Charlotte Nichols Portrait

Charlotte Nichols

Labour - Warrington North

Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill
2nd Mar 2022 - 8th Mar 2022
European Statutory Instruments Committee
10th Feb 2020 - 2nd Nov 2021
European Scrutiny Committee
2nd Mar 2020 - 2nd Nov 2021
Shadow Minister (Equalities Office)
14th May 2021 - 14th Sep 2021


Department Event
Monday 23rd May 2022
14:30
Department for Education
Oral questions - Main Chamber
23 May 2022, 2:30 p.m.
Education (including Topical Questions)
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Department Event
Monday 23rd May 2022
16:30
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
First Delegated Legislation Committee - Debate - General Committee
23 May 2022, 4:30 p.m.
The draft Contracts for Difference (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2022
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Select Committee Meeting
Tuesday 24th May 2022
10:45
Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee - Oral evidence
Subject: Energy pricing and the future of the Energy Market
24 May 2022, 10:45 a.m.
At 11.15am: Oral evidence
Dermot Nolan - former CEO at Ofgem
At 12.00pm: Oral evidence
Jonathan Brearley - Chief Executive Officer at Ofgem
Simon Wilde - Director of Analysis and Assurance at Ofgem
Neil Lawrence - Director of Retail at Ofgem
At 1.00pm: Oral evidence
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng MP - Secretary of State at Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy
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Department Event
Tuesday 24th May 2022
14:30
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Second Delegated Legislation Committee - Debate - General Committee
24 May 2022, 2:30 p.m.
The draft Pollution Prevention and Control (Fees) (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2022
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Department Event
Tuesday 7th June 2022
11:30
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Oral questions - Main Chamber
7 Jun 2022, 11:30 a.m.
Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (including Topical Questions)
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Department Event
Monday 4th July 2022
09:30
Department for Education
Oral questions - Main Chamber
4 Jul 2022, 9:30 a.m.
Education (including Topical Questions)
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Department Event
Tuesday 12th July 2022
11:30
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Oral questions - Main Chamber
12 Jul 2022, 11:30 a.m.
Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (including Topical Questions)
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Division Votes
Wednesday 18th May 2022
Achieving Economic Growth
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 176 Labour Aye votes vs 0 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 229 Noes - 312
Speeches
Monday 25th April 2022
Football Governance
I am sure the Minister will join me in congratulating Warrington Rylands, who won promotion over the weekend as champions …
Written Answers
Wednesday 18th May 2022
Energy: Billing
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether the £40 annual charge on energy bills …
Early Day Motions
Monday 6th December 2021
Recognising the service of House of Commons staff member Will Conway
That this House wholeheartedly thanks Will Conway for his 28 years of service as a member of House of Commons …
Bills
Tuesday 7th September 2021
Transport (Disabled Passenger Charter) Bill 2021-22
A Bill to establish a passenger charter for disabled land transport passengers setting out their rights, the legal obligations of …
MP Financial Interests
Monday 26th July 2021
3. Gifts, benefits and hospitality from UK sources
Name of donor: Heineken (UK)
Address of donor: 20-22 Elsley Road, Great Titchfield Street, London W1W 8BE
Amount of donation …
EDM signed
Wednesday 18th May 2022
Reduction in civil service employment
That this House condemns Government plans to cut 91,000 jobs from the civil service over the next three years; notes …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Charlotte Nichols has voted in 407 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Charlotte Nichols 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
Matt Hancock (Conservative)
(16 debate interactions)
Boris Johnson (Conservative)
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
(14 debate interactions)
Bill Esterson (Labour)
Shadow Minister (Business and Industrial Strategy)
(9 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Department for Education
(33 debate contributions)
Department of Health and Social Care
(19 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(16 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Charlotte Nichols's debates

Warrington North Petitions

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

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

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

Petitions with highest Warrington North signature proportion
Petitions with most Warrington North signatures
Petition Debates Contributed

I would like the Government to:
• make running conversion therapy in the UK a criminal offence
• forcing people to attend said conversion therapies a criminal offence
• sending people abroad in order to try to convert them a criminal offence
• protect individuals from conversion therapy

The Home Secretary said what happened to victims of child sexual exploitation gangs was “one of the biggest stains on our country’s conscience.” Last year local authorities identified 18,700 suspected victims of child sexual exploitation. We want an independent public inquiry into Grooming Gangs.

The Government is refusing to release official research on the characteristics of grooming gangs, claiming it is not in the “public interest”.

We, the British public, demand the release of the official research on grooming gangs undertaken by the Government in full.

Being the first to close and still no clue as to when we can open, this seasonal industry is losing its summer profits that allows them to get through the first quarter of next year.

Even if we are allowed to open in December, 1 months profit won't be enough to keep us open in 2021. We need help

The UK hospitality industry. Responsible for around 3m jobs, generating £130bn in activity, resulting in £38bn in taxation. Yet, unlike the Arts or Sports, we do not have a dedicated Minister.

We are asking that a Minister for Hospitality be created for the current, and successive governments.


Latest EDMs signed by Charlotte Nichols

16th May 2022
Charlotte Nichols signed this EDM on Wednesday 18th May 2022

Reduction in civil service employment

Tabled by: Chris Stephens (Scottish National Party - Glasgow South West)
That this House condemns Government plans to cut 91,000 jobs from the civil service over the next three years; notes that departmental spending levels for the next three years have only recently been issued, following a process of assessing future staffing requirements; is angered to have learnt of these plans …
38 signatures
(Most recent: 18 May 2022)
Signatures by party:
Scottish National Party: 15
Labour: 12
Plaid Cymru: 3
Liberal Democrat: 3
Alba Party: 2
Green Party: 1
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Independent: 1
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 1
16th May 2022
Charlotte Nichols signed this EDM on Tuesday 17th May 2022

Registration of deaths after a public inquiry

Tabled by: Emma Lewell-Buck (Labour - South Shields)
That this House notes the urgent need to amend legislation to allow grieving families the choice to register the death of a loved one after a public inquiry; highlights the heart-breaking case of Liam Curry and Chloe Rutherford from South Shields who were tragically murdered in the Manchester Arena terror …
29 signatures
(Most recent: 18 May 2022)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 20
Plaid Cymru: 3
Democratic Unionist Party: 2
Independent: 2
Scottish National Party: 1
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 1
Liberal Democrat: 1
View All Charlotte Nichols's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Charlotte Nichols, 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.


Charlotte Nichols has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Charlotte Nichols has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

1 Bill introduced by Charlotte Nichols


A Bill to establish a passenger charter for disabled land transport passengers setting out their rights, the legal obligations of transport operators, complaints procedures, passenger assistance schemes and accessibility requirements; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading (Commons)
Tuesday 7th September 2021
(Read Debate)

Charlotte Nichols has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


497 Written Questions in the current parliament

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department
15 Other Department Questions
20th Apr 2022
To ask the Prime Minister, what discussions he has had with his Independent Adviser on Ministerial Interests on the Chancellor of the Exchequer receiving a fixed-penalty notice for breaching covid-19 regulations; and if he will make a statement.

I refer the Hon. Member to the statement issued by my Rt Hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, on 12 March; this has been placed in the Library.

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether he plans to renew funding to support the integration of Hong Kong British National (Overseas) visa holders after the end of April; and if he will make a statement.

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

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
30th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he is taking to ensure that the number of visas issued to Ukrainian refugees is matched by the accommodation offered by UK nationals to those refugees from Ukraine.

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

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Prime Minister, for what reason the telephone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on 31 January 2022 was cancelled.

I refer the Hon Member to the answer I gave to the Hon Member for Lewisham East during my oral statement. The call was rescheduled for 2 February. A readout from the call is available on the gov.uk website.

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
1st Feb 2022
To ask the Prime Minister, what estimate he has made of the cost of creating an Office of the Prime Minister.

I refer the Hon Member to my answer given to 114642.

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
16th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of exempting or reducing council tax for people with (a) dementia or (b) another particular illness.

A council tax exemption applies where a person has a severe mental impairment, as certified by a medical practitioner, and is entitled to one of a range of benefits set down in legislation. A reduced council tax bill is also available in certain circumstances where a disabled person requires a larger property than they would otherwise need.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, when he plans to respond to the further technical consultation to the parking code enforcement framework.

The consultation closed on 27 August and the Department is finalising its analysis of the responses. Our intention is to publish the consultation response together with the new Code of Practice as soon as possible so that motorists can benefit and industry has time to adapt itself to the new requirements.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
24th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether his Department plans to provide extra funds to local authorities which commit to rehousing and offering support to refugees.

Councils who support people through the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS) or Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) scheme will receive £20,520 per person, over 3 years, for resettlement and integration costs. Local councils and health partners who resettle families will also receive up to £4,500 per child for education, £850 to cover English language provision for adults requiring this support and £2,600 to cover healthcare.

A further £20 million of flexible funding will be made available to support local authorities with higher cost bases with any additional costs in the provision of services. In addition, the previously announced Afghan Housing Costs Fund will increase from £5 million to £17 million and run for 2 extra years to help local authorities provide housing and give certainty that funding will be available in the future.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will provide ring-fenced funding to local authorities for the cleaning of drains.

We have empowered local authorities to make decisions on a range of matters that shape what happens in their area. This year, we have made available an increase in councils' Core Spending Power of up to 4.6% in cash terms, from £49.0 billion in 2020-21 to up to £51.3 billion in 2021-22. This in real terms builds on the largest year on year increase in spending power in a decade last year and recognises the resources councils need to meet their pressures and maintain critical services.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what steps she is taking to ensure that trans people in England and Wales have the same right to a de-medicalised and shortened process of gender recognition as for trans people in Scotland.

This Government is committed to supporting LGBT people, tackling discrimination and improving the lives of all citizens.

In September 2020, we announced our response to the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) consultation. We concluded that the current provisions within the GRA allow for those that wish to legally change their gender to do so and that the balance struck in this legislation is correct. There are no plans to make changes to the 2004 Act.

In our response, we also committed to making the process of applying for a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) as straightforward and dignified as possible. We have already delivered on our promise to reduce the fee of applying for a GRC to £5, making the process more affordable. We are also progressing work to move the process online, to reduce the administrative burden and streamline the overall experience for applicants.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, for what reasons support services for victims of conversion therapy have not yet been commissioned; and what steps she plans to take to ensure that survivors of that therapy get the support they need to contribute to the Government’s consultation on banning conversion therapy.

The Government is working at pace to deliver on our commitment to ban conversion therapy. As previously stated, we will also ensure there is support available for victims of conversion therapy; the first time the UK Government has offered this. The support will be available to whoever considers themselves to be at risk of - or has undergone - conversion therapy, whatever the circumstances.

The importance of developing a quality service is of central importance, and we are working at pace to explore delivery options available to realise this commitment. An announcement with more details on the service and how it will be delivered will be made in due course.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, when she plans to ban LGBT conversion therapies.

The Government has made clear its commitment to banning conversion therapy and will set out proposals shortly. To ensure we get our proposals right, we have undertaken research to understand the prevalence of practices and experiences of those impacted. Furthermore, officials have been speaking with a range of organisations who hold diverse views, to fully inform our next steps.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what plans she has to address prejudice and attitudes to inequality towards black and ethnic minorities in response to the findings of King's College's study, Unequal Britain: attitudes to inequality in light of Covid.

I will look carefully at the findings of the King’s College study, ‘Unequal Britain: attitudes to inequality in light of Covid’, as part of the government’s commitments to levelling up and to tackling prejudice, racism and discrimination.

This work will also take account of the findings of the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities, which has been carrying out a deeper examination of the causes of disparities and which reported to the Prime Minister on 31 March.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
30th Jun 2020
To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his oral contribution of 17 June 2020, Official Report column 796, what the source is for his statement that there are 400,000 fewer families living in poverty now than there were in 2010.

I refer the Hon Member to the reply I gave to the Leader of the Opposition on 24 June 2020, Official Report, Col 1305.

Indeed, the Government believes the best way to improve children’s chances is by supporting families into secure, meaningful work.

Children living in workless households are around four times more likely to be in absolute poverty (after housing costs) than those where all adults work. As of December, the number of workless households has fallen by 1 million since 2010, meaning there are over 740,000 fewer children living in a household where no one works.

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
1st Jul 2021
What steps he is taking to increase the number of prosecutions relating to domestic violence.

This Government has introduced the landmark Domestic Abuse Act 2021.

Coordinated multi-agency action and supporting victims are key components of the CPS’s ambitious programme of work published in January, which will help narrow the disparity between reporting and criminal justice outcomes.

The CPS recently hosted a virtual domestic abuse conference with the police and the courts, sharing best practice and innovation.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
16th Jun 2020
To ask the Attorney General, whether any (a) employed and (b) indirectly employed Crown Prosecution Service support staff have been furloughed.

The CPS has not furloughed any support staff that it a) employs or b) indirectly employs.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
1st Mar 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will confirm that the compensation study for the victims of the contaminated blood scandal will be published in full on the 14 March 2022; and whether the Government has plans to publish a timeline for the response to that report.

I refer the hon Member to the answer I gave on 24 February to PQ 125060.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, which Minister in his Department has responsibility for fraud and corruption following the resignation of Lord Agnew of Oulton.

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, as the senior Minister in the Cabinet Office, continues to have oversight of fraud against the public sector.

Policies on fraud against the public and business, as well as corruption, remain with the Home Office and the Minister of State for Security and Borders, assisted by the Prime Minister’s Anti-Corruption Champion, John Penrose MP.

Jacob Rees-Mogg
Minister of State (Minister for Brexit Opportunities and Government efficiency)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will make it his policy to publish the infected blood compensation framework report by Sir Robert Francis QC on or by 14 March 2022.

The study will report to the Paymaster General no later than 14 March 2022. The Government will give full consideration to Sir Robert's study - which is separate from the independent public inquiry. The Government's response and Sir Robert's study will be published.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
26th Jan 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, on what date he expects the inquiry into the covid-19 pandemic to commence.

The Prime Minister has appointed the Rt Hon Baroness Heather Hallett as the chair of the inquiry. Draft terms of reference will be published in due course.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
21st Jan 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, for what reason a civil servant rather than a judge is carrying out the inquiry into gatherings at 10 Downing Street during the covid-19 outbreak.

These investigations are being carried out by Sue Gray, Second Permanent Secretary. It is a fact finding investigation, and it is facts that will be presented to the Prime Minister.

The investigation has been carried out by civil servants, who are bound by the Civil Service Code, including the values of impartiality and objectivity.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, on how many occasions Queen's Consent has been denied since 2010.

Queen's consent is a very long-standing convention and a requirement of the Parliamentary process where proposed legislation may affect Crown interests, including personal property and personal interests of the Monarch.

It is for the House Authorities to determine whether a Bill requires Queen’s consent. Where this is determined to be the case, consent is routinely sought by the Government and agreed by the Monarch as a matter of course.

Consent to Bills has never been refused by the Monarch in modern times and legislation is not amended in order to ensure Queen’s Consent.

Once granted, Queen’s Consent will be signified at Third Reading of the bill in each House. The hon. Member can ascertain such occasions from reviewing the Official Report.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, on how many occasions proposed legislation has been amended to ensure Queen's Consent since 2010.

Queen's consent is a very long-standing convention and a requirement of the Parliamentary process where proposed legislation may affect Crown interests, including personal property and personal interests of the Monarch.

It is for the House Authorities to determine whether a Bill requires Queen’s consent. Where this is determined to be the case, consent is routinely sought by the Government and agreed by the Monarch as a matter of course.

Consent to Bills has never been refused by the Monarch in modern times and legislation is not amended in order to ensure Queen’s Consent.

Once granted, Queen’s Consent will be signified at Third Reading of the bill in each House. The hon. Member can ascertain such occasions from reviewing the Official Report.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, on how many occasions Queen's Consent has been sought by each Department since 2010.

Queen's consent is a very long-standing convention and a requirement of the Parliamentary process where proposed legislation may affect Crown interests, including personal property and personal interests of the Monarch.

It is for the House Authorities to determine whether a Bill requires Queen’s consent. Where this is determined to be the case, consent is routinely sought by the Government and agreed by the Monarch as a matter of course.

Consent to Bills has never been refused by the Monarch in modern times and legislation is not amended in order to ensure Queen’s Consent.

Once granted, Queen’s Consent will be signified at Third Reading of the bill in each House. The hon. Member can ascertain such occasions from reviewing the Official Report.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what plans he has to have the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice Group included in the membership of the UK Commission on Covid Commemoration.

Every death during the pandemic has been a tragic loss, made so much harder for those unable to say goodbye or grieve as they would have wished. It is absolutely right that we come together to mark and remember this period appropriately.

The Prime Minister announced on 12 May that the Government will support these efforts by establishing a UK Commission on Covid Commemoration. The Commission will carefully consider how communities across the country can remember those who have lost their lives and recognise those involved in the response in a fitting and permanent way.

The Government recognises the need for bereaved families to be represented on the Commission and are committed to ensuring this happens. I am grateful to them for all their efforts throughout the pandemic. The Government will set out the Commission membership and terms of reference in due course.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what progress the Government has made on the independent statutory public inquiry on its handling of the covid-19 pandemic to start in spring 2022.

On 12 May, the Prime Minister confirmed to this House that a public inquiry into COVID-19 would be established on a statutory basis, with full formal powers, and that it will begin its work in spring 2022. Further details - including in respect of the inquiry’s terms of reference - will be set out in due course.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, when his Department plans to publish the outcome of its review of the potential merits of covid-status certificates.

I refer the hon. Member to the statement made by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on the 5 July 2021.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent assessment he has made of the (a) need for voters to provide identification during elections and (b) potential effect that policy may have on particular demographics who may be less likely to hold identification.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer given to PQ188127 on 29 April 2021.


Further information can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/voter-identification-faqs.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
12th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will publish evidence to show (a) that the Prime Minister paid for the refurbishment of the apartment at 11 Downing Street, and (b) to whom those payments were made.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
11th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the Written Statement of 25 March 2021, HCWS895 on Infected Blood Update, when the Government plans to appoint an independent reviewer to carry out a study on the compensation framework; and when Government plans to publish a further update.

Work to appoint the independent reviewer is ongoing and a further announcement will be made on this in due course.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
16th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he is taking to ensure that Census 2021 is accessible to people who do not have internet access.

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)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what ratio of paid staff to volunteers are working to assist in compliance with completing the census in 2021, compared with 2011.

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)
22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of altering the candidate nomination requirements for elections during a pandemic.

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

As I have stated in the House, we will keep Parliament updated on the election preparations, will engage with political parties and will publish detailed guidance in due course.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether he plans to introduce mandatory quarantine at hotels to reduce the spread of covid-19 by people arriving from outside the UK.

As we have said throughout the pandemic, we keep our measures under constant review.

The Department of Health and Social Care confirmed that from 15 February anyone travelling to the UK from a country on the UK’s travel ban list will be required to quarantine in a government-approved facility for a period of 10 days. Full guidance for England is here:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/booking-and-staying-in-a-quarantine-hotel-when-you-arrive-in-england

These actions provide further layers of protection to manage the risk of imported infections and protect our NHS while national lockdown and vaccinations take effect.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
2nd Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will make it his policy to publish regular redundancy statistics that combine age and sex data.

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)
25th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will make regular reports to the House on the (a) frequency and (b) decisions of meetings of the Cabinet committee on climate change.

It is a long-established precedent that information about the discussions that have taken place in Cabinet and its Committees, and how often they have met, is not normally shared publicly.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what plans he has to lift the marriage ban in England.

The Government understands the huge significance of weddings. We recognise that because weddings have not been able to take place in recent months this has caused difficulty and distress for many people. As set out in the Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy, published in May, the Government has been examining how to enable people to gather in slightly larger groups better to facilitate small weddings. We have worked closely with faith leaders and local government on how best to achieve this. The Prime Minister announced on 23 June that wedding and civil partnership ceremonies will be able to take place in England from 4 July. People should avoid having a large ceremony, and should invite no more than thirty family and friends. Venues should ensure they are COVID-19 secure.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
10th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether the £40 annual charge on energy bills will be applied to new bill payers in households that do not receive a £200 reduction in their electricity costs through the Energy Bills Support Scheme in 2022.

The £200 payment to help with energy bills will be recouped from all domestic electricity meter points over five years from April 2023.

The Government is aware that there will be cases where changes in circumstances mean some people may not receive the reduction, but still have to pay the levy. There will also be recipients of the payment who do not in due course pay back the levy. We are seeking to make the Scheme as fair and straightforward as possible.

The Government’s consultation on the scheme will close on 23 May and a response will be published in the summer.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what support the Government is providing to home owners who wish to install domestic wind turbines on their property.

The Government introduced the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) in January 2020 and is available to eligible small-scale renewable generators, such as home-owners with domestic wind turbines. The SEG is a market-driven mechanism designed to pave the way to projects being deployed without subsidies, so different tariffs are available from participating suppliers.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the decision to reduce support for disabled people through the Energy Company Obligation scheme, whether an assessment has been made of the impact on the finances of disabled people affected by this change.

The current Energy Company Obligation scheme, ECO4, has been designed to focus support on households with the lowest incomes and alleviate fuel poverty. This will include households with disabled people on the lowest incomes. The scheme is designed to improve the energy efficiency of homes, through the installation of insulation or heating measures, rather than provide a specific financial benefit.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the disproportionate energy costs faced by disabled people.

We are monitoring and assessing the impact of price increases on vulnerable consumers and coordinating work across regulated sectors to support households impacted.

Ofgem require energy suppliers to support disabled customers, including protection from disconnection during the winter, and the provision of additional services through a Priority Services Register. Ofgem monitors compliance with their rules protecting vulnerable consumers. Their most recent report is available at:

https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/sites/default/files/2021-10/Ofgem%20Consumer%20Protection%20Report%20Autumn%202021_Final.pdf.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether the fuel poverty target has included an estimate of higher energy costs and usage by disabled people.

The fuel poverty target is to ensure that as many fuel poor homes as is reasonably practicable achieve a minimum energy efficiency rating of Band C, by 2030. Its aim is to target energy efficiency support to low income households.

The 2030 target does not include estimates of energy costs.

Progress against the target is reported on in the annual fuel poverty statistics, which can be found https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/fuel-poverty-statistics.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the level of support provided by energy suppliers to disabled customers through programmes such as benefit entitlement checks and debt write-off.

Some evidence suggests that households with a disability have higher than average heating costs. Within the fuel poverty strategy Sustainable Warmth the Government outlines our vulnerability principle, under which we specifically consider the needs of low income households most at risk from the impact of living in a cold home while designing fuel poverty policy.

Under the Warm Home Discount scheme, Ofgem reports on the Industry Initiatives supporting vulnerable households through measures including benefit entitlement checks and debt write-off. The 2020-2021 report is available at: https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/publications/warm-home-discount-annual-report-scheme-year-10.

Ofgem require energy suppliers to support disabled customers through a Priority Services Register. Ofgem monitors compliance with their rules protecting vulnerable consumers. Their most recent report is available at:

https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/sites/default/files/2021-10/Ofgem%20Consumer%20Protection%20Report%20Autumn%202021_Final.pdf.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, for what reason the Government did not progress proposals for £5 million of Industry Initiatives to support disabled people who are struggling with energy costs but may not be eligible for a rebate; and if he will make a statement.

Respondents to the Government’s consultation on the reformed Warm Home Discount last summer raised concerns about the risk of the proposed dedicated Industry Initiative duplicating support measures energy suppliers can already provide, including through existing Industry Initiatives. We will continue to work with interested industry partners and third-party organisations to develop an Industry Initiatives measure providing direct support for people with disabilities and significant health conditions. This will be subject to interest from energy suppliers and it will not be mandatory for suppliers to contribute.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will reconsider planned reforms to the Warm Home Discount eligibility criteria to enable those in receipt of Personal Independence Payment, Disability Living Allowance and Attendance Allowance to be eligible for the support.

Introducing non-means-tested benefits, such as Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and Attendance Allowance (AA), into the eligibility criteria would mean that many households on lower incomes and in deeper fuel poverty would lose out.

Around 62% of PIP and DLA recipients also receive one of the qualifying means-tested benefits and so would be considered low-income under the Core Group 2 criteria. Those households with high energy costs would be eligible for a rebate. Recipients of AA, a pension-age benefit, who claim Pension Credit Guarantee Credit will in most cases qualify for a rebate through Core Group 1.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the impact of a person's disability and health status on energy costs; and if his Department will take a person's disability and health status into account in the eligibility criteria for the Warm Home Discount.

Some evidence suggests that households with a disability have higher heating costs than average. However, no household-level data is available that could be factored into specifically targeting those with the highest heating costs.

The Warm Home Discount reforms will better target automatic rebates to fuel poor households on the lowest incomes. Our analysis models an increase in the number of recipients who declare they have a long-term illness or disability by 160,000. The proportion of rebates received by households with a disability or long-term illness will remain higher than the proportion of the fuel poor population or overall population with a disability.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, who will qualify for the Warm Home Discount under the new Core Group 2.

The Warm Home Discount Core Group 2 will focus support to low-income households who are struggling to heat their homes. Eligibility will be linked to receipt of a qualifying means-tested benefit and tax credits and having high energy costs derived from property characteristics. These reforms will ensure that rebates are provided to fuel poor households on the lowest incomes.

The full eligibility criteria, including a list of the qualifying benefits, can be found in our recently published Government response on the scheme.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he intends to bring forward the relevant legislative proposals to implement the reforms to the Warm Home Discount for winter 2022-23.

The Government intends to lay the Regulations for the reformed Warm Home Discount scheme in England and Wales in Parliament in the coming weeks, with the reforms coming into force from the 2022/23 scheme year.

The Government will consult, and lay separate Regulations for the Warm Home Discount scheme in Scotland.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is planning to take to help prevent further increases in household energy costs prior to winter 2022-23.

Gas prices are expected to stay high in the short term, driven by increased global factors.

The Government is engaging at an international level and with industry to monitor and share information on market developments that are impacting gas prices globally. Nevertheless, the Government has policies in place to protect vulnerable consumers from the impact of high energy prices and has introduced the Energy Bills Support Scheme to cushion domestic energy consumers from the worst impacts.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
31st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make it his policy to equalize energy standing charges between the regions of the UK.

The standing charge element of an energy bill reflects the on-going costs that fall on energy suppliers to provide and maintain a live supply regardless of a consumer’s usage. One component of these costs relates to distribution. As it costs more to distribute electricity to some regions than others, there are regional variations in standing charges to reflect higher costs to serve.

For millions of households on default and standard variable tariffs the level of standing charge is protected by the energy price cap rate set by Ofgem.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make it his policy to introduce regulatory limits on the price of (a) petrol and (b) diesel.

The retail fuels market is subject to UK competition law under the Competition and Markets Authority. A competitive market ensures that road fuel prices stay as low as possible. This framework delivers below the European average for pre-tax prices for both petrol and diesel in the UK. The Government therefore has no intention to introduce regulatory limits on petrol and diesel prices.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department plans to increase the amount of tidal power generated in the UK.

The Government announced in November that the fourth Contracts for Difference allocation round will feature a £20m annual ringfenced budget for tidal stream energy.

The Government remains open to considering well-developed proposals for harnessing the tidal range energy around our coastlines. Any such proposal would need to demonstrate strong evidence of value for money before the Government could take a view on its potential.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of giving consumers the option to opt out of the repayable £200 discount on energy bills.

The intention is that all domestic electricity bills will receive this reduction to keep the scheme simple and administrative costs low. The Government will be consulting on the detail of the scheme in the coming weeks.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions his Department has had with Companies House on the estimated time it will take to implement the relevant powers and responsibilities contained in the Economic Crime Bill.

Departmental officials hold frequent discussions with Companies House counterparts on a wide range of issues, including measures to improve the integrity of information on the companies register and the implementation of any new powers and responsibilities.

The Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Bill received Royal Assent this week. Work on implementing the relevant powers and responsibilities contained in the Act has now begun.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
2nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate his Department has made of the current value of assets owned in the UK property market by (a) Russian oligarchs and (b) others associated with the Putin regime.

HM Land Registry (HMLR) registers legal ownership, interests, mortgages and other secured loans against land and property in England and Wales and in most cases the price paid is also recorded. Land Registration is a devolved matter in Scotland and in Northern Ireland.

The Register of Title held by HMLR does not record the nationality of individuals who own land or property.

Further details about the information that HM Land Registry holds, what is publicly available, and how it can be obtained, is set out online via the GOV.UK website.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
28th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions officials in his Department have had with Ofcom on allowing tracking in the Universal Service as part of the Review of postal regulation.

The Department has regular discussions with Ofcom on a wide range of issues, including its duty to ensure the provision of a financially sustainable and efficient universal postal service.

Ofcom has indicated in its consultation on its current review of postal regulation, that it does not intend to bring tracked products into the scope of the universal service (First and Second Class services) because of the potential impacts on end-to-end parcels competition. Ofcom’s consultation closed for responses on 3 March. The Government has no role in such decisions which are a matter for Ofcom as the independent regulator for postal services.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make it his policy to ensure electricity tariffs for pre-payment meters are no more costly than tariffs on standard meters.

Setting tariffs is a decision of suppliers.

Supply Licence Conditions, as enforced by the independent energy regulator Ofgem, stipulate payments which must reflect the cost to the supplier. The costs of supplying prepayment meters, compared to standard meters, are higher, due to the different meter requirements and different payment systems. The Energy Price Cap ensures those on prepayment meters pay a fair price for their energy.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he plans to reopen the Green Homes Grant scheme.

The Green Homes Grant Voucher scheme was designed to provide a short-term economic stimulus while tackling our contribution to climate change. However, it was not delivering at the rate and scale the government had originally intended, facing a number of delivery challenges. The scheme closed to new applications on 31 March 2021 and will not reopen.

To ensure we continue to deliver on our net zero ambitions and support a thriving building retrofit industry, the Government will be expanding its funding commitment for both the Homes Upgrade Grant scheme and the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund with up to £950m and £800m in additional funding respectively over 2022/23 to 2024/25. This takes our total funding to over £6.4bn across the lifetime of this Parliament. We are also introducing a new Boiler Upgrade Scheme worth £450 million, which will provide capital grants towards the cost of a heat pump.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
25th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what progress the Government has made on decarbonising the UK’s energy supply; what the current target for renewables is as a percentage of the energy supply; and when his Department expects the UK to reach that target.

We are committed to fully decarbonise the power system by 2035, subject to security of supply. Low carbon generation now provides over 50% of the UK’s electricity supply and renewable electricity generation has more than quadrupled since 2010. Renewables will play a vital role in meeting that decarbonisation commitment and the Government is taking major steps forward to deliver on this, for example in December we launched the fourth and largest round of the Contracts for Difference Scheme, to support the deployment of a range of renewable technologies.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
19th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether her Department holds data on the number of commuters whose employment was terminated as a result of those people being unable to attend work as a result of disruption caused by protests in 2021.

The Department does not collect this information. However, we expect employers and employees to behave reasonably in relation to travel disruption and discuss whether it is possible to work from home, take leave or make the time up later if they cannot get to work because of travel disruption. More guidance is available at https://www.gov.uk/travel-disruption-your-rights-at-work.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what progress has been made on developing a new covid-19 vaccine which is more effective against new variants.

Recent analysis supports our understanding that the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, which are currently being deployed in the UK, appear to work well against the current dominant variants of COVID-19 after a booster-dose. Continuing to administer these vaccines at scale remains essential in our path out of the pandemic.

The Government continues to assess our existing vaccine portfolio against current variants, working closely with vaccine manufacturers and the UK Health Security Agency to understand the efficacy of our current vaccine portfolio against new variants.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
16th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he will take to ensure that service levels within postal services are maintained at a high level throughout the Christmas period and the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government recognises the importance of a reliable universal postal service to customers and local communities across the UK and we know postal workers are working exceptionally hard to meet demand over the festive period.

Royal Mail has publicly stated that it is aware of the reduction in service levels in some areas and has taken action to minimise disruption to postal services throughout the Christmas period. This includes opening five temporary parcel sorting centres and recruiting thousands of seasonal workers to help sort the Christmas post at sites across the UK.

Royal Mail’s contingency plans to mitigate disruption to postal services are overseen by Ofcom, the independent regulator responsible for monitoring the delivery of the universal postal service.

Ofcom monitors Royal Mail’s performance and has powers to investigate and take enforcement action if Royal Mail fails to achieve its service delivery targets.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
7th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department set targets for the number of households that will apply for Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive for (a) biomass boilers, (b) solar water heating and (c) heat pumps.

The Department does not set targets for the number of households that will apply for the Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive. However, as of October 2021, there have been 12,364 biomass applications, 8,952 solar thermal applications, and 74,960 heat pump applications for the scheme.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
19th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will take steps to increase the amount of (a) pay and (b) leave granted of paternity leave.

As set out in our Manifesto, we are committed to making it easier for fathers to take Paternity Leave. In 2019, the Government consulted on high-level options for reforming parental leave and pay, this consultation included Paternity Leave and Pay. We are currently analysing the responses to the consultation and will respond in due course.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
27th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the guidance of 16 February 2021, entitled Apply for free or subsidised training under the BEIS Skills Training Competition scheme and the 700 places available at BESA Academy for online or in person training for currently qualified plumbing and heating engineers to correctly install and maintain domestic heat pumps, available from early March until 30 September 2021, how many plumbing and heating engineers signed up and completed that training.

Seven hundred.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
27th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the guidance of 16 February 2021, entitled Apply for free or subsidised training under the BEIS Skills Training Competition scheme, how many of the 100 funded places which were available at The Green Register's retrofit training, have been taken up.

As of 30th September 2021, 34 trainees have started training, of whom 23 trainees have completed the Green Register’s retrofit training.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when his Department plans to bring forward legislative proposals on implementing a register of beneficial owners of UK property.

The Government remains committed to establishing a new beneficial ownership register of overseas entities that own UK property in order to combat money laundering and achieve greater transparency in the UK property market. We will legislate when parliamentary time allows. When we do implement these proposals, they will reflect the pre-legislative scrutiny Committee’s recommendations and will be more effective because of the broader powers we have since announced for Companies House, which also require primary legislation.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Prime Minister’s Office’s press release of 15 October 2021, titled Prime Minister's Ten Point Plan kickstarts green investment boom, what the evidential basis is for the statement that at least 56,000 jobs have been secured in the UK’s clean industries since the publication of that ten point plan.

Government analysis shows that around 56,000 green jobs have been secured across the UK since November 2020, when the Ten Point Plan was launched. This figure is broken by down by the relevant points of the Ten Point Plan as follows:

  • Point 1: Advancing Offshore Wind: 3,600 jobs
    • Six manufacturers have already announced major investments in the UK offshore wind sector, supported by Government investment schemes, and delivering up to 3,600 jobs by 2030.
  • Point 4: Accelerating the Shift to Zero Emission Vehicles: 7,150 jobs
    • Auto Transformation Fund. In July, funding was announced for the UK's first large-scale gigafactory - the investor has committed to supporting 1,000 jobs.
    • Wider automotive projects have secured an additional 950 jobs, towards a total of 1,950 jobs to be realised during the period to 2025/26.
    • According to companies participating in the Advanced Propulsion Centre R&D competition, projects agreed this year will support up to 5,200 direct jobs.
  • Point 7: Greener Buildings: 45,000 jobs
    • An estimated 45,000 jobs have been supported in greener buildings in the first year since the Ten Point Plan was launched, based on the deployment of Government funded building decarbonisation schemes.
  • Point 9: Protecting Our Natural Environment: 850 jobs
    • An estimated 850 jobs supported in environmental protection and enhancement, including flood defences (500 jobs) and from Green Recovery Challenge Fund (350 jobs).
Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make it his policy to extend the Green Homes Grant to static caravans.

The Green Homes Grant Voucher Scheme closed for new applications on 31st March 2021. Park home residents who own their park home were eligible to apply.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he plans to take to keep energy prices low for household consumers.

Energy prices are subject to commercial decisions made by individual suppliers and in competition with each others. In order to protect customers, the Government introduced the energy price cap in 2019, which saves 15 million households on default tariffs up to £100 a year on average. The level of the price cap is set by Ofgem, the independent regulator.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make it his policy to delay the repayment of bounce back loans by 12 months.

The Government has already taken action to give businesses the space and flexibility to repay their bounce back loans. Under the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS), no repayments are due from the borrower for the first 12 months of the loan. The Government also covers the first 12 months of interest payments charged to the business by the lender.

In order to give businesses further support, the Government introduced the “Pay as You Grow” (PAYG) measures last year, which allow individual businesses to tailor their repayments to their individual circumstances. Under these measures, the lenders are required to give all businesses that borrowed under the BBLS the option to repay their loan over a period of up to ten years, as well as the option to move temporarily to interest-only payments for periods of up to six months, or to pause their repayments entirely for up to six months.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate his Department has made of how much and what proportion of all steel used in the UK in each of the next ten years will be imported.

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) are responsible for the collection and publication of data on UK imports and exports of goods to and from the UK. HMRC release this information monthly, as a National Statistic called the Overseas Trade in Goods Statistics (OTS), which is available via their dedicated website (www.uktradeinfo.com(opens in a new tab)).

BEIS annually publishes the Steel Pipeline, signalling upcoming steel requirements for national infrastructure projects. The most recent update shows how the Government plans to procure 7.6 million tonnes of steel over the next decade for infrastructure projects such as the expansion of offshore wind infrastructure, the construction of Hinkley Point C and the maintenance and upgrading of the UK’s motorway network.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has met with representatives from industry and campaigners to discuss hydrogen-based steel production.

The BEIS Ministerial team carries out regular engagement with steel and energy stakeholders. For example, The Steel Council offers the forum for government, industry and trade unions to work in partnership on the shared objective of creating an achievable, long-term plan to support the sector’s transition to a competitive, sustainable and low carbon future. At the latest meeting of the Steel Council, on 19 May, UK Steel presented its draft roadmap for how to achieve net zero steel production and the Secretary of State underscored the UK government’s commitment to this work.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) publishes details of ministers’ meetings with external organisations, on a quarterly basis. This can be found here: www.gov.uk/government/collections/beis-ministerial-gifts-hospitality-travel-and-meetings.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of (a) the number of global trials trialling hydrogen-based steelmaking and (b) the potential merits of launching a similar trial in the UK.

The UK is monitoring international progress on low carbon steel making trials, using hydrogen and other technologies, and is actively engaged in international initiatives to support industrial decarbonisation innovation, including the Mission Innovation platform and the Leadership Group for Industry Transition.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when the Hydrogen Strategy will be published; and if it will include measures to use hydrogen to decarbonise the UK steel sector.

The UK’s first ever Hydrogen Strategy will set out what is required to build a hydrogen economy fit for 2030, Carbon Budget 6 and beyond, whilst maximising economic benefits. It will also discuss the role of low carbon hydrogen as a leading option for decarbonising industrial processes. Alongside this, we will also consult on priority policies including a hydrogen business model, a low carbon hydrogen standard, and the £240m Net Zero Hydrogen Fund.

The UK is monitoring international progress on low carbon steel making trials, using hydrogen and other technologies, and is actively engaged in international initiatives to support industrial decarbonisation innovation, including the Mission Innovation platform and the Leadership Group for Industry Transition.

Decarbonising UK industry is a core part of the Government’s ambitious plan for the green industrial revolution. The Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy, published on 17 March, commits government to work with the Steel Council to consider the implications of the recommendation of the Climate Change Committee to ‘set targets for ore-based steelmaking to reach near-zero emissions by 2035’. The Steel Council offers the forum for government, industry and trade unions to work in partnership on the shared objective of creating an achievable, long-term plan to support the sector’s transition to a competitive, sustainable and low carbon future. Hydrogen-based steelmaking is one of the technological approaches being examined as part of this process. The UK steel sector will be given the opportunity to bid into industrial fuel switching innovation programmes under the £1bn NZIP portfolio, which is intended to promote switching away from more carbon-intensive fuel sources. The Government has also announced a £250 million Clean Steel Fund to support the UK steel sector to transition to lower carbon iron and steel production, through investment in new technologies and processes.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to reports of major bottlenecks in the global container shipping industry, what plans he has to tackle the rising costs of shipping from China.

I refer the Hon. Member to the reply given by my Hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for International Trade on 29 June 2021 to Question UIN 20498.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what additional financial support he has made available to hospitality businesses that are unable to reopen until 17 May 2021 during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has brought forward a substantial package of financial support for businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. At the Budget, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a £65 billion plan to provide support for jobs and businesses, including small businesses in the hospitality sector, with extensions to furlough, self-employed support, business grants, loans and VAT cuts. The total financial support package provided to support the economy, lives and livelihoods throughout the pandemic is now worth £352 billion.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make it her policy to introduce paid leave for women who lose their baby prior to 24 weeks gestation..

We recognise that a miscarriage can be deeply upsetting. We encourage employers to provide appropriate support to women who have suffered a miscarriage and respond sensitively to each individual’s specific needs.

The current entitlement to Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay applies to employed parents of children under the age of 18 and those who suffer a stillbirth.

Because the death of a child is particularly tragic, in April 2020, we legislated to give parents who lose a child under the age of 18, including cases where a baby is stillborn after 24 completed weeks of pregnancy, a right to take up to 2 weeks off work in the 56 weeks following the death of their child. The policy is mapped against the clinical definition of a ‘stillbirth’: 24 weeks is a legally and medically important point in a pregnancy as it is the clinical age of viability.

Individuals who do not feel able to return to work following a miscarriage may be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay while off work. All employees are also entitled to 5.6 weeks of Annual Leave a year and many employers also offer ‘Compassionate Leave’.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the evidential basis was for his decision to allow tradespeople to carry out non-essential works in other people’s home during the the covid-19 lockdown announced on 5 January 2021.

Government guidance on the current national restrictions enables tradespeople to work in peoples’ homes if it is a necessary part of their job. The Government is clear that businesses in certain sectors can remain open if they can adhere to Safer Working guidance. We continue to keep the guidance under review and will update it in line with new scientific evidence as it arises. When visiting peoples’ homes, tradespeople should follow the guidance and take appropriate Covid-19 secure precautions.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what support he is making available to businesses who are unable to access the Bounce Back Loan Scheme as a result of a poor credit rating.

The Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) is open to businesses who meet the scheme’s eligibility criteria, and pass customer fraud, anti-money laundering and know your customer checks. Certain lenders may require a prospective borrower to open a business account with them before they can apply, in line with their own standard policies, which may include credit checks. This is at the sole discretion of the lender.

If businesses are unable to access BBLS, there are also other forms of support available from the Government, which can be found at the following website: www.gov.uk/business-coronavirus-support-finder.

The Start Up Loans Scheme is also available to businesses who have been trading for less than two years, it supports individuals by offering access to affordable Government-backed finance of between £500 and £25,000 per owner (limited to £100,000 per business), at a fixed 6% interest per annum.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has plans to bring forward legislative proposals to prevent employers using fire and re-hire tactics when negotiating employee contracts.

Despite the unprecedented package of support provided by this Government, some employers will need to offer different terms and conditions to their employees in order to ensure the sustainability of their business and avoid redundancies.

The Government is clear that using threats about firing and re-hiring as a negotiating tactic is unacceptable. There are laws are in place to ensure that there is fair procedure in redundancy and dismissal matters as well as contractual terms and conditions cannot discriminate unlawfully. In addition. if the employer changes any of the terms without the employee’s agreement, the employee may be entitled to seek legal redress.

The Department has engaged Acas to look into fire and rehire practises and they are talking to business and employee representatives, to gather evidence of how fire and rehire has been used.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will have discussions with those employers who continue to have large numbers of employees in their workplaces, to encourage them to send home employees who are able to work remotely.

The current Covid restrictions guidance states that you can only leave home for work purposes where you cannot reasonably work from home. It is important that people stay at home wherever possible to minimise the risk of transmission and I and those in my department will continue to reinforce this message when engaging with businesses and representative organisations across a range of sectors.

However, we must also recognise that those who cannot reasonably work from home should continue to travel to their workplace.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make it Government policy to close click and collect services as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Click-and-collect services allow goods to be pre-ordered and collected without customers entering the premises, thus remaining in well ventilated spaces - which are, by definition, safer environments where transmission is less likely to occur.

Click-and-collect allows the public to have access to goods they need quickly, where they aren’t available from retailers that can remain open. Additionally, it allows businesses subject to closure to be able continue operating.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when the fieldwork and other research that will form the basis for the Government’s evaluation of the Shared Parental Leave scheme was (a) initiated and (b) completed.

Work on the evaluation of the Shared Parental Leave and Pay scheme started in July 2018 and has included commissioning and interrogating information collected through large scale, representative, surveys of employers and parents and a qualitative study of parents who have used the scheme. The various data sources will help us to better understand the barriers and enablers to parents taking Shared Parental Leave.

Fieldwork was completed in February 2020 and we are currently processing the data. Analysis of this data has taken longer than expected due to the impact of Covid-19 on our research partners and because we have necessarily prioritised work on supporting parents during the pandemic. However, the evaluation of the Shared Parental Leave and Pay scheme remains important for the Government, and we will publish our findings in due course.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he plans to implement the Government’s July 2019 commitment to establish a taskforce of employer and family representative groups to address pregnancy and maternity discrimination in the workplace.

The Government is finalising plans to bring together a broad set of key stakeholders to look at what improvements can be made to the information available to employers and families to address pregnancy and maternity discrimination in the workplace.

We will be setting up the first meeting shortly.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will undertake an inquiry into the collapse of Arcadia.

The administrators of Arcadia have three months from the date of administration to make a report on the conduct of the directors to the Insolvency Service. My Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State wrote to the Insolvency Service on 1 December asking it to review this report as soon as it is received. The Insolvency Service will do so and consider what further steps may be necessary.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether the Government has issued loans via the British Business Bank to subsidiaries of (a) Stagecoach, (b) National Express, (c) Go-Ahead, (d) First Group, (e) Serco, (f) Arriva and (g) Abellio in response to the effects of the covid-19 pandemic on (i) revenue streams and (ii) operational matters.

The British Business Bank is the UK’s development bank, providing finance for small businesses via lending partners across a range of programmes. Part of the Bank’s wider role includes accrediting lenders for the Covid Support Schemes on behalf of Government.

The British Business Bank does not issue any loans directly to businesses. All credit decisions are delegated to accredited lenders in accordance with the rules set out under the terms of the three Covid Support Schemes.

Details of individual aid awards under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme and Bounce Back Loan Scheme will be published where required via the European Commission’s Transparency Aid Module in due course.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
6th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if businesses permitted to remain open can sell goods provided by businesses that are required to cease trading by the November 2020 covid-19 restrictions.

In England, COVID-secure businesses can continue to sell goods – such as a hairdressing salon selling shampoo or beauty products – online or via click-and-collect. If a business is able to trade goods in a COVID-secure manner while following the new national restrictions and all of the other trade requirements behind selling another good, they can.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to ensure that providers of Bounce Back Loans have the funds to grant the loans promptly.

The British Business Bank (BBB) administers the Bounce Back Loans Scheme (BBLS) on behalf of Government. The Bank works to accredit lenders for BBLS and provides them with a full (100%), government-backed guarantee against the outstanding balance of the finance (both capital and interest). Providing lenders with a 100% government-backed guarantee and standardising the application form is designed to produce a faster process, with many loans becoming available within days.

The lenders themselves, however, are responsible for the delivery of those products to their customers and for ensuring they have sufficient capital available to meet their lending forecasts.

BBB does set out a series of minimum requirements which prospective lenders must satisfy in their application. This list does include having sufficient capital, but it is not the only factor.

Factors taken into account during the accreditation process are: a track record with SMEs, provision of evidence-based forecasts, sufficient capital available to meet lending forecasts, a viable business model, robust operations and systems, and having all the necessary regulations, licenses, authorisations and permissions to operate the scheme.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many businesses have taken loans through the Bounce Back Loan scheme in each (a) nation and (b) region of the UK; and what proportion of the loaned money has gone to each (i) nation and (ii) region.

On 16th August the British Business Bank published updated Bounce Back Loan data which states 1,174,854 companies have been approved for £35.47bn.

In regional data published on 7th August: of the total amount of £35.47bn, 22% is to companies headquartered in the South (South East and South West), 21% in the North (North West, North East and Yorkshire and the Humber), 10% in the East of England, 14% in the Midlands (East Midlands and West Midlands) and 12% in the Devolved Nations (Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland). London accounts for the remaining just over 20% of companies.

More information on the business interruption loan schemes can be found here: www.gov.uk/government/collections/hm-treasury-coronavirus-covid-19-business-loan-scheme-statistics.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many businesses have taken loans through the Future Fund scheme in each (a) nation and (b) region of the UK; and what proportion of the loaned money has gone to each (i) nation and (ii) region.

On 18th August the British Business Bank published updated Future Fund data which gives a regional breakdown of 590 companies that have been approved for £588.3m.

Of the total amount of £588.3m, 17% is to companies headquartered in the South (South East and South West), 10% in the North (North West, North East and Yorkshire and the Humber), 8% in the East of England, 3% in the Midlands (East Midlands and West Midlands) and 3% in the Devolved Nations (Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland). London accounts for the remaining 59% of companies. Further detail from the most recent update is available here: www.british-business-bank.co.uk/future-fund-publishes-diversity-data-of-companies-receiving-convertible-loan-agreements-3/.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much Russian gas is imported into the UK; and what proportion of national gas consumption that represents.

The Government publishes Energy Trends statistics, including for gas, at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/gas-section-4-energy-trends. Table 4.1 shows production, total imports and demand. Table 4.4 shows import countries of origin.

The UK gas market is one of the most liquid and developed markets in the world and provides security through diversity of supply. Most of the gas supply to the UK comes from domestic production (46 per cent in 2019), as well as imports from reliable suppliers like Norway (31 per cent in 2019). The remaining 23 per cent of supply was from pipeline imports from the Netherlands and Belgium, as well as Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) from a diverse range of sources. There are no gas pipelines directly linking the UK with Russia.

In 2019, one-fifth of UK supply was from LNG. Within this, around 34 TWh of LNG was imported from Russia, representing less than 4 percent of the total supply of gas to the UK. The UK is in no way dependent on gas supply from Russia and our LNG was sourced from 12 different countries last year.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what support his Department is providing to research on the use of dense plasma focus technology for nuclear fusion; and if he will make a statement.

UK Research and Innovation supports research into fusion across the UK through its grants, with over £2.5 million going into dense plasma focus related research in the period 2017-21. The Government is interested in and is supporting research into all approaches to fusion.

The Government champions and supports the role of the private sector in developing innovative technologies for clean energy generation, including fusion energy. We have recently announced £184 million for development of fusion related technology facilities, managed by the UK Atomic Energy Authority. We encourage private sector companies working in fusion and related fields to explore potential opportunities for collaboration with the UK Atomic Energy Authority and how they can benefit from these national assets.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate his Department's has made of the number of jobs displaced by automation during the covid-19 lockdown; and if he will make a statement.

We are continuing to monitor the impact of Covid-19 on the labour market. Whilst it is too early to make any firm conclusions on the number of jobs impacted by automation during the Covid-19 lockdown, technology has been vital in supporting more people to stay in employment during this period through more flexible and remote working.

The Government recognises that demand for skills will continue to change, in part in response to automation. In order to support people displaced in the labour market, the Government has announced that a total of £1.6 billion will be invested in scaling up employment support schemes, training and apprenticeships to help people looking for a job. This includes a £111 million investment to triple the scale of traineeships in 2020/21 and £17 million of funding for sector-based work academy placements.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many and what proportion of workers in each income quintile group have been (a) furloughed, (b) laid off or (c) had their (i) hours or (ii) pay reduced during the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

We are actively monitoring the impact of Covid-19 on different groups in the labour market. The latest external estimates, from the Resolution Foundation think tank found that, of those surveyed in the UK between 6-11 May:

  • 33% of workers in the lowest quintile income group had either been furloughed (25%), lost their job (5%) or lost hours and pay (3%) due to coronavirus. This compares to 16% of those in the highest quintile income group, with 6% being furloughed, 3% losing their job and 7% losing hours and pay.
  • 40% of workers on zero hours contracts had either been furloughed (24%), lost their job (4%) or lost hours and pay (12%) due to coronavirus. This compares to 22% of all employees, with 15% being furloughed, 3% losing their job and 4% losing hours and pay.

Published HM Treasury analysis on the impact of Covid-19 on working household incomes found that Government interventions since March have supported the poorest working households the most (as a proportion of February income).

On 8 July, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a package of support to tackle the impact of Covid-19 crisis. This package provides £201m of new funding in 20-21 for skills provision and invests billions in a strong and coherent employment support offer. It provides the help people need now to swiftly find new work, while offering greater support for people who will find that journey harder.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many and what proportion of workers on zero hours contracts have been (a) furloughed, (b) laid off or (c) had their (i) hours or (ii) pay reduced during the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

We are actively monitoring the impact of Covid-19 on different groups in the labour market. The latest external estimates, from the Resolution Foundation think tank found that, of those surveyed in the UK between 6-11 May:

  • 33% of workers in the lowest quintile income group had either been furloughed (25%), lost their job (5%) or lost hours and pay (3%) due to coronavirus. This compares to 16% of those in the highest quintile income group, with 6% being furloughed, 3% losing their job and 7% losing hours and pay.
  • 40% of workers on zero hours contracts had either been furloughed (24%), lost their job (4%) or lost hours and pay (12%) due to coronavirus. This compares to 22% of all employees, with 15% being furloughed, 3% losing their job and 4% losing hours and pay.

Published HM Treasury analysis on the impact of Covid-19 on working household incomes found that Government interventions since March have supported the poorest working households the most (as a proportion of February income).

On 8 July, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a package of support to tackle the impact of Covid-19 crisis. This package provides £201m of new funding in 20-21 for skills provision and invests billions in a strong and coherent employment support offer. It provides the help people need now to swiftly find new work, while offering greater support for people who will find that journey harder.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of increasing the maximum fine for employers breaching national minimum wage legislation; and if he will make a statement.

The Government is committed to cracking down on employers who fail to pay the National Minimum Wage. We are clear that anyone entitled to be paid the minimum wage should receive it.

In the 2019/2020 financial year, HM Revenue & Customs completed over 3,300 investigations and found arrears in just over 1,200 of them. They identified £20.8 million in arrears for over 263,000 workers and issued just under 1,000 penalties, totalling £18.5 million to non-compliant employers.

The Government increased the penalties multiplier in 2016 to 200% of the value of arrears per worker, (it was 100% from 2014-16 and 50% before March 2014). In addition, the penalty cap increased to £20,000 per worker in 2016, up from £5,000 per employer before March 2014. The penalty multiplier percentage should be considered in combination with the cap per worker and the lack of any cap per employer, which means that there is no cap on the total penalty an employer may face. More information is available here.

In its December 2018 response to the Labour Market Enforcement Strategy 2018/19, the Government rejected a recommendation from the Director of Labour Market Enforcement that the penalty multiplier be increased again on the grounds that there was insufficient evidence to justify a higher penalty given the high penalty levels already in operation.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
26th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether it remains his policy to maintain the Royal Mail Universal Service Obligation.

The Universal Service Obligation is set out in the Postal Services Act 2011.

There is a clear and transparent process for how changes to the universal service obligation would be considered and any change would need to be made through secondary legislation and agreed by Parliament.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps is he taking to prevent travel companies asking customers to pay the balance on holidays that have not been confirmed as going ahead.

Package travel agencies are required to comply with the Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018, which protect consumers who have bought package holidays. Consumers are entitled to a full refund if a package holiday is cancelled due to unavoidable and extraordinary circumstances, which should be issued within 14 days.

Further information on the rights and responsibilities of consumers and businesses was published on 30 April by the Competition and Markets Authority who have also set up a covid-19 taskforce for consumers to register complaints, available through: https://www.coronavirus-business-complaint.service.gov.uk/.

Where payments were made using a credit card meeting certain criteria, redress may also be sought from the credit card company under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans he has to provide support to small businesses not eligible for Small Business Grant Scheme because they are not liable for business rates as a result of not occupying a hereditament.

The Government has announced a package of support for businesses to help with their ongoing business costs in recognition of the disruption caused by Covid-19. This package of support includes?the Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF) and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF).

In addition, on?1 May,?the Government announced that up to £617 million is being made available to Local Authorities?in England to allow them to provide discretionary grants. The?Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund (LADGF) is aimed at small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs but not liable for business rates or rates reliefs.

Local Authorities are responsible for defining precise eligibility for this fund?and?may choose to make payments based on local economic need,?subject to the recipient businesses meeting the specific eligibility criteria.

Guidance, intended to support Local Authorities in administering the Discretionary Grants Fund, was published 13 May and can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-business-support-grant-funding.

Where businesses have been advised by the relevant local authority that they are not eligible for these schemes, they should be able to benefit from other measures in the Government’s unprecedented package of support for business, including:

  • An option to defer VAT payments by up to twelve months;
  • The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, now extended to cover all businesses including those which would be able to access commercial credit;
  • The Bounce Back Loan scheme, which will ensure that small and micro businesses can quickly access loans of up to £50,000 which are 100% guaranteed by the Government;
  • The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, to support businesses with their wage bills;
  • The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, to provide support to the self-employed.

Further information on the other support available can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus/business-support.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will take steps to ensure construction on the Hinkley Point C project is continued during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department is in regular contact with the leadership team at Hinkley Point C, as this project is extremely important for the UK’s future low-carbon energy supply.

At this difficult time, we are doing all we can to support the project, such as through the Chancellor’s recently announced business support measures. More information on these measures can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
26th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 14 February 2020 to Question 13545, on Wind Power: Seas and Oceans, what steps his Department's representative on the Offshore Wind Programme Board has taken to verify the UK content figures reported by developers.

The UK content data supplied by each developer is compiled on an anonymised basis by RenewableUK to an agreed methodology. The Department has the ability to commission the independent auditing of the data.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
26th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 14 February 2020 to Question 13545, on Wind Power: Seas and Oceans, when the Offshore Wind Industrial Council plans to publish its latest assessment of UK content.

UK content figures for wind farms are compiled and published by the Offshore Wind Industry Council (OWIC). The Department has asked the Offshore Wind Industry Council for an update on the UK content figures this year.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
26th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 14 February 2020 to Question 13545, on Wind Power: Seas and Oceans, whether his Department collects data on progress towards the offshore wind industry's target of 60 per cent UK content by 2030.

The Department monitors the progress of each commitment within the Offshore Wind Sector Deal and regular collection of data helps keep track of progress. The Offshore Wind Industrial Council undertakes monitoring of progress against the UK content target.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
26th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 11 July 2013 to Question 164613 on Wind Power, for what reason the Offshore Wind Programme Board's pages on the Crown Estate website referred to in that Answer have been removed.

The Crown Estate is an independent commercial business, created by Act of Parliament and the Department does not manage the Crown Estate website. I am therefore unable to answer a question relating to that.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
26th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the membership is of the Offshore Wind Programme Board.

The Offshore Wind Programme Board (OWPB) no longer exists. Following publication of the Offshore Wind Sector Deal in March 2019, the functions previously delivered by the OWPB were incorporated into Offshore Wind Industry Council’s Sector Deal delivery programme. An industry programme management office, led by Renewable UK, monitors the sector deal delivery.

Offshore Wind Industry Council membership comprises all developers active in the UK and key supply chain companies, as well as the ORE Catapult and the Devolved Administrations. All appointments are on a voluntary basis and unpaid.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
6th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the offshore wind Sector Deal, published on 7 March 2019, what information her Department collects on progress towards the offshore wind industry’s target of 60 per cent UK content by 2030.

The Offshore Wind Sector has an industry agreed methodology to measuring the lifetime UK content of offshore windfarm. So far, the Offshore Wind Programme Board has published reports into UK content twice, in 2015 & 2017.

At the last Offshore Wind Industrial Council in November 2019, BEIS requested OWIC to provide an update on the UK content figures.

The latest report on the amount of UK lifetime content in offshore wind farms, which shows that the average UK content to be 48%, can be found here:

https://www.renewableuk.com/news/362764/Offshore-Wind-Industry-Investment-in-the-UK.htm

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
6th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to page 4 of the RenewableUK publication entitled, A Guide to Measuring the UK Content of Offshore Wind Farms, published in March 2015, on how many occasions her Department has requested that offshore wind developers open up their calculations of UK content for independent review and audit.

The Department has not requested any offshore wind developer to open up their calculations of UK content. The Offshore Wind Programme Board reviews the data submitted to ensure the content methodology has been calculated correctly.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of increasing the penalties for people found guilty of deliberately creating and spreading misinformation on covid-19 vaccines.

The Government takes the issue of misinformation and disinformation very seriously.

The Online Safety Bill will force companies to take action to prevent the proliferation of illegal content online that is in scope of the Bill, including illegal misinformation and disinformation. This would include misinformation containing direct incitement to violence such as encouraging violence against public health officials on the false premise that COVID-19 is a hoax.

The Law Commission’s recommended false communications offence is also being brought into law through the Bill. This will capture any communications where the individual knows the information to be false but sends this communication intending to cause harm. This would include dangerous disinformation about the vaccine, or hoax COVID-19 treatments. The offence will be summary only and will carry a maximum penalty of imprisonment for a term not exceeding 51 weeks or a fine, or both.

The Online Safety Bill will also require the biggest companies to address content that is legal but causes significant physical or psychological harm to adults - including some types of misinformation and disinformation, such as anti-vaccination content.

Alongside this legislation, the government has also developed a Media Literacy Strategy and SHARE checklist which aims to increase audience resilience by educating and empowering those who see, inadvertently share and are affected by false and misleading information.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
4th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps she is taking to remove misinformation on covid-19 vaccines online.

The Government takes the issue of disinformation very seriously. The Counter Disinformation Unit was stood up on 5 March 2020 to bring together cross-Government monitoring and analysis capabilities to provide a comprehensive picture of the extent, scope, and reach of misinformation and disinformation, including that relating to COVID-19. The CDU remains stood up.

The Government is committed to ensuring that the information people access about COVID-19 and the vaccine is accurate, so that everyone is able to make informed decisions about their health. We are working with social media platforms to ensure promotion of authoritative sources of information, and to help them identify and remove incorrect claims about COVID-19 and the vaccine in line with their terms and conditions.

The Online Safety Bill will force companies to tackle illegal misinformation and disinformation in scope of the Bill, and the biggest platforms will need to address legal but harmful material, including some types of harmful misinformation such as anti-vaccination content. However, we expect companies to take steps now to improve safety, and not wait for the legislation to come into force before acting.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
26th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if she will provide redress to the people affected by the collapse of BetIndex Limited, the operators of Football Index.

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)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when the independent review into the collapse of football gambling firm, Football Index, will be complete.

The Secretary of State has appointed Malcolm Sheehan QC to lead the independent review into the regulation of BetIndex Limited, the operators of Football Index. The independent review is expected to provide a report for publication shortly. Its findings will form part of the evidence informing the government’s ongoing Review of the Gambling Act 2005, which was announced in December 2020.

15th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will make it his policy to (a) introduce a junk food advertising ban before 2023 and (b) expand that ban to cover junk food advertising on television, other broadcasting platforms and in public spaces.

The Government is legislating in the Health and Care Bill to introduce a restriction on paid-for advertising of food and drinks products high in fat, sugar or salt (HFSS) online and a 9pm watershed on TV. This watershed will also apply to all On-Demand Programme Services (ODPS) under the jurisdiction of the UK. ODPS that do not fall under the UK’s jurisdiction will be included in the online restriction of paid-for HFSS advertising. These measures will come into force simultaneously at the end of 2022. It is not the Government’s intention to legislate to restrict HFSS advertising in public spaces. This form of advertising is subject to advertising codes regulated by the Advertising Standards Authority which include restricting HFSS advertising in media directed at children under 16.

12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will make it his policy to ensure that all sports played by UK national teams are available live for free on non-subscription services.

The Government recognises that sporting events of national significance have the ability to bring the nation together through shared moments and therefore it is important that they are made available to as wide an audience as possible.

Under the current listed events regime national sporting events including matches for the FIFA Football World Cup finals tournament, the Rugby World Cup finals and events in the Olympics are made available to free to air broadcasters. In January 2020 the Government added the Paralympic Games to the list, recognising that it is an event of national significance on par with the Olympic Games.

The listed events regime works well to strike an appropriate balance between retaining free-to-air sports events for the public while allowing rights holders to negotiate agreements in the best interests of their sport. Therefore, the Government does not have plans to review the listed events regime at this time.

12th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, who is the membership of the Events Research Programme; and if he will make a statement.

The Events Research Programme (ERP), under the guidance of Chief Advisors Nicholas Hytner and Davd Ross, is aimed at providing key scientific data on how small and large-scale events could be permitted to safely reopen in line with the Prime Minister's roadmap out of lockdown. The Chief Advisers will oversee the programme, reporting into the Prime Minister and will co-chair a small, advisory Senior Steering Board. There will also be a Joint Programme Board working across government to inform policy development and a Science Board to provide scientific assurance across the programme. Pilots, due to start in April, will investigate how a combination of testing and non-pharmaceutical interventions can be employed to allow venues to open safely. It is anticipated that findings will be reported to the Prime Minister at the end of May, to feed into wider discussions around Step 4 of the lockdown restrictions.

12th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when the Events Research Programme is expected to publish its roadmap for the reopening of the events industry; and if he will make a statement.

The Events Research Programme (ERP), under the guidance of Chief Advisors Nicholas Hytner and Davd Ross, is aimed at providing key scientific data on how small and large-scale events could be permitted to safely reopen in line with the Prime Minister's roadmap out of lockdown. The Chief Advisers will oversee the programme, reporting into the Prime Minister and will co-chair a small, advisory Senior Steering Board. There will also be a Joint Programme Board working across government to inform policy development and a Science Board to provide scientific assurance across the programme. Pilots, due to start in April, will investigate how a combination of testing and non-pharmaceutical interventions can be employed to allow venues to open safely. It is anticipated that findings will be reported to the Prime Minister at the end of May, to feed into wider discussions around Step 4 of the lockdown restrictions.

12th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what factors the Events Research Programme will consider in producing a roadmap for the reopening of the events industry; and if he will make a statement.

The Events Research Programme (ERP), under the guidance of Chief Advisors Nicholas Hytner and Davd Ross, is aimed at providing key scientific data on how small and large-scale events could be permitted to safely reopen in line with the Prime Minister's roadmap out of lockdown. The Chief Advisers will oversee the programme, reporting into the Prime Minister and will co-chair a small, advisory Senior Steering Board. There will also be a Joint Programme Board working across government to inform policy development and a Science Board to provide scientific assurance across the programme. Pilots, due to start in April, will investigate how a combination of testing and non-pharmaceutical interventions can be employed to allow venues to open safely. It is anticipated that findings will be reported to the Prime Minister at the end of May, to feed into wider discussions around Step 4 of the lockdown restrictions.

19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will publish data on the rates of covid-19 infection in (a) professional and (b) grassroots sport in the period prior to the January 2021 national covid-19 lockdown.

We do not hold data on the rates of COVID-19 infection in professional and grassroots sport.

Government has published overarching guidance for grassroots sport but does not publish guidance for individual sports. It is for the National Governing Body of the sport to consider the steps that would need to be taken, and the conditions that would need to be met, for their activity to resume. The National Governing Body should also publish relevant guidance.

Professional sports have put in place sport specific protocols in line with our guidance for covid secure return of training and competition. Where appropriate to those protocols, this includes regular testing, such as in Premier League football. Many have chosen to publish their testing info for transparency, and, where appropriate, results are reported locally.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
2nd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will make it his policy to introduce financial penalties for companies that allow misinformation about vaccines to be spread on their platforms; and if he will set up a taskforce to tackle online vaccine misinformation.

The Government takes the issue of misinformation and disinformation very seriously and is working closely with social media platforms to help them identify and take action to remove incorrect claims about the virus, particularly around the potential Covid-19 vaccine in line with their revised terms and conditions, and to promote authoritative sources of information.

The Cross-Whitehall Counter Disinformation Unit was stood up on 5 March 2020, bringing together cross-Government monitoring and analysis capabilities. Its primary function is to provide a comprehensive picture of the extent, scope and the reach of disinformation and misinformation linked to Covid-19, and to work with partners to stamp it out.

At a joint roundtable hosted by the DCMS and DHSC Secretaries of State in November, Social media platforms agreed to continue to work with public health bodies to ensure that authoritative messages about vaccine safety reach as many people as possible; to commit to swifter responses to flagged content and to commit to the principle that no user or company should directly profit from COVID-19 vaccine misinformation or disinformation. This work is being taken forward through an ongoing counter-disinformation policy forum which brings together platforms, civil society organisations and academia.

The Online Harms White Paper highlighted disinformation as potentially being in scope of the regulatory framework, and set out a list of potential steps that platforms could take ahead of regulation. Further details about how the legislation and the regulator will tackle disinformation will be published in the Full Government Response to the Online Harms White Paper. The regulator will have strong enforcement powers to deal with non-compliance, including the power to issue notices, warnings and fines.

25th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had on additional specific financial support for rugby league clubs, and if he will make a statement.

On 1 May this year the Government announced that the Rugby Football League would receive a £16 million cash injection to safeguard the immediate future of the sport for the communities it serves. This emergency loan will help the sport deal with the extreme financial impact of COVID-19. We are continuing to engage with the Rugby Football League and other sporting bodies on the consequences of the decision not to reopen stadia to spectators on 1 October.

Government is also supporting rugby league through more than £11m of Sport England investment in the Rugby Football League over 2017-21 and investment of up to £10m in rugby league facilities to help drive a legacy from the 2021 Rugby League World Cup.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of a statutory owners and directors test in football.

Football clubs are the heart of local communities, they have unique social value and many with a great history. It is vital they are protected.

The Government is committed to undertaking a fan led review of football governance, which will include consideration of the Owners’ and Directors’ test.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions (a) he and (b) his officials have with the GMB trade union on financial pressures and salary caps in Rugby League Super League due to the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has had no such discussions with the GMB trade union, but trade union attendance across a range of DCMS working groups was agreed with the TUC, with PFA and TUC attending the sport working group

The Government announced on 30 April that the Rugby Football League (RFL) will receive an emergency loan of up to £16 million to safeguard the immediate future of the sport for the communities it serves, and is continuing to work closely with the sport to understand the issues they face and discuss how we can support them further through this difficult time. The RFL is fully engaged with the process and is ensuring that the sport as a whole is aware of the assistance available and how to access support. It is a matter for individual clubs to pursue the support appropriate for their situation.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
30th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what the timeframe is for (a) brass bands and (b) choirs to restart (i) practising and (ii) performing as the covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

Detailed guidance for the performing arts has been published on Gov.uk.

This guidance sets out the current Public Health England assessment that certain activities, including singing and playing brass instruments, carry a potentially higher risk of transmission and that participation in such activities requires particular attention to the risk involved. This position will be updated as the evidence base develops.

To help support the development of the evidence base, DCMS is working closely with SAGE and a number of specialists to examine the existing and emerging evidence to provide advice to guide the future development of policy and guidelines.

19th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department holds data on the number of teaching staff fined for breaking covid-19 related restrictions in the workplace.

The department does not hold information on the number of teaching staff fined for breaking COVID-19 related restrictions in the workplace.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make it his policy to introduce an appeals process for businesses that have made an out of time application for funding for apprenticeship training as a result of inaccurate advice given by training providers.

The department is committed to supporting employers and apprentices to benefit from the high-quality training that an apprenticeship offers. We introduced incentive payments as part of the Plan for Jobs to support employers to offer apprenticeships to new hires between 1 August 2020 and 31 January 2022.

The incentive payment scheme was implemented across three phases, with extensions and new phases developed in response to the national impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the expansion of the Plan for Jobs package.

From the onset of the scheme, we have communicated extensively to employers and providers that, as the employer receives the incentive payment directly, it is their responsibility to apply for the payment.

Deadlines for each phase of the scheme and how to apply have been communicated in a number of ways. This includes through direct emails to all apprentice employers, notifications in employers’ apprenticeship service accounts, guidance on GOV.UK pages, posts on social media channels, and the apprenticeship funding rules.

There has been no formal obligation for training providers to inform employers of the process for applying for incentive payments, but we have communicated extensively with providers and intermediary organisations so that they have the same information as employers. Training providers may have chosen to share information or offer guidance to their employers on the incentives scheme as part of their activities to support the smooth running of an employer’s apprenticeship programme.

Due to our extensive communications to employers, we have no plans to introduce an appeals process for employers who missed the deadline. We do not hold information on the number, or details, of employers that did not submit an application for an incentive payment in time.

Over 170,000 incentive payment claims have been submitted by employers as of February 2022. Employers of all sizes can continue to access government funding for apprenticeship training and assessment and we continue to offer £1,000 payments to employers and providers when they hire apprentices aged 16 to 18.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when his Department informed apprenticeship training providers that businesses using their services would have to make direct applications to his Department for funding; and if he will make a statement.

The department is committed to supporting employers and apprentices to benefit from the high-quality training that an apprenticeship offers. We introduced incentive payments as part of the Plan for Jobs to support employers to offer apprenticeships to new hires between 1 August 2020 and 31 January 2022.

The incentive payment scheme was implemented across three phases, with extensions and new phases developed in response to the national impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the expansion of the Plan for Jobs package.

From the onset of the scheme, we have communicated extensively to employers and providers that, as the employer receives the incentive payment directly, it is their responsibility to apply for the payment.

Deadlines for each phase of the scheme and how to apply have been communicated in a number of ways. This includes through direct emails to all apprentice employers, notifications in employers’ apprenticeship service accounts, guidance on GOV.UK pages, posts on social media channels, and the apprenticeship funding rules.

There has been no formal obligation for training providers to inform employers of the process for applying for incentive payments, but we have communicated extensively with providers and intermediary organisations so that they have the same information as employers. Training providers may have chosen to share information or offer guidance to their employers on the incentives scheme as part of their activities to support the smooth running of an employer’s apprenticeship programme.

Due to our extensive communications to employers, we have no plans to introduce an appeals process for employers who missed the deadline. We do not hold information on the number, or details, of employers that did not submit an application for an incentive payment in time.

Over 170,000 incentive payment claims have been submitted by employers as of February 2022. Employers of all sizes can continue to access government funding for apprenticeship training and assessment and we continue to offer £1,000 payments to employers and providers when they hire apprentices aged 16 to 18.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what obligations apprenticeship training providers have to inform businesses of the processes and deadlines for applying to his Department for funding.

The department is committed to supporting employers and apprentices to benefit from the high-quality training that an apprenticeship offers. We introduced incentive payments as part of the Plan for Jobs to support employers to offer apprenticeships to new hires between 1 August 2020 and 31 January 2022.

The incentive payment scheme was implemented across three phases, with extensions and new phases developed in response to the national impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the expansion of the Plan for Jobs package.

From the onset of the scheme, we have communicated extensively to employers and providers that, as the employer receives the incentive payment directly, it is their responsibility to apply for the payment.

Deadlines for each phase of the scheme and how to apply have been communicated in a number of ways. This includes through direct emails to all apprentice employers, notifications in employers’ apprenticeship service accounts, guidance on GOV.UK pages, posts on social media channels, and the apprenticeship funding rules.

There has been no formal obligation for training providers to inform employers of the process for applying for incentive payments, but we have communicated extensively with providers and intermediary organisations so that they have the same information as employers. Training providers may have chosen to share information or offer guidance to their employers on the incentives scheme as part of their activities to support the smooth running of an employer’s apprenticeship programme.

Due to our extensive communications to employers, we have no plans to introduce an appeals process for employers who missed the deadline. We do not hold information on the number, or details, of employers that did not submit an application for an incentive payment in time.

Over 170,000 incentive payment claims have been submitted by employers as of February 2022. Employers of all sizes can continue to access government funding for apprenticeship training and assessment and we continue to offer £1,000 payments to employers and providers when they hire apprentices aged 16 to 18.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what information his Department holds on the number of businesses that are out of time in their applications for apprenticeships funding for training provided by Paragon Skills; and if he will make a statement.

The department is committed to supporting employers and apprentices to benefit from the high-quality training that an apprenticeship offers. We introduced incentive payments as part of the Plan for Jobs to support employers to offer apprenticeships to new hires between 1 August 2020 and 31 January 2022.

The incentive payment scheme was implemented across three phases, with extensions and new phases developed in response to the national impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the expansion of the Plan for Jobs package.

From the onset of the scheme, we have communicated extensively to employers and providers that, as the employer receives the incentive payment directly, it is their responsibility to apply for the payment.

Deadlines for each phase of the scheme and how to apply have been communicated in a number of ways. This includes through direct emails to all apprentice employers, notifications in employers’ apprenticeship service accounts, guidance on GOV.UK pages, posts on social media channels, and the apprenticeship funding rules.

There has been no formal obligation for training providers to inform employers of the process for applying for incentive payments, but we have communicated extensively with providers and intermediary organisations so that they have the same information as employers. Training providers may have chosen to share information or offer guidance to their employers on the incentives scheme as part of their activities to support the smooth running of an employer’s apprenticeship programme.

Due to our extensive communications to employers, we have no plans to introduce an appeals process for employers who missed the deadline. We do not hold information on the number, or details, of employers that did not submit an application for an incentive payment in time.

Over 170,000 incentive payment claims have been submitted by employers as of February 2022. Employers of all sizes can continue to access government funding for apprenticeship training and assessment and we continue to offer £1,000 payments to employers and providers when they hire apprentices aged 16 to 18.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
13th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent estimate he has made of the number of SEND children who are not in schools that adequately meet their needs; and what steps his Department is taking to improve educational provision for SEND children.

The information requested is not held. However, the department publishes data on the number of children with special education needs and education, health and care (EHC) plans awaiting provision once a year. The department’s last published figure in May 2021 for the number of children with special education needs and disabilities (SEND) who have an EHC plan who are not in schools and are awaiting provision was 1,460. Further information is available here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/education-health-and-care-plans.

The department has recently announced an additional £2.6 billion over the next 3 years for school places for children and young people with SEND. This is more than tripling current capital funding levels to over £900 million by the 2024-25 financial year.

The department is conducting a review of the SEND system and will publish proposals for public consultation as a green paper in the first 3 months of this year.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make it his policy to allow (a) adoption above the age of 18 and (b) people to change who their parents are in law above the age of 18.

The legal framework for adoption only applies to the adoption of children up to 18 years of age. While an adoption order can be granted up to a person’s 19th birthday, an application to court to adopt must be made before a person’s 18th birthday.

Adoption is about ensuring a child has a permanent family, with the adopter taking legal and parental responsibility for them. Once a child becomes an adult at 18, they become legally responsible for themselves. Furthermore, legal processes, such as the making of a will, already enable individuals to pass on inheritance or financial rights without adoption being necessary. Similarly, the ability to legally change names through deed poll means that adoption is not the only way to share a family name. The government has no plans to change the law in this area.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he plans to lower the student loan repayment threshold from £27,000 to £23,000.

We are committed to a sustainable funding model for our higher education system that supports high value provision, meets the skills needs of the country and maintains the world-class reputation of UK higher education.

The government is considering its response to the Review of Post-18 Education and Funding carefully, including a range of options to ensure that student finance continues to deliver value for money for both students and the taxpayer, and will set out a full conclusion in due course.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will review the rule which requires school children in a bubble to isolate for 10 days in the event that one child in that bubble tests positive for covid-19.

From Step 4 of the roadmap, it will no longer be necessary to keep children and young people in consistent groups (‘bubbles’). This means that bubbles will not be required for any summer provision, for example summer schools, or in schools from the autumn term.

From Step 4, nurseries, schools and colleges will not routinely be required to undertake contact tracing for children and young people. Instead, pupils who test positive will be subject to the normal test and trace process, which will identify close contacts. This will be limited to very close contacts.

Unless they test positive, children and those who are double vaccinated will not be required to isolate from 16 August if they are identified as a close contact. Self-isolation continues for those who have tested positive for COVID-19.

The Department for Education has worked closely with the Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England to develop guidance for schools.

10th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make it his policy to partially refund the tuition fees of university students in response to covid-19 disruption to the academic year 2020-21.

I want to thank all higher education (HE) staff for their tireless work to ensure that students do not have to put their lives or their academic journeys on hold. This government recognises that this has been an enormously challenging period and I am grateful to universities and other providers for their sustained commitment to supporting students. We are working with the sector to make sure all reasonable efforts are being made to enable students to continue their studies. Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, the government has been clear we expect universities to continue delivering a high-quality academic experience and help students to achieve qualifications that they and employers value. Universities are expected to maintain quality and academic standards and that the quantity of tuition should not drop.

Universities and other HE providers are autonomous and responsible for setting their own fees within maximum fee limits set by regulations.

Whether or not an individual student is entitled to a refund of fees will depend on the specific contractual arrangements between the provider and student. Students do have rights, and it is for them to decide whether to seek to exercise these, whether it be through the provider’s internal complaints system, third party adjudication organisations or courts.

If students wish to be refunded, they should first raise this with their university through their internal complaints procedures. If they are unsatisfied with the outcome, students at providers in England or Wales can ask the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education to consider their complaint.

The government has already announced that maximum fees in the 2021/22 academic year will remain at £9,250 for a standard full-time course. We also intend to freeze the maximum tuition fee caps for the 2022/23 academic year to deliver better value for students and to keep the cost of higher education under control, the fifth year in succession that maximum fees have been frozen.

We recognise that, in these exceptional circumstances, some students may face financial hardship. The Department for Education has worked with the Office for Students to clarify that providers are able to use existing funds, worth around £256 million for the academic year 2020/21, towards hardship support. We have also made an additional £85 million of student hardship funding available to higher education providers this academic year (2020/21).

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessments he has made of the potential merits of spending £50 per pupil per year to help school children catch up with the curriculum following the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department is committed to supporting all children and young people to catch up after the disruption caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. The £1.4 billion package announced in June 2021 to support children aged 2-19 across nurseries, schools and colleges is the next step and builds on the £1.7 billion already committed. This brings the total investment announced for education recovery over the past year to over £3 billion.

The £50 per pupil figure does not account for our previous recovery packages or for our broader response to the COVID-19 outbreak, such as investing over £400 million to provide access to the internet, and over 1.3 million laptops and tablets for disadvantaged children and young people.

The next stage of the Government’s long-term education recovery plan will include a review of time spent in school and college and the impact this could have on helping children and young people to catch up. The findings of the review will be set out later in the year to inform the spending review.

In addition, as part of the three-year increase to core funding, schools have received a £2.6 billion increase in funding in the 2020/21 financial year and will receive a further £4.8 billion increase in 2021/22, compared to 2019/20.

4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will extend the 15 hours a week free early education for three and four year olds to children once they turn three years old as opposed to when they commence the term after their third birthday.

As set out in the regulations underpinning the entitlements to free early education and childcare, available here: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2014/2147/pdfs/uksi_20142147_en.pdf, children become eligible for a free early education place at different points in the year, depending on when the child turns 3. The 15 hours free childcare entitlement begins from 1 September, 1 January or 1 April following their third birthday. They then remain eligible for an early education place until either they start in reception at a state-funded school (for many children this will be the September following their fourth birthday), or the term after they turn 5 (statutory school age). This is intended to ensure that all children receive at least 2 years (or 3 years if they are eligible for an early education place at the age of 2) of early education and/or reception, before they reach statutory school age.

These termly deadlines link closely with that of the department’s other early entitlements, in order to create consistency across the offers. It also allows local authorities and childcare providers to better plan and ensure sufficient early years places are available for parents each term, as there are clear periods for when children are likely to enter into a place.

There is a wide range of support available for parents with childcare costs outside of the free early education entitlements, including Tax-Free Childcare. For every £8 parents pay their provider via an online account, the government will pay £2, up to a maximum contribution of £2,000 per child each year (up to £500 every 3 months), for children under 12. Parents can apply for this and, if found eligible, can start saving immediately following their application.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to increase the time spent in the curriculum on teaching primary and secondary school pupils about climate change.

The Department believes it important that all children and young people are taught about climate change. All schools in the country are required to follow a broad and balanced curriculum, as exemplified by the National Curriculum which is mandatory in all state-maintained schools. The National Curriculum already includes content which allows for teaching on environmental and sustainability issues such as climate change in both the science and geography curricula from Key Stage 1 onwards. Additionally, in 2017, we introduced a new environmental science A level. This will enable pupils to study topics that will support their understanding of climate change and how it can be tackled.

The Department does not, however, set the amount of time schools spend on teaching topics within the curriculum. Teachers have the flexibility and freedom to determine how they deliver the content in the way that best meets the needs of their pupils and can choose to cover particular subjects or topics in greater depth if they wish.

8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will update the guidance entitled Children of critical workers and vulnerable children who can access schools or educational settings, to provide a list of specific critical worker roles.

The Department has made guidance available on Children of critical workers and vulnerable children who can access schools or educational settings: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision. This sets out the high-level role types which can be considered critical to the COVID-19 outbreak or EU transition response. The list in the guidance is not exhaustive, but it should offer sufficient information to help parents and carers to identify if their work falls under one of the umbrella groups.

Parents whose work is critical to the COVID-19 outbreak and EU transition response include those who work in health and social care and in other key sectors. Children with at least one parent or carer who is a critical worker can go to school if required. Schools should speak to parents and carers to identify who needs to go to school, and parents and carers who are critical workers should keep their children at home if they can.

The Department knows that every school will have a different number of children of critical workers who need to attend. It is important that on-site provision is provided for these pupils. There is no limit to the numbers of these pupils who may attend, and schools should not limit attendance of these groups. We expect schools to work with critical worker parents to ensure their child is given access to a place if it is required, so that parents can continue providing vital services. This is because we are reducing overall social contact across areas and the country rather than individually by each institution.

The Department publishes weekly national-level data on pupil attendance. The latest published data (for 4 February) shows that attendance in state primary schools in England was at 23% and at 5% in state secondaries: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak. In aggregate, attendance so far this term has been much lower than full attendance – on average only 5% of secondary pupils and 20% of primary schools pupils have been attending face-to-face, and so we are seeing the desired reduction in social contacts.

1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make it his policy to implement (a) the recommendation on interest rates on student loans and (b) other recommendations of Post-18 review of education and funding: independent panel report, published on 30 May 2019.

We set out an Interim Conclusion to the Review of Post-18 Education and Funding on 21 January 2021, that addressed some of the recommendations made in the independent panel’s report to the Review of Post-18 Education and Funding.

We continue to consider the recommendations, including those pertaining to higher education fees and funding, very carefully and will set out a full and final conclusion at the next comprehensive spending review.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what progress he has made on ensuring that every school and college has a designated lead in mental health.

It is up to schools and colleges to decide whether to put in place a lead for mental health and more are doing so. Our latest figures from a survey in 2018 reported that over 80% of schools and colleges had a lead (82% of schools, 91% of further education colleges). An earlier survey in 2016 had suggested that around half had a lead (49% of schools, 69% of colleges).

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the government has prioritised providing bespoke training and support to as many schools and colleges as possible to meet the immediate challenges that they face in supporting the wellbeing of children and young people during the COVID-19 outbreak. We provided seminars during the summer term last year which were accessed by thousands of staff in education and have funded the £8 million Wellbeing for Education Return scheme to provide advisers and further training to schools and colleges.

All upper tier local authorities in England have identified a lead contact for Wellbeing for Education Return in September and October 2020 our national training provider, the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, trained 438 local experts. 85% of local authorities report that they are already delivering additional training and support to local schools and further education providers using the funding, with feedback indicating that this training and support is reaching more than 15,000 schools.

In the longer term, to further incentivise schools and to support leads to put in place whole school approaches to promoting good mental health and wellbeing, the department has committed to provide training for senior mental health leads in all state-funded schools and colleges in England. This is part of our commitment to our joint green paper delivery programme with the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England, which also includes introducing new mental health support teams for all schools and colleges and testing approaches to faster access to NHS specialist support. The training will equip senior mental health leads with the knowledge to introduce or develop their whole school/college approach to positive mental health and implement effective processes for ensuring pupils and students with mental health problems receive appropriate support. Since the autumn term the department has been undertaking a review of the needs of senior mental health leads in the light of COVID-19 outbreak and to incorporate learning from the Wellbeing for Education Return.

Whole school approaches will include the new requirement for schools to teach about mental wellbeing as part of Relationship, Sex and Health Education (RSHE). The department is committed to supporting all schools in their preparations to teach RSHE and has developed an online service featuring innovative training materials and an implementation guide. This support will cover all of the teaching requirements in the statutory guidance and will be inclusive of all pupils. We prioritised the production of the training module covering mental wellbeing, so that it was available before the end of the summer term last year: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/teaching-about-mental-wellbeing. The mental wellbeing module has been downloaded over 21,000 times.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to help school pupils catch up with the curriculum who did not have access to a computer device during school closures in spring 2020 due to the covid-19 outbreak.

To support pupils catch up, last year the Government announced a £650 million catch up premium which aims to support schools to make up for the impact of time outside of the classroom. The Department’s expectation is that this funding will be spent on the additional activities required to support children and young people to catch up after a period of disruption to their education.

Schools will receive £80 per head for mainstream schools and £240 per head for special schools and alternative provision. We have applied additional weighting to specialist schools, recognising the significantly higher per pupil costs they face. Schools should use this as a single total and schools should prioritise spending based on need.

To help schools make the best use of this funding, the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) has published a support guide for schools with evidence based approaches to catch up: https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/covid-19-resources/national-tutoring-programme/covid-19-support-guide-for-schools/#nav-covid-19-support-guide-for-schools1.

The EEF has also published a further school planning guide for 2021: https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/covid-19-resources/guide-to-supporting-schools-planning/.

Alongside this, the £1 billion catch up package includes a new £350 million National Tutoring Programme for disadvantaged pupils. This will increase access to high quality tuition for the most disadvantaged young people, helping to accelerate their academic progress and tackle the attainment gap between them and their peers.

The Government is investing over £400 million to support access to remote education and online social care services, including securing 1.3 million laptops and tablets for disadvantaged children and young people. As of Monday 25 January 2021, over 870,000 laptops and tablets had been delivered to schools, academy trusts and local authorities. We are providing this significant injection of devices on top of an estimated 2.9 million laptops and tablets already owned by schools before the start of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Where pupils continue to experience barriers to digital remote education, we expect schools to work to overcome these barriers. This could include supplementing digital provision with different forms of remote education such as printed resources or textbooks. This should be supplemented with other forms of communication to keep pupils and students on track or answer questions about work.

19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to ensure that only the children of (a) key workers and (b) people who cannot work from home will be accepted at nurseries during the covid-19 outbreak.

The government continues to prioritise the wellbeing and long-term futures of our young children. Early years provision should remain open and continue to allow all children to attend full time or their usual timetable hours. This includes early years registered nurseries and childminders, maintained nursery schools, as well as nursery classes in schools and other pre-reception provision on school sites.

Early years childcare providers were one of the first sectors to have restrictions lifted last summer, in recognition of the key role they play in society. Childminders and nursery staff across the country have worked hard to keep settings open through the COVID-19 outbreak so that young children can be educated, and families supported.

The earliest years are the most crucial point of child development and attending early education lays the foundation for lifelong learning and supports children’s social and emotional development.

We continue to prioritise keeping early years settings open in full because of the clear benefits to children’s education and wellbeing. Caring for the youngest age group is not something that can be done remotely.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to reduce the number of pupils in school during the covid-19 lockdown that began in January 2021.

During this period of national lockdown, schools should only allow vulnerable children and the children of critical workers to attend face-to-face education. The Department has resisted restrictions on attendance at schools since the first lockdown but, given the rapidly rising numbers of cases across the country and the intense pressure on the NHS, we have needed to do more to reduce all our social contacts wherever possible. Limiting attendance at this time is about reducing the number of contacts that people have with other households.

The Department publishes weekly national-level data on pupil attendance. The latest data, published 19 January, shows that attendance in state primary schools in England was at 21% and at 5% in state secondaries. The data is available to view here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

On 7 January the Department published further guidance, ‘Restricting attendance during the national lockdown: schools’, which sets out what all schools need to do during the COVID-19 outbreak from January 2021. This includes the system of controls which schools must continue to implement, to the fullest extent possible, to reduce risks in their school and create an inherently safer environment. The guidance is available to view here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/950510/School_national_restrictions_guidance.pdf.

12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will publish details of the tendering process for the provision of food parcels to children eligible for free school meals who are learning at home during the January 2021 covid-19 lockdown.

The Department for Education does not directly contract school catering firms for the provision of school meals or lunch parcels. These contracts are negotiated and held at school level.

It is integral that we quickly put support in place for pupils who are eligible for free school meals when they are at home, and that is why we are reopening the national voucher scheme. By the time the previous scheme closed in the summer, more than £380 million worth of vouchers had been successfully redeemed into supermarket gift cards.

We will be working with Crown Commercial Service to launch a cross-government and wider public sector tender for retails vouchers, including food vouchers, that can be used by schools and other local authority bodies. We expect further details to be released shortly.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, will he review the decision to end the Union Learning Fund.

The government does not plan to review this decision. COVID-19 continues to have a significant impact on the economy and workforce, resulting in a rise in unemployment. We need to help these people re-skill where necessary and re-enter into employment. The Union Learning Fund operates mostly through larger employers within unionised parts of the economy and is not designed to help those out of work – only 2% of people supported via the Union Learning Fund are unemployed.

The decision to no longer support the Union Learning Fund after 31 March 2021 was taken as part of the wider Spending Review discussions and in light of our expanded commitment to skills development through the £2.5 million National Skills Fund, and Lifetime Skills Guarantee. This national fund will support individuals to get the training and qualifications they need wherever they are located and regardless of whether they are able to access the Union learn network.

As part of this expanded commitment, we can confirm all the money will be invested in skills and retraining that will be accessible to all.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make it his policy to provide funding for short breaks and holidays for children who are seriously ill.

Supporting the most vulnerable children and young people is a priority for us, especially at this time. We know that this period is particularly hard for families caring for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities and those with serious illness.

Short breaks (or ‘respite care’), including holidays for respite purposes, are funded opportunities for children and young people to be cared for in or away from the family home. Local authorities have a statutory duty to assess the social care needs of disabled children and categories of seriously ill children and young people, and to provide respite care where necessary.

Local authorities have been allocated a further £4.6 billion this year to help their communities through the COVID-19 outbreak. This funding is un-ringfenced, recognising that local authorities are best placed to decide how to meet the priorities of their local area.

Supporting councils to maintain critical mainstream services continues to be our key priority. The Spending Review 2020 confirmed that Core Spending Power is forecast to rise by 4.5% in cash terms, which is a real terms increase. This package means that local authorities will be able to access an estimated additional £2.2 billion to support adult and children’s social care and to maintain services, including respite.

This year, we have also committed £37.3 million (including £10 million in response to the COVID-19 outbreak) to the Family Fund, which provides grants to low income families caring for disabled children or seriously ill children, including for family breaks.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to ensure that Jewish university students can return home to their families during the covid-19 outbreak for Hanukkah between 10 and 18 December 2020.

The safety and wellbeing of staff and students in higher education (HE) is always our priority. The government is doing all it can to minimise the risks to those working and studying in our HE institutions during this unprecedented situation, whilst mitigating the impact on education.

On 11 November 2020, the department published guidance on plans for student movement at the end of term, outlining what providers should do following the end of the national restrictions on 2 December, and how this affects students, irrespective of their religious denomination.

To ensure that students can be home at the end of the autumn term, but also reduce any transmission risk, the government is asking that students return home once the national restrictions have been lifted, in a “student travel window” lasting from 3-9 December. This should be in line with specific arrangements put in place by their HE provider.

The guidance on student movement at the end of term is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/higher-education-reopening-buildings-and-campuses/student-movement-and-plans-for-the-end-of-autumn-2020-term.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to protect foster carers from covid-19 when facilitating meetings between foster children and birth parents, who reside in areas where the number of covid-19 cases is very high.

We expect that contact between children in care and their birth relatives will continue. It is essential for children and families to remain in touch at this difficult time, and for many children, the consequences of not seeing relatives would be traumatic. We expect the spirit of any court-ordered contact in relation to children in care to be maintained. However, there may be local or individual circumstances where face-to-face contact may not be possible, including where members of households are isolating or continuing to take precautions due to clinical vulnerability.

Contact arrangements should be assessed on a case by case basis taking a range of factors into account, including the government’s current social distancing guidance, guidance for children’s social care and the needs of the child. This guidance is can be viewed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-meeting-with-others-safely-social-distancing/coronavirus-covid-19-meeting-with-others-safely-social-distancing and: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-childrens-social-care-services/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-local-authorities-on-childrens-social-care.

To facilitate any contact that is deemed appropriate, the fostering service should provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to the foster carers. More information is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-childrens-social-care-services/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-local-authorities-on-childrens-social-care#fostering.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to ensure exam fairness in the 2020-21academic year.

Ensuring fairness in exams in academic year 2020-21 is the priority. It is for this reason that we have said we expect the summer 2021 exam series to go ahead.

The Department has worked closely with the qualifications regulator, Ofqual, on ways to ensure the 2021 exam series supports catch up as well as complies with public health restrictions. Ofqual has consulted on measures to free up teaching time, as well as to include optionality in some of the most content heavy subjects at GCSE. These adaptations have been developed to maximise teaching time without compromising the validity of the qualifications. We are also engaging with relevant stakeholders on the timing of examinations and the grading approach with fairness to students and upholding public confidence in qualifications as the overarching drivers. We are also working closely with Ofqual and the exam boards on contingency plans so all students have the opportunity to take exams and to receive a grade. There will be further announcements made before October half term.

25th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of allocating additional funding to (a) nurseries and (b) early years childcare providers that are working with a reduced occupancy rate as a result of the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

The government wants to support nurseries, pre-schools and childminders during what must be a worrying and uncertain time.

We have said that we will continue to pay local authorities their regular instalments of Dedicated Schools Grant, including the early years block, as usual. It remains the case that local authorities can redistribute their free early education entitlement funding, in exceptional cases. That should only be done at local authorities’ discretion, as a last resort and in a clearly focussed and targeted way, from providers who have closed to those who are open, in order to secure childcare for the children of critical workers and for vulnerable children.

Further, a package of support is available for individuals and businesses which will benefit childcare providers, including a business rates holiday, business interruption loans, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and help for the self-employed. Details of support are available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures#funding.

As more settings open, the need to furlough staff may reduce. In such cases, if still required, settings can continue to access the CJRS to cover up to the proportion of their salary bill which could be considered to have been paid for from their private income (and in line with the appropriate guidance). As local authorities, working with childcare providers in their area, are best placed to make decisions in the interests of their local communities, they should continue to work in partnership with their early years sector and in doing so, should consider the current sufficiency of childcare for vulnerable children and children of critical workers, and the financial security of individual childcare settings. Guidance on the CJRS is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme.

We are continuing to work with the sector to understand how the early years sector can best be supported to ensure that sufficient safe, appropriate and affordable childcare is available for those returning to work now, and for all families who need it in the longer term.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what guidance his Department has issued to private schools on a timeline for reopening schools following the covid-19 outbreak.

Guidance on the wider opening of all schools applies to all schools in England, including independent schools, can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers/reopening-schools-and-other-educational-settings-from-1-june. It includes detailed guidance on how schools can manage and minimise risks to children, teachers, and their families as they reopen.

We encourage all independent schools to follow the timelines we have outlined for wider opening and welcome the constructive and supportive approach taken by the sector throughout the COVID-19 outbreak.

At this point, we have asked primary schools to welcome back children in Reception, year 1 and year 6, alongside the priority groups (vulnerable children and children of critical workers) that could already attend. While we will be unable to welcome all primary children back for a month before the summer, we continue to work with all parts of the education sector on the next steps. We would like to see wider opening to enable schools that have capacity to do so to bring back more children in the smaller class sizes before the summer holidays.

As outlined by my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister on 24 May, secondary schools should prepare to invite year 10 and 12 pupils back into school for some face-to-face support with their teachers from 15 June.

13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many meetings he has had since 16 March 2020 with school (a) leadership unions, (b) teaching unions and (c) support staff unions.

The Department has been engaging widely with a wide range of stakeholders at both official and ministerial level, including headteacher, teacher and support staff unions, including through meetings listed below.

Details of weekly engagement are set out below:

  • Weekly meetings with senior policy officials and key stakeholders along with other main teaching unions, governance, social care, school trusts and local government;
  • A weekly meeting with wider stakeholders including support staff, further education and school business organisations;
  • Weekly calls for evidence from key stakeholders on key policy questions to inform decision making on reopening;
  • Weekly meetings between my right hon. Friend, my right hon. Friend, Secretary of State for Education and the main teaching unions and stakeholder groups; and
  • Ad hoc additional stakeholder meetings to address key issues as and when they arise.

9th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to his Department's transparency data entitled, Decisions on the Disposal of School Land, published on 2 January 2019, for what reason the list of approved sales has not been updated since January 2019, and if he will update that list.

The Department recognises the importance of updating the decision list, which is undertaken periodically. Officials in the Department will shortly publish an update. My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education is keen to protect school playing fields. Schools are only able to sell playing fields when they demonstrate that the disposal does not impact their curriculum and they can demonstrate they have explored all possible alternatives.

18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to ban e-collars.

This is a devolved matter and the information provided therefore relates to England only.

One of the key reforms in the Action Plan for Animal Welfare is to ban hand-held remote-controlled electronic training collars (“e-collars”), given their scope to harm the welfare of dogs, including those deemed reactive. We continue to work closely with the animal welfare sector, enforcement agencies and Governments across the four nations on this ban.

The ban will be made via secondary legislation under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. The legislation needed to ban remote controlled electronic training collars in England will be laid before Parliament as soon as Parliamentary time allows.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if his Department will provide ring-fenced funding to local authorities for the planting of trees.

Defra supports local authorities’ tree planting activity through access to several of the Nature for Climate Fund Grant schemes, such as the Local Authorities Treescape Fund (LATF) and the Urban Tree Challenge Fund (UTCF).

The £4.4 million LATF is available for local authorities to plant and encourage natural regeneration of trees to restore neglected green spaces in their communities. This fund is aimed at establishing more trees in locations outside of woodlands including riverbanks, hedgerows, parklands, urban areas, beside roads and footpaths, in copses and shelterbelts, including neglected, disused and vacant community spaces.

The UTCF will provide up to £6 million of funding over the next two years for planting around 44,000 large trees in towns and cities. This fund is targeted at the managers of urban land with a broad applicant base, including local authorities.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department sets targets for the number of trees planted in the UK each year.

The Government has committed to bring tree planting rates across the UK up to 30,000 hectares per year by the end of this parliament in May 2024. The England Trees Action Plan set out our target of trebling woodland creation in England to contribute to this, and we will continue to work with the Devolved Administrations to deliver a UK-wide step change in tree planting and establishment.

The England Trees Action Plan is supported by an intended £500 million from the Nature for Climate Fund. In the recently launched Net Zero Strategy, the Government also announced that it will boost the Nature for Climate fund with a further £124 million of new money, ensuring total spend of more than £750 million by 2025 on peat restoration, woodland creation and management – above and beyond what was promised in the manifesto. As set out in the Net Zero Strategy, we will consult on a statutory tree planting target to provide further long-term clarity.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the (a) adequacy of the supply of water to households and businesses and (b) ability to drain surface water in the future.

a)

Water companies have a statutory duty to provide clean and reliable water to customers under the Water Industry Act 1991. Statutory water resources management plans show how water companies will meet this duty and manage water supply and demand for at least the next 25 years. These plans are revised every five years and will be consulted on in 2022.

The Government is working closely with water regulators and the water industry to improve the resilience of water supplies. The Government recognises that continued action is required and it is committed to reducing demand for water and increasing supply in parallel.

b)

Through the Environment Act, the Government will make statutory the requirement for sewerage undertakers to develop and publish a drainage and sewerage management plan to assess fully their network capacity, infrastructure needs and impact of their activities on the environment. This planning process will help sewerage companies to assess network capacity and work with local authorities and other bodies who are responsible for parts of the drainage system.

The Government is reviewing the implementation of Schedule 3 to the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 in England. Schedule 3 was designed to set ministerial standards for the construction of sustainable drainage systems on new developments.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what comparative assessment he has made of having an all-in deposit return system and an on-the-go system in respect of the potential effects of those systems on (a) the climate and (b) healthy oceans.

It is estimated that 80% of man-made debris in the marine environment originated on land before being thrown, blown or washed into rivers, canals and the seas. Keep Britain Tidy surveys have found high levels of drinks related litter, including 52% of surveyed sites containing litter related to non-alcoholic drinks and 20% of litter on beaches demonstrated to be as a result of food and drinks packaging.

The Government believes that the introduction of a deposit return scheme will help reduce the impact of littered drinks containers on our environment. Our current impact assessment on the introduction of a deposit return scheme assumes that the scheme can reduce drinks containers being littered by an estimated 85%.

The impact assessment also suggests that the 'All-in' model has the potential to lead to carbon emissions savings worth £6 million by year 11 and the 'On-the-go' model has the potential to lead to carbon emissions savings worth £1 million by year 11.

We are currently analysing the responses to the recent consultation on the deposit return scheme for drinks with a view to publishing a government response and final impact assessment in due course. This will include a final decision on the scope and materials to be included in the scheme.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make it his policy to include glass in the scope of the proposed Deposit Return Scheme to help maintain the market for existing glass drinks container materials; and if he will make a statement.

We have now consulted twice on introducing a deposit return scheme in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and are analysing the responses to the second consultation, with a view to publishing a government response later this year. The government response will include a final decision on the scope and materials to be included in the deposit return scheme. An impact assessment for the introduction of the scheme will also be published.

Any materials not included within the scope of a deposit return scheme will be included under the reformed packaging producer responsibility regime to ensure equitable treatment of packaging materials, which would then be collected through kerbside recycling collections.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of all-in deposit return scheme, including glass, for the stability of the drinks container materials market.

We have now consulted twice on introducing a deposit return scheme in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and are analysing the responses to the second consultation, with a view to publishing a government response later this year. The government response will include a final decision on the scope and materials to be included in the deposit return scheme. An impact assessment for the introduction of the scheme will also be published.

Any materials not included within the scope of a deposit return scheme will be included under the reformed packaging producer responsibility regime to ensure equitable treatment of packaging materials, which would then be collected through kerbside recycling collections.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to ensure that all of England’s rivers and lakes achieve a good ecological status.

We are committed to delivering clean and plentiful water, using a range of approaches to tackle the many pressures the water environment faces. We will be setting at least one new, legally binding target on water quality through the Environment Bill.

Working closely with the Environment Agency (EA), we are tackling river and lake pollution from poor farming practices with regulation, financial incentives and educational schemes for farmers. Our Catchment Sensitive Farming programme is giving important advice and support to farmers, operating across England, in the areas of highest risk of water pollution from agriculture, directing effort where it is needed most and maximising value for money for the taxpayer. Our new Environmental Land Management scheme, which we are rolling out over the course of this Parliament, will also reward farmers for sustainable farming practices that protect and enhance water quality.

Water company investment in environmental improvements has been scaled up to £7.1 billion over the period 2020-25. The storm overflow task force and new measures through the Environment Bill will focus effort on sewage discharge from storm overflows and our new chemicals strategy will build on an already robust statutory regime to ensure chemicals are managed and handled safely. To improve river levels and flows, the EA made changes to over 300 abstraction licences since 2008, which has returned 47 billion litres of water a year to the environment. We know that there is a lot of work to do in order to meet our goals for clean and plentiful water, set out in the 25 Year Environment Plan. We will take considered, focused and informed action to drive real progress.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what progress his Department has made on bringing forward legislative proposals to ban microplastics; and if he will launch a review into the environmental impact of floral foam.

In general, we prefer to help people and companies make the right choice, rather than banning items outright. There may, however, be times when a ban is appropriate as part of a wider strategic approach. To tackle microplastics we have already introduced one of the world's toughest bans on microbeads in rinse-off personal care products. This will help to stop billions of these tiny plastic pieces from entering the ocean and being eaten by marine wildlife. The Government does not currently have plans to launch a review into the environmental impact of floral foam. However, we will continue to review the latest evidence on problematic products and/ or materials to take a systematic approach to reducing the use of unnecessary single-use plastic products.

The Government has set out the first restrictions to be initiated under its new chemical regulation system, UK REACH, to tackle risks posed by chemicals. The launch of the UK REACH programme includes plans to initiate the restriction process on lead ammunition and certain harmful substances in tattoo inks and permanent make-up. We are keeping other issues that we did not initiate in the restriction process for this year under review. This includes scoping what further action could be taken to address intentionally added microplastics based on the best available evidence.

To tackle plastic pellet loss we support Operation Clean Sweep, an initiative led by industry through the British Plastics Federation, to address incidents of plastic pellet loss. This initiative addresses this problem at all stages of the supply chain. At the British-Irish Council Marine Litter Symposium in 2019, Ministers recognised the need to address plastic pellets and considerable progress has been made in developing solutions to reduce plastic pellet loss. The administrations have supported the development of a Publicly Available Specification developed by the British Standards Institution, which sets out how any business handling or managing pellets can reduce pellet loss. This is the first of its kind and will be published in July this year. All administrations will promote it through their networks.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he plans to take to prevent pet shops in England using breeding licences held in Northern Ireland to avoid the ban on third party puppy sales.

The UK is a world leader in animal welfare, and the Government is committed to cracking down on unscrupulous breeders who breed dogs purely for financial greed at the expense of animal welfare.

Since April 2020, in line with the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2019 (the 2019 Amendment to the 2018 Regulations), pet shops, pet dealers and other commercial pet sellers have been prevented from selling puppies and kittens in England that they have not bred themselves. This applies in cases where puppies are bred outside of England meaning that a pet shop in England is already prohibited from selling puppies bred in Northern Ireland unless they have bred them themselves.

This addresses welfare concerns associated with puppies and kittens bought and sold by third parties, including the early separation of animals from their mothers and the keeping of puppies and kittens at inappropriate commercial premises.

Local authorities are responsible for licensing a business to determine whether a licence holder has bred the animals they are selling. Our updated guidance to the 2018 Regulations, which has been amended to reflect the changes brought in by the 2019 Amendment, sets out how local authorities might determine whether someone can be said to have bred the animals they are offering for sale. This guidance has been shared with local authority licensing officers who have powers to investigate and enforce breaches of the guidance.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he plans to publish a UK Ocean Recovery Strategy in summer 2021; and if he will make a statement.

The Government has an existing strategy - The UK Marine Strategy. The overall objective of the UK Marine Strategy supports the UK’s vision for ‘clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse oceans and seas’ and is consistent with our commitments in the 25 Year Environment Plan.

Achieving this vision is about protecting the marine environment, preventing its deterioration and restoring it where practical, while allowing sustainable use of marine resources.

In October 2019, we published the updated Marine Strategy Part One which sets out our assessment of the status of UK seas and our targets and indicators for the period up to 2024. In March 2021, we published our update to the Marine Strategy Part Two, which sets out the programmes we have in place to monitor progress against these targets and indicators.

We are currently preparing an update of the Marine Strategy Part Three, which sets out our Programmes of Measures designed to help us achieve or maintain the vision set out in Part One of the Strategy.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment her Department has made of the reasons for the decrease in the export to the EU of (a) whisky, (b) cheese and (c) beef; and what steps her Department will take to tackle the decline in sales of those products to the EU.

A unique combination of factors, including Covid lockdowns across Europe, and businesses adjusting to a new trading relationship, made it inevitable that exports of cheese and beef to the EU, would be lower during the first quarter of this year compared to last year.

The Government has always been clear that there would be new processes to export to the EU from 1 January 2021. We continue to work closely with traders and have provided extensive advice to support businesses as they adjust to the new arrangements.

The reduction in the export value of whisky to the EU was principally due to Covid-19 restrictions limiting demand from the hospitality sector. Excluding non-EU Europe, which saw a slight increase in exports, the EU saw the lowest percentage decline in exports of Scotch Whisky compared to other global regions. However, as the largest export market for whisky, the Government is working with industry to mitigate other more recent factors which may hinder exports to the EU, such as where EU member states have been requesting additional certification for whisky and other food and drink products.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will add veterinary workers to the list of critical workers.

Schools in England reopened for all pupils on 8 March 2021. The Cabinet Office previously confirmed that only vets providing services in the food chain are included as critical workers and had been able to continue to send their children to school prior to that date. This includes veterinary surgeons working in abattoirs and meat processing plants, at border control posts, and attending to livestock production.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to reduce the use of single use plastic in supermarket packaging.

Reducing the use of single use plastic packaging is important. In the 2018 Resources and Waste Strategy we set out our ambitions to double resource productivity and eliminate avoidable waste by 2050. To help us achieve this, we are reforming the packaging producer responsibility regulations and developing Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for packaging.

EPR for packaging will see packaging producers paying for the waste management costs associated with the packaging that they place on the market. This will ensure producers are thinking about the necessity of any packaging they use. Where producers use single-use packaging, it is important that it is easily collected and recycled. EPR for Packaging will see producers’ fees modulated (varied) to account for certain criteria, including recyclability. Producers who use easily recyclable packaging will pay less than those who use hard to recycle, or unrecyclable, packaging.

In developing EPR for packaging we will also take consideration of how EPR could be used to encourage packaging reuse and refill systems. We will consult on our proposals this year. This consultation will set out our proposals for the timing of implementing the reforms.

Industry, however, is already acting. The UK Plastics Pact is jointly founded between The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) and the Ellen McArthur Foundation and is supported by the Government. The Pact brings together organisations from across the plastics supply chain with four key targets for 2025 that aim to reduce the amount of plastic waste generated. One of these targets is to eliminate single-use plastic packaging. Our proposed reforms will support the Pact in achieving those targets. Through the pact, work has been done to increase the sale of unpackaged products. The WRAP Fresh Produce Guidance was published in November 2019 which includes advice for retailers to help determine if fresh produce can be provided loose.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will have discussions with supermarkets to request that security guards act to encourage the use of masks by customers and restrict the number of customers in their stores.

The UK Government has regular meetings with the supermarkets, including at Ministerial level, on Covid-19 issues. This includes discussions about the measures that have supermarkets have put in place to ensure a Covid-secure environment for their customers and their staff.

We will continue to work with the supermarkets to support these activities, including how best to manage capacity in stores and to encourage the use of face coverings. On the latter we welcome the recent announcements from a number of supermarkets on the steps they are taking to encourage customers to comply with Government rules. The Secretary of State also wrote to those working in our food and drink supply chains recently, thanking them for the work they have done throughout the pandemic.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when he plans to publish a summary of responses from his initial consultation on cat microchipping.

The Government is committed to improving the welfare of cats and has a manifesto commitment to introduce compulsory microchipping of cats. In October 2019 Defra published a call for evidence on compulsory microchipping for cats, which attracted over 3,000 responses. We will be publishing a summary of the responses alongside the launch of a public consultation shortly.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had on tackling the Phytophthora austrocedri pathogen outbreaks that threaten the UK's juniper crop; and if he will make a statement.

Phytophthora austrocedri was confirmed in England in 2011 and is an air and water borne pathogen of Juniper. We continue to monitor closely the spread of the pathogen and take measures to minimise its introduction, including statutory inspections and action on any findings in the plant trade, for example at nurseries. The Plant Health Service work closely with conservation organisations and other stakeholders to minimise the risk of spread in the wider environment by promoting good biosecurity practices and providing management guidance.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will ensure that the Environment Bill 2019-21 includes a requirement for slurries and digestates to be spread using low-emission equipment such as (a) trailing shoe, (b) trailing hose and (c) injection by 2025.

The Government has made legally binding commitments to reduce ammonia emissions from 2005 levels by 8% and 16% by 2020 and 2030, respectively.

Over the next few years the Government will introduce legislation requiring farmers to reduce ammonia emissions and is already supporting farmers to undertake best practice and invest in the farm infrastructure and equipment that will reduce emissions.

The Clean Air Strategy sets out the actions that will be taken to reduce ammonia emissions in England. These include a requirement to spread slurry and digestate using low-emission spreading equipment by 2025, for slurry and digestate stores to be covered by 2027 and for manure to be rapidly incorporated into bare soil.

We have not included specific commitments to legislate in the Environment or Agriculture Bills because the Clean Air Strategy sets out the plans for legislation in this area and we have existing powers to enable introduction of the legislation to reduce ammonia emissions set out in the Strategy.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will ensure that the Environment Bill 2019-21 includes a requirement for slurry and digestate stores to be covered by 2027.

The Government has made legally binding commitments to reduce ammonia emissions from 2005 levels by 8% and 16% by 2020 and 2030, respectively.

Over the next few years the Government will introduce legislation requiring farmers to reduce ammonia emissions and is already supporting farmers to undertake best practice and invest in the farm infrastructure and equipment that will reduce emissions.

The Clean Air Strategy sets out the actions that will be taken to reduce ammonia emissions in England. These include a requirement to spread slurry and digestate using low-emission spreading equipment by 2025, for slurry and digestate stores to be covered by 2027 and for manure to be rapidly incorporated into bare soil.

We have not included specific commitments to legislate in the Environment or Agriculture Bills because the Clean Air Strategy sets out the plans for legislation in this area and we have existing powers to enable introduction of the legislation to reduce ammonia emissions set out in the Strategy.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of including in the Environment Bill a requirement for all solid manure and solid digestate spread to bare land other than that managed in a no-till system to be incorporated rapidly within 12 hours.

The Government has made legally binding commitments to reduce ammonia emissions from 2005 levels by 8% and 16% by 2020 and 2030, respectively.

Over the next few years the Government will introduce legislation requiring farmers to reduce ammonia emissions and is already supporting farmers to undertake best practice and invest in the farm infrastructure and equipment that will reduce emissions.

The Clean Air Strategy sets out the actions that will be taken to reduce ammonia emissions in England. These include a requirement to spread slurry and digestate using low-emission spreading equipment by 2025, for slurry and digestate stores to be covered by 2027 and for manure to be rapidly incorporated into bare soil.

We have not included specific commitments to legislate in the Environment or Agriculture Bills because the Clean Air Strategy sets out the plans for legislation in this area and we have existing powers to enable introduction of the legislation to reduce ammonia emissions set out in the Strategy.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make it his policy to end the export of plastic waste.

The Government is deeply concerned about the illegal trade in waste, including reports of illegal plastic waste exported from the UK. Recognising the difficulties experienced by some countries in managing imports of plastic waste the Government has committed to banning the export of plastic waste to countries that are not members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. The Environment Bill includes a power which will enable us to deliver on this commitment and we will consult on the date by which this should be achieved.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will increase funding to local authorities to help support the provision of food waste bins.

Following support at consultation, we will introduce a statutory duty for waste collection authorities to arrange for the separate collection of food waste from households, at least once a week. We are legislating for this through the Environment Bill.

The Government has committed to covering the costs of any additional burdens that local authorities face as a result of new statutory duties requiring them to collect food waste separately for recycling. This is in keeping with the New Burdens Doctrine which requires new burdens on local authorities to be properly assessed and fully funded, so that there will be no increase in council tax as a result of the policy.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will ban fur imports into the UK.

I refer the hon Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Totnes on 30 June 2020, PQ UIN 62631.

[ www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2020-06-22/62631]

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to improve air quality in towns and city centres.

Our Clean Air Strategy sets out an ambitious programme of action to reduce air pollution from a wide range of sources in our towns and cities. We have also put in place a £3.5 billion plan to tackle roadside nitrogen dioxide concentrations. Our Environment Bill makes a clear commitment to set a legally binding target to reduce fine particulate matter and enables greater local action by ensuring responsibility for tackling air pollution is shared across local government structures and with relevant public authorities. We are also strengthening the ability of local authorities to tackle smoke emissions from domestic solid fuel burning, which is a major source of fine particulate matter.

Under the Local Air Quality Management Framework, local authorities review and assess local air quality and are required to declare an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) if local monitoring indicates exceedance of legal air quality standards and objectives, and are then required to develop an Air Quality Action Plan (AQAP) to address the exceedance.

Warrington Borough Council (WBC) has declared two AQMAs in the district, both for exceedances of the NO2 annual mean. As part of its AQAP, WBC is encouraging uptake of low emission vehicles and active travel. Defra has this year awarded £87,350 from the Air Quality Grant to WBC to run an electric taxi scheme.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will bring forward the date for the Deposit Return Scheme to be introduced.

The Government committed in its manifesto to introduce a deposit return scheme (DRS) for drinks containers. We are seeking powers to do so in the Environment Bill. Since consulting on its introduction in 2019, the Government has been developing proposals for a DRS using further evidence and ongoing engagement with stakeholders. The Government plans to undertake a second consultation on a DRS in early 2021. In preparation for that consultation, we are currently reviewing the proposed timeline for its introduction.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
26th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment the Government has made of the environmental impact of floral foam.

Plastic pollution is one of the greatest environmental challenges facing the world today. The UK is a world leader in tackling plastic pollution, including microplastics.

There has been substantial research which reports the presence and impacts of microplastics in the marine environment. However, little is known about the sources, release and impact of microplastics, including floral foam, in the freshwater environment and their transport to marine compartments. One of Defra's priority research needs is to further our understanding of the effects of these materials on the freshwater environment.

Our priority is preventing plastic from entering the environment in the first place. The Government's landmark Resources and Waste Strategy sets out our plans to eliminate avoidable plastic waste by 2042. We are also seeking a new power in the Environment Bill to be able to place charges on single-use plastic items to encourage businesses and citizens to shift toward more reusable products.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, if she will make it her policy to exclude the NHS from potential future trade deals.

Trade is vital for the NHS, which relies heavily on crucial goods and services that come wholly, or in part, from suppliers based overseas. Trade enables the NHS to buy the best possible medicines and medical devices that industry – here and overseas – has to offer.

At the same time, Britain’s international public procurement commitments do not apply to the procurement of British healthcare services.

In fact, Britain’s public services are protected by specific exclusions, exceptions and reservations in the trade agreements to which we are party, and HM Government will continue to make sure that the same rigorous protections are included in future trade agreements.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, if she will suspend arms exports to Saudi Arabia.

HM Government is able to review licences – and suspend or revoke as necessary – when circumstances require, and this is done in line with the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria.

Specifically, Criterion 2c makes sure that we do not grant licences if there is a clear risk that the items might be used in the commission of a serious violation of international humanitarian law.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what representations her Department has made to the US Government on the proposed imposition of tariffs on gin from the UK; and if she will make a statement.

HM Government takes the negative impact of US tariffs very seriously. These tariffs are unnecessary, unhelpful and harm industry on both sides of the Atlantic.

HM Government continues to raise the issue of tariffs with the highest levels of the United States administration at every opportunity. On 10 July, my Rt Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade engaged the US Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer, on how the potential tariffs being consulted on would threaten the United Kingdom gin industry. Instead of escalating existing tariffs, we need to work together towards a negotiated settlement.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he plans to require motorists to have an MOT every 2 years.

The Government is always looking for ways to assist consumers with the cost of travel. During the time that the MOT system has been in place, cars have changed greatly including considerable safety improvements and there are new types of vehicle, in particular hybrid and electric cars. It is right that we keep the system under review.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
21st Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many licence applications are currently pending at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency; and how do these figures compare to July 2021.

The quickest and easiest way to apply for a driving licence is by using the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)’s online service. There are no delays in successful online applications and customers should receive their licence within a few days.

However, many people still choose or have to make a paper application and the DVLA receives around 60,000 items of mail every day. The Government understands the impact that delays in processing paper applications can have on the daily lives of individuals and the DVLA is working hard to reduce waiting times. The DVLA has introduced additional online services, recruited more staff, increased overtime working and has opened new customer service centres in Swansea and Birmingham to reduce backlogs and provide future resilience. These measures are having a positive impact.

The backlog of vehicle paper applications has already been eliminated. Straightforward vocational driving licence applications and renewals are being processed within five working days with no backlog. The DVLA is on track to return to normal turnaround times on all paper driving licence applications which do not involve a medical condition by the end of May. On 21 April 2022, the DVLA had 189,067 applications for a driving licence awaiting processing. This compares with 636,473 applications on 30 July 2021.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the Golborne Spur will be removed from HS2 plans.

We are considering the recommendations of the Union Connectivity Review, including whether to review options for alternative connections between HS2 and the West Coast Main Line.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has to help increase the (a) rolling stock, (b) guards and (c) drivers on the Northern Rail network.

Plans are in place for rolling stock to be cascaded into Northern from other operators over the next two years. In addition, working with the Department as part of its Business Planning Process, Northern is developing a longer term strategy for its future rolling stock and staffing requirements.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
25th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if his Department will take steps to determine whether P&O Ferries' employment contracts breach employment law.

P&O Ferries has conducted itself in an appalling manner. There are clear requirements around both consultation and notification when making collective redundancies. The Business Secretary wrote to the Insolvency Service on 23 March asking them to urgently undertake a thorough enquiry into the actions of P&O Ferries. Following this review the Insolvency Service confirmed on 1st April they have initiated both formal criminal and civil investigations into the circumstances surrounding the recent redundancies made by P&O Ferries.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
7th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he plans to take steps to reduce queues of HGVs at Dover.

We continue to work closely with Port of Dover and National Highways to understand common causes of delays and seek robust mitigations to reduce them.

Port of Dover operates a turn up and go service. There is a well-established Traffic Access Protocol which is operated by Port of Dover and National Highways and this manages any queue which enables HGVs to be held on one lane of the A20, allowing all other traffic to flow freely. National Highways monitor the queue lengths and work with the Port of Dover to actively reduce them.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
9th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make it his policy to provide free rail passes to all people who reach state pension age in the UK.

The Senior Railcard already allows over 60s to take advantage of 1/3 off most rail fares. In addition, there are a number of more local concessionary passes that are valid on national rail, such as the travel pass for older people in Greater Manchester.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
27th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the current guidance is for a motorcyclist who breaks down on a live lane of a smart motorway.

Advice on what to do in the event of an emergency for all road users, including motorcyclists, is available to the public on the National Highways website and is aligned to that given in The Highway Code. We committed an additional £5 million on national and targeted communications campaigns to further increase awareness and understanding of smart motorways, how they work and how to use them confidently. This includes advice to drivers on what to do in a breakdown. National Highways’ main message informs drivers that if you breakdown, ‘go left’. Further information can be accessed here https://nationalhighways.co.uk/road-safety/breakdowns/.

National Highways undertook comprehensive safety assessments and analysis to help support the design of smart motorways and create a safe and intuitive environment for all drivers, including motorcyclists. To improve the detection of stopped vehicles (including stopped motorcycles), Stopped Vehicle Detection (SVD) will be implemented across the entire All Lane Running motorway smart motorway network by the end of September 2022.  

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department holds data on the number of commuters whose employment was terminated as a result of being unable to attend work due to the disruption on the Southern Railway network between 2016 and 2019.

The Department does not hold this information.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what environmental assessments and estimates were made on the effect of carbon emissions as part of the decision to allow rail fares to increase by 3.8 per cent. in March 2022.

The Department considers many factors when assessing the impact of a fares change, notably the impacts on passengers and taxpayers. Whilst no specific assessment of environmental impacts was made, as the Department chose to hold fares to the Retail Prices Index (RPI) from last summer rather than the follow the previous year’s RPI + 1 per cent, it is likely that this decision would make rail travel more attractive than it would otherwise have been, which would have a positive effect on the environment by reducing carbon emissions from other transport modes.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
22nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether it is his Department's policy that (a) electric bikes require licencing and (b) bicycles that have been modified with electric motors require licencing.

Electric bikes or bicycles that have been modified with electric motors do not require licensing as long as they comply in full with the requirements of the Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycle Regulations 1983 (as amended). These requirements include that:

  • The bicycle must be fitted with pedals that are capable of propelling it;
  • The maximum continuous rated power of the electric motor must not exceed 250 Watts;
  • electrical assistance must cut-off when the vehicle reaches 15.5 mph.

If a bicycle does not comply with the Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycle (EAPC) regulations then it is to be treated as a motor vehicle when used on roads, which means that it must be licensed and insured.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
9th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent progress has been made on reducing the backlog in licence applications at the Driver and Vehicle Licencing Agency.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)’s online services are the quickest and easiest way to make an application. There are no delays in successful online applications and customers should receive their documents within a few days. However, many people still choose or have to make a paper application. The latest information on turnaround times for paper applications can be found here.

The DVLA has introduced additional online services, recruited more staff, increased overtime working, and has secured extra office space in Swansea and Birmingham to help reduce waiting times while providing future resilience and business continuity.

Work is ongoing to reduce the backlog of paper applications. There has been a particular focus on vocational driving licence applications to support the HGV driver shortage. This has been successful with routine vocational applications now back to normal turnaround times.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the Government plans to proceed with trials of on-road lorry platooning.

Government funded on-road trials of Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) platooning technology are currently underway and expected to conclude in spring 2022. The main aim of the trials is to determine whether HGV platooning can safely deliver real world fuel consumption benefits on UK roads.

The project will also provide invaluable insight into infrastructure constraints, traffic management, vehicle maintenance and driver workloads.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether legislation is required to allow Peel Ports to increase the toll on the Warburton Toll Bridge.

The Rixton and Warburton Company is in the process of putting together a Transport and Works Act order to update the current legislation to facilitate the numerous changes the company is looking to make.

The Secretary of State is not currently in receipt of an application to increase the toll and we would not expect one until the legislative matters have been resolved.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make it his policy to ensure that bicycle storage facilities are installed at every railway station in the UK.

We are steadily increasing cycle storage at stations, including at city-centre termini, and also investing in safe cycle routes to stations. We plan to increase space on existing trains wherever practically possible and make it easier to reserve bike spaces online.

Since 2010, the Department has invested £40 million in the Cycle Rail programme, creating around 30,000 new and improved cycle parking spaces and other facilities to make it more convenient to cycle to railway stations.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department plans to increase the speed of HS2 trains when they use the existing railway network to ensure that they match the journey times of Pendolinos in operation.

No decisions have been made relating to the maximum speed of rolling stock on the West Coast Main Line after the completion of HS2.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has to increase the number of electric car charging points; and if he will make it his policy to ensure that charging points are universal so that they are compatible with all electric vehicles.

The UK has been a global front-runner in supporting provision of charging infrastructure along with private sector investment. Our vision is to have one of the best infrastructure networks in the world for electric vehicles, and we want chargepoints to be accessible, affordable and secure.

We will invest £1.3 billion in accelerating the roll out of charging infrastructure over the next four years, targeting support on rapid chargepoints on motorways and major roads, and installing more on-street chargepoints near homes and workplaces, to make charging as easy as refuelling a petrol or diesel car. Later this year, we will publish our Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Strategy and introduce new regulations under the Automated Electric Vehicles Act (2018) to improve the consumer experience of public charging.

We are seeing a natural progression towards Combined Charging System (CCS) connectors for rapid charging. All new EV models use Type 2 connectors for slower charging. Under the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulations 2017 (AFIR) all public chargepoints are required to have at minimum a Type 2 connector, and, for rapid charging, a CCS connector. Over 96% of rapid chargepoints also have a CHAdeMO connector installed in addition to the required CCS.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
12th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, by how much was HS2 over budget in July 2019; and what information was shared with hon. Members on HS2 being over budget in 2019.

In July 2019, the budget for the project remained £55.7bn (2015 prices). Cost and schedule pressures were known and work was continuing to identify options to ensure the overall affordability of the HS2 project – this is detailed in the National Audit Office’s January 2020 HS2 progress report. The independent Oakervee review was formally commissioned in August 2019 to enable government to make properly-informed decisions on the future of the project, including the estimated cost and schedule position. A revised funding envelope was agreed in April 2020 with 6 monthly updates now provided to Parliament to allow full scrutiny of the project.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to his Department's response of 24 March 2021 to the e-petition entitled Ryan's Law: Widen definition of death by dangerous driving, what options his Department has considered as part of its review of potential further options that might be used to respond such incidences.

The Government takes road safety seriously and is aware of the traumatic effects of drivers failing to stop when a person is caused serious or fatal injury. The Department for Transport is exploring options that could be pursued in this area, including, but not limited to, the available penalties, and how the offence operates as part of longer-term and wider work on road safety.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
21st Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has to encourage commuters to walk, cycle and use public transport as covid-19 restrictions are eased.

The Government is investing an unprecedented £2 billion of dedicated funding in cycling and walking over this Parliament, which will enable local authorities across England to deliver safer walking and cycling routes in their areas, making it easier and more attractive for commuters to walk and cycle to work. The National Bus Strategy, published on 15 March 2021 and backed by £3 billion of transformational funding, will deliver better bus services for passengers across England, through ambitious and far-reaching reform of how services are planned and delivered. We are also working with the rail industry to develop a number of recovery initiatives, focused on restoring passenger confidence in travelling by rail, including introducing new flexible season tickets for commuters.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how the cost of a covid-19 PCR test when travelling abroad has been formulated; and if he will reduce the cost of that test.

The cost of tests is set by the companies operating in the private testing market. The government is working with the travel industry and private testing providers to see how we can further reduce costs for the British public while ensuring travel is as safe as possible.

We are considering a range of options including cheaper tests being used when passengers return home. The price of tests has reduced significantly in recent weeks, with some providers offering testing packages for green arrivals starting at £43.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make it his policy to provide grants to haulage businesses to pay for their drivers to train for Category C licences instead of introducing apprenticeships in the sector.

In 2016 the road haulage industry developed a Large Goods Vehicle Driver apprenticeship standard that includes the acquisition of a Category C licence and attracted £5,000 in apprenticeship levy funding.

This will be replaced in August with an apprenticeship for a Category C+E licence (for which the Category C licence is a pre-requisite) which will attract £7,000 in funding.

This decision to change to a Category C+E apprenticeship was made in collaboration with industry, based on the greater need for articulated lorry drivers.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
25th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will reverse his decision to reduce the weight of construction vehicles from 38.4 and 44 tonnes to 32 tonnes; and what environmental assessments his Department has undertaken prior to making that decision.

There has been no recent change to the weight limits applicable to construction vehicles. The general maximum laden weight for the heaviest (four axle) rigid construction vehicles has never been higher than 32 tonnes. Following consultation, a derogation was introduced in 2018 permitting a limited and specific number of volumetric concrete mixers (also known as mobile concrete batching plant) to operate at higher than the standard applicable weights for vehicles of their design. This derogation is for a defined period. Due to the small number of vehicles and legislative nature of this derogation, no environmental impact assessment was conducted.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he plans to respond to the consultation on Managing pavement parking which closed on 22 November 2020.

The Department is now analysing the high volume of responses to ensure that all views are captured and Ministers will be carefully considering the consultation findings before deciding the way forward.

We will publish a response to the consultation in due course and it will be available to view at: www.gov.uk/government/consultations/managing-pavement-parking.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans his Department has to ban short haul domestic flights; and whether his Department has made any assessment of the potential merits of such a policy.

We have no plans to ban domestic flights. The aviation sector is vital for the whole of the UK economy in terms of connectivity, direct economic activity, trade, investment and jobs, particularly where viable alternative modes of travel are limited.

We are committed to enabling the recovery of the sector to support our levelling up agenda through regional connectivity and strengthen ties within the Union. We recognise the importance of maintaining a thriving and competitive aviation sector in the UK to deliver connectivity.

The Government is already supporting a variety of technology, fuel and market-based measures to address aviation emissions, and we will consult on a Net Zero Aviation Strategy in the coming months, setting out the steps to reach net zero aviation emissions by 2050.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
19th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will extend the validity of driving licences for foreign nationals who are eligible to drive in the UK for 12 months before requiring a theory test, in the context of disruption caused by the covid-19 outbreak.

There are no plans to extend the 12-month period for which holders of foreign driving licences can drive in Great Britain using that licence. To continue driving after the 12-month period the driver must either exchange their licence, if it was issued by a country which has been designated for licence exchange purposes, or apply for a provisional driving licence and pass both a theory and practical driving test.

Where the UK has reached an agreement with an EU Member State on Recognition and Exchange, the UK will continue to recognise extended EU driving licences from 1 January 2021.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has plans to bring further rail franchises under the operator of last resort.

The Operator of Last Resort (OLR) function exists to discharge the Secretary of State’s duties under Section 30 of the Railways Act 1993. In deciding whether to transfer an operator to the OLR, the Secretary of State has regard to the Statement of Policy on the exercise of the Secretary of State's power under section 26(1) of the Railways Act 1993.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will launch a review into the safety of smart motorways; and will he make a statement.

We recognise the concerns around smart motorway safety and commissioned an urgent stocktake of the evidence which was published on the 12 March 2020. A package of 18 measures costing £500 million will allow us to retain the benefits of smart motorways while addressing the concerns that have been identified. The 18-point Action Plan includes the faster rollout of a radar-based, stopped vehicle detection (SVD) system across the all lane running motorway network, and national and targeted communications campaigns to further increase awareness and understanding.

The Secretary of State has asked for a one-year on report from Highways England setting out progress in delivering the 18-point Action Plan and identifying actions that can be delivered early. He has asked for the report by 12 March 2021 so any accelerated works can be rapidly put in place.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he plans to publish the Integrated Rail Plan.

Following full consideration of the National Infrastructure Commission's report, the Government expects to publish the Integrated Rail Plan early in 2021.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make it his policy to extend the validity of driving theory tests due to the January 2021 covid-19 lockdown.

The maximum duration of two years between passing the theory test and a subsequent practical test is in place for road safety reasons; to ensure that a candidate’s knowledge is current. This validity period is set in legislation and the Government has no current plans to lay further legislation to extend it.

It is important that road safety knowledge and hazard perception skills are up to date at the critical point that they drive unsupervised for the first time. Those with theory test certificates expiring may have taken their test in early 2019. Since then, their lessons and practice sessions will have been significantly curtailed during recent lockdowns and it is likely that their knowledge base will have diminished.

Ensuring new drivers have current relevant knowledge and skills is a vital part of the training of new drivers, who are disproportionality represented in casualty statistics. Taking all this into consideration, the decision has been made not to extend theory test certificates and learners will need to pass another theory test if their certificate expires.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make it his policy to introduce rapid covid-19 testing at all UK airports.

As of 15 December, international arrivals to England can opt in to Test to Release for International Travel, allowing them to shorten self-isolation by up to 5 days after receiving a negative test result.

Any decisions on whether and how we can further ease border requirements, including whether rapid Covid-19 testing could be introduced at UK airports, will be made on the basis of clinical and scientific evidence.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make it his policy to extend eligibility for the older person's bus pass to women who have not yet reached state pension age but were born before 1960.

Lowering the age of eligibility for concessionary bus travel to sixty would see a return to the anomalous position of non-disabled people of working-age receiving free bus passes. Re-establishing the link between concessionary bus pass eligibility and the state pension age addresses that issue and will help the financial sustainability of the scheme.

Under Concessionary Travel legislation, local authorities have the power to offer additional discretionary concessions, including the extension of concessionary travel to those who are yet to reach the qualifying age, such as have been introduced in London, Liverpool and Greater Manchester.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
27th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will review the decision to publish the report on the London Garden Bridge.

A number of reports about the Garden Bridge project have been published, including by the National Audit Office, Charity Commission and an independent review led by Dame Margaret Hodge. These reports are publicly available.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make it his policy to allocate an additional £10 billion of funding to existing railway infrastructure.

Expenditure across Government is currently being reviewed as part of the ongoing Spending Review. Specific funding for rail infrastructure is determined across Control Periods (usually five-years) via a statutory process overseen by the independent Office of Rail and Road. The current funding settlement was based on advice from both Network Rail and the Office of Rail and Road on the levels of expenditure needed to ensure a safe and reliable railway across the years 2019 through 2024. The funding for the next period will be set via the regulatory process, which is currently in its early stages.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he plans to publish the Williams Rail Review.

The Government is committed to bringing forward vital sector-wide reforms and commissioned Keith Williams to carry out the first root and branch review of the rail industry in a generation. The Review was in its final stages at the outbreak of COVID-19. The Government views the purpose of the reforms as important as ever, but further work needs to be done now to reflect the impact of COVID-19 on the sector and we continue to examine a range of options to reform the railways. The Government will publish a White Paper with details on the Government's plans for rail reform once the course of the pandemic becomes clearer.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will bring into public ownership (a) the UK railway network and (b) rolling stock companies.

The Government’s new deal for rail will keep the best elements of the private sector, including competition and investment, that have helped to drive growth - but deliver strategic direction, leadership and accountability. We will set out further details in a White Paper when the course of the Covid-19 pandemic becomes clearer.

The Secretary of State also has no plans to bring the rolling stock companies into public ownership. The UK rolling stock market has been a vibrant one and passengers are benefiting from private investment in new trains across the country.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
2nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will commit to increasing funding by £6 billion to local authorities for the investment of cycling and walking infrastructure.

In May, the Government announced £2 billion of new funding for cycling and walking. £225 million is being made available to local authorities in 2020-21 via the Emergency Active Travel Fund to invest in new cycling and walking infrastructure. Decisions on further funding will be a matter for the Spending Review later this year.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he plans to lift quarantine restrictions for people returning to the UK from Portugal.

Portugal was added to the travel corridor list on 22 August.

15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what progress he has made on reviewing the merits of the inclusion of the Golborne Spur section in phase 2b of High Speed Two project.

  • The Government has committed to developing an Integrated Rail Plan (IRP) which will look at how to deliver Phase 2b of HS2, Northern Powerhouse Rail and other Network Rail programmes better and more effectively, ensuring the benefits are brought to the North and Midlands as quickly and efficiently as possible.

  • The Golborne Link is part of the current plans for the western leg of Phase 2b of HS2.

  • The Golborne Link is being considered as part of the IRP, which will assess the Link’s benefits, costs and the best way to serve the North West of England and Scotland.

  • We expect the findings of the IRP to be published by the end of this year. Should any design changes be proposed, they will be subject to future consultation.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of further encouraging the uptake of cycling by extending the subsidies his Department provides to other electric vehicles to include e-bikes.

The cycle to work scheme allows employees to access e-bikes at a discount, and since February 2018 the Department has supported the uptake of e-cargo bikes through a £2m grant programme. The Department has also supported some local authorities with local schemes to support the uptake of e-bikes, through its £20 million per annum Access Fund. The Department will keep under review the case for further support for e-bikes following the announcement on 9 May of a £2 billion package of support for cycling and walking.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the value for money of the administration charges levied by providers of the Cycle to Work Scheme vouchers; and if he will make a statement.

The Department for Transport has made no assessment of these charges and costs. Where an employer uses a scheme provider for their Cycle to Work Scheme any arrangements for costs and charges are matters for the two parties to determine as part of the contract between themselves.

On the 9th May the Government announced a £2 billion package of funding for cycling and walking. This includes £250 million which will encourage cycling to work through the provision of pop up bike lanes with protected space for cycling, as well as vouchers for cycle repairs and greater provision for bike fixing facilities. This builds on the refreshed Cycle to Work Scheme Guidance published in 2019 which made it easier for employers to provide bicycles and equipment including e-bikes and adapted bikes worth over £1,000.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of placing a cap on the costs charged by providers of the Cycle to Work Scheme vouchers as (a) a proportion of the total purchase cost of a bike and (b) a flat rate.

The Department for Transport has made no assessment of these charges and costs. Where an employer uses a scheme provider for their Cycle to Work Scheme any arrangements for costs and charges are matters for the two parties to determine as part of the contract between themselves.

On the 9th May the Government announced a £2 billion package of funding for cycling and walking. This includes £250 million which will encourage cycling to work through the provision of pop up bike lanes with protected space for cycling, as well as vouchers for cycle repairs and greater provision for bike fixing facilities. This builds on the refreshed Cycle to Work Scheme Guidance published in 2019 which made it easier for employers to provide bicycles and equipment including e-bikes and adapted bikes worth over £1,000.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether her Department requests photo evidence of conditions when claiming disabilities benefits.

Claimants of disability and sickness benefits are not asked to provide photographs as part of the claiming process. Various products that support the assessment, including the PIP2, ESA50 and UC50 questionnaires, encourage claimants to provide any evidence they already have, such as medical reports or other information, to support their claim. Our assessment providers and decision makers consider any evidence that claimants provide.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when she will be able to provide hon. Members with sub-national data on people who have been affected by the underpayment of benefits after transitioning from incapacity benefit to employment and support allowance.

The Department published an update on the exercise to correct past ESA underpayments on Gov.uk on 8 July 2021. This reported that as of 1 June 2021, of the 600,000 cases checked, 118,000 arrears payments have been made totalling £613 million. This report showed the numbers of cases paid arrears at a national level only as the data was not available at sub-national level at that time. The Department is investigating the feasibility of providing this analysis at a constituency level and will pre-announce any upcoming publication in line with normal statistical practices.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many employment and support allowance claimants her Department has determined were underpaid their benefits following their 2011 reassessment in Warrington North constituency; and what the total cash amount is that they were underpaid.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 19th January to question number 104377.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make it her policy to allow those not in receipt of housing benefit or pension credit, to continue to receive carer’s allowance once they reach state pension age.

There is no upper age limit to receipt of Carer’s Allowance provided the conditions of entitlement are satisfied. It has been a long-held feature of the UK’s benefit system, under successive Governments, that where someone is entitled to two benefits in broadly the same circumstance (and this includes Carer’s Allowance and State Pension) then only one will be paid in full. This means while many pensioners receive an underlying entitlement to Carer’s Allowance, which can help them qualify for an additional amount in Pension Credit, they do not actually receive any payment of Carer’s Allowance.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make it her policy to remove the escalation to a decision maker when awarding the allowance for the carer's element within universal credit, once a claimant has declared that they receive carer's allowance, in order to avoid the delay in the award of that payment.

For the majority of cases a referral to a Decision Maker is not required once a claimant has declared that they have relevant caring responsibility. However, if more than one claimant is receiving Carer’s Allowance or Carer Element for the same person, the carers should decide between them who will receive the additional amount for caring. If they cannot decide, the decision is referred to a Decision Maker.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will publish her response to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman's report, Women's State Pension age: our findings on the Department for Work and Pensions' communication of changes, printed on 19 July 2021, HC 444.

It would not be appropriate to comment on the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman's report of 19 July 2021. The Ombudsman’s investigation is ongoing and section 7(2) of the Parliamentary Commissioner Act 1967 states that Ombudsman investigations “shall be conducted in private”.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she plans to remove the freeze and uprate on pensions of British-expats living in Canada.

The Government has no plans to change this policy.

The policy on the up-rating of UK State Pensions paid overseas is longstanding and has been supported by successive post-war governments for over 70 years.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will launch a review into statutory sick pay to assess the adequacy of the level of that payment in meeting the costs of living.

This government has a strong safety net that helps people who are facing hardship and are unable to support themselves financially and we have taken steps to strengthen that safety net as part of the government’s response to the pandemic.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) provides a minimum level of income for employees when they are sick or incapable of work. Employers are legally required to pay SSP to eligible employees who are off work sick or incapable of work, where employees meet the qualifying conditions. Some employers may also decide to pay more, and for longer, through Occupational Sick Pay.

SSP is just one part of our welfare safety net and our wider government offer to support people in times of need. Where an individual’s income is reduced while off work sick and they require further financial support, they may be able to claim Universal Credit and new style Employment and Support Allowance, depending on their personal circumstances.

9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make it her policy to provide a £20 per week uplift to legacy benefits in line with the £20 per week uplift provided to universal credit.

There are no plans to extend the temporary Universal Credit uplift to legacy benefits, and Parliament has voted to bring an end to legacy benefits in Great Britain. Natural migration to Universal Credit (UC) is required when a person needs to claim new support because of a change of circumstances.

Claimants on legacy benefits can voluntarily make a claim for UC if they believe that they will be better off. Claimants considering making a claim should check carefully their eligibility and entitlements under UC before applying, as legacy benefits will end when claimants submit their UC claim and they will not be able to return to them in the future. For this reason, prospective claimants are signposted to independent benefits calculators on GOV.UK. They can also get help through the government funded Help to Claim scheme as well as the Citizens Advice Bureau and Citizens Advice Scotland.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she has plans to renew the suspension of the minimum income floor.

The Chancellor announced on 3 March that the easement to the minimum income floor will be extended by a further 3 months.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make it her policy to stop national insurance contributions made by women who have not yet reached state pension age, but were born before 1960 and had already fully contributed under the state pension scheme in place before 2016.

We have no plans to change the longstanding National Insurance arrangements.

The National Insurance scheme operates on a 'pay-as-you-go' basis meaning that today’s contributors are paying for today’s Social Security entitlements and pensions, while those who paid contributions in the past were paying for the pensioners of that time. The National Insurance contributions people make not only go towards the State Pension, but also entitle them to a range of contributory Social Security benefits and bereavement benefits. A proportion of National Insurance contributions also goes towards funding the NHS (around 20 per cent of receipts).

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make it her policy to allocate funding to maintain the £20 uplift to universal credit payments beyond April 2021.

The £20 per week uplift to Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit was announced by the Chancellor as a temporary measure in March 2020 to support those facing the most financial disruption as a result of the public health emergency. This measure remains in place until March 2021. As the Government has done throughout this crisis, it will continue to assess how best to support low-income families, which is why we will look at the economic and health context before making any decisions.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make it her policy to increase the amount added to state pensions when a claimant turns 80 years of age from £0.25, in line with inflation back dated to 1971.

There are no plans to increase the age addition amount. There is a range of other measures and benefits that are available to pensioners over age 80. These include Pension Credit which can top up a pensioner’s income to a minimum of £173.75 a week for single pensioners and £265.20 for couples and provide access to a range of other benefits such as help with rent, council tax reduction schemes, heating costs and, for those aged 75 or over, a free television licence. Households with people aged 80 and over also receive a Winter Fuel Payment of £300 instead of the standard £200 for households with pensioners below that age. Additionally, since April 2010, the full yearly amount of the basic State Pension has risen by around £1900 in cash terms.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will review the mandatory financial advice requirement for people wishing to transfer or convert a DB pension with a transfer value worth more than £30,000 through the pension freedoms regulations 2015.

The Secretary of State has a duty to review this requirement to take financial advice. The first report must be published before 6 April 2023, as set by the Pension Schemes Act 2015 (Transitional Provisions and Appropriate Independent Advice) (Amendment) Regulations 2017. At this time, the Government has no immediate plans to review or lower the threshold at which individuals are required to take financial advice.

In 2015 Parliament passed the requirement to take financial advice for anyone seeking to transfer or convert a cash equivalent value of £30,000 or more from a defined benefit pension to an arrangement where they could flexibly access those savings. This statutory legal requirement was introduced to ensure individuals with valuable pension benefits are fully aware of the risks involved in giving up a secure income in retirement to one that may be susceptible to fluctuations in the financial markets, and carefully consider the implications of permanently surrendering their guarantees before they decide to transfer or convert those benefits.

Government’s commitment to maintain the existing threshold forms part of a wider commitment to safeguarding consumer savings – we want individuals to better understand their choices and the risks that exist. To this end, DWP will be introducing new information requirements from the age fifty to those with defined contribution pension savings, that will inform them in more simplified terms, about their retirement options and the availability of guidance to help with their decisions. DWP also see accessing guidance as a natural part of the journey savers take, before making a decision relating to the pension freedoms. Following the recent trials, which showed a nudge to guidance during the application process is effective, we will be commencing section 19 of the Financial Guidance and Claims Act 2018, which amends the Pension Schemes Act 1993.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many fast food outlets have been reported to the Health and Safety Executive for breaches of coronavirus health and safety adjustments in (a) March, (b) April, (c) May and (d) June 2020.

Health and safety in fast food outlets is enforced by Local Authorities (LAs), who act as independent enforcers of health and safety. LAs in England are currently reporting their general coronavirus enforcement activity to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). BEIS does not hold data on the number of fast food outlets that have been reported. Across businesses in general, those in control are overwhelmingly seeking to comply with legislation and very few have required formal enforcement action to be taken.

During this period, across Great Britain, LA officers have been out in their local communities dealing with safety and health issues along with other coronavirus related activities linked to their wider public health duties. The clear guidance available on the governments webpages (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19) and the Health and Safety Executive’s website (https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/index.htm) is there so business can understand what they need to do to meet their legal duties and set the standards that Officers will enforce against and advise upon.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of coronavirus health and safety adjustments in fast food outlets; and if she will make a statement.

Health and safety in fast food outlets is enforced by Local Authorities (LAs), who act as independent enforcers of health and safety. LAs in England are currently reporting their general coronavirus enforcement activity to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). BEIS does not hold data on the number of fast food outlets that have been reported. Across businesses in general, those in control are overwhelmingly seeking to comply with legislation and very few have required formal enforcement action to be taken.

During this period, across Great Britain, LA officers have been out in their local communities dealing with safety and health issues along with other coronavirus related activities linked to their wider public health duties. The clear guidance available on the governments webpages (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19) and the Health and Safety Executive’s website (https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/index.htm) is there so business can understand what they need to do to meet their legal duties and set the standards that Officers will enforce against and advise upon.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate her Department has made of the number of new universal credit claimants that would be unable to make mortgage interest payments if their mortgage payment holiday expires; and if she will make a statement.

No such assessment has been made.

New claimants to Universal Credit have to serve a nine month qualifying period before they are entitled to help with their mortgage interest. The lending industry is aware of and understands these arrangements. If, during this time, individuals are unable to meet their payments, we would encourage them to discuss options with their lenders.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to introduce covid-19 passports for children aged between five and 11 years.

Since 28 April 2022, the NHS COVID Pass travel letter has been available for five to 11 year olds who have received a full primary course of vaccination. A parent or guardian can request the letter via NHS.UK or 119. We are currently reviewing the provision of evidence of prior infection or recovery and a digital option.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will provide funding for prescription deliveries for people who are unable to attend their local pharmacy.

The medicine delivery service was funded during the pandemic for clinically extremely vulnerable patients and for people who were self-isolating. This service has now been decommissioned. A range of providers of pharmaceutical services such as distance selling and local pharmacies deliver to patients as part of their service.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department holds data on the number of NHS staff fined for breaking covid-19 related restrictions in the workplace.

This information is not held centrally.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the implications for his policies of current levels of covid-19 hospitalisations; and if he will make a statement.

No specific assessment has been made. The best defence against COVID-19 infection and the risk of hospitalisation is vaccination. In England, as of 10 April 2022, 85.5% of the population aged 12 years old and over has received two doses of vaccine and 72.3% of those aged over 18 years old have received a third primary dose or booster vaccination.

On 21 February, we accepted advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) on offering a further dose to some individuals in a spring COVID-19 vaccination programme. The primary aim is to reduce the risk of severe disease among those deemed most at-risk. A further dose is being offered to adults aged 75 years old and over, residents in care homes for older adults and individuals aged 12 years old and over who are immunosuppressed.

For those who are not eligible for the vaccine, or who have been vaccinated but do not develop sufficient immunity, antiviral and other treatments are available. The Government has secured 4.98 million patient courses of oral antiviral treatments to reduce the impact of COVID-19 and the Omicron variant in the United Kingdom.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to introduce covid-19 passports for children aged between five and 11 years.

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

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will commit to (a) reviewing and (b) increasing the allocation of funding for brain tumour research.

As with other Government funders of health research, the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) does not allocate funding for specific disease areas. The level of research expenditure in a particular area is determined by factors including scientific potential and the number of successful funding applications.

In May 2018, the Government announced £40 million over five years for brain tumour research as part of the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission, through the NIHR. The NIHR has subsequently funded all applications which have been fundable in open competition. However, this remains a challenging scientific area with a relatively small research community. We are reviewing ways to increase research capacity to deliver more fundable applications.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his Department will confirm the remaining rules on visiting hospitals following the easing of covid-19 restrictions.

Policies for hospital visiting are now at the discretion of local National Health Service trust or organisation. We expect providers to facilitate visits while managing any infection risks.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether there are circumstances in which ambulance services in England should advise those patients who report suffering from a heart attack to call for a taxi to the hospital, rather than seek the assistance of an ambulance.

Ambulance services respond to all heart attack and suspected heart attack cases according to agreed triage protocols. Only in extreme circumstances may a decision be required to advise higher acuity patients to travel to hospital, such as those with suspected heart attacks. This will only be considered where an ambulance resource will not be available in a sufficiently fast timeframe due to extreme and unforeseen levels of local demand and where it is considered clinically appropriate to do so.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will increase the number of places available for students to study medicine and nursing at university.

We have funded an additional 1,500 undergraduate medical school places per year in England. In addition, we have temporarily lifted the cap on medical and dental school places for students who completed A levels in 2020 and 2021 and received an offer from a university in England to study medicine or dentistry, subject to their grades. There are no current plans to further increase the number of medical school places.

There is no limit or cap on the number of nursing places at universities. We are offering non-repayable grants of at least £5,000 per year to eligible students and investing £40 million in expanding clinical placement capacity. Over 30,000 students accepted places to study nursing and midwifery at English universities in 2021 recruitment cycle – an increase of 28% compared to 2019.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Government's policy paper entitled Towards Zero - An action plan towards ending HIV transmission, AIDS and HIV-related deaths in England - 2022 to 2025, whether there is a date by which sexual health services must be delivering a 90% HIV testing offer rate to first time attendees.

The UK Health Security Agency will publish a monitoring and evaluation framework in 2022. This will provide key indicators and timeframes to monitor the implementation of the HIV Action Plan, including the commitment to achieve a 90% HIV testing offer rate to first time attendees at sexual health services.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the HIV Action Plan published on 1 December 2021, how sexual health services will be assessed on their (a) HIV testing offer and (b) HIV testing uptake rates for all attendees.

The monitoring and evaluation framework for the HIV Action Plan in England is currently being developed and will be published later in 2022. The detail of how sexual health services will be assessed on HIV testing offer and uptake rates among all attendees is under review and will be included as part of the monitoring and evaluation framework.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the HIV Action Plan published on 1 December 2021, how sexual health services will be assessed on delivering a 90% HIV testing offer rate to first time attendees.

The monitoring and evaluation framework for the HIV Action Plan in England is currently being developed and will be published later in 2022. The detail of how sexual health services will be assessed on HIV testing offer and uptake rates among all attendees is under review and will be included as part of the monitoring and evaluation framework.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department (a) has taken and (b) plans to take in 2022 to assess the reasons for varied rates of (i) uptake and (ii) offer of HIV testing in sexual health clinics across England.

The monitoring and evaluation framework for the HIV Action Plan in England is currently being developed and will be published later in 2022. The Plan will assess the reasons for variation in the HIV testing offer and uptake across sexual health clinics in England. Details of this assessment will be included as part of the monitoring and evaluation framework.

The UK Health Security Agency continues to monitor and publish data on the test offer and uptake within specialist sexual health services at national and local level, including inequalities in different population groups.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has waived legal privilege in respect of the Infected Blood Inquiry.

The Department has waived legal professional privilege in relation to relevant historic litigation and legal advice to the start of the Inquiry in July 2017.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has waived litigation privilege in respect of the Infected Blood Inquiry.

The Department has waived legal professional privilege in relation to relevant historic litigation and legal advice to the start of the Inquiry in July 2017.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department will supply to the Infected Blood Inquiry all documents which were subject to claims of public interest immunity during the HIV haemophilia litigation in 1990.

The Department supplied those documents requested by the Inquiry where these were retained in its archives.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of children aged 5-16 have a clinically diagnosable mental problem; and what estimate he has made of the proportion of those children who are receiving appropriate interventions at a sufficiently early age.

This information is not held in the format requested. However, NHS Digital’s data shows that approximately one in six children or 17.4% aged between six and 16 years old had a probable mental health disorder in 2021.

No specific estimate has been made of the proportion of those children who are receiving such interventions.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to prepare for next winter's influenza season; and if he will make a statement.

The scope of the seasonal flu vaccination programme each season is based on independent expert advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). The Department is working with the JCVI to determine the eligibility for the vaccine in the 2022/23 season. We will also work with the UK Health Security Agency, which monitors the prevalence of the flu virus prior to and during the flu season. Local providers are responsible for ordering the appropriate quantity of vaccine required.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure there is nationwide post-diagnosis cancer support across the UK.

The National Health Service (NHS) Long Term Plan for Cancer states that where appropriate every person diagnosed with cancer will have access to personalised care, including needs assessment, a care plan and health and wellbeing information and support. The Government is committed to delivering this ambition.

Cancer Alliances are leading programmes of work to embed these personalised care interventions within local providers. NHS England and NHS Improvement is supporting staff to offer personalised care to people affected by cancer by promoting awareness and understanding of the interventions and how to improve their quality. This includes providing resources such as a handbook on personalised stratified follow up, a checklist on health and wellbeing information and support and sharing of best practice.

Holistic Needs Assessments and personalised care interventions more broadly are now widespread. Data from Cancer Alliances in March 2021 showed that, despite the pandemic, approximately 83% of all cancer multi-disciplinary teams (approximately 1,130 teams) had implemented Personalised Care and Support Planning based on Holistic Needs Assessment. This is significant progress compared to a baseline in 2017 of approximately 25% of teams.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people have applied for a Vaccine Damage Payment; how many people have received payments from that scheme; and what the average payment is.

The Vaccine Damage Payments Scheme was established in 1979. From the inception of the scheme to 21 January 2022 inclusive, there have been 7,336 claims for all diseases included in the Scheme. Of these claims, 947 have received payments. For claims made on and after 12 July 2007, the current award amount is £120,000.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department holds data on the number of people who have been infected by covid-19 more than once.

The UK Health Security Agency monitors weekly COVID-19 cases, including numbers and rates of COVID-19 reinfections in England. As of 9 January 2022, 425,890 possible re-infections had been identified in England since the first recorded re-infection with 12.2 million first positive or primary infections in the same period. The weekly rates of possible reinfections per 1,000 first infections closely follow the profile for first infections.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many appointments have been arranged to date for people who have received covid-19 vaccines abroad to register their inoculations; how many people are still awaiting an appointment; and what steps he is taking to increase the number of those appointments.

Approximately 9,000 appointments have been arranged for people to register their overseas vaccination into the National Immunisation Management System. This has resulted in 11,500 vaccination records being created. Information on the number of people awaiting an appointment is not held centrally. A further 13 new sites have been identified by regional teams to offer this service. This will double the current capacity by the end of March 2022.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people were awaiting a fourth covid-19 vaccine dose who were immune suppressed as at 18 January 2022; and what steps he taking to help ensure that those people awaiting a fourth covid-19 dose receive it in a timely manner.

The information requested is not held centrally.

To ensure those eligible receive their fourth dose in a timely manner, guidance was issued to all systems on 13 December 2021 setting out that those at greatest risk must be prioritised, including the severely immunosuppressed. The guidance is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/publication/national-call-next-steps-for-the-nhs-covid-19-vaccine-deployment/

Individuals are identified and invited for their vaccination by the local Primary Care Network. If a vaccination cannot be offered at a hospital at the time of the patient’s regular treatment, they will receive a letter from their consultant, to access an appointment at an alternative site. If a patient has already received a letter regarding their third primary dose, this can be used to obtain their fourth dose at a walk-in site, if it has been a minimum of three months since their third primary dose was administered. Patients who are yet to be contacted but may be eligible for a fourth dose should contact their consultant or general practitioner.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether lateral flow tests carried out at home and reported to the NHS are included in the total daily covid-19 infections statistics; and whether those test results are included on the figures given for people tested positive data section on the UK’s Summary on Coronavirus on GOV.UK.

Lateral flow device (LFD) tests reported through the National Testing Programme digital infrastructure are included in the daily statistics. If a LFD test is not registered digitally, it is not included. The data presented on the dashboard includes all de-duplicated polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test results; in England, positive rapid LFD tests that are not followed by a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours; and in Northern Ireland, all positive rapid LFD tests.

Cases for Scotland and Wales do not include those identified by LFD tests at present. Public Health Scotland is planning to incorporate this data. There are no plans to include this data in Wales.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the level of covid-19 (a) infections, (b) hospitalisations and (c) deaths that would result in the Government considering additional covid-19 restrictions.

There is no pre-determined level of COVID-19 infections, hospitalisations or deaths. The Government monitors these metrics with a range of other health data to assess the risk to the National Health Service and the potential need for additional measures. This includes metrics such as hospital occupancy for COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients, admissions in vaccinated individuals and the rate of growth of admissions. The current measures will be reviewed before 26 January 2022.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much was spent on quarantine hotels by travellers entering the UK following the re-introduction of the covid-19 red list in November 2021; and if he will refund people who paid for quarantine once it became apparent that the omicron variant was transmitting in the community.

Following the re-introduction of the ‘red list’ on 26 November 2021, passengers spent £15.2 million on quarantine services. There are no refunds or financial compensation for guests who completed their quarantine period and had checked out of the quarantine hotel on or before 4am on 15 December. From 4pm on 15 December, guests with a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) result and those who had not yet taken a PCR test were able to depart quarantine following the removal of all countries from the ‘red list’. In England, guests who were released early from managed quarantine are entitled to a refund for the unused part of their managed quarantine.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the capacity is for covid-19 patients in hospitals in England.

There is no fixed capacity for COVID-19 patients in hospitals in England. The number of available beds is flexible to meet changes in demand.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the removal of all countries from the covid-19 red list announced on 14 December 2021, if he will make it his policy to release people who are in hotel quarantine having returned to the UK from one of those countries.

Arrangements were made for guests in managed quarantine to leave at the earliest opportunity in line with appropriate COVID-19 safe protocols from 15 December.

Guests who tested positive, those who are unvaccinated, and those who were notified they had been a contact of someone who had tested positive were required to remain in quarantine. This aligns with domestic self isolation requirements.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many housebound patients are awaiting a covid-19 booster vaccination; and what steps he plans to take to help ensure that housebound patients who are seeking a booster jab will receive a home visit for inoculation.

This information is not held centrally as data on the number of housebound patients is managed at a local level and requires access to detailed patient information. General practitioners and community teams determine the best approach to vaccination, based on their knowledge of the patient and circumstances. Some patients may be able to attend Primary Care Network (PCN) designated sites with assistance and discussions should be held with the family and/or carer to facilitate this.

For those patients who are completely housebound and unable to travel to a PCN designated site with assistance, vaccinations will be delivered via roving units directly to an individual’s home. National Health Service regions, PCNs and community pharmacy-led local vaccination services are monitoring progress and identifying whether further interventions are required. A standard operating procedure on managing roving units has been provided to local health teams to support the provision of COVID-19 vaccinations to people who are housebound.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether vaccines approved and administered by the medical authorities in Barbados be recognised by the NHS COVID pass.

AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna and Janssen vaccines administered in most countries, including Barbados, can generate a NHS COVID Pass. Closed pilots are available at selected vaccination centres for residents to request their overseas vaccines are uploaded to the national database. The service will be deployed nationally in December to support online bookings and further vaccination sites.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy that additional NHS funding will be allocated to (a) bringing down joint replacement waiting times and (b) providing support to people waiting for surgery.

Funding has already been announced which will improve joint replacement surgery capacity. This includes £2 billion this year and £8 billion over the next three years to increase elective activity and deliver approximately nine million more checks, scans and procedures. We have provided £5.9 billion capital funding for new surgical hubs to address waiting times for clinical tests, including for patients awaiting joint replacement surgery.

Further information on support for people waiting for elective care, such as joint replacement surgery, will be outlined in the upcoming elective recovery plan which is due to be published by the end of this year.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will take steps to ensure that the NHS records single or double dose covid-19 vaccines received abroad so that patients can obtain an NHS England Covid pass.

On 30 September we launched a pilot for English residents vaccinated abroad to request that their vaccines, either single or double doses, are uploaded to the national database. Vaccines equivalent to those approved in the United Kingdom and regulated by the European Medicines Agency, the United States Food and Drug Administration, Health Canada, Swissmedic and the Therapeutic Goods Administration can be recorded on the NHS COVID Pass. We are working to understand which non-Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency approved vaccines we would be confident to recognise on the NHS COVID Pass.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the evidential basis was for his Department's decision not to remove quarantine for people who can demonstrate that they have been infected and recovered from covid-19 recently.

Decisions to inform quarantine rules are taken by the Government based on the latest scientific advice, alongside wider public health factors. We are unable to provide the specific advice and evidence which informs these decisions as it relates to the ongoing development of Government policy.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people have received their third dose of a covid-19 vaccine; and if he will include that data in the Coronavirus Dashboard on the Government website.

As of 24 October 2021, 5,235,928 people had received a COVID-19 booster vaccine in England.

Data on the third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine for all four United Kingdom nations is now included in the GOV.UK Coronavirus Dashboard at the following link:

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

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to make the covid-19 vaccine available to (a) children under the age of 12 and (b) children under the age of 12 who have conditions that make them vulnerable to covid-19.

There is currently no COVID-19 vaccine authorised for use in the United Kingdom for those aged under 12 years old. Should the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency authorise a vaccine for those aged under 12 years old as safe and effective, then the independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) would be asked for its clinical and scientific advice on prioritisation and deployment at population level. However, whether to vaccinate an individual is ultimately a decision for clinicians responsible for their care. Vaccination may be prescribed ‘off label’, including for a child, outside of the Chief Medical Officers’ or the JCVI’s advice using clinical judgement and an assessment of the patient’s risk factors.

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, what assessment has he made on the potential merits of funding for opt-out HIV testing across the NHS.

We set out our plans for increasing HIV testing across the National Health Service in the HIV Action Plan, which was published on 1 December. The HIV Action Plan sets out actions to achieve the interim target of an 80% reduction in transmissions in England by 2025 and our forthcoming plans to improve support available to people who are lost to care and not currently accessing treatment.

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, what assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of support available to people living with HIV who are (a) lost to care and (b) not currently accessing HIV treatment.

We set out our plans for increasing HIV testing across the National Health Service in the HIV Action Plan, which was published on 1 December. The HIV Action Plan sets out actions to achieve the interim target of an 80% reduction in transmissions in England by 2025 and our forthcoming plans to improve support available to people who are lost to care and not currently accessing treatment.

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 he expects the percentage of NHS patients starting treatment within 62 days after GP Urgent Suspected Cancer Referral to rise above the 85% target; and what steps he plans to take to help tackle the cancer care backlog.

We are committed to the recovery of cancer services by the end of March 2022. We have dedicated an additional £1 billion for elective and cancer services and the National Health Service is expand diagnostic and treatment capacity to meet increasing levels of referrals and treatment.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that trans men and non-binary people with a cervix are invited for routine cervical screening.

All individuals are invited for cervical screening based on their registered gender in their general practitioner (GP) records. Only those who are registered as female will be invited for cervical screening according to the normal intervals. As such, if a transgender man or non-binary person is registered with their GP as male, they will not receive these invitations.

However, GPs can, if requested, update records to ensure individuals are invited for the screening to which they are entitled. We encourage all trans men and non-binary people to contact their GP to ensure that they are invited for the right screening appointments.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that LGBTQ+ people receive equitable support in being able to start a family; and what steps he is taking to tackle inequalities for lesbian and bi women accessing IVF treatment under NICE guidelines.

We are currently sponsoring a multi-year joint project of the Law Commission for England and Wales and Scotland to review and update surrogacy legislation. The reform aims to ensure that there is greater clarity for all participants in surrogacy arrangements, particularly in respect of legal parenthood. This will benefit male same-sex couples, who represent approximately half of United Kingdom surrogacy arrangements.

We have also agreed with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence to review their fertility guideline, which will consider the current access criteria to treatment for same sex couples.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department takes to communicate the awarding of a contract for phalloplasty to a new team; and what steps are being taken to support people who have been on the waiting list for that surgery a significant amount of time.

A contract to provide phalloplasty services has now been awarded to the New Victoria Hospital in London. We expect patients to be seen in order of clinical need. The Gender Dysphoria National Referral Support Service will write to all patients on the waiting list and contact patients individually as soon as they are ready to be referred to the new provider.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to allow people who have a medical exemption from being vaccinated against the covid-19 virus to be eligible for exemptions from traveller quarantine measures in line with the covid-19 travel rules that apply to double-vaccinated travellers.

The Department are working to ensure those who cannot have a vaccine or be tested for medical reasons are not disadvantaged. For the United Kingdom's inbound travel policy, the Government is exploring future policy options on travel for vaccinated UK residents, including making allowances for people exempt from vaccination and will set this information out in due course.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to reduce covid-19 (a) case numbers and (b) hospitalisations.

The Government will continue to build on its existing strategy for tackling the pandemic. This includes the successful roll-out of the vaccination programme, which has substantially weakened the link between cases and hospitalisations and the test, trace and isolate system, which is vital in managing the virus. As set out in ‘COVID-19 Response: Summer 2021’ the Government may need to take further measures to help manage the virus during periods of higher risk, such as winter, but will as far as possible prioritise strengthened guidance and seek to avoid imposing restrictions that have significant economic, social and health costs.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to increase take-up of the covid-19 vaccine among people aged between 18 and 24; and if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of offering incentives to encourage the take-up of that vaccine.

We are keen to ensure all those aged 18 and above take up their offer of vaccination. There has been a major programme of work to drive this by increasing the accessibility of the vaccines in targeted locations in areas of lower vaccine uptake. On the 26th June, NHS England launched the ‘grab a jab’ weekend – with pop up vaccination sites set up in football stadiums, theatres, supermarket car parks and shopping centres, which allowed vaccinations to take place without needing to book in advance. There has also been a targeted communications campaign aimed at outlets which typically attract younger audiences. This has involved cascading messages through channels such as TikTok and Snapchat, as well as partnering with influencers, content creators and large retail corporations to drive up vaccine uptake within this cohort.

The Government continues to evaluate all options available to further boost uptake. The Department is currently assessing the potential merits of incentives, although a final decision has yet to be made.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to reduce the average diagnosis time for endometriosis patients to (a) four years or less by 2025 and (b) one year or less by 2030.

The treatment and diagnosis of endometriosis which will be carefully considered as part of work on the Women’s Health Strategy. A call for evidence was launched to inform the priorities, content and actions of the Strategy, which included questions on gynaecological conditions such as endometriosis. We are analysing the responses and we aim to publish the Strategy later this year.

Research exploring the experiences of women presenting with endometriosis-like symptoms in primary care hosted by the National Institute of Health Research, was published earlier this year, which will inform our understanding of delays in diagnosis.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
9th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to introduce prescription charges for those over the age of 60.

A public consultation is underway on aligning the upper age exemption for National Health Service prescription charges in England with the state pension age. The Government will consider the responses to the consultation and outline its next steps in due course.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will launch an investigation into Atruchecks for alleged failures to provide covid-19 test kits to people travelling overseas.

The Government has investigated Atruchecks and they have currently been removed from the private providers lists on GOV.UK. Providers may be reinstated to the list once they have undertaken corrective action and provided the Department with evidence of improvement.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has plans to ensure that patients are given the option to request face-to-face appointments with their GP rather than having to complete an initial telephone or e-consultation as covid-19 restrictions are eased.

On 20 May 2021, NHS England and NHS Improvement published an updated standard operating procedure for general practice in the context of COVID-19 restrictions easing. The guidance is clear that practices must ensure they offer both face to face and remote appointments and the patients preferences for care are respected unless there are good clinical reasons to the contrary, such as the presence of COVID symptoms. Practice receptions must be open so patients without access to online services are not disadvantaged and can walk in.

To make sure people can access the care they need, general practices use remote triage which can help practices effectively allocate clinical time by gathering key information in advance of a consultation. In turn, healthcare professionals can more effectively manage their time and focus on those who need care the most, which can include spending longer in face-to-face appointments. Telephone, online and video consultations can also be convenient and flexible ways to receive healthcare for some patients.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people are unable to access an NHS dentist in their local area; and what plans he has to ensure everyone can access an NHS dentist locally for routine care.

The GP Patient Survey from March 2020 indicates that in the previous year, of 334,181 patients, 5% or 16,709, were unable to access a National Health Service dental appointment.

In light of the impact of COVID-19, NHS dentists have been asked to maximise safe throughput to meet as many prioritised needs as possible, focussing first on urgent care and vulnerable groups, followed by overdue appointments. NHS England and NHS Improvement have provided a flexible commissioning toolkit to local commissioners to help focus the available capacity on those that need it most and to reduce oral health inequalities.

We are working with NHS England and NHS Improvement and Public Health England to increase access, including for routine care, taking into account the ongoing infection prevention and control and social distancing requirements. For the longer term, the Department has asked NHS England and NHS Improvement to work with the British Dental Association, to build on the learning from the dental contract reform programme and bring forward proposals to address the key challenges facing the delivery of NHS dentistry and improve patient access.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the covid-19 vaccine on cancer patients once they have received the second dose.

Data on COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness on cancer patients is still emerging. Public Health England is monitoring effectiveness of vaccination in clinical risk groups.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the scientific evidential basis was for the decision to allow non-essential shops to reopen on 12 April 2021 and to allow pubs to serve customers outside only.

Throughout the pandemic the Government has had to balance the economic and social implications of restrictions with the need to protect public health when considering packages of measures to control the virus. These are complex decisions which take into account a range of health, economic, and social and wellbeing metrics when considering the design of measures but it is difficult analytically to isolate individual sectors or measures. We keep measures under constant review to ensure they reflect the latest science and clinical data.

The Government published a wide range of economic and social data in the ‘COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021’ roadmap and in the data annex supporting the roadmap publication. The roadmap is available at the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/963491/COVID-19_Response_-_Spring_2021.pdf

The data annex is available at the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/963276/COVID-19_RESPONSE_-SPRING_2021__Data_Annex.pdf

This, along with wider scientific advice from the Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies, contributed to the decisions on the order of easing and the overall pace of the roadmap, which included the reopening of non-essential retail and outdoor hospitality at step two.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential correlation between statutory sick pay for long-term care facility staff and rates of covid-19 transmission and infection in care home residents; and if he will make a statement.

The Vivaldi study found that payment of statutory sick pay, compared to no payment, was associated with significant reduction of infection among staff and residents in care homes. The Infection Control Fund, first introduced in May 2020, has provided £1.35 billion to support adult social care providers take infection prevention and control measures such as helping maintain the normal wages of staff who need to self-isolate during the pandemic.


The reports for the Vivaldi study are available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/vivaldi-study-results

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason his policy was that immunocompromised people should receive their second covid-19 vaccination at 12 weeks after receipt of their first covid-19 vaccination prior to 14 May 2021.

The policy for immunocompromised people is based on the advice of the independent experts of the Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

The decision to extend the dosing interval to up to twelve weeks, made on 30 December 2019, was based on advice from the JCVI and was designed to maximize the impact of the vaccination programme. Whilst the second vaccine dose is important to sustain the protection and extend its duration, in the short term the additional impact of the second dose is likely to be modest and most of the initial protection from clinical disease is after the first dose of vaccine. The four United Kingdom Chief Medical Officers agreed with the JCVI that prioritising the first doses of vaccine for as many people as possible on the priority list would protect the greatest number of at-risk people in the shortest possible time.

On 14 May 2021, the Government accepted new advice from the JCVI and announced that appointments for a second dose of a vaccine would be brought forward from 12 to eight weeks for the remaining people in the top nine priority groups who have yet to receive their second dose. This is to ensure the strongest possible protection from the virus at an earlier opportunity in response to the B1.617.2 variant of concern, first identified in India. As a result, immuno-suppressed patients who are waiting to have their second dose may therefore be invited for to book an appointment within this revised timeframe.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
14th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to tackle the surge in the Indian covid-19 variant while ensuring that social distancing restrictions can continue to ease.

Additional rapid response measures will be implemented in areas where clusters of cases have been detected to stop further spread. These measures include:

- enhanced testing and contact tracing, including enhanced community and surge testing in areas defined by the local authorities and regional teams;

- increased genome sequencing of positive cases;

- increased community engagement, including ensuring that messages are accessible in languages that are used by communities;

- working closely with communities and community leaders to ensure that individuals are supported to test and self-isolate; and

- ensuring access to vaccination in the age and risk groups currently prioritised for vaccination and encouraging uptake.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will increase the allocation of funding from the public purse for motor neurone disease research to above £5 million per year.

Over the past five years, the Government has spent a total of £55 million on motor neurone disease (MND) research. In 2019/20, the Department, through the National Institute for Health Research, spent £2.7 million on MND research. Additionally, UK Research and Innovation, through the Medical Research Council, spent £13.4 million on MND research in 2019/20. We are currently working on ways to significantly boost further research on dementia and neurodegeneration, including MND.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to reduce the backlog for operations and enable NHS staff to take all allocated their annual leave in 2021.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have asked local services to draw up plans to tackle the elective backlog, while taking into account staff wellbeing. An additional £1 billion funding has been made available to the National Health Service in 2021-22 to support the start of the recovery of elective activity, to reduce patient waiting times.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have issued planning guidance for 2021-22 which prioritises ‘looking after our people and helping them to recover’. This includes encouraging NHS trusts to offer flexibility for staff to take time off to recover, to allow staff to carry over all unused annual leave, or to buy back unused leave.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will expand free covid-19 testing to businesses with fewer than 50 employees.

Organisations with fewer than 50 employees can access tests via local community testing.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason an estimated one third of social care staff had not received their first covid-19 vaccination as of 15 February 2021; and what steps he is taking to increase the rate of vaccination of social care staff.

The Government met its target to offer a vaccine to everyone within the top four priority groups, including social care workers by 15 February 2021.

We continue to ensure that as many social care workers as possible receive their first and second doses when offered. We are conducting second visits to care homes to offer vaccinations to staff who were unavailable on the day of the first visit.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, will scientific advice he received prior to the decision that travellers from certain countries will need to enter a quarantine hotel upon arrival in the UK.

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

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to provide mental health support to healthcare staff working in hospital wards dedicated to the treatment of patients with covid-19.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have put in place a comprehensive package of health and wellbeing services for National Health Service staff, including counselling helplines, free access to wellbeing apps, virtual staff common rooms and specialist bereavement and psychological support. £15 million has also been invested to strengthen mental health support for NHS staff. This funding is being used to set up mental health hubs that provide outreach and assessment services to help frontline staff receive rapid access to mental health services. Staff referred will be treated by local mental health specialists and those with the most severe needs will be referred to a specialist centre of excellence.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to (a) retain nurses employed in the NHS, (b) encourage nurses who have left the NHS to return to the NHS and (c) attract more students to train in the nursing profession.

The latest NHS People Plan published in July 2020 sets out actions to retain staff for longer through a range of measures from flexible working, to improved training for line managers and more comprehensive occupational and mental health support.

Since 2014, Health Education England has supported a national return to practice (RTP) campaign for all branches of nursing, in response to the national shortage of nurses across the National Health Service. Between September 2014 and 30 September 2020, 7,106 returners have accessed RTP programmes.

As part of the new funding package for healthcare students non-repayable, training grants of at least £5,000 per academic year are available to eligible new and continuing pre-registration nursing students, studying at English universities. In 2020, there were 29,740 acceptances to nursing and midwifery courses in England. This is 6,110 more than in 2019 and an increase of 26%.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to provide staff to Nightingale hospitals in the event that general hospitals are overwhelmed by covid-19 patients.

The Nightingale hospitals stand ready to provide support to local services and accept patients if needed based on local clinical advice. The National Health Service has flexed hospital capacity throughout the pandemic and will continue to do so, including staffing Nightingale hospitals as needed.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of allowing (a) retail workers and (b) other workers in public facing roles to be prioritised for the covid-19 vaccine once everyone over the age of 50 has been offered it.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) are the independent experts who advise the Government on which vaccines the United Kingdom should use and provide advice on prioritisation at a population level.  For the first phase, the JCVI have advised that the vaccine be given to care home residents and staff, as well as frontline health and social care workers, then to the rest of the population in order of age and clinical risk factors.

Prioritisation decisions for next phase delivery are subject to of the surveillance and monitoring data and information from phase one, as well as further input from independent scientific experts such as the JCVI. Phase two may include further reduction in hospitalisation and targeted vaccination of those at high risk of exposure and/or those delivering key public services.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, in which (a) professions, (b) settings and (c) activities are covid-19 transmission rates highest.

Public Health England does not hold information on transmission rates in the format requested.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what evidence informed his Department's decision that children under the age of 11 do not need to wear a mask in an enclosed public space during the covid-19 outbreak.

The World Health Organization and UNICEF advise that children aged 12 years old and over should wear a face covering under the same conditions as adults, particularly when they cannot guarantee at least a one metre distance from others and there is widespread transmission in the area. Our guidance reflects this.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to provide fast-track covid-19 vaccination training to health care workers who are already qualified to carry out vaccinations.

Secondary legislation which enables more healthcare workers to administer flu and potential COVID-19 vaccines has been introduced. The National Health Service can expand the vaccination workforce by recruiting to clinical roles needed to support mass vaccinations in a safe way. We have recruited and mobilised an 80,000 strong vaccination workforce. Staff have been identified to meet supply in all three delivery models - community teams, vaccination sites and hospital hubs.

The national vaccination effort has also been boosted by many former clinicians, care staff, sectors and students and training for those already qualified was streamlined.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what his latest forecast is for the covid-19 vaccine to have been offered to everyone eligible for that vaccine in the UK.

On 20 February we set new targets for the acceleration of the programme to offer all adults over 50 years old a first dose by mid-April and the rest of the adult population by the end of July.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to expand eligibility for the Test and Trace Support Payment to working single parents who do not have alternative childcare options in the event that their children must self-isolate as a result of exposure to covid-19.

The Test and Trace Support Payment scheme is for people who have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, either because they have tested positive for COVID-19 or have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive. If a child is self-isolating because they have tested positive, other household members will also need to self-isolate and will be able to claim under the scheme, provided they meet the other eligibility criteria.

Parents or guardians of children who have to self-isolate because of contact with someone outside their household who has tested positive are not eligible.  If a parent and/or guardian needs support because a child has to self-isolate, the NHS Test and Trace service can provide guidance on how to access local support provided by their local authority or by NHS Volunteer Responders.  The Test and Trace Support Payment scheme is being kept under review.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the potential (a) merits and (b) implications of permitting Christmas household bubbles to attend hospitality settings in areas with Tier 2 covid-19 restrictions.

The Government is committed to publishing data that has informed its decision making, including the tiers framework and allocations.

We have also published supporting information to accompany the laying of the most recent regulations are laid before Parliament on 30 November, which is available at the following link:


https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-health-economic-and-social-effects-of-covid-19-and-the-tiered-approach

Epidemiological data and projection models on local restriction tiers, including commentary on individual tier allocation decisions, is available at the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/938964/Coronavirus_England_briefing_26_November.pdf.

This provides further information and context beyond the headline metrics as to why areas are in particular tiers currently.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to allow people in receipt of qualifying benefits who have been advised to claim the Test and Trace Support Payment by (a) NHS hospitals and (b) schools, but not by NHS Test and Trace, to claim that support.

Anyone who receives notification of a positive test result, or identified as being in close contact with someone who has tested positive will be able to apply for the Test and Trace Support Payment (TTSP), if they meet the other eligibility criteria.

Individuals awaiting a test will need to have had their test, tested positive and received their notification from NHS Test and Trace confirming their test result before they can claim. Being advised by a hospital or school to claim TTSP does not in itself give entitlement to claim support payments.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to ensure the procurement and tendering process for rapid testing for covid-19 is fair and transparent.

Contracting authorities are allowed to procure goods, services and works with extreme urgency in exceptional circumstances under the Public Contract Regulations 2015. Under the regulations contracting authorities may enter into contracts without competing or advertising the requirement. Suppliers will be evaluated by Departmental officials on their financial standing, compliance with minimum product and service specifications and ability to perform the contract. Contracts are placed in line with Departmental terms and conditions which include clauses for contract management to ensure that supplier performance and the delivery of value for money can be properly assessed throughout the lifetime of the contract.

Where contracts with commercial partners have been finalised the Department is publishing contract award notices on the Contracts Finder service on GOV.UK at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/contracts-finder

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
2nd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social care, when his Department plans to publish equality impact assessments for the covid-19 tier measures.

The Government is committed to publishing data that has informed its decision making, including the tiers framework and allocations.

We have also published a supporting document to accompany the most recent regulations on 30 November. This is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-health-economic-and-social-effects-of-covid-19-and-the-tiered-approach

Epidemiological data and projection models on local restriction tiers, including commentary on individual tier allocation decisions is available at the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/938964/Coronavirus_England_briefing_26_November.pdf

This document provides further information and context as to why areas are in particular tiers currently.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
2nd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what research his Department is undertaking on the longer-term health impacts of covid-19 for women.

The Department, through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and UK Research and Innovation, have launched a £20 million joint research call to fund ambitious and comprehensive research to understand and address the longer term physical and mental health effects of COVID-19 in individuals who contracted the virus but were not hospitalised. The aim is to support two or three large consortia and a number of extensions to existing studies. These studies will be robust and of sufficient scale with the potential to include analysis of factors such as gender.

There are also several other large Departmental and NIHR-supported surveillance studies which are looking to understand the importance of factors such as age and potentially gender in determining COVID-19 disease severity, for example Virus Watch and the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
2nd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of the contracts tendered by the Government for personal protective equipment during the covid-19 outbreak went to companies owned by (a) women and 9b) BAME individuals.

Information on the gender and ethnicity of the owners of companies which offered to supply personal protective equipment to the Department was not required as part of the bidding process.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, which organisations will be responsible for (a) the distribution of covid-19 vaccines and (b) delivering the inoculation.

The Vaccine Taskforce (VTF) works with vaccine manufacturers to put in place robust plans for the delivery of vaccines to Public Health England, for onward distributions to the site of administration.

The Department of Health and Social Care is ultimately responsible for vaccine deployment and works closely with NHS England and Public Health England to ensure that the vaccines are administered safely and efficiently to the public by appropriately qualified healthcare staff.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what his timescale is for rolling out mass covid-19 in Warrington; and what assessment he has made of the potential merits of rolling out mass covid-19 testing to all parts of the UK.

As part of the Community Testing Programme, all local authority areas including Warrington Borough Council, at significant risk have been offered the opportunity to participate in order to make a co-ordinated effort to drive prevalence down of COVID-19 in their respective areas. Proposals are also carefully assessed at both a local and national level to ensure they are appropriate and safe and learning can be shared across the country. Community testing builds on the existing rollout of rapid lateral flow testing to all Directors of Public Health

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will extend the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme to workers told to self-isolate who are not in receipt of qualifying benefits and who cannot work from home.

If a worker is not in receipt of one of the qualifying benefits and cannot work from home, they may be eligible for a £500 discretionary payment, provided they meet the eligibility criteria set by their local authority.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to provide medicinal cannabis prescriptions on the NHS.

Following the rescheduling of cannabis-based products for medicinal use under the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001, as of 1 November 2018, doctors on the General Medical Council’s Specialist Register have been able to prescribe these medicines, where clinically appropriate and in the best interests of patients. The same rules apply regardless of whether medicinal cannabis is prescribed on the National Health Service or privately.

Two licensed cannabis-based medicines have recently been made available for prescribing on the NHS for patients with Multiple Sclerosis or hard to treat epilepsies, where clinically appropriate. This follows clear demonstrated evidence of their safety, and clinical and cost effectiveness.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to include specialist dementia wards for hospitals in plans for supporting people with dementia in England for 2020-25.

We know that environment in which care is given and the knowledge, skills and attitudes of the workforce delivering that care are critical to the outcomes of people living with dementia.

We supported the National Dementia Action Alliance’s Dementia Friendly Hospital Charter which is helping ensure hospitals are able to support people living with dementia and their families effectively. The Charter has recently been updated in response to COVID-19 and we committed in the Challenge on Dementia 2020 that all National Health Service staff would receive training on dementia appropriate to their role.

We expect to build on this work when we update our Dementia strategy.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the evidential basis for the Government's decision to allow (a) 30 people to attend a funeral and (b) 15 people to attend a wedding.

We recognise that both weddings and funerals are significant events for people, and that their importance is perhaps more to the fore in difficult times. Allowing attendance at weddings of up to 15, and at funerals of up to 30, goes some way towards meeting the participants’ understandable wishes, while at the same time minimising the spread of the virus.

Throughout the pandemic, the Government has listened carefully to the views of the scientific community, in particular the information from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies and its sub-groups when taking decisions on the best way to tackle the pandemic. We continue to keep these restrictions under constant review and will ensure they remain proportionate to the threat to public health posed by COVID-19.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the scientific advice for the decision to introduce covid-19 lockdown restrictions in Warrington.

On Tuesday 22 September, restrictions were placed on Warrington and several other areas in North West England, West Yorkshire and the Midlands. Warrington was escalated to an ‘area of intervention’ through the Local Action Committee process.

NHS Test and Trace, the Joint Biosecurity Centre and Public Health England constantly monitor the levels of infection and other data on prevalence of the virus across the country to inform the Local Action Committee decision-making process. A wide range of indicators are monitored to ensure situational awareness across England. Data on local virus prevalence is published with detailed information provided to local systems, providing an early-warning system to enable early, preventative action.

The epidemiological data for decisions made at the Local Action Committee are published, and the specific data for Warrington at that time is contained here:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/919115/Contain_framework_lower_tier_local_authority_watchlist_-_maps_by_Lower_Super_Output_Area_-_18_September_2020.pdf

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of allowing a two person household, in which one person is a carer, to form a support bubble with another household which consists of at least two people.

The Government recognises the vital role unpaid carers play and understand the many difficulties and challenges they are face, especially during this difficult period. We also acknowledge how difficult it has been for people to be cut off from their friends and family throughout this period. However, as we are seeing COVID-19 cases rise at a rapid rate across the country and, given how serious this virus is, it is important that everyone plays their part by following the measures in place, including the rule of six, washing their hands, practicing social distancing and wearing a mask in enclosed spaces.

Support bubbles are to assist the loneliest and most isolated in society. They were introduced to provide extra support to some of those most impacted by the difficult effects of the social restrictions, while ensuring we continue to keep the rate of transmission low. This is why the policy has been targeted at single-adult households.

To help family carers continue to access support they need we have worked with the Social Care Institute for Excellence to publish guidance to help make decisions on restarting respite provision in day centres services or alternatives to support carers and to provide quality care safely. This guidance was published in July.

We know carers need more support and will continue to keep our guidance under review and continue to work closely with carer organisations and others to support unpaid carers.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
25th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to ensure arthritis services resume as soon as possible following the disruption resulting from the covid-19 outbreak.

A range of guidance has been made available to healthcare commissioners and clinicians to support the resumption of arthritis services following the COVID-19 outbreak, which have now been restarted.

The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence guidance ‘COVID-19 rapid guideline: rheumatological autoimmune, inflammatory and metabolic bone disorders’, updated on 2 July 2020, sets out best practice for clinicians and commissioners on managing disorders, including arthritis, during the COVID-19 pandemic. The guidance is available at the following link:

www.nice.org.uk/guidance/NG167

NHS England and NHS Improvement and the Federation of Specialty Surgical Associations have also provided a range of prioritisation advice for restarting community services, which set out how to meet the needs of people with conditions such as arthritis safely and effectively, including where surgery is required. This guidance can be found at the following links:

www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/publication/covid-19-prioritisation-within-community-health-services-with-annex_19-march-2020/

fssa.org.uk/_userfiles/pages/files/covid19/prioritisation_master_240820.pdf

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what information his Department holds on the average distance of a covid test site from home that people have been offered in each of the last four weeks.

The Government does not publish data in the format requested.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
9th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of easing covid-19 visiting restrictions for care homes.

We are aware that limiting visits in care homes has been difficult for many families and residents who want to see their loved ones. The decision on whether or not to allow visitors, and in what circumstances will be for the relevant Director of Public Health and managers of each individual setting to make. Care homes will be supported by local infection control leads in making decisions about visiting, to ensure that the balance of risks and benefits is appropriately considered.

The Visiting guidance will be updated as the risk posed by COVID-19 continues to change.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
4th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he make it his policy to raise pharmacy staff wages in line with pay rises for other public sector workers.

Over one million National Health Service staff, including pharmacy staff employed on the Agenda for Change Contract, continue to benefit from the three-year Agenda for Change pay and contract reform deal (2018/19-2020/21), agreed in partnership with NHS trade unions and employer representatives.

The multi-year Agenda for Change pay and contract reform deal has seen year on year pay increases; those below the top of their pay band have seen increases of at least 9% and pay for most staff at the top of their pay band has increased by 6.5%. We expect the independent NHS pay review body to return to making pay recommendations for Agenda for Change staff for 2021/22.

For pharmacy staff not directly employed in the NHS it is for their employer to determine pay. Community pharmacies are private businesses and it is for these employers to determine staff salaries.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the value is of funding for public health responsibilities which he plans to reallocate to bodies other than the National Institute for Health Protection as a result of the reorganisation of Public Health England.

The Government is considering the future location of current Public Health England functions, including the detail of what is expected to transfer to the National Institute for Health Protection and what may be undertaken by other organisations. Decisions on the Government’s future public health investment will be taken as part of the Spending Review, which is due to conclude in the autumn.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many supermarket workers have been infected with covid-19.

Public Health England does not publish data of the occupation of those who test positive for COVID-19, meaning the number of supermarket workers who have been infected with COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic is not available.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will increase funding to dental practices for the purchase of personal protective equipment.

Dentists contract with NHS England and NHS Improvement to deliver a given annual level of service in return for an agreed contract value. NHS England and NHS Improvement made an early decision in late March to continue funding National Health Service dental contracts to support dental practices despite all routine dentistry being suspended. During the restart period which began on 8 June NHS England and NHS Improvement funding for NHS dental contracts continues and activity requirements continue to be reviewed in consultation with the profession. Dental practices are therefore able to gradually restart while still receiving their full NHS funding.

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 plans the Government plans for future covid-19 vaccinations to be free at the point of use.

We are working across the health and care sector to effectively deliver a successful vaccine as soon as one becomes available. This relies on several factors, including the number of doses received, vaccine characteristics, and the results of any clinical trials. However, anyone who is recommended to receive the vaccine will be able to do so for free on the National Health Service.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will set up a task force to implement the recommendations made by the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review.

The Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review published its report on 8 July and all of its recommendations, including the setting up of a taskforce, will be considered carefully.

The Government will provide an update in due course.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what meetings he has had with the British Society for Immunology regarding covid-19.

We have no record of any such meetings.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
8th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to increase cancer (a) screening and (b) treatment.

The Government committed in the NHS Long Term Plan to detect 75% of cancers at stage 1 or 2, and for 55,000 more people to survive cancer for five years in England each year from 2028.

We have established a comprehensive Screening Improvement Programme that includes actions we need to take to improve our national screening programmes and save even more lives through the early detection of cancer. We are also trialling the expansion of the Breast Screening Programme, offering additional screening to 47-49 and 71-73 year old women through the AgeX trial.

We are increasing cancer treatment through investing in Cancer Alliances across England to ensure each cancer patient gets the right care for them. This includes the establishment of Rapid Diagnostic Centres - for the first time there will be a route of referral for patients with non-specific symptoms that could indicate cancer.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to increase the level of digital pathology in the NHS.

NHSX and NHS Digital have an existing workstream for digital pathology. This work was delayed in order to divert resources to support the COVID-19 pandemic, including working with pathology systems in the collection of virus and antibody test results. As we move back to focus on core activities, digital pathology work will resume. NHSX will be working with the pathology community to develop a digital pathology strategy which will cover updates to coding and messaging standards as well as the ability to view results across the National Health Service.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
5th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many and what proportion of employees of NHS Ambulance Trusts in England (a) were on sick leave, (b) were self-isolating due to covid-19 and (c) had tested positive for covid-19 in each of the last six weeks.

The Department does not hold the data requested.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
5th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the level of under-counting of deaths from covid-19 on death certificates; and if he will make a statement.

Weekly Office for National Statistics (ONS) data on deaths involving COVID-19 refer to deaths where COVID-19 or suspected COVID-19 was mentioned anywhere on the death certificate, including in combination with other health conditions. If a death certificate mentions COVID-19 it will not always be the main cause of death but may be a contributory factor.

The data quality of death certificates is dependent on the correct identification and registration of the cause, or causes, of death by medical practitioners. More information on the publication of ONS mortality rates can be found at the following link:

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/methodologies/userguidetomortalitystatisticsjuly2017#registration-of-deaths

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether financial support for the Ukrainian people is from the existing aid budget at the reduced level that was set in 2021; and if she will make a statement.

The UK has committed £394 million in aid to the current crisis in Ukraine. This includes £220 million for humanitarian assistance; £100 million for energy security and reform and £74 million direct fiscal support through the World Bank. This will come from the Official Development Assistance (ODA) budget this year and over the next three financial years. The ODA budget is currently set at 0.5% of GNI as per the Spending Review settlement announced in November 2021. The UK stands ready to provide $500 million in loan guarantees from ODA to support Multilateral Development Bank lending. The UK has also provided both ODA and non-ODA support for Ukraine through the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF).

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
24th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what diplomatic steps she took before 24 February 2022 to deter Russia from invading Ukraine.

As the Prime Minister made clear in his statement to Parliament on 25 January, we are working with Allies and partners to challenge Russia's threatening behaviour, and to make clear the severe costs to Russia of any further military incursion. The Foreign Secretary spoke to Ukrainian Foreign Minister Kuleba on 4 January, ahead of joining an extraordinary meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers on 7 January. She met the NATO Secretary General in Brussels on 24 January, and spoke to US Secretary of State Blinken on 25 January and German Foreign Minister Baerbock on 28 January. I [Minister Cleverly] attended the NATO Russia Council on 12 January, and discussed Ukraine with the US, French and German Foreign Ministers in Berlin on 20 January. Former Minister of Europe, Chris Heaton-Harris, spoke to the Deputy Foreign Ministers of Poland and Ukraine on 18 January and the Ukrainian Ambassador to London on 27 January. The Foreign Secretary has also engaged in recent weeks with other Allies, including Poland, Slovakia and Turkey.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
31st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, for what reason a decision was made to fund from the public purse her travel on a private jet to Australia on the 20 January 2022; and if she will make a statement.

Foreign travel is vital part of diplomacy. The work that ministers do overseas ultimately delivers for the British people. We have three government planes for Government business. They are used by the Prime Minister and Ministers for precisely this purpose. This is standard practice and in the national interest.

In accordance with the Ministerial Code, the FCDO publishes the costs related to all overseas Ministerial travel as part of the regular Cabinet Office Transparency Return https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/minister-data#2020.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
8th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether she plans to hold discussions with her Spanish counterparts on allowing more flexible access to Spain for UK nationals than that access allowed under the Schengen Agreement.

During negotiations with the EU, the Government discussed arrangements for British Citizens travelling to the Schengen Area. Regrettably, the EU consistently maintained that British Citizens will be treated as Third Country Nationals under the Schengen Borders Code as of 1 January 2021. This means that British Citizens are able to travel visa-free for short stays for up to 90 days in a rolling 180-day period. This is the standard length of stay that the EU offers to nationals of eligible third countries, in line with existing EU legislation. British Citizens who are planning to stay longer than 90 days in a rolling 180-day period will need permission from the relevant Member State. This may require applying for a visa and/or permit.

The UK's Trade and Cooperation Agreement with the EU notes that both the UK and EU currently provide for visa-free travel for short-term visits for each other's nationals in accordance with their respective laws. The detail of those arrangements is set by domestic law, reflecting the UK's position as a non-EU Member State. The Government does not typically enter into bilateral agreements on visa-free travel.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
1st Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the freezing of funds to the Taliban Government, what plans her Department has to ensure aid reaches people who require it in Afghanistan.

The Prime Minister has said that the Government will increase our overall assistance for Afghanistan to £286 million this financial year. On 31 October the Prime Minister announced the allocation of £50 million of that money for humanitarian purposes. The UK Government is providing life-saving humanitarian assistance through the UN and other trusted Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) on the ground, who are continuing to ensure that it reaches those who need it most. All aid that was being channelled through the Afghan Government has stopped. All UK aid is subject to strict monitoring and verification to ensure it is only used to help the vulnerable people it is intended for.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether she plans to respond individually to asylum cases from Afghanistan raised by hon. Members with her predecessor.

Responding to MPs' cases and correspondence remains a top priority for the Government and the FCDO has been working tirelessly to undertake the task. Staff from across the global FCDO network have been pulled into the crisis surge team along with colleagues from MOD and HMRC. As Minister Cleverly said in the House on 9 September, we are determined to work with the Home Office and the MOD to assess all cases which have come through to us as quickly as possible. Cases which are to be dealt with by the MoD under the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) or the Home Office under the Afghan Citizens' Resettlement Scheme will be passed on to the relevant Department. The team at the FCDO is thoroughly analysing to ensure they go to the right Department. Asylum applications will be handled by the Home Office and would not be for the FCDO to answer in detail.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment his Department has made of the level of threat from the newly formed Taliban government in Afghanistan to (a) UK nationals and (b) Afghans who worked with British forces who remain in Afghanistan.

The UK continues to monitor closely the terrorist threat from Afghanistan, including from Al Qaeda and ISKP, and has proscribed both of these organisations and their associated groups. We will work with our international partners to stop Afghanistan from again becoming a haven and inspiration for terrorism and thereby reduce the terrorist risk to the UK and the international community. The Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) programme ,for those who worked with the UK in Afghanistan, remains open. We are working to identify anyone who is still in Afghanistan and eligible for ARAP.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will make it his policy to encourage the President of Cameroon to enter inclusive peace talks mediated by an impartial third party, setting out a roadmap toward a new constitutional settlement recognising the rights and aspirations of minority populations in Cameroon; and if he will make a statement.

The UK Government remains deeply concerned about the crisis in the North-West and South-West (Anglophone) regions of Cameroon, including the disturbing reports of human rights abuses by both armed separatists and security forces. We assess that the root causes of the conflict are varied and complex. These include constitutional issues and the different legal and education systems in the Anglophone regions of Cameroon, and the need for sustained political will on all sides to resolve the crisis. These were discussed at the Grand National Dialogue in 2019 and we continue to urge progress on the issues identified, including further inclusive dialogue to address the root causes of the crisis.

We regularly raise our concerns with the Government of Cameroon. In March I travelled to Cameroon and met President Biya, Prime Minister Ngute and Foreign Minister Mbella Mbella to push for a peaceful resolution to the crisis. I also met the President of the South-West Regional Assembly, civil society, political opposition and religious leaders, to hear the experiences of the affected communities. We have shared our experiences of conflict resolution with the Government of Cameroon, and we urge all sides to remain engaged with the Swiss-led process to facilitate talks.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the predominant cause of the conflict in anglophone Cameroon; and if he will make a statement.

The UK Government remains deeply concerned about the crisis in the North-West and South-West (Anglophone) regions of Cameroon, including the disturbing reports of human rights abuses by both armed separatists and security forces. We assess that the root causes of the conflict are varied and complex. These include constitutional issues and the different legal and education systems in the Anglophone regions of Cameroon, and the need for sustained political will on all sides to resolve the crisis. These were discussed at the Grand National Dialogue in 2019 and we continue to urge progress on the issues identified, including further inclusive dialogue to address the root causes of the crisis.

We regularly raise our concerns with the Government of Cameroon. In March I travelled to Cameroon and met President Biya, Prime Minister Ngute and Foreign Minister Mbella Mbella to push for a peaceful resolution to the crisis. I also met the President of the South-West Regional Assembly, civil society, political opposition and religious leaders, to hear the experiences of the affected communities. We have shared our experiences of conflict resolution with the Government of Cameroon, and we urge all sides to remain engaged with the Swiss-led process to facilitate talks.

13th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to provide (a) vaccines, (b) oxygen, (c) ventilators and (d) other covid-related support to India.

We stand side by side with India as a friend and partner in the fight against COVID-19, and send our solidarity and condolences to the Indian people at this difficult time. The UK is committed to rapid, equitable access to safe and effective vaccines, treatments, and tests globally. As the multilateral mechanism set up to support international co-operation of COVID vaccines, COVAX is best placed to allocate any surplus vaccine the UK has, based on where it is most needed and where it will be most effective.

The UK has put together a package focusing on India's most urgent needs, including oxygen concentrators, ventilators, and oxygen generating units. The first shipment was delivered on 27 April. On 2 May, the Prime Minister announced that the UK would send a further 1,000 ventilators to support India's response, these arrived in Delhi on 9 May bringing the total package of equipment to 495 oxygen concentrators, 1,200 ventilators and three oxygen generating units.

There is also extensive scientific and medical collaboration underway. Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty and Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance have spoken to their Indian counterparts to provide advice, insight and expertise to the Indian healthcare system as it deals with the surge in Covid-19 cases. NHS England and NHS Improvement are establishing a clinic advisory group, led by Chief People Officer Prerana Issar, to support India's Covid-19 response.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that developing nations have access to a covid-19 vaccine.

The UK is committed to rapid equitable access to safe and effective vaccines, and has committed £548 million to the COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC), which is the international initiative to support global equitable access to vaccines, of which the UK is one of the largest bilateral donors. Our commitment has helped encourage other donors to commit $1 billion by the end of 2020, and will contribute to the supply of at least 1.3 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines in 2021 for up to 92 developing countries. Over 100 countries and territories have received COVAX deliveries. The Prime Minister has also said that the UK will share the majority of future vaccine doses surplus to domestic needs with COVAX.

The COVAX AMC aims to supply fully subsidised doses sufficient to vaccinate up to 20 per cent of country populations, initially prioritising healthcare workers, and then expanding to cover other priority groups. Countries will then be able to procure additional subsidised doses, subject to vaccine availability, to increase coverage further. COVAX is supporting countries to assess vaccine introduction readiness, and to develop detailed national deployment and vaccination plans, including support needed to strengthen delivery systems. Our network of health advisers in AMC countries are working to support host governments to apply to the COVAX AMC and prepare for vaccine delivery.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he plans to have further discussions with his EU counterparts on changing the rule which allows UK nationals to visit Europe without a visa for 90 days in a 180-day period to reflect the rule allowing EU nationals to visit the UK.

The Government discussed arrangements with the EU for British Citizens travelling to the Schengen Area. Regrettably, the EU consistently maintained that British Citizens will be treated as third-country nationals under the Schengen Borders Code from 1 January 2021. This means that British Citizens are able to travel visa-free for short stays for up to 90 days in a rolling 180-day period. This is the standard length of stay that EU offers to nationals of eligible third countries that offer visa-free travel for EU citizens, in line with existing EU legislation.

British Citizens planning to stay longer will need permission from the relevant Member State(s). This may require applying for a visa and/or permit. Information about travel to Europe is available on GOV.UK: https://www.gov.uk/visit-europe-1-january-2021

The UK's Trade and Cooperation Agreement with the EU confirms that both the UK and EU currently provide for visa-free travel for short-term visits for each other's nationals in accordance with their respective laws. The detail of those arrangements is set by domestic law. The Government does not typically enter into bilateral agreements on visa-free travel. The UK keeps its visa system under regular review, and the new points-based immigration system has been developed in the national interest. The Government also keeps arrangements and advice for British Citizens travelling abroad under regular review.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
24th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with his Indian counterpart on the effect of the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 and Essential Commodities (Amendment) Ordinance ,2020, on the prices farmers will now receive for their produce.

The British High Commission in New Delhi monitors political, social and economic developments in India, including agricultural reform and works closely with the Union and State Governments, and Non-Governmental Organisations, to build capacity and share expertise to promote prosperity for all in India. We support marginalised farmers through technical assistance programmes which strengthen the quality and productivity of local natural resource infrastructure, and by building state and local government capabilities to deliver improved social protection.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the potential impact and merits of introducing windfall tax on gas and oil producers.

The UK Government places additional taxes on the extraction of oil and gas, with companies engaged in the production of oil and gas on the UK Continental Shelf subject to headline tax rates on their profits that are currently more than double those paid by other businesses. To date, the sector has paid more than £375 billion in production taxes.

All taxes are kept under review and any changes are considered and announced by the Chancellor.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how much tax revenue his Department received from Amazon in the financial year 2020-21.

The administration of the tax system is a matter for HMRC. It would not be appropriate for Treasury Ministers to become involved in the administration of the tax system in specific cases.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment his Department has made of the proportion of the fuel duty cut that has been passed on to motorists.

The Government is clear that it expects those in the supply chain to pass the fuel duty cut through to consumers as soon as possible, and has written to key industry stakeholders to set out this expectation.

The Government will continue to monitor fuel prices closely.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Mar 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make it his policy to regularly (a) monitor and (b) publish data on the impact of inflation on disabled people.

The independent Office for National Statistics (ONS) is responsible for the calculation and publication of inflation statistics. While the ONS does not publish inflation rates faced by disabled people, in January 2022 the ONS resumed its publishing of CPI-consistent inflation estimates for UK by household groups.

The ONS does consider UK households’ experience of changing prices and costs through its Household Costs Indices (HCIs). The ONS published the HCIs in 2020, which included a breakdown in household costs for disabled households between 2015 and 2019. The next update is scheduled to be published in May 2022.

The Government understands the pressures people, in particular vulnerable groups are facing with the cost of living as a result of high inflation. Including the measures announced in the Spring Statement, the Government is providing support to families worth over £22 billion in 2022-23. The Government is continuing to monitor cost of living pressures and carefully considers the equalities impact of policy on those with protected characteristics, in line with both its strong commitment to promoting fairness and its legal obligations under the Public Sector Equality Duty in the Equality Act 2010.

Simon Clarke
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
17th Mar 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether his Department has made a comparative assessment of the impact of inflation on (a) disabled and (b) able-bodied people; and if he will make a statement.

The government understands the pressures people, in particular vulnerable groups are facing with the cost of living as a result of high inflation. These are global challenges, but the government is providing support worth over £20 billion across this financial year and next that will help families with the cost of living. This includes £500m of funding available through the Household Support Fund to help those most in need with the cost of essentials such as food, clothing and utilities.

Living with a long-term illness or disability can impact on the cost of living. This is why the government invests heavily in supporting disabled people both in and out of work through the welfare system. The government will spend over £58 billion in 2021-22 on benefits for disabled people and people with health conditions – this is around 2.6% of GDP. This includes Personal Independence Payment (PIP), which is a universal and non-means-tested benefit to help individuals with the extra costs of living with a disability, regardless of their income. Those who have a disability or health condition and receive PIP can also get additional support through premiums or additional amounts within Universal Credit (UC) or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

The government is continuing to monitor cost of living pressures and carefully considers the equalities impact of policy on those with protected characteristics, in line with both its strong commitment to promoting fairness and its legal obligations under the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) in the Equality Act 2010.

Simon Clarke
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether it is his policy that the Energy Bills Rebate will be repaid by people who did not receive the rebate; and if he will make a statement.

International wholesale prices have meant that households will face significant increases in energy bills next year. This £200 reduction will make it more manageable for people's household budgets whilst supporting as many people as we can.

There will be cases where changes in people’s personal circumstances at the time mean they may not directly be the recipient of the reduction, but still see increases in future bills. The government will look at these issues further through a public consultation run by the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) in the spring, but to spread the cost of the reduction as widely as possible, all domestic energy consumers are expected to contribute to future repayments.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
4th Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that the council tax rebate, announced on 3 February, will be received by tenants whose council tax is paid in the name of their landlord; and if he will make a statement.

The Council Tax Energy Rebate will be paid to whoever is responsible for paying the Council Tax bill. It is for tenants and landlords to agree how the rebate is apportioned between them, reflecting their arrangements for both energy bills and council tax. In cases where landlords include just council tax within the rents they charge, and energy bills are paid separately by tenants, the savings from the Council Tax rebate should be passed on to tenants.

Simon Clarke
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
4th Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he has made an estimate of the potential amount of the Energy Bills Rebate announced on 3 February 2022 that will be written off within a five-year period.

The aim of the policy is to reduce energy bills for households in Great Britain in 22/23. The Government intends to recoup the costs of the discount in full, from domestic energy customers automatically (interest-free) over the next five years. This approach is fiscally responsible while also helping customers manage the unprecedented increase in energy bills by spreading the increased costs of global prices over time.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) will work closely with industry and consumer groups on how best to deliver this policy, including through a public consultation in the Spring.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
4th Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether his Department has received an extra £350 million per week as a result of savings made from the UK leaving the EU.

In October, the government published the Autumn Budget and Spending Review 2021 (SR21). SR21 sets departmental budgets and devolved administrations block grants from 2022-23 until 2024-25.

As a result of SR21, the NHS England day-to-day budget will grow to £162.6 billion in 2024-25, ensuring it can tackle the elective backlog, deliver the Long Term Plan and has the resources to fight COVID-19.

SR21 also goes further to transform and improve healthcare outcomes for people, providing £11.2 billion for health capital in 2024-25. This will drive a step-change in quality and efficiency of care through increased diagnostic capacity and support for the innovative use of digital technology.

Simon Clarke
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
3rd Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the open letter to the Chancellor from Partners in Progress, published 25 October 2021, if he will introduce a wealth tax on wealth holders.

The Government is committed to a fair tax system in which those with the most contribute the most. For example, the UK’s progressive Income Tax system means the top 1 per cent of income taxpayers are projected to pay 28 per cent of all Income Tax, and the top 5 per cent are projected to pay 49 per cent in 2021-22.

The UK does not have a wealth tax, but it does have several different taxes on assets and wealth. The UK taxes assets and wealth across many different transactions, including the acquisition, holding, transfer and the disposal of assets, as well as taxing the income derived from holding assets.

In 2020, The Wealth Tax Commission, which has no connection or link to the Government, found that if considering Inheritance Tax, Capital Gains Tax, Stamp Duty, and Stamp Duty Land Tax, the UK is among the top of the G7 countries for wealth taxes as a percentage of total wealth.

The Wealth Tax Commission also concluded that an annual wealth tax, reportedly suggested by the UK branch of the group behind the letter, would not be effective because of high administrative costs relative to revenue, and because it would be easy to avoid paying the tax. The Wealth Tax Commission’s suggestion of a potential one-off wealth tax in the UK would be a complex undertaking, and the amount of revenue raised would be highly dependent on the final design of the tax.

It is also the case that any individual or private business wishing to make a greater contribution to the Exchequer can make voluntary payments to HMRC. More information about how to do so is available on GOV.UK.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
25th Jan 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how much public money intended to support businesses affected by covid-19 restrictions has been lost to fraud.

The Government has provided around £400 billion of direct support for the economy since the start of the pandemic, which has helped to safeguard jobs, businesses, and public services in every region and nation of the UK.

This package has included a wide range of different COVID-19 support schemes for businesses, delivered by a variety of Government departments, either directly, via their arms-length bodies, or via local authorities.

Departments are required to disclose details of material fraud, evasion, and error within their annual report and accounts, which can be found on GOV.UK.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make it his policy to increase resources to HMRC's Taxpayer Protection Taskforce to recover more of the monies in covid-19 support claimed in fraud and error.

The Covid-19 support schemes were designed to prevent as much error and fraud as possible before any payments were made, while still quickly supporting those who needed it. Robust measures were put in place to control error and fraud in the key Covid support schemes. The controls put in place delivered results.

A significant amount of funding has already been invested in HMRC to ensure a level playing field for legitimate businesses, and to protect taxpayers from fraudulent use of these schemes. This compliance activity saw HMRC recover £536 million of overclaimed grants in the year 2020-21.

To bolster HMRC’s compliance work, the Government has also invested over £100 million in a Taxpayer Protection Taskforce of 1,265 HMRC staff to combat fraud on the HMRC Covid-19 schemes, one of the largest and quickest responses to a fraud risk by HMRC. The taskforce is expected to recover £800 million to £1 billion from fraudulent or incorrect payments over the next two years.

The Government takes error and fraud relating to Covid-19 support schemes extremely seriously. However, it is not possible to eliminate it completely, and this applies to Government schemes all over the world. The Government has been clear from the beginning that the Covid schemes would carry a certain level of error and fraud risk.

HMRC’s compliance efforts are focusing on those who have deliberately sought to cheat the system, rather than spending public money to penalise those who have tried their best to do the right thing. Where claimants will have made genuine mistakes, HMRC will help them put things right.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
9th Dec 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what financial support his Department plans to provide to (a) businesses and (b) the self-employed in the event that they experience financial challenges as a result of covid-19 restrictions announced on 8 December 2021.

The Government continues to provide considerable support to the economy as it has done throughout the pandemic, with around £400bn of direct support during this fiscal year and last. As he has done throughout the pandemic, the Chancellor is closely monitoring the impact of the virus on the economy.

As part of this package of support, businesses of all sizes, including the self-employed, will continue to receive considerable support into the spring of next year. Small and medium-sized businesses can access Government-guaranteed finance through the extended Recovery Loans scheme until next June. Businesses will be protected from eviction if they are behind on rent on their premises, thanks to the moratorium in place until March 2022. Where applicable, businesses can continue to apply for the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) scheme through their local authority, which is open until March 2022.

For the sectors who were hardest hit by previous restrictions and may need additional support, there is further support in place. Business rates relief for eligible retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England is available until March 2022, and hospitality and tourism businesses will continue to benefit from a VAT reduction – paying only 12.5% until March 2022. The arts and culture sector can still access support from the £2 billion Culture Recovery Fund and Sports Recovery Package, and the Film and TV Production Restart Scheme in place until 30 April 2022. While the £800m Live Events Reinsurance Scheme is giving events across the country the confidence needed for organisers to plan for the future.

The Government is continuing to support small businesses through the VAT threshold, currently higher than any EU member state, which keeps over 3million of the smallest businesses out of VAT altogether. For those self-employed individuals on low incomes whose earnings continue to be affected by Covid-19 restrictions, work coaches will continue to be able to suspend the Universal Credit Minimum Income Floor on an individual basis for up to six months per claimant. Businesses can also access free and impartial advice through the Growth Hub and the Business Support Helpline.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
25th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on ensuring Government spending helps to improve the nation's health.

Treasury ministers, including the Chancellor of the Exchequer, are in regular contact with ministers in the Department for Health and Social Care on a wide range of issues.

Simon Clarke
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment his Department made of the comparative potential merits of (a) introducing the Health and Social Care Levy and (b) maintaining or increasing other taxes such as the corporation tax surcharge, for the purposes of raising funds for future social care spending.

Only a broad-based tax base like Income Tax, VAT or National Insurance contributions (NICs) could raise the sums needed for such a significant investment. A levy charged on the NICs base is the fairest way to raise the funds needed to support health and social care.

The highest earning 15 per cent will pay over half the revenues, and 6.1 million people earning less than £9,880 per annum will be kept out of paying the Levy altogether.

In addition, using NICs as the base ensures businesses will also pay the Levy. Businesses benefit from having a healthy workforce, so it is only fair that they contribute.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
3rd Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will publish the conditions of the mandate to become net-zero that he plans to impose on UK companies and financial services.

The Government has set legally binding net zero targets under the Climate Change Act and has committed to making the UK the best place in the world for green finance.

The recently published report: ‘Greening Finance: A Roadmap to Sustainable Investing’ sets out how the Government will achieve this, focusing on the first step: ensuring that every financial decision maker has the information needed to take climate and the environment into account with new world-leading Sustainability Disclosure Requirements.

Detailed, credible transition plans that are integrated with other disclosures and incorporate interim milestones and targets, can support markets in monitoring progress towards a net-zero economy. They are also essential for the effective exercise of market discipline, and investors’ ability to hold investee company boards and management to account.

The government therefore expects to see the publication of transition plans become the norm across the economy and the Chancellor announced at COP26 that the UK will move towards making publication of transition plans mandatory.

To help deliver this, the Government will set up a high-level Transition Planning Taskforce. This will bring together a range of stakeholders to develop a ‘gold standard’ for transition plans, coordinating with international efforts under the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero and others, and reporting by the end of 2022.

As standards for transition plans emerge, the Government and regulators will take steps to incorporate these into the UK’s Sustainability Disclosure Requirements and strengthen regulation to encourage consistency in published plans and increased adoption by 2023.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of the amount that HMRC lost in duties on vaping products as a result of smuggling in each of the last three years.

Vaping products, such as e-cigs, are currently taxed as a consumer product with the VAT rate being 20%. There is no excise duty on vaping products.

HMRC does not hold information on VAT revenue from vaping products because businesses are not required to provide figures at a product level on their VAT returns, as this would impose an excessive administrative burden.

HMRC estimates tax gaps, which encompass taxes and duties lost as a result of smuggling. The Department publishes estimates of the VAT gap using a ‘top down’ estimation approach which would capture any smuggling of vaping. However, our method does not allow us to identify individual items separately within the total VAT gap.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how much HMRC raised in duties on vaping products in each of the last three years.

Vaping products, such as e-cigs, are currently taxed as a consumer product with the VAT rate being 20%. There is no excise duty on vaping products.

HMRC does not hold information on VAT revenue from vaping products because businesses are not required to provide figures at a product level on their VAT returns, as this would impose an excessive administrative burden.

HMRC estimates tax gaps, which encompass taxes and duties lost as a result of smuggling. The Department publishes estimates of the VAT gap using a ‘top down’ estimation approach which would capture any smuggling of vaping. However, our method does not allow us to identify individual items separately within the total VAT gap.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of the number of people on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme who (a) will retain their job role and (b) may be made redundant after the closure of that scheme.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme was set up to support employers to retain their employees through the COVID-19 pandemic. To date, the scheme has succeeded in supporting 11.7 million jobs across the UK with employer claims totalling £69.3 billion, aiding businesses and protecting livelihoods. After running continuously for nineteen months, the scheme closed on 30 September 2021.

As set out in the Plan for Jobs Progress Update, published on 13 September 2021, the economy and labour market are now in a stronger position than they were last autumn. The latest data show that the Government’s Plan for Jobs is working across all parts of the UK, with just 1.3 million people on furlough on 31 August 2021, and online job vacancy levels 35 per cent above February 2020 levels. At the start of the crisis, it was feared that unemployment would reach twelve per cent, or even higher. The figure is now less than half of that, meaning almost two million fewer people are out of work than had been feared, while the headline unemployment rate of 4.6 per cent has now fallen for seven consecutive months. The ONS has also found that of all workers who had ever been furloughed, more than nine in ten were still in work in the three months to June 2021. This is a similar proportion as for workers who had never been furloughed, meaning that there was no statistically significant difference in employment rates between those furloughed and those who had never been furloughed.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will give HMRC the resources to discover and tax undeclared private landlords rather than rely on a voluntary scheme of disclosure.

The Government is committed to reducing non-compliance in the tax system among all taxpayers, including landlords, and continues to give HMRC the resources they need to tackle the tax gap.

Since 2013-14, HMRC’s Let Property Campaign has prompted approximately 58,000 additional disclosures and raised an estimated £254 million in additional compliance yield for the Exchequer.

HMRC do not rely on voluntary disclosure from landlords and use a range of data and approaches to identify landlords with undeclared rental income. Where landlords do not come forward to declare their rental income, after being prompted, HMRC take further steps including opening formal compliance interventions where necessary.

16th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will take steps to reconsider the exclusion of nuclear energy from the Green Financing Framework in respect of the International Capital Markets Association Green Bonds Principles which include nuclear energy.

The government recognises that reaching net zero emissions by 2050 will require power to be generated from low carbon sources. The UK Government Green Financing Framework explicitly states that nuclear power is, and will continue to be, a key part of the UK’s low-carbon energy mix.

Nuclear energy is excluded from the UK Government Green Financing Framework, which is in line with current international market standards for sovereign green bonds. The Green Bond Principles published by the International Capital Market Association do not address the question of nuclear energy. All other major sovereigns have explicitly excluded nuclear energy in their green bond frameworks.

Only two sovereigns (The Netherlands and Nigeria) have so far certified their green bonds with the Climate Bonds Initiative Taxonomy – neither of whom included nuclear energy in their frameworks.

The Barclays report on nuclear energy aligns with what is stated in the UK Government Green Financing Framework: that nuclear power will play an important role in achieving net zero. The framework however does not stipulate what the Government considers to be green and what is not – this will be the role of the UK Taxonomy. Recognising however that many sustainable investors currently have exclusionary criteria in place around nuclear energy, the UK Government will not finance any nuclear energy-related expenditures under the Green Financing framework.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
16th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with respect to the Green Financing Framework, what assessment he has made of the potential implications for his policy of the Climate Bonds Initiative’s inclusion of nuclear energy in its Climate Bonds Taxonomy.

The government recognises that reaching net zero emissions by 2050 will require power to be generated from low carbon sources. The UK Government Green Financing Framework explicitly states that nuclear power is, and will continue to be, a key part of the UK’s low-carbon energy mix.

Nuclear energy is excluded from the UK Government Green Financing Framework, which is in line with current international market standards for sovereign green bonds. The Green Bond Principles published by the International Capital Market Association do not address the question of nuclear energy. All other major sovereigns have explicitly excluded nuclear energy in their green bond frameworks.

Only two sovereigns (The Netherlands and Nigeria) have so far certified their green bonds with the Climate Bonds Initiative Taxonomy – neither of whom included nuclear energy in their frameworks.

The Barclays report on nuclear energy aligns with what is stated in the UK Government Green Financing Framework: that nuclear power will play an important role in achieving net zero. The framework however does not stipulate what the Government considers to be green and what is not – this will be the role of the UK Taxonomy. Recognising however that many sustainable investors currently have exclusionary criteria in place around nuclear energy, the UK Government will not finance any nuclear energy-related expenditures under the Green Financing framework.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
16th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the Green Financing Framework, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the conclusion in the report by Barclays, entitled Nuclear for a decarbonized future, that nuclear is net zero.

The government recognises that reaching net zero emissions by 2050 will require power to be generated from low carbon sources. The UK Government Green Financing Framework explicitly states that nuclear power is, and will continue to be, a key part of the UK’s low-carbon energy mix.

Nuclear energy is excluded from the UK Government Green Financing Framework, which is in line with current international market standards for sovereign green bonds. The Green Bond Principles published by the International Capital Market Association do not address the question of nuclear energy. All other major sovereigns have explicitly excluded nuclear energy in their green bond frameworks.

Only two sovereigns (The Netherlands and Nigeria) have so far certified their green bonds with the Climate Bonds Initiative Taxonomy – neither of whom included nuclear energy in their frameworks.

The Barclays report on nuclear energy aligns with what is stated in the UK Government Green Financing Framework: that nuclear power will play an important role in achieving net zero. The framework however does not stipulate what the Government considers to be green and what is not – this will be the role of the UK Taxonomy. Recognising however that many sustainable investors currently have exclusionary criteria in place around nuclear energy, the UK Government will not finance any nuclear energy-related expenditures under the Green Financing framework.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
16th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the implications of the Barclays report, Nuclear for a decarbonized future, published on 2 June 2021 for the Green Financing Framework.

The government recognises that reaching net zero emissions by 2050 will require power to be generated from low carbon sources. The UK Government Green Financing Framework explicitly states that nuclear power is, and will continue to be, a key part of the UK’s low-carbon energy mix.

Nuclear energy is excluded from the UK Government Green Financing Framework, which is in line with current international market standards for sovereign green bonds. The Green Bond Principles published by the International Capital Market Association do not address the question of nuclear energy. All other major sovereigns have explicitly excluded nuclear energy in their green bond frameworks.

Only two sovereigns (The Netherlands and Nigeria) have so far certified their green bonds with the Climate Bonds Initiative Taxonomy – neither of whom included nuclear energy in their frameworks.

The Barclays report on nuclear energy aligns with what is stated in the UK Government Green Financing Framework: that nuclear power will play an important role in achieving net zero. The framework however does not stipulate what the Government considers to be green and what is not – this will be the role of the UK Taxonomy. Recognising however that many sustainable investors currently have exclusionary criteria in place around nuclear energy, the UK Government will not finance any nuclear energy-related expenditures under the Green Financing framework.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
16th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will publish the advice he received on the exclusion of nuclear energy from the Green Financing Framework.

The government recognises that reaching net zero emissions by 2050 will require power to be generated from low carbon sources. The UK Government Green Financing Framework explicitly states that nuclear power is, and will continue to be, a key part of the UK’s low-carbon energy mix.

Nuclear energy is excluded from the UK Government Green Financing Framework, which is in line with current international market standards for sovereign green bonds. The Green Bond Principles published by the International Capital Market Association do not address the question of nuclear energy. All other major sovereigns have explicitly excluded nuclear energy in their green bond frameworks.

Only two sovereigns (The Netherlands and Nigeria) have so far certified their green bonds with the Climate Bonds Initiative Taxonomy – neither of whom included nuclear energy in their frameworks.

The Barclays report on nuclear energy aligns with what is stated in the UK Government Green Financing Framework: that nuclear power will play an important role in achieving net zero. The framework however does not stipulate what the Government considers to be green and what is not – this will be the role of the UK Taxonomy. Recognising however that many sustainable investors currently have exclusionary criteria in place around nuclear energy, the UK Government will not finance any nuclear energy-related expenditures under the Green Financing framework.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the National Infrastructure Strategy, page 52, stating that the Government will continue to consider the potential role of government finance during construction, if he will make an assessment of the compatibility of that statement with the decision not to include nuclear energy in the Government's Green Financing Framework.

The government recognises that reaching net zero emissions by 2050 will require power to be generated from low carbon sources. As set out in the Government’s Energy White Paper last autumn, nuclear power will play an important role in achieving net zero. EDF’s Hinkley Point C project will be the first nuclear plant in a generation and power up to six million homes once operational.

Some energy sources have been excluded from the UK Government Green Financing Framework, including nuclear energy. This is in line with current international market standards for sovereign green bonds, it does not represent an assessment of what the Government considers ‘green’ or affect an expenditure’s eligibility for traditional financing instruments. We will review the framework on a regular basis with the aim of adhering to best practices in the market.

The Government is developing a UK green taxonomy, which will create a shared understanding of which economic activities count as environmentally sustainable and will establish an Energy Working Group to provide expert advice on the treatment of energy in the taxonomy, including nuclear power.

The Government expects therefore that the energy market and the attainment of net zero in the UK and globally will be unaffected by any exclusions set out in the Green Financing Framework.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the Government's Green Financing Framework, what assessment he has made of nuclear energy's lifecycle carbon footprint compared to those of (a) wind, (b) solar and (c) gas with carbon capture and storage.

The government recognises that reaching net zero emissions by 2050 will require power to be generated from low carbon sources. As set out in the Government’s Energy White Paper last autumn, nuclear power will play an important role in achieving net zero. EDF’s Hinkley Point C project will be the first nuclear plant in a generation and power up to six million homes once operational.

Some energy sources have been excluded from the UK Government Green Financing Framework, including nuclear energy. This is in line with current international market standards for sovereign green bonds, it does not represent an assessment of what the Government considers ‘green’ or affect an expenditure’s eligibility for traditional financing instruments. We will review the framework on a regular basis with the aim of adhering to best practices in the market.

The Government is developing a UK green taxonomy, which will create a shared understanding of which economic activities count as environmentally sustainable and will establish an Energy Working Group to provide expert advice on the treatment of energy in the taxonomy, including nuclear power.

The Government expects therefore that the energy market and the attainment of net zero in the UK and globally will be unaffected by any exclusions set out in the Green Financing Framework.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential effect on the energy market of excluding large-scale firm low carbon energy sources from the Government's Green Financing Framework.

The government recognises that reaching net zero emissions by 2050 will require power to be generated from low carbon sources. As set out in the Government’s Energy White Paper last autumn, nuclear power will play an important role in achieving net zero. EDF’s Hinkley Point C project will be the first nuclear plant in a generation and power up to six million homes once operational.

Some energy sources have been excluded from the UK Government Green Financing Framework, including nuclear energy. This is in line with current international market standards for sovereign green bonds, it does not represent an assessment of what the Government considers ‘green’ or affect an expenditure’s eligibility for traditional financing instruments. We will review the framework on a regular basis with the aim of adhering to best practices in the market.

The Government is developing a UK green taxonomy, which will create a shared understanding of which economic activities count as environmentally sustainable and will establish an Energy Working Group to provide expert advice on the treatment of energy in the taxonomy, including nuclear power.

The Government expects therefore that the energy market and the attainment of net zero in the UK and globally will be unaffected by any exclusions set out in the Green Financing Framework.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of classifying nuclear energy as sustainable for investment purposes.

The government recognises that reaching net zero emissions by 2050 will require power to be generated from low carbon sources. As set out in the Government’s Energy White Paper last autumn, nuclear power will play an important role in achieving net zero. EDF’s Hinkley Point C project will be the first nuclear plant in a generation and power up to six million homes once operational.

Some energy sources have been excluded from the UK Government Green Financing Framework, including nuclear energy. This is in line with current international market standards for sovereign green bonds, it does not represent an assessment of what the Government considers ‘green’ or affect an expenditure’s eligibility for traditional financing instruments. We will review the framework on a regular basis with the aim of adhering to best practices in the market.

The Government is developing a UK green taxonomy, which will create a shared understanding of which economic activities count as environmentally sustainable and will establish an Energy Working Group to provide expert advice on the treatment of energy in the taxonomy, including nuclear power.

The Government expects therefore that the energy market and the attainment of net zero in the UK and globally will be unaffected by any exclusions set out in the Green Financing Framework.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, for what reason nuclear energy is not included in the Government's Green Financing Framework; and if he will make a statement.

The government recognises that reaching net zero emissions by 2050 will require power to be generated from low carbon sources. As set out in the Government’s Energy White Paper last autumn, nuclear power will play an important role in achieving net zero. EDF’s Hinkley Point C project will be the first nuclear plant in a generation and power up to six million homes once operational.

Some energy sources have been excluded from the UK Government Green Financing Framework, including nuclear energy. This is in line with current international market standards for sovereign green bonds, it does not represent an assessment of what the Government considers ‘green’ or affect an expenditure’s eligibility for traditional financing instruments. We will review the framework on a regular basis with the aim of adhering to best practices in the market.

The Government is developing a UK green taxonomy, which will create a shared understanding of which economic activities count as environmentally sustainable and will establish an Energy Working Group to provide expert advice on the treatment of energy in the taxonomy, including nuclear power.

The Government expects therefore that the energy market and the attainment of net zero in the UK and globally will be unaffected by any exclusions set out in the Green Financing Framework.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to his Green Financing Framework, what assessment he has made of whether net zero is achievable without large scale firm power sources.

The government recognises that reaching net zero emissions by 2050 will require power to be generated from low carbon sources. As set out in the Government’s Energy White Paper last autumn, nuclear power will play an important role in achieving net zero. EDF’s Hinkley Point C project will be the first nuclear plant in a generation and power up to six million homes once operational.

Some energy sources have been excluded from the UK Government Green Financing Framework, including nuclear energy. This is in line with current international market standards for sovereign green bonds, it does not represent an assessment of what the Government considers ‘green’ or affect an expenditure’s eligibility for traditional financing instruments. We will review the framework on a regular basis with the aim of adhering to best practices in the market.

The Government is developing a UK green taxonomy, which will create a shared understanding of which economic activities count as environmentally sustainable and will establish an Energy Working Group to provide expert advice on the treatment of energy in the taxonomy, including nuclear power.

The Government expects therefore that the energy market and the attainment of net zero in the UK and globally will be unaffected by any exclusions set out in the Green Financing Framework.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential effect on the attainment of net zero (a) in the UK and (b) globally of the exclusion of firm low-carbon power from the Government's Green Financing Framework.

The government recognises that reaching net zero emissions by 2050 will require power to be generated from low carbon sources. As set out in the Government’s Energy White Paper last autumn, nuclear power will play an important role in achieving net zero. EDF’s Hinkley Point C project will be the first nuclear plant in a generation and power up to six million homes once operational.

Some energy sources have been excluded from the UK Government Green Financing Framework, including nuclear energy. This is in line with current international market standards for sovereign green bonds, it does not represent an assessment of what the Government considers ‘green’ or affect an expenditure’s eligibility for traditional financing instruments. We will review the framework on a regular basis with the aim of adhering to best practices in the market.

The Government is developing a UK green taxonomy, which will create a shared understanding of which economic activities count as environmentally sustainable and will establish an Energy Working Group to provide expert advice on the treatment of energy in the taxonomy, including nuclear power.

The Government expects therefore that the energy market and the attainment of net zero in the UK and globally will be unaffected by any exclusions set out in the Green Financing Framework.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, for what reason VAT is payable on PCR tests; and if he will make a statement.

VAT is a broad-based tax on consumption and the standard rate of 20 per cent normally applies to most goods and services, including PCR tests. Medical testing, where it is administered by registered health professionals, is exempt from VAT. The Government also continues to offer free COVID-19 testing for those with COVID-19 symptoms.

Testing individuals after they arrive in the UK is an important tool to help the Government protect the public from the risk posed by imported cases of COVID-19 and to identify variants of concern. The Government recognises that the cost of PCR tests can be high, which is why it is working with the travel industry and private testing providers to see how costs can be reduced while ensuring that travel remains as safe as possible.

9th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, for what reason he agreed to a global corporation tax rate of 15 per cent rather than 21 per cent as first proposed.

The Government is delighted that the G7 has come together to back the proposals developed by the OECD to reform the international tax framework.

Reaching final agreement on a two-pillar solution, which reallocates taxing rights and introduces a global minimum tax, would be a major multilateral achievement that introduces stability into the international tax landscape.

The Government recognises that there is more to do to reach final agreement with the G20 and 139 members of the OECD Inclusive Framework. Compromise will be necessary to reach that final agreement, including on the level of the global minimum tax rate; a key issue which will need to take into account the position of the wide array of views across the members of the Inclusive Framework. With that consideration in mind a common G7 position has been agreed that could represent a consensus position for the G20 and Inclusive Framework.

4th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he has plans to protect (a) long-term retail and (b) amateur investors in crypto-currencies; and what steps his Department plans to take in the event of significant or long-term falls in market values of the different types of (i) current and (ii) future cryptocurrencies.

The Government established a Cryptoassets Taskforce in 2018, consisting of HM Treasury, the Bank of England, and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The Taskforce’s objectives include exploring the risks and opportunities of cryptoassets, the potential benefits and challenges of Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) in financial services; as well as assessing what, if any, regulation is required in response.

HM Treasury and UK authorities have taken a series of actions to mitigate risks to retail investors, stability, and market integrity, as well as preventing the use of cryptoassets in illicit activity.

Last year, the Government issued a consultation on a proposal to bring certain cryptoassets, including Bitcoin, into the scope of financial promotions regulation. This would ensure that relevant cryptoasset promotions are held to the same high standards for fairness, clarity, and accuracy that pertain in the financial services industry. The Government will be publishing its response in due course.

To further protect consumers, the FCA has banned the sale of cryptoasset derivatives to retail consumers, and recently issued a warning stating that consumers who invest in cryptoassets should be prepared to lose their money. Alongside this, the Government launched a new anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing regime for cryptoassets in 2020.

The Government launched a consultation on its regulatory approach to cryptoassets and stablecoins on 7 January. This set out the Government’s position that new innovations in the sector could deliver substantial benefits, but also present new challenges and risks. This consultation has now closed.

The Government is processing responses and will outline next steps in due course. Any steps taken in light of this consultation will aim to balance the potential risk to consumers with the ambition to foster competition and innovation in the sector.

The Government continues to actively monitor emerging risks as this market continues to mature and stands ready to take further regulatory action if required.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
27th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when and for what reasons the decision was taken to include nuclear decommissioning workers working on the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority estate within the scope of the public sector pay pause.

As set out by the Chancellor at the 2020 Spending Review, it is right that public sector pay reflects the economic context. The private sector has been significantly impacted by the Coronavirus in the form of supressed earnings growth and increased redundancies. In order to ensure parity and fairness it is right to temporarily pause pay awards in the public sector as we assess the impact Coronavirus has had on the wider economy and labour market.

There are set exemptions for those working in the NHS and individuals earning less than median earnings of £24,000. For fairness and consistency, the pause applies to all public sector employers save for the exemptions outlined. This includes the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and the relevant subsidiaries that are classified as public sector by the Office for National Statistics.

The only circumstances when employers should consider departing from the pay pause is when they are able to secure negotiated workforce reforms that are contingent on offering a higher pay award and deliver sustainable and cashable savings for the organisation.

Whilst there is an inherent public interest in transparency and accountability of public authorities like the Treasury, it is important that Ministers are able to discuss issues frankly and openly without fear of release. If Ministerial discussion is inhibited by the prospect of release, the quality of debate is likely to be restricted, which would not be in the public interest.

Steve Barclay
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
27th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will publish a copy of the letter sent by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, dated 12 February 2021 on the scope and extent of the public sector pay pause.

As set out by the Chancellor at the 2020 Spending Review, it is right that public sector pay reflects the economic context. The private sector has been significantly impacted by the Coronavirus in the form of supressed earnings growth and increased redundancies. In order to ensure parity and fairness it is right to temporarily pause pay awards in the public sector as we assess the impact Coronavirus has had on the wider economy and labour market.

There are set exemptions for those working in the NHS and individuals earning less than median earnings of £24,000. For fairness and consistency, the pause applies to all public sector employers save for the exemptions outlined. This includes the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and the relevant subsidiaries that are classified as public sector by the Office for National Statistics.

The only circumstances when employers should consider departing from the pay pause is when they are able to secure negotiated workforce reforms that are contingent on offering a higher pay award and deliver sustainable and cashable savings for the organisation.

Whilst there is an inherent public interest in transparency and accountability of public authorities like the Treasury, it is important that Ministers are able to discuss issues frankly and openly without fear of release. If Ministerial discussion is inhibited by the prospect of release, the quality of debate is likely to be restricted, which would not be in the public interest.

Steve Barclay
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
24th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to President Biden's proposed fiscal policies, if he will support a global corporation tax plan.

OECD proposals to update the international tax framework have been under negotiation for a number of years and the UK has been at the forefront of these talks.

A global minimum tax (Pillar 2) is an important part of the package being developed by the OECD.

The Government supports agreement on a global minimum tax. It is also crucial that this is agreed alongside changes to profit allocation rules (Pillar 1). Pillar 1 is needed to ensure that large digital businesses pay more tax in the UK, commensurate with their economic activities.

The final agreement is still subject to international negotiation and it would not be appropriate for the Government to provide a detailed commentary on its approach to these discussions.

19th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what progress has been made on the Government’s consultation on cryptocurrencies; and what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the scope of that consultation.

On 7 January HM Treasury published a consultation on the broader regulatory treatment of cryptoassets, with a focus on cryptoassets known as stablecoins. It also included a call for evidence on the use of Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) in financial markets. This consultation has now closed. The Government is reviewing responses and will outline next steps in due course.

The Government’s near-term priority is to ensure the framework supports the safe use of stablecoins. The Government continues to actively monitor emerging risks as this market continues to mature and stands ready to take further regulatory action if required.

The Government also issued a consultation last year on a proposal to bring certain cryptoassets into the scope of financial promotions regulation. This would ensure that relevant cryptoasset promotions are held to the same high standards for fairness, clarity and accuracy that apply to the financial services industry. The consultation is now closed, and the Government will be publishing its response in due course.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
26th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make it his policy to lift the public sector pay freeze.

In order to protect jobs and ensure fairness, we confirmed at the Spending Review (2020) that there will be a temporary pause to headline pay rises for the majority of public sector workforces in 2021-22.

It is right to temporarily pause pay awards for public sector workers earning £24,000 and above on a full-time equivalent basis, while we assess the impact Coronavirus has on the wider economy and labour market.

For all workforces where such arrangements exist, performance pay, overtime, pay progression and pay rises from promotion will continue. This means that the majority of public sector workers will see an increase in their pay in 2021/22.

Given the unique impact of Covid-19 on the health service, and despite the challenging economic context, the government will continue to provide for pay rises for over 1 million NHS workers.

The Government will also prioritise the lowest paid, with 2.1 million public sector workers earning less than £24,000 receiving a minimum £250 increase.

The Government will reassess public sector pay policy ahead of the 2022/23 Annual Pay Round when the impact of Covid-19 on the wider labour market will be clearer.

Steve Barclay
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster