement.

The EWS1 process is not a Government or regulatory requirement. Whether an EWS1 is needed is determined by lenders and the professionals valuing a building - not all lenders ask for an EWS1. The Department is pleased that industry has confirmed flats in blocks without cladding will be clearly excluded from the process. Government will continue to work with industry to support a more proportionate approach.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will issue guidance to local authorities on making available Government-backed business rates relief to showground and funfair businesses; and if he will make a statement.

In response to COVID-19 the Government has provided a 100 per cent business rates holiday for eligible retail, hospitality and leisure properties in England, for 2020-21, worth over £10 billion.

My Department published guidance to help local authorities implement the scheme. The guidance states that eligible properties are those wholly or mainly used as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues; those used by visiting members of the public for assembly and leisure; or hotels, guest and boarding premises and self-catering accommodation. It is for local authorities to decide, having regard to the guidance, whether showground and funfair properties fall within these categories.

21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, when he plans to consult on his Department's proposals to tackle the issues relating to (a) rent arrears accrued as a result of the covid-19 outbreak in the private rental sector and (b) the associated risk of homelessness as a result of those arrears; and if he will seek the views of (i) Generation Rent, (ii) the Association of Residential Letting Agents, (iii) the National Residential Landlords Association, (iv) Shelter, (v) Crisis and (vi) the Citizens' Advice Bureau; and if he will make a statement.

We regularly engage with a range of stakeholders on different issues relating to the private and social rented sector, as well as closely monitoring the issues of rent arrears and the risk of homelessness in the private rented sector as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has established an unprecedented package of support to protect renters throughout the Covid-19 pandemic with, support for businesses to pay staff salaries and strengthening the welfare safety-net with over 9 billion boost to the welfare system. This includes an extra £1 billion to increase Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates so that they cover the lowest 30 per cent of market rents.

For those renters who require additional support, there is an existing £180 million of Government funding for Discretionary Housing Payments made available this year, an increase of £40 million from last year, which is for councils to distribute to support renters with housing costs.

This Government remains committed to tackling homelessness and ending rough sleeping and is clear that no one should be without a roof over their heads. We have provided £5.7 billion to help councils to manage the impacts of COVID-19 which includes their work to support homeless people.

We are also providing a Flexible Homelessness Support Grant of £200 million to help local authorities plan and respond to their local homelessness pressures alongside delivering the Homelessness Reduction Grant of £63 million to implement the Homelessness Reduction Act, and to enable local authorities to do more to prevent and relieve homelessness in their areas.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
12th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, when he plans to issue additional guidance to religious organisations on the opening of churches to conduct wedding ceremonies, and if he will make a statement.

To protect public safety, weddings are among the social and religious events that can’t take place at this time. We understand the inconvenience and disappointment this will cause.

In Step 2 of our Roadmap to Recovery strategy we said that we would examine how to enable people to gather to facilitate small marriage ceremonies. Government continues to look at this issue in great detail to see what will be possible while minimising risk.

We understand the frustration couples waiting to marry must be feeling, and as with all COVID-19 restrictions, we will look to ease them as soon as it is safe to do so.

1st Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, pursuant to the Answers of 27 October 2021 to Questions 58755 and 58756, on Crimes against the Person: Members, for what reason his Department does not specifically record and track those convictions related to attacks and threats made against Members of Parliament; and if he will make a statement.

Centrally held courts and prisons data is recorded under a series of offence definitions, which align with legislation, and only includes characteristics related to the victim where it is central to the statutory offence (e.g. age of victim in some sexual offences). We do not otherwise collect details about the victim, such as their occupation or place of employment.

James Cartlidge
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (and Assistant Government Whip)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many people are currently serving a prison sentence for attacking or threatening a Member of Parliament; and if he will make a statement.

Any form of intimidation, harassment, or violence against people in public life is completely unacceptable. The majority of incidents targeting MPs involve malicious online communications. However, we know that MPs can face physical threats and that on occasion some have been attacked, with two tragically losing their lives in the last decade. That someone should lose their life in an attack is horrendous and sickening – such incidents are an attack on democracy itself. The Government’s priority is the safety and security of the UK and those who live here.

Information on convictions and sentencing outcomes (including prisons data) for (a) attacking and (b) threatening a Member of Parliament is not recorded in a way that is easily identifiable. A wide range of criminal offences may apply, and access to individual court / prisoner records would be required to identify individual cases involving relevant offences and whether the victim was a Member of Parliament.

The Ministry of Justice has published information on convictions and immediate custodial sentences for broader offences, up to December 2020, available in the ‘Outcomes by Offence’ data tool at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/987715/outcomes-by-offence-2020.xlsx

Published information on numbers of people currently serving a prison sentence for broader offences, up to 30 June 2021, is available in table A1.5i, at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1006270/Population_30June2021_Annual.ods

James Cartlidge
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (and Assistant Government Whip)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many people have been convicted for (a) attacking and (b) making threats against Members of Parliament in each year from 2010 to 2021; how many of those convictions resulted in a custodial sentence; and if he will make a statement.

Any form of intimidation, harassment, or violence against people in public life is completely unacceptable. The majority of incidents targeting MPs involve malicious online communications. However, we know that MPs can face physical threats and that on occasion some have been attacked, with two tragically losing their lives in the last decade. That someone should lose their life in an attack is horrendous and sickening – such incidents are an attack on democracy itself. The Government’s priority is the safety and security of the UK and those who live here.

Information on convictions and sentencing outcomes (including prisons data) for (a) attacking and (b) threatening a Member of Parliament is not recorded in a way that is easily identifiable. A wide range of criminal offences may apply, and access to individual court / prisoner records would be required to identify individual cases involving relevant offences and whether the victim was a Member of Parliament.

The Ministry of Justice has published information on convictions and immediate custodial sentences for broader offences, up to December 2020, available in the ‘Outcomes by Offence’ data tool at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/987715/outcomes-by-offence-2020.xlsx

Published information on numbers of people currently serving a prison sentence for broader offences, up to 30 June 2021, is available in table A1.5i, at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1006270/Population_30June2021_Annual.ods

James Cartlidge
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (and Assistant Government Whip)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps he is taking to reduce the time taken to grant probate; and if he will make a statement.

The most recently published information regarding combined waiting times for a grant of probate, on paper and digital cases, covers April 2021 to June 2021 and is published on gov.uk via Family Court Statistics Quarterly (Table 25):

Family Court Statistics Quarterly: April to June 2021 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

The average length of time taken for a grant of probate following receipt of the documents required has been maintained at between four to six weeks, despite the unprecedented challenges faced by the Probate Service during the Covid 19 pandemic.

HMCTS continues to collaborate with service and its users to enhance the service and latest information on this can be found at: https://insidehmcts.blog.gov.uk/2021/08/06/collaborating-is-key-to-enhancing-probate-users-experience-of-using-myhmcts/

The improvement of the online probate system remains a priority for HMTCS to ensure it is accessible to all applicants and they find it simpler and easier to understand.

Tom Pursglove
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the merits of transferring people who remain on Imprisonment for Public Protection sentences despite their abolition in 2012; and if he will make a statement.

There are no plans to transfer those still serving IPP sentences on to other types of sentence. Where prisoners serving an IPP sentence have completed their minimum term and not yet been released, it is because the independent Parole Board has determined that their risk remains too high for them to be safely managed in the community. It would, therefore, be irresponsible to change their IPP sentence into one which guarantees their automatic (and, in many cases, immediate) release, when we know that the Parole Board has concluded that they are not safe to be released.

All IPP prisoners who have passed their tariff date have their cases regularly reviewed by the independent Parole Board. Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) have been and continue to review the cases of post tariff IPP prisoners who have failed to achieve release or progression to open prison conditions, despite two or more parole reviews, as well as those who received a tariff of 2 years or under. These reviews enable HMPPS Psychology Services to consult with those managing prisoners in order to shape pathways towards progression. As of October 2020, over 1,500 reviews have taken place, with 339 IPP prisoners from this cohort having achieved release, and a further 422 a progressive move to open conditions.

We will continue to ensure that IPP prisoners are given every opportunity to progress towards the point where the Parole Board judges that their risk may now be effectively managed in the community. Our primary responsibility is to protect the public.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what estimate he has made of the number of fines wrongfully issued under (a) the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 and (b) Schedule 21 of the Coronavirus Act 2020.

HMCTS are not able to assess the number of fines wrongfully issued under (a) the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 and (b) Schedule 21 of the Coronavirus Act 2020 as we do not hold this data on our Magistrates and/or Crown Court systems.

The Crown Prosecution Service have conducted and publicised a very early review of all prosecutions brought under the Act and all those brought under the regulations. Their findings have been published as follows:

March/April: https://www.cps.gov.uk/cps/news/cps-announces-review-findings-first-200-cases-under-coronavirus-laws

Number of cases finalised (March & April)

Number incorrectly charged

Health Protection Regulations: 187 cases

Withdrawn

7

Returned to Court

5

Total

12

Coronavirus Act: 44 cases

Withdrawn

31

Returned to Court

13

Total

44

May: https://www.cps.gov.uk/cps/news/cps-review-finds-improvements-coronavirus-charging-compliance

Number of cases finalised (May)

Number incorrectly charged

Health Protection Regulations: 84 cases

Withdrawn

8

Returned to Court

0

Total

8

Coronavirus Act: 9 cases

Withdrawn

8

Returned to Court

1

Total

9

June: https://www.cps.gov.uk/cps/news/latest-findings-cps-coronavirus-review

Number of cases finalised (June)

Number incorrectly charged

Health Protection Regulations: 105 cases

Withdrawn

6

Returned to Court

0

Total

6

Coronavirus Act: 36 cases

Withdrawn

35

Returned to Court

1

Total

36

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)