Chloe Smith Portrait

Chloe Smith

Conservative - Norwich North

First elected: 23rd July 2009


Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
28th Apr 2023 - 20th Jul 2023
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
6th Sep 2022 - 25th Oct 2022
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Sep 2021 - 6th Sep 2022
British Sign Language Bill
9th Feb 2022 - 23rd Feb 2022
Elections Bill
15th Sep 2021 - 21st Sep 2021
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
13th Feb 2020 - 16th Sep 2021
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
9th Jan 2018 - 13th Feb 2020
Assistant Whip (HM Treasury)
15th Jun 2017 - 9th Jan 2018
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Northern Ireland Office)
14th Jun 2017 - 9th Jan 2018
Transport Committee
4th Nov 2013 - 30th Mar 2015
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
6th Sep 2012 - 7th Oct 2013
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
14th Oct 2011 - 6th Sep 2012
Public Accounts Committee
31st Oct 2011 - 4th Sep 2012
Assistant Whip (HM Treasury)
12th May 2010 - 14th Oct 2011
Work and Pensions Committee
23rd Nov 2009 - 6th May 2010


There are no upcoming events identified
Division Votes
Tuesday 6th February 2024
Ministerial Severance: Reform
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 273 Conservative No votes vs 0 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 192 Noes - 275
Speeches
Monday 5th February 2024
Disability Action Plan
I draw the House’s attention to my entry in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests, in respect of a charity …
Written Answers
Friday 26th January 2024
Cancer: Research
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what steps she has taken to encourage investment in …
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
Tuesday 19th May 2020
Parliamentary Constituencies Act 2020
A Bill to make provision about reports of the Boundary Commissions under the Parliamentary Constituencies Act 1986; to make provision …
MP Financial Interests
Monday 30th October 2023
8. Miscellaneous
From 10 November 2023, Special Ambassador for the British Deaf Association. This is an unpaid role.
EDM signed
Monday 25th January 2016
NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION DRIVE
That this House notes that the National Voter Registration Drive (NVRD) is taking place over 1 to 7 February 2016; …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliament, Chloe Smith has voted in 821 divisions, and 1 time against the majority of their Party.

4 Dec 2023 - Victims and Prisoners Bill - View Vote Context
Chloe Smith voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 22 Conservative Aye votes vs 238 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 246 Noes - 242
View All Chloe Smith Division Votes

Debates during the 2019 Parliament

Speeches made during Parliamentary debates are recorded in Hansard. For ease of browsing we have grouped debates into individual, departmental and legislative categories.

Sparring Partners
Cat Smith (Labour)
(36 debate interactions)
Lindsay Hoyle (Speaker)
(20 debate interactions)
Christian Matheson (Independent)
(14 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Cabinet Office
(480 debate contributions)
Department for Work and Pensions
(142 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
Legislation Debates
Parliamentary Constituencies Act 2020
(37,197 words contributed)
Elections Act 2022
(22,383 words contributed)
British Sign Language Act 2022
(3,296 words contributed)
View All Legislation Debates
View all Chloe Smith's debates

Norwich 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 Norwich North signature proportion
Petitions with most Norwich North signatures
Chloe Smith has not participated in any petition debates

Latest EDMs signed by Chloe Smith

25th January 2016
Chloe Smith signed this EDM as a sponsor on Monday 25th January 2016

NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION DRIVE

Tabled by: Graham Allen (Labour - Nottingham North)
That this House notes that the National Voter Registration Drive (NVRD) is taking place over 1 to 7 February 2016; further notes that Mr Speaker, with the agreement of the House, allowed a projection of a ballot box onto Elizabeth Tower with the aim of encouraging citizens to register as …
65 signatures
(Most recent: 11 May 2016)
Signatures by party:
Scottish National Party: 21
Labour: 16
Democratic Unionist Party: 4
Independent: 4
Conservative: 2
Liberal Democrat: 2
Green Party: 1
Non-affiliated: 1
The Independent Group for Change: 1
Plaid Cymru: 1
View All Chloe Smith's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Chloe Smith, and are more likely to reflect personal policy preferences.

MPs who are act as Ministers or Shadow Ministers are generally restricted from performing Commons initiatives other than Urgent Questions.


Chloe Smith has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Chloe Smith has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

1 Bill introduced by Chloe Smith

Introduced: 19th May 2020

A Bill to make provision about reports of the Boundary Commissions under the Parliamentary Constituencies Act 1986; to make provision about the number of parliamentary constituencies and other rules for the distribution of seats; and for connected purposes.

This Bill received Royal Assent on 14th December 2020 and was enacted into law.

Chloe Smith has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


61 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
7th Nov 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether he has had recent discussions with the Chair of the Infected Blood Inquiry on the reasons for which the final report of the inquiry will not be published until 2024; what steps he is taking to implement a compensation framework for infected blood victims; and if he will make a statement.

The Government continues to make progress and is working to be ready to respond soon after the publication of the final report of the Infected Blood Inquiry, following the interim payments we have already made. On 23 October I issued a public statement on the Government’s current position in responding to the Infected Blood Inquiry. The timetable of the Inquiry is a matter for the chair. I will update the House as soon as I have further information to provide.

22nd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what assessment he has made of the number of domestic properties in Norwich that are unable to access smart energy metering due to poor quality mobile signal as of March 2023; and what plans he has to help ensure those residents have access to operational smart meters in the future.

The Government's aim is that as many households and small businesses as possible should benefit from smart metering.

The Government does not hold information on network coverage at a constituency level. However, the Data Communications Company (DCC), which operates the national communications infrastructure for smart metering, is obligated under its licence to provide coverage to at least 99.25% of premises across Great Britain and is also required by license conditions to seek to provide coverage above this level where practicable and cost proportionate.

Ofgem is responsible for regulating the DCC against its obligations.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
18th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what steps she has taken to encourage investment in research into (a) tests and (b) treatments for less survivable cancers.

The Government is working hard to improve outcomes for all cancer patients through research, including those with less survivable cancers. In addition to hundreds of millions of cancer research funding annually, the Government demonstrated its commitment through the launch of the Healthcare Cancer Mission, bringing together Government, NHS, industry and charities to tackle cancer. The Mission aims to make the UK a leading testbed for oncology innovation by accelerating the development and commercialisation of a new generation of cancer diagnostics and therapeutics, allowing patients to be diagnosed earlier (key to better outcomes for UK patients) and offered therapies specifically targeting their cancer.

Andrew Griffith
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
18th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, whether she has had recent discussions with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on levels of funding for research on potential tests and treatments for less survivable cancers.

The Government remains fully committed to tackling all cancer types by investing in cutting-edge research. UK Research and Innovation invests around £200 million annually into cancer research, whilst the National Institute for Health and Care Research invested almost £122 million in 2022/23.

The Government’s Healthcare Cancer Mission is being jointly delivered by Department of Health and Social Care and the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology. Backed by £22.5 million, it supports the development of new immune-based cancer therapies targeted to a patient’s specific cancer and technologies that enable earlier, more effective cancer diagnosis to improve survival rates.

Andrew Griffith
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
10th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, with reference to Q811 of the oral evidence given by the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology to the Science, Innovation and Technology Committee on 13 December 2023, HC 38, what steps she is taking to work with social media companies to deploy tools to help protect democratic processes.

We are working extensively across Government to ensure we are ready to rapidly respond to any threats to our democratic processes, through our Defending Democracy Taskforce and dedicated government teams. The threat to democracy from AI was discussed at the AI Safety Summit in November 2023, reinforcing the Government’s commitment to international collaboration on this issue.

The Department for Science, Innovation and Technology works closely with social media platforms to encourage them to put in place policies that are fit for purpose, consistently enforced, and respect freedom of expression. Implementation of the Online Safety Act will make a significant difference here.

Saqib Bhatti
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
31st Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, (a) whether she is taking steps to make (i) scheduled and (ii) on-demand broadcast content more accessible via high quality and reliable subtitling; (b) if she will take steps to increase the number of broadcast services which are required to provide subtitling; (c) what progress she has made in working to encourage broadcasters voluntarily to improve subtitling; and (d) what plans she has to bring forward relevant regulations under the Digital Economy Act 2017 following Ofsted's Further Statement: Making on-demand services accessible published in July 2021.

The Government recognises the importance of subtitling and supports television being accessible to all. Under the Communications Act 2003 and Broadcasting Acts of 1990 and 1996, broadcasters are already required to meet targets for access services - including subtitling. Statutory targets are set by Ofcom which include five and ten year targets for licensed television services. Ofcom’s Code on Television Access Services sets out these obligations and provides guidance and best practice on subtitling for broadcasters.

The regulator Ofcom assesses which broadcasters - including new channels - have a requirement to provide access services and publishes a list on their website annually, according to principles set out in their Code. Some broadcasters already provide television access services such as subtitling on a voluntary basis, and we would encourage broadcasters to continue to do so where possible.

The Government is committed to legislate to bring in minimum levels of subtitling, audio description, and signing on video-on-demand services and is currently working with Ofcom to develop a legislative framework for these requirements that is clear and fit for purpose. We intend to legislate when time allows and will set out a timetable for this in due course.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
1st Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps she is taking to increase the numbers of Teachers of the Deaf.

I refer the hon. Member for Norwich North to the answer I gave on 3 February 2022 to Question 136794. .

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
30th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when she plans to respond to the consultation entitled Lifelong loan entitlement, published on 24 February 2022.

On 6 May 2022, the department concluded it’s consultation on the Lifelong Loan Entitlement, as part of the planned pathway to delivery from 2025. This consultation and other ongoing sector engagement is a critical part of delivering a transformation of student finance. We are carefully considering the contributions and will publish our response in due course.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
30th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 29 November 2023 to Question 3454 on Driving, what steps his Department plans to take to implement the smoother journeys measures in the Plan for Drivers; and what his Department's planned timetable is for implementing those measures.

Work is already underway for each of the 30 measures in “The Plan for Drivers”, with many expected to be completed by summer 2024.

Among the actions on smoother journeys that we expect to take in the next couple of months are to publish refreshed guidance on making better use of bus lanes and smarter road closures, and to launch public consultations on fixing roads faster and encouraging efficient street works. In addition, the Live Labs 2 programme is in place and will continue through to May 2031.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
23rd Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he plans to publish guidance on implementing the policies in his Department's policy paper entitled The plan for drivers, published on 2 October 2023.

Each of the 30 measures in “The Plan for Drivers” is being implemented on its own timescale according to what action is required, for example the launch of a public consultation, publication of revised guidance, or procurement of a supplier.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
23rd Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he has taken to support the installation of audio-visual real time information on buses for visually-impaired and hard-of-hearing passengers (a) nationally and (b) in Norfolk.

We plan to require the provision of audible and visible information on local bus and coach services across Great Britain, and will introduce the Accessible Information Regulations shortly.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
7th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent progress his Department has made on implementing the Norwich Western Link; and what the next stage of the project will be.

Officials in the Department are currently completing their assessment of the Outline Business Case which Norfolk County Council amended in September. Once this work has been completed, advice will be put to Ministers for a decision.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
25th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he will make an assessment of the (a) number of job vacancies currently available, (b) ratio of unemployed people to vacancies, (c) ratio of economically inactive people to vacancies in each UK constituency.

The Department for Work and Pensions aims to help businesses fill their vacancies by supporting people back into work from unemployment and economic inactivity and by helping people to progress in work.

Data on job vacancies across the economy, unemployment and economic inactivity are produced and published by the independent Office for National Statistics (ONS). Unfortunately, the ONS do not publish vacancy numbers at constituency level (due to the design of their vacancy data collection); and do not publish information on unemployment/inactivity in every constituency (due to insufficient sample sizes in some local areas). The DWP does not hold equivalent information on these measures. Therefore, it is not possible to make the requested assessment of ratios of unemployed/inactive people to vacancies at parliamentary constituency level.

At national level:

  • Vacancies are currently at a near record high of 1.225 million (Aug-Oct ‘22) – up 429,000 (53.9%) on before the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The unemployment to vacancy ratio at national level is currently at 1.0 (Jul-Sep ’22) – near to the record low figure of 0.9 unemployed people per vacancy. This means that there is approximately 1 unemployed person per vacancy advertised by employers.
  • There are approximately 7.3 working age economically inactive people per vacancy (Jul-Sep ’22). This is near to the record low figure of 6.7. However, if we look at working age economically inactive people who state that they would like to work, this ratio falls to 1.4 working age economically active people per vacancy. This is near the record low figure of 1.3.

Therefore, our overall assessment is that the data suggests that the UK has a ‘tight’ labour market, with high labour demand and relatively low numbers of people out of work who are close to the labour market by historic standards. Therefore, the Department for Work and Pensions is reviewing what action it can take to increase labour market participation (to conclude in early 2023), alongside its successful core labour market regime, which has helped reduce the unemployment rate to a near record low of 3.6% (Jul-Sep ’22).

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
18th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps she plans to take to tackle less survivable cancers in the Major Conditions Strategy.

Cancer is being diagnosed at earlier stages, more often, with survival rates improving across almost all types of cancer with the National Health Service seeing and treating record numbers of cancer patients over the last two years.

The planned Major Conditions Strategy will look at the early diagnosis and treatment of cancer. The strategy will look at a wide range of interventions and enablers to improve outcomes and experience for a range of cancer patients, including those less survivable cancers. We have already acted upon some of the areas that the 2020 Less Survivable Cancer Taskforce report requested, for example the introduction of targeted lung health checks, trials for cytosponge, and the roll out of non-specific symptom pathways. The report is available at the following link:

https://lesssurvivablecancers.org.uk/our-asks/

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions she has had with international counterparts on their approach to the less survivable cancers.

Cancer is being diagnosed at earlier stages, more often, with survival rates improving across almost all types of cancer with the National Health Service seeing and treating record numbers of cancer patients over the last two years.

The planned Major Conditions Strategy will look at the early diagnosis and treatment of cancer. The strategy will look at a wide range of interventions and enablers to improve outcomes and experience for a range of cancer patients, including those less survivable cancers. We have already acted upon some of the areas that the 2020 Less Survivable Cancer Taskforce report requested, for example the introduction of targeted lung health checks, trials for cytosponge, and the roll out of non-specific symptom pathways. The report is available at the following link:

https://lesssurvivablecancers.org.uk/our-asks/

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether she has made an assessment of the potential merits of an action plan for the less survivable cancers.

Cancer is being diagnosed at earlier stages, more often, with survival rates improving across almost all types of cancer with the National Health Service seeing and treating record numbers of cancer patients over the last two years.

The planned Major Conditions Strategy will look at the early diagnosis and treatment of cancer. The strategy will look at a wide range of interventions and enablers to improve outcomes and experience for a range of cancer patients, including those less survivable cancers. We have already acted upon some of the areas that the 2020 Less Survivable Cancer Taskforce report requested, for example the introduction of targeted lung health checks, trials for cytosponge, and the roll out of non-specific symptom pathways. The report is available at the following link:

https://lesssurvivablecancers.org.uk/our-asks/

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment she has made of the potential impact of the rollout of community diagnostic centres on the time taken to diagnose less survivable cancers.

The Government is taking steps through NHS England to improve outcomes for cancer patients, including those cancers mentioned by the Less Survivable Cancer Taskforce, namely lung, liver, brain, oesophageal, pancreatic and stomach. Diagnostic checks are a key part of cancer pathways and the 150 community diagnostic centres (CDCs) opened by the Government will give earlier diagnostic tests, benefitting millions of patients including those who are referred with suspected less survivable cancers. National Health Service systems have been asked to prioritise CDC capacity towards their most challenged cancer pathways, where this is clinically appropriate, and these centres have delivered over six million additional tests for all elective activity since July 2021. The CDC programme is on track to meet its target to open up to 160 CDCs by March 2025, with many due to open ahead of schedule.

In November 2022, the NHS also announced an expansion of direct access to diagnostic scans across all general practices, to help cut waiting times and speeding up cancer diagnosis, or all-clear for patients. The NHS is now looking to widen the clinical pathways for which this is offered.

Making improvements across different cancer types is critical to helping achieve the NHS Long Term Plan ambition of diagnosing 75% of patients at an early stage by 2028 and reducing inequalities in cancer survival. NHS England has commissioned new cancer clinical audits covering six cancer types, some of which are less survivable: pancreatic cancer, ovarian cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, kidney cancer and primary and metastatic breast cancer. All six audits will cover care delivered in England and Wales.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if she will make an estimate of the amount of ringfenced NHS dental funding that Integrated Care Boards have released to non-dentistry budgets to cover costs associated with strike action in the NHS in (a) 2023 and (b) 2024.

NHS England provided guidance for integrated care boards (ICBs) that requires dental allocations to be ringfenced in 2023/24, with any unused resources re-directed to improve National Health Service dental access in the first instance and not spent on other services. In November 2023, NHS England confirmed that where ICBs had not spent all of their allocation on improving access to dentistry, they would be able to retain any underspend and use this to balance their bottom line and any other pressures. ICBs will decide how to use any forecast underspend in line with this guidance. We are currently considering arrangements for 2024/25.

There are no current estimates of how much dental ringfence NHS dental funding has been used to support costs associated with strike action. NHS England has issued additional funding to systems of £800 million so far in this financial year to directly cover the costs of strikes.

Andrea Leadsom
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State Levelling Up, Housing and Communities on the potential merits of (a) amending the National Planning Policy Framework and (b) introducing regulations governing the future Infrastructure Levy to ensure that sufficient GP and dental services are provided alongside housing developments.

In the Primary Care Recovery Plan, we committed to reviewing the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and planning guidance to ensure primary care infrastructure can be supported through the planning system where new development creates a need for it.

We continue to work closely with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities to ensure these commitments are met through its cross-government engagement. This will take place as part of the latest NPPF refresh as well as through negotiations on the future Infrastructure Levy, as the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill has received Royal Assent.

Integrated care boards will play a key future role in partnering with Local Planning Authorities to ensure their local Infrastructure Delivery Strategies accurately capture the vision for healthcare in the area.

Andrea Leadsom
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to increase the availability of NHS dentistry services for children in (a) Norwich North constituency and (b) Norfolk.

In September 2022, we announced ‘Our plan for patients’ which sets out how we will meet oral health needs and increase access to National Health Service dental services for patients of all ages, whilst making the NHS dental contract more attractive to dental practices. These changes have been implemented, including through regulations that came into effect on 25 November 2022. NHS England is holding further discussions with the British Dental Association and other stakeholders for plans for additional reforms of the NHS Dental System coming shortly.

In circumstances where a guardian or parents are unable to access an urgent dental appointment for their child directly through a NHS dental practice, they are advised to contact NHS 111 for assistance.

Information on the number of children who have seen a dentist or hygienist in Norwich in the last six or 12 months is not available.

Dental Statistics, published by NHS Digital, provides information on NHS dental activity in England and is available from the following link:

https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/nhs-dental-statistics/2021-22-annual-report

The table below shows that the proportion of children in Norfolk County Council who have seen an NHS dentist in the last 12 months (to June 2022) is almost 10% lower than the national average. Published data is not available for Norwich.

June 2021 - June 2022

Number of Children who have visited an NHS dentist

Proportion of child population (%)

Norfolk County Council

62,867

36.5%

England

5,589,201

46.1%

NHS England commissions community dental services to offer dental care to vulnerable patients, including those with special educational needs and disabilities, who cannot be treated in a general NHS dental practice or may be in locations that cannot access NHS dental services.

28th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to increase the availability of orthodontic appointments for children in Norwich.

NHS England is responsible for commissioning primary care dentistry to meet the needs of the local population. Many of the dentistry commissioning functions undertaken by NHS England will transfer to integrated care boards (ICBs) from April 2023. ICBs will be responsible for meeting the needs of their local populations of all ages, working with patient groups. NHS England has made available to commissioners an Assurance Framework to provide assurances on commissioning.

In circumstances where a person or parents are unable to access an urgent dental appointment for their child directly through a National Health Service dental practice, they are advised to contact NHS 111 for assistance.

28th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that children with special educational needs and disabilities are able to access NHS dentistry in (a) Norwich and (b) Norfolk.

In September 2022, we announced ‘Our plan for patients’ which sets out how we will meet oral health needs and increase access to National Health Service dental services for patients of all ages, whilst making the NHS dental contract more attractive to dental practices. These changes have been implemented, including through regulations that came into effect on 25 November 2022. NHS England is holding further discussions with the British Dental Association and other stakeholders for plans for additional reforms of the NHS Dental System coming shortly.

In circumstances where a guardian or parents are unable to access an urgent dental appointment for their child directly through a NHS dental practice, they are advised to contact NHS 111 for assistance.

Information on the number of children who have seen a dentist or hygienist in Norwich in the last six or 12 months is not available.

Dental Statistics, published by NHS Digital, provides information on NHS dental activity in England and is available from the following link:

https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/nhs-dental-statistics/2021-22-annual-report

The table below shows that the proportion of children in Norfolk County Council who have seen an NHS dentist in the last 12 months (to June 2022) is almost 10% lower than the national average. Published data is not available for Norwich.

June 2021 - June 2022

Number of Children who have visited an NHS dentist

Proportion of child population (%)

Norfolk County Council

62,867

36.5%

England

5,589,201

46.1%

NHS England commissions community dental services to offer dental care to vulnerable patients, including those with special educational needs and disabilities, who cannot be treated in a general NHS dental practice or may be in locations that cannot access NHS dental services.

28th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the adequacy of the availability of NHS appointments for children's dentistry in (a) Norwich and (b) Norfolk; and if he will make a statement.

In September 2022, we announced ‘Our plan for patients’ which sets out how we will meet oral health needs and increase access to National Health Service dental services for patients of all ages, whilst making the NHS dental contract more attractive to dental practices. These changes have been implemented, including through regulations that came into effect on 25 November 2022. NHS England is holding further discussions with the British Dental Association and other stakeholders for plans for additional reforms of the NHS Dental System coming shortly.

In circumstances where a guardian or parents are unable to access an urgent dental appointment for their child directly through a NHS dental practice, they are advised to contact NHS 111 for assistance.

Information on the number of children who have seen a dentist or hygienist in Norwich in the last six or 12 months is not available.

Dental Statistics, published by NHS Digital, provides information on NHS dental activity in England and is available from the following link:

https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/nhs-dental-statistics/2021-22-annual-report

The table below shows that the proportion of children in Norfolk County Council who have seen an NHS dentist in the last 12 months (to June 2022) is almost 10% lower than the national average. Published data is not available for Norwich.

June 2021 - June 2022

Number of Children who have visited an NHS dentist

Proportion of child population (%)

Norfolk County Council

62,867

36.5%

England

5,589,201

46.1%

NHS England commissions community dental services to offer dental care to vulnerable patients, including those with special educational needs and disabilities, who cannot be treated in a general NHS dental practice or may be in locations that cannot access NHS dental services.

28th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, If he will make an estimate of the number of children who have seen a (a) dentist and (b) hygienist in Norwich in the last (i) six and (ii) 12 months.

In September 2022, we announced ‘Our plan for patients’ which sets out how we will meet oral health needs and increase access to National Health Service dental services for patients of all ages, whilst making the NHS dental contract more attractive to dental practices. These changes have been implemented, including through regulations that came into effect on 25 November 2022. NHS England is holding further discussions with the British Dental Association and other stakeholders for plans for additional reforms of the NHS Dental System coming shortly.

In circumstances where a guardian or parents are unable to access an urgent dental appointment for their child directly through a NHS dental practice, they are advised to contact NHS 111 for assistance.

Information on the number of children who have seen a dentist or hygienist in Norwich in the last six or 12 months is not available.

Dental Statistics, published by NHS Digital, provides information on NHS dental activity in England and is available from the following link:

https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/nhs-dental-statistics/2021-22-annual-report

The table below shows that the proportion of children in Norfolk County Council who have seen an NHS dentist in the last 12 months (to June 2022) is almost 10% lower than the national average. Published data is not available for Norwich.

June 2021 - June 2022

Number of Children who have visited an NHS dentist

Proportion of child population (%)

Norfolk County Council

62,867

36.5%

England

5,589,201

46.1%

NHS England commissions community dental services to offer dental care to vulnerable patients, including those with special educational needs and disabilities, who cannot be treated in a general NHS dental practice or may be in locations that cannot access NHS dental services.

26th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to increase the Minimum Income Guarantee rates for 2023-24; and whether he will make a statement.

The minimum income guarantee (MIG) rates are reviewed annually, with a review of the rates for the next financial year currently ongoing. Following the last review, the MIG was increased in line with inflation from 6 April 2022. The rates for 23-24 will be published in a Local Authority Circular.

There has been no specific discussion with Cabinet colleagues on the impact of the MIG on the living standards and quality of life of disabled people, and no specific assessment has been made of the impact of the level of the MIG on disabled people and local authority budgets.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the impact of the uprating of benefits on the Minimum Income Guarantee rates.

The minimum income guarantee (MIG) rates are reviewed annually, with a review of the rates for the next financial year currently ongoing. Following the last review, the MIG was increased in line with inflation from 6 April 2022. The rates for 23-24 will be published in a Local Authority Circular.

There has been no specific discussion with Cabinet colleagues on the impact of the MIG on the living standards and quality of life of disabled people, and no specific assessment has been made of the impact of the level of the MIG on disabled people and local authority budgets.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has had discussion with Cabinet colleagues on the impact of the Minimum Income Guarantee on the living standards and quality of life of disabled people.

The minimum income guarantee (MIG) rates are reviewed annually, with a review of the rates for the next financial year currently ongoing. Following the last review, the MIG was increased in line with inflation from 6 April 2022. The rates for 23-24 will be published in a Local Authority Circular.

There has been no specific discussion with Cabinet colleagues on the impact of the MIG on the living standards and quality of life of disabled people, and no specific assessment has been made of the impact of the level of the MIG on disabled people and local authority budgets.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the impact of the level of the Minimum Income Guarantee on (a) disabled people and (b) local authority budgets.

The minimum income guarantee (MIG) rates are reviewed annually, with a review of the rates for the next financial year currently ongoing. Following the last review, the MIG was increased in line with inflation from 6 April 2022. The rates for 23-24 will be published in a Local Authority Circular.

There has been no specific discussion with Cabinet colleagues on the impact of the MIG on the living standards and quality of life of disabled people, and no specific assessment has been made of the impact of the level of the MIG on disabled people and local authority budgets.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the extent to which dental practices which have NHS patient availability are updating the NHS Find a Dentist webpage to show this; and whether he plans to take further steps to encourage practices to update those listings.

On 25 November 2022 we introduced a contractual responsibility for National Health Service dentists to keep their NHS.UK profiles up to date so that patients can find a dentist more easily. Practices are required to update their NHS.UK profiles at least once every 90 days, including information on whether they are accepting new patients.

Commissioners will have access to a report showing which practices are non-compliant, with monitoring due to come into effect from end of March 2023.

14th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress he has made towards publishing data on the number of appointments each GP practice in England is delivering and how long people wait between booking and receiving an appointment.

We expect this data to published with monthly general practice appointment data on 24 November 2022.

14th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to increase the number of dentists taking on NHS patients (a) nationally and (b) in Norwich North constituency.

NHS England asked dental practices to return to full delivery of contracted activity from July 2022, including in Norwich North. In September, we announced ‘Our plan for patients’, which outlines how we will meet oral health needs and increase access to dental care, including in Norwich North.

The plan includes improvements to ensure dentists are renumerated fairly for more complex work, allowing greater flexibility to reallocate resources and to utilise dentists with greater capacity to deliver National Health Service treatment, whilst enabling full use of the dental team. The plan also includes streamlining processes for overseas dentists and holding the local NHS to account for dentistry provision. In addition, Health Education England is also reforming dental education to improve the recruitment and retention of dental professionals.

14th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to improve access to NHS dentists in Norwich North constituency.

NHS England asked dental practices to return to full delivery of contracted activity from July 2022, including in Norwich North. In September, we announced ‘Our plan for patients’, which outlines how we will meet oral health needs and increase access to dental care, including in Norwich North.

The plan includes improvements to ensure dentists are renumerated fairly for more complex work, allowing greater flexibility to reallocate resources and to utilise dentists with greater capacity to deliver National Health Service treatment, whilst enabling full use of the dental team. The plan also includes streamlining processes for overseas dentists and holding the local NHS to account for dentistry provision. In addition, Health Education England is also reforming dental education to improve the recruitment and retention of dental professionals.

14th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he has taken to help ensure the accuracy of dental listings with availability on the NHS website.

In July 2022, we announced improvements to the National Health Service dental system, including a requirement for dentists to update information at NHS.UK at least every 90 days. Compliance will be monitored on the number of dentists updating this availability quarterly through NHS dental contracts.

14th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to improve access to GPs within the two-week appointment guideline for patients who prefer face to face appointments or are unable to use online forms (a) in Norfolk and (b) nationally.

On 22 September 2022, we announced ‘Our plan for patients’, which contains measures to assist people make an informed choice on their general practitioner (GP) practice, book an appointment more easily, benefit from more care options and increase the diversity of general practice teams. This aims to increase the availability of appointment types, such as face-to-face, in England, including in Norfolk.

NHS England’s guidance states that GP practices must provide face-to-face appointments and remote consultations and should respect preferences for face-to-face care unless there are good clinical reasons to the contrary.  While remote consultations can provide additional choice, flexibility and convenience for patients, this is not suitable for all patients or in all circumstances.

14th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to help reduce ambulance response times in (a) Norfolk and (b) England.

NHS England has allocated an additional £150 million for the ambulance service in 2022/23, with £20 million to upgrade the ambulance fleet in each year to 2024/25, including in Norfolk.

The National Health Service will increase capacity by the equivalent of at least 7,000 general and acute beds to improve patient flow through hospital and reduce waiting times transferring ambulance patients to accident and emergency departments. This is in addition to a £500 million Adult Social Care Discharge Fund to support the National Discharge Taskforce to reduce delayed discharges to care settings, increase bed capacity and improve patient flow through hospital. NHS England is also providing targeted support to some hospitals facing the greatest delays in the handover of ambulance patients into the care of hospitals, to identify short and longer-term interventions to reduce delays.

14th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to help reduce (a) ambulance handover times and (b) ambulance service lost hours at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

NHS England has allocated an additional £150 million for the ambulance service in 2022/23, with £20 million to upgrade the ambulance fleet in each year to 2024/25, including in Norfolk.

The National Health Service will increase capacity by the equivalent of at least 7,000 general and acute beds to improve patient flow through hospital and reduce waiting times transferring ambulance patients to accident and emergency departments. This is in addition to a £500 million Adult Social Care Discharge Fund to support the National Discharge Taskforce to reduce delayed discharges to care settings, increase bed capacity and improve patient flow through hospital. NHS England is also providing targeted support to some hospitals facing the greatest delays in the handover of ambulance patients into the care of hospitals, to identify short and longer-term interventions to reduce delays.

14th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to help move patients from hospital into social care settings in order to reduce backlogs and delayed discharge in (a) Norfolk and (b) England.

The Government is providing £500 million to reduce delays in discharges from hospital to social care, which will be distributed to local authorities and integrated care boards (ICBs). The allocations were published on 16 November 2022 and are available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/adult-social-care-discharge-fund-local-authority-and-integrated-care-board-icb-allocations

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to improve the (a) performance of and (b) the patient experience at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust.

We are working with the National Health Service, the Care Quality Commission and local partners to ensure high quality patient outcomes at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust. The local system has been assessing how mental health delivery might operate in future and how services should be configured, with options for improving service delivery.

I will be hosting a meeting with Norfolk and Suffolk MPs and National Health Service system partners on 12th December to discuss the improvement work that they have been taking to improve services at the Trust.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
11th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the Security Minister's role leading the Defending Democracy Taskforce, if he will take steps to appoint (a) a lead police force and (b) a lead officer in each police force for election security and electoral offences.

The Defending Democracy Taskforce seeks to protect the democratic integrity of the UK from the threats of foreign interference working across government and with operational partners, including Counter Terrorism Policing as a standing Taskforce member.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council has a national portfolio lead for policing of elections. This role is currently held by Assistant Commissioner Nik Adams of the City of London Police.

The National Police Operations Centre (NPoCC) are coordinating national planning for policing relating to the elections. This work is bringing together regional representatives from police forces to ensure efficient and effective national coordination for the preparation, planning and delivery of policing responses to elections in the UK.

Tom Tugendhat
Minister of State (Home Office) (Security)
10th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps his Department (a) has taken on tackling risks from the integration of frontier AI into society since November 2023 and (b) is taking to help ensure the security of elections.

The Home Office is working at pace to mitigate the risks and take advantage of the potential opportunities from Frontier AI, working closely with cross-cutting AI safety and risk teams in Whitehall. The department worked with the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) to ensure the PM’s AI Safety Summit was a success, including running side events on fraud and preventing child sexual exploitation. We continue to actively engage technology companies and ensure AI related concerns are worked through in policy areas.

The Defending Democracy Taskforce, led by the Security Minister, is also engaging across government and with Parliament, the UK’s intelligence community, the devolved governments, local authorities, the private sector, and civil society on the full range of threats facing our democratic institutions. This includes close working with DSIT on the threats from AI enabled election interference and the development of mitigations. The Joint Election Security & Preparedness Unit (Joint Cabinet Office and Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities) is leading on mitigating election security risks.

Tom Tugendhat
Minister of State (Home Office) (Security)
15th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she has made an estimate with Cabinet colleagues of the number and proportion of firefighters who have received compensation for firefighter pension arrears in accordance with the firefighter pension scheme immediate detriment framework as of 2 March 2023.

The firefighters’ pension scheme is locally administered by each of the separate employing fire and rescue authorities in England.

The Home Office does not have any role in the administration of firefighters’ pensions and does not hold data on the number of firefighters who have received their pensions paid under the terms of the immediate detriment framework.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
15th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to increase the efficiency of the passport renewal process.

His Majesty’s Passport Office remains fully resourced following its significant increase of over 1200 staff between April 2021 and last summer. With the continued introduction of process improvements, HM Passport Office has processed more than two million applications across January and February, with over 99.5% of standard UK applications being processed within ten weeks and 95.5% being processed within three weeks.

30th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether her Department plans to change how it uses the Manston Short-term Holding Facility.

The Home Office has no plans to change its usage of Manston as a processing centre for people arriving in the UK by small boat.

25th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether individuals who have transferred from the Manston processing centre to hotel accommodation in Norwich have all been through the initial stage of their asylum application process.

All asylum seekers, including those who are moved from Manston and relocated to hotels throughout the UK, undergo identity and security checks.

We capture biometric data which is checked and compared against relevant Home Office systems and police criminality databases, including domestic and international data, so we can establish whether the person is a threat to public safety.

Everyone passing through Manston will have full border security checks completed before being moved. Where possible, asylum registration will also be carried out; however, asylum registration can happen after a person leaves Manston.

25th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what level of security screening checks did the asylum seekers who were moved from Manston undertake prior to their re-location to hotels throughout the UK.

All asylum seekers, including those who are moved from Manston and relocated to hotels throughout the UK, undergo identity and security checks.

We capture biometric data which is checked and compared against relevant Home Office systems and police criminality databases, including domestic and international data, so we can establish whether the person is a threat to public safety.

Everyone passing through Manston will have full border security checks completed before being moved. Where possible, asylum registration will also be carried out; however, asylum registration can happen after a person leaves Manston.

14th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of allowing asylum seekers to work while their applications are being processed.

Asylum seekers are allowed to work in the UK if their claim has been outstanding for 12 months or more, through no fault of their own. Those permitted to work are restricted to jobs on the Shortage Occupation List.

Any further right to work could undermine legal routes and act as a pull factor to those seeking to come to the UK.

14th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether her Department provides additional funding to local authorities where hotels have been block booked for an indeterminate period for the sole use of asylum seekers.

ocal authorities are key partners in enabling us to procure sufficient accommodation to end the use of hotel contingency. The Full Dispersal model, announced on 13 April 2022, aims to reduce then end the use of hotels by allowing the Home Office to procure dispersal properties within the private rental sector in all local authority areas across England, Scotland and Wales, rather than the minority of local authorities which currently participate. This more equitable approach is supported by £21million of un-ringfenced grant funding to make sure eligible local authorities can provide wraparound support locally. Local authorities will also receive £3,500 for each new dispersal accommodation bed space in the 22/23 financial year.

7th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether her Department provides additional funding to local authorities where hotels have been block booked for an indeterminate period for the sole use of asylum seekers.

Due to the continuing unprecedented high volume of small boats arrivals and the historical pressure from COVID-19 measures on the asylum system it has been necessary to continue to use hotels to accommodate some asylum seekers to meet our immediate statutory need.

When a new hotel has been identified, the Home Office will write to the Local Authority Chief Executive and the MP for the area to inform them of our plans to house asylum seekers within the hotel identified. This is normally done in advance of a hotel being used, but where an urgent need for accommodation occurs, this may take place retrospectively. We also then offer the Local Authority a meeting to discuss the hotel, where they are able to provide feedback on the proposed site and all related matters.

4th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to help ensure that asylum seekers who are (a) women and (b) unaccompanied minors are not falling victim to (i) modern slavery and (ii) human trafficking whilst residing in temporary hotel accommodation.

The UK is experiencing an unprecedented increase in the number of people making life-threatening journeys to cross the Channel. These boats are often carrying unaccompanied asylum-seeking children and this has placed unprecedented pressure on the National Transfer Scheme. Out of necessity and with the children’s best interests in mind, we have arranged for them to be accommodated on an emergency and temporary basis in hotels whilst placements with local authorities are being vigorously pursued.

We have safeguarding procedures in place to ensure all unaccompanied asylum-seeking children in emergency interim hotels are as safe and supported as possible whilst we seek urgent placements with a local authority. Young people are supported by team leaders and support workers who are on site 24 hours a day. Further care is provided in hotels by teams of social workers and nurses.

The Home Office has no power to hold children or adults in contingency hotels if they wish to leave. To minimise the risk of a child going missing, records of children leaving and returning to the hotel are kept and monitored. Support workers accompany children off site on activities and social excursions, or where specific vulnerabilities are identified.

All asylum seekers, including children, have an interview on arrival in the UK which includes a series of questions specifically designed to understand whether there are any potential indicators of trafficking. A referral is made to the National Referral Mechanism if indicators are noted. In the case of children a safety plan is put in place by social services, whilst adults identified as potential victims of modern slavery are entitled to care and support provided by the Salvation Army.

The Home Office and its accommodation providers have robust processes in place to ensure that where someone is at risk they are referred to the appropriate statutory agencies of the police, NHS and social services, to promote appropriate safeguarding interventions. All contingency sites have security staff and providers liaise closely with local police to ensure the welfare and safety of vulnerable residents.

4th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent steps her Department has taken to increase the rate of processing of asylum applications.

The Home Office is working at pace to reduce the number of outstanding asylum claims which has been caused by record levels of illegal migration.

We have already increased the number of caseworkers by 80% to more than 1,000. We are continuing to hire more caseworkers, streamline processes and make better use of technology to get the asylum backlog down

A successful pilot scheme has seen the average number of asylum claims processed by caseworkers double and we are now rolling this out across the country.

The asylum transformation programme aims to bring the system back into balance and modernise it, focussing on increasing productivity by streamlining, simplifying and digitalising processes, speeding up decision making and increasing efficiency and output.

4th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many asylum seekers absconded from asylum hotels (a) nationally and (b) in Norwich North constituency in the latest period for which data is available; how many and what proportion of these people were unaccompanied minors; and what steps her Department is taking to locate them.

The Home Office has no power to hold asylum seekers, including children, in hotels or any temporary accommodation if they wish to leave.

The Home Office does not publish a breakdown of statistics which disaggregates the number of adult asylum seekers leaving hotels. These figures are not available in a reportable format and to provide the information could only be done at disproportionate cost. We do record the number of unaccompanied asylum children (UASC) leaving UASC hotels on an episodic, rather than on an individual, basis as some children have left their accommodation more than once. There have been 408 episodes of unaccompanied children leaving their UASC hotel accommodation since July 2021.

There are no hotels in Norwich North being used as temporary accommodation for unaccompanied asylum seeking children.

4th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the (a) average, (b) most frequent and (c) longest stay was for an asylum seeker placed in hotel accommodation in Norwich North constituency in the last three years.

We currently have one hotel in use in the Norwich local authority area to accommodate asylum seekers. On 1st November 2022 the average (mean) length of stay was 140 days, the longest stayer was 180 days. Calculations over time cannot be provided as pass through is not measured.

The latest published Immigration Statistics detail the number of asylum seekers accommodated in each local authority area. These statistics can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/asylum-and-resettlement-datasets#asylum-support Data are published on a quarterly basis, with the latest information published 25 August 2022.

The next quarterly figures are due to be released in November 2022. The Home Office does not publish a breakdown of these statistics which disaggregates the number of asylum seekers accommodated in a specific type of accommodation. These figures are not available in a reportable format and to provide the information could only be done at disproportionate cost.

4th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the average cost per day was of temporarily housing asylum seekers in hotel accommodation in Norwich North constituency in the latest period for which data is available.

We currently have one hotel in use in the Norwich local authority area to accommodate asylum seekers. On 1st November 2022 the average (mean) length of stay was 140 days, the longest stayer was 180 days. Calculations over time cannot be provided as pass through is not measured.

The latest published Immigration Statistics detail the number of asylum seekers accommodated in each local authority area. These statistics can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/asylum-and-resettlement-datasets#asylum-support Data are published on a quarterly basis, with the latest information published 25 August 2022.

The next quarterly figures are due to be released in November 2022. The Home Office does not publish a breakdown of these statistics which disaggregates the number of asylum seekers accommodated in a specific type of accommodation. These figures are not available in a reportable format and to provide the information could only be done at disproportionate cost.

4th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to help ensure that asylum seekers who are unaccompanied minors are (a) supported and (b) kept safe during temporary placements in hotels.

The UK is experiencing an unprecedented increase in the number of people making life-threatening journeys to cross the Channel. These boats are often carrying unaccompanied asylum-seeking children and this has placed unprecedented pressure on the National Transfer Scheme. Out of necessity and with the children’s best interests in mind, we have arranged for them to be accommodated on an emergency and temporary basis in hotels whilst placements with local authorities are being vigorously pursued.

We have safeguarding procedures in place to ensure all unaccompanied asylum-seeking children in emergency interim hotels are as safe and supported as possible whilst we seek urgent placements with a local authority. Young people are supported by team leaders and support workers who are on site 24 hours a day. Further care is provided in hotels by teams of social workers and nurses.

The Home Office has no power to hold children or adults in contingency hotels if they wish to leave. To minimise the risk of a child going missing, records of children leaving and returning to the hotel are kept and monitored. Support workers accompany children off site on activities and social excursions, or where specific vulnerabilities are identified.

All asylum seekers, including children, have an interview on arrival in the UK which includes a series of questions specifically designed to understand whether there are any potential indicators of trafficking. A referral is made to the National Referral Mechanism if indicators are noted. In the case of children a safety plan is put in place by social services, whilst adults identified as potential victims of modern slavery are entitled to care and support provided by the Salvation Army.

The Home Office and its accommodation providers have robust processes in place to ensure that where someone is at risk they are referred to the appropriate statutory agencies of the police, NHS and social services, to promote appropriate safeguarding interventions. All contingency sites have security staff and providers liaise closely with local police to ensure the welfare and safety of vulnerable residents.

4th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether her Department undertakes assessments of the potential impact of block booking hotels for an indeterminate period for the sole use of asylum seekers on the local and regional economy before making those bookings.

Due to the continuing unprecedented high volume of small boats arrivals and the historical pressure from COVID-19 measures on the asylum system it has been necessary to continue to use hotels to accommodate some asylum seekers to meet our immediate statutory need.

When a new hotel has been identified, the Home Office will write to the Local Authority Chief Executive and the MP for the area to inform them of our plans to house asylum seekers within the hotel identified. This is normally done in advance of a hotel being used, but when a particularly urgent need for accommodation occurs, this may take place retrospectively. We also then offer the Local Authority a meeting to discuss the hotel, where they are able to provide feedback on the proposed site and all related matters.

Community cohesion is an important aspect of using contingency sites successfully and we actively engage and collaborate with relevant stakeholders to understand and act on any concerns appropriately as the site operates.

The Full Dispersal model, announced on 13 April 2022, aims to reduce then end the use of hotels by allowing the Home Office to procure dispersal properties within the private rental sector in all Local Authority areas across England, Scotland and Wales, rather than the minority of Local Authorities which currently participate. This more equitable approach is supported by £21million of un-ringfenced grant funding to make sure eligible Local Authorities can provide wraparound support locally. Local authorities will also receive £3,500 for each new dispersal accommodation bed space in the 22/23 financial year.

4th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether her Department has taken recent steps to help promote good community relations in areas where hotels have been block booked for an indeterminate period for the sole use of asylum seekers.

Due to the continuing unprecedented high volume of small boats arrivals and the historical pressure from COVID-19 measures on the asylum system it has been necessary to continue to use hotels to accommodate some asylum seekers to meet our immediate statutory need.

When a new hotel has been identified, the Home Office will write to the Local Authority Chief Executive and the MP for the area to inform them of our plans to house asylum seekers within the hotel identified. This is normally done in advance of a hotel being used, but when a particularly urgent need for accommodation occurs, this may take place retrospectively. We also then offer the Local Authority a meeting to discuss the hotel, where they are able to provide feedback on the proposed site and all related matters.

Community cohesion is an important aspect of using contingency sites successfully and we actively engage and collaborate with relevant stakeholders to understand and act on any concerns appropriately as the site operates.

The Full Dispersal model, announced on 13 April 2022, aims to reduce then end the use of hotels by allowing the Home Office to procure dispersal properties within the private rental sector in all Local Authority areas across England, Scotland and Wales, rather than the minority of Local Authorities which currently participate. This more equitable approach is supported by £21million of un-ringfenced grant funding to make sure eligible Local Authorities can provide wraparound support locally. Local authorities will also receive £3,500 for each new dispersal accommodation bed space in the 22/23 financial year.

10th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, with reference to Q808 of the oral evidence given by the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology to the Science, Innovation and Technology Committee on 13 December 2023, HC 38, whether he has plans to undertake a review of electoral regulation.

The Electoral Commission does not have a role in regulating the use of artificial intelligence in campaigning nor does it have a role in regulating political debate. The AI Regulation White Paper, published in March 2023, set out our first steps towards establishing a regulatory framework for AI. Since then, the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology have been setting up central risk assessment and monitoring activities and working with regulators to ensure they are responding to AI risks within their remits.

Digitally manipulated content can pose a severe threat to democratic processes, so we take this very seriously. We are working extensively across Government and in the Defending Democracy Taskforce to ensure we are ready to respond to any threats to our democratic processes. The Government keeps the regulatory framework under review and remains committed to ensuring elections are secure and fit for the modern age.

Simon Hoare
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
20th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will take steps to make water companies statutory consultees in medium and large scale planning applications.

The Government has made a commitment, as part of its reform package under the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill (now the Act) to consult on whether or not we should make water companies statutory consultees on certain planning applications, and if so, how best to do this. It will be important that water companies engage local planning authorities on their applications at the right time so they can input effectively and not slow down the application process.

Lee Rowley
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
7th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether he is taking steps with (a) the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and (b) other Cabinet colleagues to amend the National Planning Policy Framework to include regulations for a new infrastructure levy to ensure the provision of adequate (i) GP and (ii) dental provision in new housing developments.

The Levelling Up and Regeneration Act introduces powers to create the new Infrastructure Levy which aims to generate more funding for infrastructure, such as GP surgeries, to mitigate the impacts of new development.

The Act includes provisions to require local authorities to prepare Infrastructure Delivery Strategies which will set out the strategy for delivering infrastructure and spending Levy proceeds. The Act also enables authorities to require the assistance of infrastructure providers, including Integrated Care Bodies, in devising these strategies and development plans.

We have committed to consult further on the design of the Levy, before we draft regulations.

Lee Rowley
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)