Chris Elmore Portrait

Chris Elmore

Labour - Ogmore

Opposition Whip (Commons)

(since October 2016)

Shadow Minister (Scotland)

(since April 2020)
Committee of Privileges
13th May 2020 - 9th Sep 2021
Committee on Standards
13th May 2020 - 9th Sep 2021
Consolidation, &c., Bills (Joint Committee)
9th Mar 2020 - 6th Jul 2020
Consolidation Bills (Joint Committee)
9th Mar 2020 - 6th Jul 2020
Foreign Affairs Committee
2nd Mar 2020 - 11th May 2020
Consolidation Bills (Joint Committee)
6th Nov 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Procedure Committee
11th Sep 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Consolidation, &c., Bills (Joint Committee)
6th Nov 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Procedure Committee
28th Feb 2017 - 3rd May 2017
Welsh Affairs Committee
18th Jul 2016 - 3rd May 2017
Justice Committee
13th Jun 2016 - 31st Oct 2016


Select Committee Meeting
Monday 20th September 2021
16:00
Select Committee Meeting
Wednesday 22nd September 2021
16:30
Select Committee Meeting
Wednesday 20th October 2021
16:30
Division Votes
Wednesday 9th June 2021
Protecting the Public and Justice for Victims
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 193 Labour Aye votes vs 0 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 223 Noes - 0
Speeches
Wednesday 15th September 2021
Oral Answers to Questions

7. What plans the Government have to provide funding for rail infrastructure in Wales. (903361)

Written Answers
Friday 10th September 2021
Nappies: Waste Disposal
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the …
Early Day Motions
Monday 12th September 2016
WELSH OLYMPIC SUCCESS
That this House congratulates the 23 Welsh athletes representing Team GB at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games for their fantastic …
Bills
None available
MP Financial Interests
Monday 1st March 2021
1. Employment and earnings
20 December 2020, received £200 from Ipsos MORI, 3 Thomas More Square, London E1W 1YW, for a survey. Hours: 1 …
EDM signed
Monday 6th September 2021
GKN Automotive alternative plan
That this House is alarmed by GKN Automotive’s decision to close its Birmingham factory next year, with the loss of …
Supported Legislation
Tuesday 16th June 2020
Automatic Electoral Registration Bill 2019-21
A Bill to impose certain duties upon Her Majesty’s Government to ensure the accuracy, completeness and utility of electoral registers; …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Chris Elmore has voted in 267 divisions, and 1 time against the majority of their Party.

19 Oct 2020 - Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill - View Vote Context
Chris Elmore voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 1 Labour Aye votes vs 185 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 330 Noes - 262
View All Chris Elmore 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
Jacob Rees-Mogg (Conservative)
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
(30 debate interactions)
Simon Hart (Conservative)
Secretary of State for Wales
(23 debate interactions)
Iain Stewart (Conservative)
Lord Commissioner (HM Treasury) (Whip)
(18 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Cabinet Office
(49 debate contributions)
Leader of the House
(31 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Chris Elmore's debates

Ogmore 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).

Petition Debates Contributed

Enact legislation to protect retail workers. This legislation must create a specific offence of abusing, threatening or assaulting a retail worker. The offence must carry a penalty that acts as a deterrent and makes clear that abuse of retail workers is unacceptable.


Latest EDMs signed by Chris Elmore

22nd June 2021
Chris Elmore signed this EDM on Monday 6th September 2021

GKN Automotive alternative plan

Tabled by: Jack Dromey (Labour - Birmingham, Erdington)
That this House is alarmed by GKN Automotive’s decision to close its Birmingham factory next year, with the loss of over 500 highly skilled jobs and work transferred to continental Europe; notes that GKN’s origins trace back to the industrial revolution, with over 260 years of history that include making …
67 signatures
(Most recent: 7 Sep 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 63
Independent: 2
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Scottish National Party: 1
24th March 2021
Chris Elmore signed this EDM on Monday 12th April 2021

Immigration

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

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Chris Elmore, 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.


Chris Elmore has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Chris Elmore has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

Chris Elmore has not introduced any legislation before Parliament


148 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
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what progress he has made on updating procurement strategies for the Advanced Research and Invention Agency prior to projects beginning.

The Advanced Research and Invention Agency (ARIA) is expected to commission and support others to conduct research in pursuit of its highly ambitious goals, bringing together parties from public and private spheres. This may involve procuring R&D services and equipment to support research goals.

The Bill exempts ARIA from the Public Contracts Regulations, to enable ARIA to procure services, equipment and works relating to its research goals at speed, in a similar way to the private sector.

In addition to the statutory requirement for ARIA’s statement of accounts and annual report to be provided to my Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State, and laid before Parliament, ARIA will report publicly on its procurement activities.

Amanda Solloway
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, whether the Post Office’s internal prosecutorial function was excluded from the 2020 inquiry into the Horizon Post Office scandal.

The terms of reference for the Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry are set out at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/post-office-horizon-it-inquiry-2020/terms-of-reference.

The terms of reference explain that ‘Post Office Ltd’s prosecution function, matters of criminal law, the Horizon group damages settlement, the conduct of current or future litigation relating to Horizon and/or the engagement or findings of any other supervisory or complaints mechanisms, including in the public sector, are outside the Inquiry’s scope’. However, Sir Wyn Williams has explained to Ministers that – although the Inquiry will not discuss matters of substantive criminal law that should properly be decided by the criminal courts – he and his team will receive and consider information from affected postmasters as they give an account of their experiences including incidents relating to investigation, their prosecution and conviction or to look into and comment on aspects of this function as part of the organisation’s governance, leadership and culture.

The Government will continue to discuss the progress and approach to the Inquiry with Sir Wyn Williams.

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 plans his Department has to establish a judicial inquiry into the Horizon Post Office scandal.

The Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry, chaired by retired High Court judge, Sir Wyn Williams FLSW was set up to get the answers the affected postmasters are looking for in a timely manner. A non-statutory Inquiry should be as thorough and robust as a statutory Inquiry but giving the Chair greater flexibility to determine how it is run. Post Office, Fujitsu, UK Government Investment (UKGI), and BEIS are all cooperating fully with the Inquiry, but all options regarding the Inquiry remain on the table, as I said in the House of Commons on 27 April.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
27th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans his Department has to establish a judicial inquiry into the Horizon Post Office scandal.

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

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 15 January 2021 to Question 130796 on Wind Power: Seas and Oceans, when the review of UK content measurement and reporting methodology will be completed.

The sector is leading the review of the UK content methodology and is responsible for the timelines associated for the review.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
16th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 14 February 2020 to Question 13544, on Wind Power: Seas and Oceans, for what reason the update to the estimates of UK content in offshore wind developments referred to in that Answer has not been published.

The methodology used to measure the domestic content of offshore wind projects was set out in 2012. The Offshore Wind Sector Deal, which was announced in March 2019, included new commitments on measuring and reporting UK content, with the sector committing to updating its UK content methodology as well as a longer-term move towards increased transparency. As part of the update, the sector plans to develop a more holistic approach by reporting UK content and UK exports. The methodology is currently undergoing review, and the sector will resume publication of the estimates of UK content once the review is complete.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
16th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to his Department's publication entitled Steel public procurement 2020: Compliance with the steel procurement guidance (PPN 11/16), published 09 October 2020, if he will make it his policy to include figures on the share of steel produced in the UK that is used in offshore wind developments that are supported by the public purse in future editions of that publication.

The Government is committed to ensuring that UK steel producers have the best possible chance of competing for and winning the contracts associated with our domestic infrastructure investment.

The publication of the annual steel pipeline on national infrastructure projects and steel data on public sector procurement is part of this commitment. This information serves both as testament to our ambitious plans for the use of UK-sourced steel within our pipeline of major public infrastructure projects, but also as an accountability mechanism, as we work in collaboration with the sector to achieve this shared aim.

In October 2020 we published data of the steel pipeline of offshore wind national infrastructure projects to enable UK steel manufacturers to better plan for these projects.

Going forward, the Government will consider whether to publish annual figures of UK steel used in past offshore wind projects, if it is in the public interest.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
16th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions he has had with the Scottish Government on the potential closure of Burntisland Fabrications Limited.

My Rt. Hon Friend Mr Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster has recently spoken to the Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary regarding the unfortunate recent developments at Burntisland Fabrications Limited.

Recognising the impact of these developments on those who are employed at the firm and their families, the UK and Scottish governments have created a joint working group, which has already met twice. While the immediate future of the busines is a matter for the administrators, the working group will position both governments to stand ready to work with potential new investors, with a view to securing a strong future for the site.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
16th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to increase the share of UK manufacturing content in renewable energy developments that are supported by the public purse.

The Government is eager to deliver supply chain investment and increase the share of UK manufacturing content in renewable energy projects supported by Contracts for Difference (CfD) contracts. We have confirmed our intention to align the Supply Chain Plan process with government priorities, and we are currently consulting1 on proposals to introduce consequences for non-delivery of commitments that developers put forward in their Supply Chain Plans, which are approved before they enter the CfD Allocation Round. We are also strengthening the Supply Chain Plan monitoring process to support compliance.

These measures should be seen alongside my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister’s announcement on £160 million of new funding towards investment to upgrade ports and infrastructure and long-term ambitions to increase renewable energy capacity in the next CfD auction, which, together, will support new UK content, jobs and investment.

I have also convened offshore wind Industry roundtables to understand the supply chain and support investment to meet the industry’s commitment to deliver 60% UK content by 2030. The sector will explore what the future opportunities will be in high-value components for nacelle assembly, floating offshore wind and operations and maintenance and report back in March.

1 https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/contracts-for-difference-cfd-changes-to-supply-chain-plans-and-the-cfd-contract - Closing date 18th January 2021

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the timeframe is for the Trade Credit Reinsurance Scheme to start accepting applications from Scottish food and drink wholesale businesses.

The Government’s Trade Credit Reinsurance Scheme will see the majority of Trade Credit Insurance coverage maintained for businesses across the UK. The Scheme operates as a reinsurance arrangement through trade credit insurers which will enable them to continue to write and maintain cover to business throughout the COVID-19 crisis. At present, insurers serving over 80% of the market have signed up to participate in the scheme. There is no need for underlying businesses to sign up to the scheme.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of the Government providing compensation in addition to that recently awarded by the Post Office to sub-postmasters found to have been innocent of accusations of theft as a result of the Post Office's Horizon IT system fault.

Postmasters are the backbone of the Post Office, and their branches are vital to communities across the country. That is why Government takes Post Office Ltd’s relationship with its postmasters very seriously.

The settlement agreed with the Post Office included all legal and other costs. In those circumstances the Government cannot accept any further request for payment.

The Government wants to make sure lessons are learned from this case, so that such issues do not happen again, and it is of the upmost importance that the Post Office proceeds to undertake its dealings with postmasters openly and transparently. We will announce further details on this in due course.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of his Department's management of the Post Office since the roll-out of the Horizon accounting system in 2000.

While publicly owned and accountable to Government for its decisions, Post Office Ltd operates as an independent, commercial business and management of the roll-out of the Horizon accounting system falls within the scope of the Post Office’s responsibilities.

Since 2004, United Kingdom Government Investments, previously known as the Shareholder Executive, has acted as Shareholder Representative for BEIS, overseeing POL’s corporate governance, strategy, and the stewardship of POL’s financial resources on behalf of the shareholder. Prior to 2004, this role was carried out by the Department for Trade and Industry.

It is important that Government takes the Post Office’s relationship with postmasters very seriously and closely monitors the situation. The Post Office, through its new CEO has since accepted he got things wrong. He has apologised and said it aims at establishing a positive relationship with its postmasters. BEIS is working actively with the Post Office on this matter and will hold them to account on their progress.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the individual losses faced by sub-postmasters due to errors in the Horizon accounting system.

Postmasters are key to the work of the Post Office, and their branches are vital to communities across the country. That is why Government takes POL's relationship with its postmasters very seriously.

While the Government sets the strategic direction for the Post Office, it allows the company the commercial freedom to deliver this strategy as an independent business. As such, matters encompassed by this litigation, including the relationship between POL and its postmasters, is operational to Post Office Limited. I have asked Nick Read, the Group Chief Executive of Post Office Limited, to write to the Hon Member about this matter. A copy of his reply will be placed in the Libraries of the House.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the enforcement of age restrictions by outlets on the sale of fireworks.

The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) is developing a fact-based evidence base on the key issues that have been raised around fireworks. Key issues that have been raised include the regulation of age restrictions and restricting the sale of fireworks. The evidence base is considering data on noise and disturbance, anti-social behaviour, non-compliance, environmental impact, and the impact on humans and animals. This will build a full picture of the data around fireworks in order to identify whether, and what, further action is appropriate.

3rd Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment her Department has made of the effectiveness of the regulation on age restrictions in relation to the sale of fireworks.

The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) is developing a fact-based evidence base on the key issues that have been raised around fireworks. Key issues that have been raised include the regulation of age restrictions and restricting the sale of fireworks. The evidence base is considering data on noise and disturbance, anti-social behaviour, non-compliance, environmental impact, and the impact on humans and animals. This will build a full picture of the data around fireworks in order to identify whether, and what, further action is appropriate.

3rd Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of introducing a licence for the purchase of fireworks.

The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) is developing a fact-based evidence base on the key issues that have been raised around fireworks. Key issues that have been raised include the regulation of age restrictions and restricting the sale of fireworks. The evidence base is considering data on noise and disturbance, anti-social behaviour, non-compliance, environmental impact, and the impact on humans and animals. This will build a full picture of the data around fireworks in order to identify whether, and what, further action is appropriate.

14th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, ​whether racism that falls short of the standard of a racial hatred offence will be covered by the Online Safety Bill as a priority harm.

Racism online is completely unacceptable and has no place in an open and tolerant society. All companies whose services are likely to be used by children will have to protect them from racist content that falls short of the criminal threshold. Companies providing high-risk, high-reach services, such as the main social media services will also need to address legal content of this type that is harmful to adults. Racist abuse falls within the definition of harmful content that companies must address.

The government will set out priority harms for both children and adults in secondary legislation following consultation with Ofcom. Racist abuse that does not meet the threshold of a criminal offence will likely be a priority harm.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans he has to include provisions to ensure cross-platform co-operation in combating online harms in the Online Safety Bill announced in the Queen's Speech 2021.

The Online Safety Bill will address harmful content shared across multiple services in several ways. Ofcom will have a duty to publish a risk assessment identifying risks to individuals on regulated services. This will cover risks associated with the cross platform nature of harms.

Companies will need to assess whether these harms are likely to appear on their services and mitigate the risks of them doing so. Ofcom will set out details on how this can be achieved in codes of practice. Where appropriate, these will include measures to address cross-platform harms and could include cooperation between platforms.

Ofcom will also undertake research and horizon-scanning to spot any cross-platform emerging issues, backed up by robust information gathering powers. It will have a role in sharing best practice on mitigation amongst service providers. This will drive improvements in the ways service providers identify and tackle these issues.

In addition, the super-complaints process will enable organisations to submit evidence of systemic issues that are causing harm to certain groups across multiple services, which Ofcom will review.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans he has to include provisions that tackle harmful content shared across multiple platforms in the Online Safety Bill announced in the Queen's Speech 2021.

The Online Safety Bill will address harmful content shared across multiple services in several ways. Ofcom will have a duty to publish a risk assessment identifying risks to individuals on regulated services. This will cover risks associated with the cross platform nature of harms.

Companies will need to assess whether these harms are likely to appear on their services and mitigate the risks of them doing so. Ofcom will set out details on how this can be achieved in codes of practice. Where appropriate, these will include measures to address cross-platform harms and could include cooperation between platforms.

Ofcom will also undertake research and horizon-scanning to spot any cross-platform emerging issues, backed up by robust information gathering powers. It will have a role in sharing best practice on mitigation amongst service providers. This will drive improvements in the ways service providers identify and tackle these issues.

In addition, the super-complaints process will enable organisations to submit evidence of systemic issues that are causing harm to certain groups across multiple services, which Ofcom will review.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to support Ofcom to prepare for its role as the independent online safety regulator as announced in the Queen's Speech 2021.

The new Online Safety regulatory remit will entail a significant expansion of Ofcom’s existing responsibilities. We are working closely with Ofcom to ensure it is prepared for its new role, and to ensure the legislation is effectively implemented. This includes work to ensure it has the resources, skills and capabilities it needs to prepare to take on its new functions.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will publish the timetable for the Online Safety Bill announced in the Queen's Speech 2021 including for (a) pre-legislative scrutiny, (b) the date on which relevant businesses will be obliged to report their risk assessments to Ofcom and (c) post-legislative scrutiny to assess whether the regime is working.

The Online Safety Bill will be subject to pre-legislative scrutiny in this session. It is for Parliament to determine when the Bill will be scrutinised but I hope that the process will be able to start shortly now that the draft Bill has been published. This is a priority for my Department and for the Home Office, however the timetable for introduction is dependent on the wider parliamentary timetable.

The Online Safety Bill will place a duty on Ofcom to carry out a risk assessment of the sector and, as soon as is reasonably practicable, to issue guidance to companies about risk assessments. Companies will then have three months to carry out their risk assessments, unless they agree a longer timetable with Ofcom.

In order to assess the effectiveness of the regulatory framework, the Online Safety Bill provides for a review to be undertaken by the Secretary of State, to be published and laid before Parliament, between 2 and 5 years after the duties on services are commenced.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to ensure the protection of children’s personal data online.

The Government is committed to making sure that we have high data protection standards and that people of all ages are confident that their personal data will be protected and used in an appropriate way.

All organisations in the UK that process personal data have to comply with the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA). Any use of children’s data must be lawful, fair and transparent. Children should be given clear information about how their data will be used and they have the same rights as adults to access their data; request rectification; object to its processing or have it erased. Organisations offering online services directly to children must seek parental consent to process the personal data of children under the age of 13.

The DPA requires the Information Commissioner, the independent data protection regulator, to publish an Age Appropriate Design Code. The Code sets out standards of age appropriate design that companies will need to implement to ensure their services appropriately safeguard children’s personal data and process children’s personal data fairly. The Code came into force in September 2020 with a 12 month transition period for industry. It will play a key role in delivering protections for children ahead of and alongside the government’s new online safety regulatory framework. Organisations will need to conform by 2nd September 2021.

The ICO has committed to providing a package of support to organisations during the transition period to support conformance to the Code, with all guidance contained in a Children’s Code Hub on the ICO’s website at https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/childrens-code-hub/. The ICO is ensuring they engage with experts, children and parents when developing guidance, and has recently launched a Children’s Advisory Panel to support the implementation of the Code.

The ICO has also advertised for transparency champions to submit privacy information designs so that children can easily understand how, when and why services use their data.

Discussions about data protection and online safety are held regularly across government.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the barriers to (a) Disney+ and (b) other platforms to prevent them from using BBFC's best practice guidelines.

As the designated body for age classification of film content, the Government has great trust in the British Board of Film Classification’s (BBFC) best practice age ratings and continues to support the adoption of BBFC ratings for content on video on demand platforms.

While adoption of the BBFC’s age ratings by such platforms is currently voluntary, we welcome their usage and were particularly pleased to see Netflix announce on 1 December 2020 that they have become the first platform to achieve complete coverage of their content under the BBFC’s ratings.

The Government has not made any specific assessment regarding parents’ expectations of video-on-demand platforms’ content being classified in line with the BBFC's standards, or the barriers that platforms face to adopting the ratings. We note, however, that the BBFC regularly consults with the public and publishes its research online. The Government continues to engage with platforms to adopt the BBFC’s ratings across all of their content, and will keep the evidence for legislation in this area under review.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if his Department will take steps to support the adoption of BBFC age-rating standards for content on video on demand platforms.

As the designated body for age classification of film content, the Government has great trust in the British Board of Film Classification’s (BBFC) best practice age ratings and continues to support the adoption of BBFC ratings for content on video on demand platforms.

While adoption of the BBFC’s age ratings by such platforms is currently voluntary, we welcome their usage and were particularly pleased to see Netflix announce on 1 December 2020 that they have become the first platform to achieve complete coverage of their content under the BBFC’s ratings.

The Government has not made any specific assessment regarding parents’ expectations of video-on-demand platforms’ content being classified in line with the BBFC's standards, or the barriers that platforms face to adopting the ratings. We note, however, that the BBFC regularly consults with the public and publishes its research online. The Government continues to engage with platforms to adopt the BBFC’s ratings across all of their content, and will keep the evidence for legislation in this area under review.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether his Department has made an assessment of the level of expectation among parents that VOD platforms should ensure that their film and TV content is age-rated in line with the BBFC's standards for content released in cinemas and on DVD.

As the designated body for age classification of film content, the Government has great trust in the British Board of Film Classification’s (BBFC) best practice age ratings and continues to support the adoption of BBFC ratings for content on video on demand platforms.

While adoption of the BBFC’s age ratings by such platforms is currently voluntary, we welcome their usage and were particularly pleased to see Netflix announce on 1 December 2020 that they have become the first platform to achieve complete coverage of their content under the BBFC’s ratings.

The Government has not made any specific assessment regarding parents’ expectations of video-on-demand platforms’ content being classified in line with the BBFC's standards, or the barriers that platforms face to adopting the ratings. We note, however, that the BBFC regularly consults with the public and publishes its research online. The Government continues to engage with platforms to adopt the BBFC’s ratings across all of their content, and will keep the evidence for legislation in this area under review.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether the forthcoming Online Advertising Programme will be used to place an obligation on digital platform providers to monitor the adverts that they carry to tackle online financial scam advertising.

Fraudulent online financial advertising is illegal. Respondents to the Online Advertising Programme call for evidence highlighted that online fraud is among the top online harms in online advertising. We will consult this year on measures to address this and other harms identified.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, which video-on-demand platforms currently use British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) ratings; and what estimate he has made of the proportion of video-on-demand platforms that will adopt BBFC ratings in the next (a) year and (b) three years.

As the designated body for age classification of film content, the Government has great trust in the British Board of Film Classification’s (BBFC) best practice age ratings.

While adoption of the BBFC’s age ratings by online platforms is currently voluntary, we welcome their usage by Video on Demand platforms. We were particularly pleased to see Netflix announce on 1 December 2020 that they have become the first platform to achieve complete coverage of their content under the BBFC’s ratings

A number of other Video on Demand platforms use BBFC ratings for some of their content, including Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV+, Curzon Home Cinema and BFI Player.

We will continue to engage with industry to encourage other platforms to adopt the BBFC’s ratings across all of their content, and will keep the evidence for legislation in this area under review in the coming years.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps the Government will take to ensure children are prevented from accessing pornography on sites that (a) do not carry user-generated content and (b) are not subject to regulation by Ofcom under the Online Harms legislation.

The strongest protections in our online harms proposals are for children. All companies in scope, regardless of their size, will be required to assess whether children are likely to access their services, and if so, provide additional protections for children using them.

Where pornography sites host user generated content or facilitate online user interaction (including video and image sharing, commenting and live streaming), they will be subject to the duty of care. The online harms regime will capture both the most visited pornography sites and pornography on social media, therefore covering the vast majority of sites where children are most likely to be exposed to pornography. Taken together we expect this to bring into scope more online pornography that children can currently access than the narrower scope of the Digital Economy Act. We will continue to review our proposals to ensure we deliver the most comprehensive protections for children online.

Under our proposals, we expect companies to use age assurance or age verification technologies to prevent children from accessing services which pose the highest risk of harm to children, such as online pornography. We are working closely with stakeholders across industry to establish the right conditions for the market to deliver age assurance and age verification technical solutions ahead of the legislative requirements coming into force. We would encourage companies to take steps ahead of the legislation to protect children from harmful and age inappropriate content online.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether the Online Harms Bill will take a twin track approach to regulatory standards and enforcement of (a) illegal and (b) legal but harmful content; and if he will make a statement.

Our online harms legislation will take a risk-based and proportionate approach to ensuring companies protect their users from harmful content and improve their safety. Regulation will establish differentiated expectations on companies for illegal and legal but harmful content and activity. Importantly, it will also require companies to ensure a higher level of protection for children.

In scope services will need to ensure that illegal content is removed expeditiously and that the risk of it appearing is minimised by effective systems. For legal but harmful content accessed by adults, companies will be required to explicitly state what content and behaviour they deem to be acceptable on their sites and enforce this consistently and transparently. For children, companies will need to use a proportionate range of tools including age assurance, and age verification technologies to prevent them from accessing age-inappropriate content and to protect them from other harms. Further detail will be provided in the Full Government Response to the Online Harms White Paper which will be published this year.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans he has to progress funding for the UK Safer Internet Centre in 2021.

The government is committed to ensuring children are protected online and this remains at the heart of our online harms agenda, and wider government priorities. The government recognises the important role the UK Safer Internet Centre plays in improving online safety in the UK, particularly for children.

Officials engage regularly with the Centre, including on its funding position following the UK’s exit from the EU. The government has also written a letter in support of the Centre's application for further EU funding from the Connecting Europe Facility programme for 2021. We understand the Centre will know the outcome of this application shortly.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans the Government has to allocate funding to the UK Safer Internet Centre in 2021.

The government is committed to ensuring children are protected online and this remains at the heart of our online harms agenda, and wider government priorities. The government recognises the important role the UK Safer Internet Centre plays in improving online safety in the UK, particularly for children.

Officials engage regularly with the Centre, including on its funding position following the UK’s exit from the EU. The government has also written a letter in support of the Centre's application for further EU funding from the Connecting Europe Facility programme for 2021. We understand the Centre will know the outcome of this application shortly.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he plans to provide additional financial support for people working in the creative industries in response to the covid-19 lockdown.

We recognise that the new national restrictions will have a significant impact on individuals working in the creative industries sector.

The Secretary of State announced an unprecedented £1.57 billion support package for the cultural sector which will benefit the creative industries by providing support to venues and many other cultural organisations to stay open and continue operating. So far, over £500m has been announced from the Culture Recovery Fund for over 2,000 organisations across England including venues, festivals and theatres. The Cultural Recovery Fund is devolved, Wales has received £59 million from the Fund under the Barnett formula.

The majority of cultural organisations applied to the Culture Recovery Fund setting out plans to deliver some activity before March 2021. Whilst most of that activity has been disrupted, we know many hope to restart this once the national restrictions end.

We have confirmed that there will be a full package of financial support in place, with the Job Retention Scheme extended until March 2021. Businesses can continue to apply for government-backed loans, and self-employed individuals can access the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme, which has been extended until April 2021. The CJRS and SEISS support has been made more generous, with individuals able to receive 80% of their current salary for hours not worked/average trading profits respectively.

We are continuing to meet with creative industries stakeholders to provide support and guidance for the sector during this time.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when he plans to publish the Government’s response to the Competition and Markets Authority’s market study on Online Platforms and Digital Advertising.

Dynamic and competitive digital markets are key to creating a world-leading digital economy that works for businesses, consumers and society as a whole. The Government is grateful to the Competition and Markets Authority for their market study and is carefully considering their recommendations. A response will be published in due course. The Government has accepted, in principle, the six strategic recommendations from the Furman Review for unlocking competition in digital markets.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the market study by the Competition and Markets Authority on Online Platforms and Digital Advertising, published in July 2020, whether the Government plans to implement a new pro-competition regulatory regime to tackle the market power of online platform companies.

Dynamic and competitive digital markets are key to creating a world-leading digital economy that works for businesses, consumers and society as a whole. The Government is grateful to the Competition and Markets Authority for their market study and is carefully considering their recommendations. A response will be published in due course. The Government has accepted, in principle, the six strategic recommendations from the Furman Review for unlocking competition in digital markets.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the market study by the Competition and Markets Authority on Online Platforms and Digital Advertising, published in July 2020, whether the Government plans to set up a Digital Markets Unit to (a) enforce a code of conduct to ensure that online platforms with a position of market power do not engage in exploitative or exclusionary practices or those likely to reduce trust and transparency and (b) impose fines if necessary.

Dynamic and competitive digital markets are key to creating a world-leading digital economy that works for businesses, consumers and society as a whole. The Government is grateful to the Competition and Markets Authority for their market study and is carefully considering their recommendations. A response will be published in due course. The Government has accepted, in principle, the six strategic recommendations from the Furman Review for unlocking competition in digital markets.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to raise awareness of where to report (a) illegal and (b) harmful content online; and what steps he is taking to improve the accuracy of reporting in each of those categories.

The government is committed to ensuring all internet users are empowered to report illegal and harmful content. DCMS has published comprehensive guidance on staying safe online, which contains information about reporting harmful content to platforms and charities. Our guidance for parents includes information on reporting harms such as child sexual abuse and cyberbullying.

Under the new online harms regulatory framework, companies, where appropriate, will need to have effective and easily accessible mechanisms for users to report harmful and illegal content. We will publish a Government Response to the Online Harms White Paper consultation later this year, setting out further detail about the new regulatory requirements. Online harms legislation will be ready in this session.

We are also developing an online media literacy strategy, to equip all users with the skills to critically appraise information and take steps to keep themselves and others safe online. This will be published later this year.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to improve accurate reporting of online harms.

The government is committed to ensuring all internet users are empowered to report illegal and harmful content. DCMS has published comprehensive guidance on staying safe online, which contains information about reporting harmful content to platforms and charities. Our guidance for parents includes information on reporting harms such as child sexual abuse and cyberbullying.

Under the new online harms regulatory framework, companies, where appropriate, will need to have effective and easily accessible mechanisms for users to report harmful and illegal content. We will publish a Government Response to the Online Harms White Paper consultation later this year, setting out further detail about the new regulatory requirements. Online harms legislation will be ready in this session.

We are also developing an online media literacy strategy, to equip all users with the skills to critically appraise information and take steps to keep themselves and others safe online. This will be published later this year.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether his Department plans to allocate funding to the UK Safer Internet Centre to provide UK Safer Internet Day in 2021 and beyond.

The government recognises the work the UK Safer Internet Centre (UKSIC) delivers on online safety. UKSIC currently receives funding from European Commission’s Connecting Europe Facility programme. Officials regularly engage with the Centre, including on its funding position following the UK’s exit from the EU.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the news story, Chancellor sets out extra £750 million coronavirus funding for frontline charities, published on 8 April 2020, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of extending the six month deadline for charities to spend their proportion of funding in order to allocate that funding to where it will have the greatest effect.

Government is not planning to extend the timeframes for this funding to be spent based on the fact that this package is intended to provide short term funding in response to the immediate impacts of Covid-19.

Of the £750m, £200m has been allocated to the Coronavirus Community Support Fund, which is being distributed by The National Lottery Community Fund in England. This funding will help to maintain and enhance services for vulnerable people affected by the current crisis, where delivery organisations are experiencing income disruption and/or increased demand for their services.

How to apply: https://www.tnlcommunityfund.org.uk/funding/covid-19/learn-about-applying-for-emergency-funding-in-england

We have published clear and comprehensive guidance on the £750 million and how organisations can apply for it on Gov.uk. This guidance will be updated frequently: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/financial-support-for-voluntary-community-and-social-enterprise-vcse-organisations-to-respond-to-coronavirus-covid-19

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what data his Department holds on the amount of harmful online content which was removed in (a) April 2020 and (b) April 2019.

The Department for State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport does not own, or store, any data relating to the removal of harmful online content.

Many tech companies publish transparency reports on their websites, which may contain this data. These reports are published on a voluntary basis.

The Online Harms White Paper set out our plans for a world leading regulatory framework, addressing a comprehensive spectrum of online harms in a single and coherent way. Developing a culture of transparency, trust and accountability will be a critical element of the new regulatory framework. The regulator will have the power to require annual transparency reports from companies in scope, outlining the prevalence of harmful content on their platforms and what measures they are taking to address this. These reports will be published online by the regulator, so that users and parents can make informed decisions about internet use.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether further funding has been been allocated from the public purse to the reduction of online harms during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government is committed to making the UK the safest place to be online and, earlier this year, dedicated resources to responding to online harms as a result of Covid-19. This included standing up the DCMS-led Cross-Whitehall Counter Disinformation Unit. In response to the current situation, we have trebled the size of this coordination team at DCMS. Both the disinformation cell and the online harms Covid-19 team have been resourced through existing headcount.

In addition, the Government has pledged £750 million to ensure charities can continue their vital work during the Covid-19 outbreak. Many of these organisations are providing support for online harms during this period. This includes £7.8 million which has been allocated to the Home Office in emergency support for charities helping vulnerable children who have been impacted by the Covid-19 outbreak. We have been working closely with the Home Office on the online harms element of this work.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans he is putting in place to keep young people safe online during the covid-19 outbreak.

The internet presents many benefits during this period. It can help young people stay connected and access educational resources. However this period may place some young people at greater risk of experiencing harm online.

On 23rd April, DCMS published new online safety advice on how to stay safe online during the Covid-19 outbreak, with a particular focus on supporting parents and carers to protect children.

The Government is firmly committed to making the UK the safest place to be online, and we are working at pace to introduce Online Harms legislation.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
12th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the Shared Rural Network, what proportion of the UK will have geographic coverage from all four operators by 2025.

The Government’s in-principle support for the Mobile Network Operators’ Shared Rural Network proposal remains subject to detailed negotiations, but our ambition is that by the end of 2025, 4G geographic coverage from all four operators will be significantly higher than the 66% it is today. I continue to work with the sector to conclude those negotiations and will be in a position to provide an update to this question later this spring.

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what his policy is on funding childcare infrastructure in the (a) short and (b) long term.

The government continues to support families with their childcare costs. My right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced on 25 November an extra £44 million in the 2021-22 financial year for local authorities in England to increase hourly rates paid to childcare providers for the government’s free childcare entitlement offers. This is an above inflation average hourly funding rate uplift for 3-4 year-olds and 2 year-olds, compared to the 2020-21 financial year. Further information on how this will be distributed will be made available as soon as possible.

Funding beyond the 2021-22 financial year will be considered in the round at future Spending Reviews.

Education in Wales is a matter for the devolved administration.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of limits on the number of English students who can attend Scottish universities from 2020 on the higher education sector.

Student number controls for English-domiciled students in Scotland are a direct response to the financial threat posed by the COVID-19 outbreak and they form a key part of the package of measures to stabilise the admissions system.

These controls are a temporary measure and will be in place for one academic year only. Student number controls for institutions in Scotland only apply to the number of English-domiciled entrants who will be supported with their tuition fees through the Student Loans Company. They are set at a level which will allow every institution to take more first year English students than they took last year. The funding of English-domiciled students is not a devolved matter, and it is right and fair that this policy should apply as consistently as possible wherever they are studying in the UK.

Ministers will continue to work closely with the devolved administrations on strengthening and stabilising the higher education system following the COVID-19 outbreak.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the change in the average age of potty training on the consumption of single-use nappies.

The independent analysts carrying out the environmental assessment of disposable and reusable absorbent hygiene products have taken into consideration the recent YouGov survey to establish current ages for potty training.  The sources of the information used in the study, as well as an explanation of the methodology and assumptions made, will be included in the final report which will be published later this year following peer review.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of the increase in the average age at which children potty train from 2.5 to 3.5 years on the (a) volume of plastic waste generated from more single-use nappies being used and (b) burden on local authorities tasked with dealing with those nappies through landfill or incineration.

The independent analysts carrying out the environmental assessment of disposable and reusable absorbent hygiene products have taken into consideration the recent YouGov survey to establish current ages for potty training.  The sources of the information used in the study, as well as an explanation of the methodology and assumptions made, will be included in the final report which will be published later this year following peer review.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department’s life cycle assessment of disposable and washable absorbent hygiene products will take account of the results of the YouGov survey finding that the average age for potty training has increased from 2.5 to 3.5 years old.

The independent analysts carrying out the environmental assessment of disposable and reusable absorbent hygiene products have taken into consideration the recent YouGov survey to establish current ages for potty training.  The sources of the information used in the study, as well as an explanation of the methodology and assumptions made, will be included in the final report which will be published later this year following peer review.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent progress he has made on his assessment of the life cycle of disposable and washable absorbent hygiene products.

Work on the environmental assessment of disposable and washable absorbent hygiene products is still in progress. It has taken longer than originally anticipated to enable relevant data to be collected. We intend to publish the final peer reviewed report later this year.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to increase the sustainability of fisheries.

The Fisheries Act’s objectives, together with the strong legal framework of the Joint Fisheries Statement and Fisheries Management Plans, set out our commitment to achieving sustainable fishing and protecting the marine environment. We will also work closely with neighbouring countries to ensure our seas are managed sustainably, to secure a fair share of quota for UK fishers, and to enable a thriving industry for current and future generations. Our ambition remains to have world-class fisheries management that delivers sustainable fisheries, safeguards stocks and the environment for the long-term.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to support the introduction of reusable nappy incentive schemes in local authorities.

In line with the 25 Year Environment Plan, and our Resources and Waste Strategy, we are considering the best approach to minimise the environmental impact of a range of products, including nappies, taking on board the environmental and social impacts of the options available. Potential additional policy measures include standards, consumer information and encouraging voluntary action by business. We are seeking powers, through the Environment Bill, that will enable us to, where appropriate and subject to consultation, introduce ecodesign and consumer information requirements. This could include labelling schemes that provide accurate information to consumers, to drive the market towards more sustainable products.

The decision on whether to support local reusable nappy schemes is one for local authorities. To help them better understand the merits of doing so, as well as for our understanding, we are funding an environmental assessment of disposable and washable absorbent hygiene products with the primary focus on nappies. This is looking at the waste and energy impacts of washable and disposable products, disposal to landfill or incineration, and recycling options. Information is being gathered from industry to help with this. I have recently met representatives of the Nappy Alliance and will be meeting disposable nappy business representatives shortly. The research will be published in the summer, following peer review, and will help inform possible future action on nappies by the Government and industry.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to reduce the level of waste from single-use nappies.

In line with the 25 Year Environment Plan, and our Resources and Waste Strategy, we are considering the best approach to minimise the environmental impact of a range of products, including nappies, taking on board the environmental and social impacts of the options available. Potential additional policy measures include standards, consumer information and encouraging voluntary action by business. We are seeking powers, through the Environment Bill, that will enable us to, where appropriate and subject to consultation, introduce ecodesign and consumer information requirements. This could include labelling schemes that provide accurate information to consumers, to drive the market towards more sustainable products.

The decision on whether to support local reusable nappy schemes is one for local authorities. To help them better understand the merits of doing so, as well as for our understanding, we are funding an environmental assessment of disposable and washable absorbent hygiene products with the primary focus on nappies. This is looking at the waste and energy impacts of washable and disposable products, disposal to landfill or incineration, and recycling options. Information is being gathered from industry to help with this. I have recently met representatives of the Nappy Alliance and will be meeting disposable nappy business representatives shortly. The research will be published in the summer, following peer review, and will help inform possible future action on nappies by the Government and industry.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to support small wine traders.

The Government recognises our trade in wine with the EU is economically important to UK business and jobs they support. We listened to the concerns raised by MPs and the industry during the negotiations that the introduction of VI1 certification arrangements would damage this trade and perhaps especially our smaller more specialised traders. That is why in the new UK/EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement we successfully negotiated a significant simplification to the usual VI1 certificate process. This allows producers or traders to self-certify certificates used in the movement of wine products made in the UK or the EU and moving to the other territory. Importantly, these certificates will not require any form of analysis above providing details of the alcoholic content; addressing another significant concern of the industry.

Moreover, in order to address any trade uncertainty that new certification arrangements would introduce, we provided the safeguard of an easement in certification requirements until 1 July 2021. This allows any wine imported from the EU to continue to arrive on commercial documentation, as it did when the UK was subject to EU rules.

As we look to develop our own domestic wine policy, we will continue to look to introduce simpler arrangements in our trade in wine with the EU and with other countries that supply wine to us. Scope exists to allow existing and simplified VI1 certification to be transmitted electronically, which will reduce paper and courier costs. We will look to see how this could be rolled out, but perhaps more fundamentally, we first need to consider whether there is any value in retaining the wine specific certification requirements at all.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect of removing the requirement for VI-1 certification for wine on wine retailers and distributors.

Further to the answer I gave to the Member for Bermondsey and Old Southwark on 1 September [78691], no assessment has been made of the impact of delaying the introduction of UK import certification on wine to 1 July 2021. This easement has been introduced to allow businesses time to make the necessary adaptations to meet the requirement. Additionally, Defra officials are working closely with UK industry to ensure we have the capability to meet the equivalent EU requirement being introduced on 1 January 2021.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what guidance his Department has issued to (a) food and drink wholesalers and (b) redistribution organisations to minimise the waste of food through the legal distribution of food that has passed its best before date.

Following the decision taken to implement the lockdown at the end of March, in order to protect the NHS and save lives, thousands of cafes, restaurants, work canteens and school kitchens shut down immediately. Food that was already in kitchens, freezers, wholesalers’ warehouses, or in transit to the food service sector, could not be used. Some of this food is now beginning to reach its ‘best before’ date, and we need to ensure that it is not wasted.

Our food surplus and waste champion has written to the food industry, to ask that all surplus food that is safe and suitable to eat is made available and redistributed.

Working with the Food Standards Agency (FSA), Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), and others, Defra has made information available to businesses, trading standards officers and food hygiene officers about the rules on use-by and best before dates. This information makes it clear that 'Best Before' is an indication of quality, not safety, and that food approaching or even past this date may still be used, sold or redistributed. Only food beyond its 'Use By' date should not be used.

Our food industry has already shown itself to be resilient, agile and innovative in shifting direction at a moment's notice to deal with Covid-19 and keep the nation fed. Now that restrictions are being relaxed, Defra urges businesses to, wherever possible, prioritise stock which needs to be used most urgently, before moving to goods with later 'Best Before' dates. In doing so, they can be confident that their trading standards and food hygiene officials will provide support and, as long as the food is safe to use, that there is no legal restriction in doing so.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with the Scottish Government on the financial effect of the covid-19 outbreak on food and drink wholesalers in Scotland.

The wholesale sector is hugely important within the food and drink supply chain and to the economy of the country through servicing tourism and other financially important sectors. To ensure its ongoing viability in difficult circumstances, the UK Government has provided a range of support. This includes the announcement of a host of measures to help businesses in this period, with over £300 billion worth of Government backed and guaranteed loans to support businesses across the UK.

Food and drink wholesalers are eligible for a number of schemes, including: the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to help keep millions of people in employment and the Discretionary Grant Fund for small and micro businesses that are not eligible for other grant schemes. The Bounce Back Loan Scheme is also available to small businesses from 4 May. This will apply to wholesalers who will be able to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 with a 100% Government-backed guarantee for lenders.

The Secretary of State speaks to his counterparts in the Scottish Government, including through the Defra multilateral Inter Ministerial Group, on a regular basis when they discuss a range of issues. Discussions also take place regularly at official level and these cover sharing of sectoral information and updates on Government activities.

Food supply is a devolved matter. It is therefore for the Scottish Government to decide what discussions they have with their sectors and what support to provide beyond that delivered at UK level in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with the Scottish Government on the (a) resilience of food and drink wholesalers during the covid-19 outbreak and (b) the importance of such wholesalers to tourism and other sectors.

The wholesale sector is hugely important within the food and drink supply chain and to the economy of the country through servicing tourism and other financially important sectors. To ensure its ongoing viability in difficult circumstances, the UK Government has provided a range of support. This includes the announcement of a host of measures to help businesses in this period, with over £300 billion worth of Government backed and guaranteed loans to support businesses across the UK.

Food and drink wholesalers are eligible for a number of schemes, including: the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to help keep millions of people in employment and the Discretionary Grant Fund for small and micro businesses that are not eligible for other grant schemes. The Bounce Back Loan Scheme is also available to small businesses from 4 May. This will apply to wholesalers who will be able to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 with a 100% Government-backed guarantee for lenders.

The Secretary of State speaks to his counterparts in the Scottish Government, including through the Defra multilateral Inter Ministerial Group, on a regular basis when they discuss a range of issues. Discussions also take place regularly at official level and these cover sharing of sectoral information and updates on Government activities.

Food supply is a devolved matter. It is therefore for the Scottish Government to decide what discussions they have with their sectors and what support to provide beyond that delivered at UK level in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what meetings she has had with representatives from (a) Facebook and (b) the Internet Association in which Section 230 of the US Communications Decency Act 1996 was discussed; and if she will make a statement.

The Secretary of State has had no meetings with representatives from Facebook and the Internet Association.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on the compatibility of the proposed UK-US trade deal with the UK Government's proposed legislation on online harms; and if she will make a statement.

HM Government is committed to making the United Kingdom the safest place in the world to be online and the best place to start and grow a digital business. The Department for International Trade is working closely with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to carefully consider any interaction between trade policy and Online Harms policy in future trade agreements. I can confirm that HM Government stands by our Online Harms commitment, and nothing in the US trade deal will affect that.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, for what reasons the Airport and Ground Operations Support Scheme is capped; and what assessment he has made of the effect of that cap on larger airports.

The Airport and Ground Operations Support Scheme intends to allow commercial airports and ground handlers operating at airports in England to be able to apply for support to the equivalent of their site’s business rates liabilities or their COVID-19 losses – whichever is lower – up to a cap of £8m, if they meet the qualifying criteria and conditions.

The cap strikes an appropriate balance between supporting airports in financial distress while protecting the interests of the taxpayer.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
6th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that social distancing measures are implemented in aviation travel.

In line with the Prime Minister’s announcement in relation to the next phase of the pandemic, the Department for Transport is looking to introduce new measures specific to the aviation sector as part of the Government’s overall efforts.

Further, the Department is working closely with the aviation sector to co-produce agreed common standards on health measures that could be deployed throughout the aviation customer journey. These measures will help to restart the sector and provide passengers and staff with the confidence they need to start flying again. The Department is working internationally to aim to ensure any UK measures are recognised globally given the international nature of the sector.

4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to ensure travel operators are providing cash refunds for cancelled (a) flights and (b) package holidays.

The Government recognises the challenges businesses and consumers are experiencing regarding refunds for cancelled holidays and flights. Airlines are working hard to answer the high call volumes and to process the very large number of applications for refunds.

We appreciate the frustration consumers may be experiencing. We are clear that refunds must be paid when asked for by the consumer. The Department for Transport is in regular conversation with UK airlines and wider membership bodies. The department is working closely with the sector, the regulator and consumer groups to help ensure airlines deliver on their commitments.

10th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to Heathrow Airport Ltd’s Initial Business Plan, published in December 2019, committing funding to new rail links to that airport, if the Government will confirm (a) funding from the public purse to and (b) approve the Western Rail Link to Heathrow Airport.

It is helpful that Heathrow Airport has been clear in its Initial Business Plan that it sees the Western Rail Link being delivered in all scenarios. Government has always been clear that its support for the development of the scheme is subject to the successful agreement of terms with the Heathrow Aviation industry.

Grant Shapps
Secretary of State for Transport
10th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the timescales are for the progress of rail access projects to Heathrow Airport.

Network Rail is finalising work on the Western Rail Link to Heathrow (WRLtH) Development Consent Order and will be prepared to submit to the Planning Inspectorate following the agreement of terms between the Government and the Heathrow Aviation industry on an appropriate financial contribution to the project. Network Rail has been advised to expect to submit the application for Development Consent no later than summer 2020, which will mark the next major milestone for the project.

On Southern Access to Heathrow (SAtH), my Department has been working to develop an appropriate ‘market involved’ commercial model. Following Ministerial approval and alignment to the upcoming HM Treasury Infrastructure Finance Review, the Department intends to provide further guidance regarding the commercial approach later this year.

Grant Shapps
Secretary of State for Transport
16th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what proportion of the length of the M5 has reflective studs.

The full length of the M5 has reflective studs installed.

16th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when the reflective studs on the M5 were last renewed.

Highways England have a rolling programme of asset renewal, with reflective studs typically being replaced every 3-5 years. Highways Inspectors also carry out frequent inspections of the whole M5 carriageway and will assess and record any defects found.

Where studs are missing or damaged, Highways England arrange for their replacement as part of scheduled work schemes. In mid January 2020 overnight works took place on the M5 southbound carriageway between 11A and 12. 1446 studs were replaced.

16th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when the M5 last had its road markings repainted.

Highways England have a rolling programme of asset renewal, with road markings typically being repainted every 3-5 years. Highways Inspectors also carry out frequent inspections of the whole M5 carriageway and will assess and record any defects found. In mid January 2020 overnight works took place on the M5 southbound carriageway between 11A and 12 and 7134 linear metres of lining was repainted.

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will take steps to increase pension credit uptake.

DWP continues to use available channels to promote Pension Credit and reach potential recipients, and their family and friends. This includes using proactive press activity and planned social media posts to encourage older people to check if they are eligible by visiting the gov.uk website or calling the Freephone claim line 0800 99 1234.

The Department is currently sending letters to over 11 million pensioners informing them about the increase in their State Pension from April. In order to better promote Pension Credit and encourage eligible pensioners to make a claim, the accompanying leaflet includes specific information about Pension Credit, highlighting that an award of Pension Credit can mean being eligible for other benefits such as Housing Benefit or a free over-75 TV licence.

As part of an internal review of communication products, we have also identified improvements in our Pension Credit messaging at other key customer “touchpoints” and are updating the products used to claim Attendance Allowance and Carer’s Allowance accordingly.

We also continue to liaise regularly with stakeholders about ways to encourage take-up of Pension Credit, and working with the BBC on their messaging around free TV licences and Pension Credit.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she has responded to the Canadian Government’s request for a reciprocal social security arrangement covering uprating; and if she will make a statement.

The Department for Work and Pensions has not had any recent discussions on this issue with the Government of Canada. The Department plans to respond shortly to the request from Canada for a reciprocal social security agreement

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when she last discussed a reciprocal social security agreement with the Government of Canada.

The Department for Work and Pensions has not had any recent discussions on this issue with the Government of Canada. The Department plans to respond shortly to the request from Canada for a reciprocal social security agreement

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether the Government of Australia has made representations to the Government on negotiating a reciprocal social security agreement that includes the uprating of pensions.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 3 December 2020, PQ UIN 121330.

https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-11-26/121330

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the effectiveness of (a) universal credit and (b) the policy of payment of costs in arrears in helping parents meet childcare costs.

In Universal Credit, working families can claim up to 85%, increased from 70% in legacy benefits, of their eligible registered childcare costs each month. This equates to a maximum support of £646.35 per month for one child and £1,108.04 per month for two or more children.

The current childcare offer is comprehensive, broad ranging and reflects different family circumstances, covering children over a range of ages. We believe that helping parents with their childcare costs is one of the best ways to help people into work, support families with the cost of living, and ensure every child has the opportunity of a high quality early education.

The UC childcare policy aligns with the wider government childcare offer, which includes 15 hours per week free childcare for disadvantaged 2 year olds and 3 & 4 year olds. This doubles to 30 hours per week free childcare for working parents of 3 & 4 year olds.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for International Trade on the policy not to uprate the UK state pensions of UK pensioners living in (a) Canada and (b) Australia; and if she will a statement.

The Government has no plans to change its policy on overseas pension uprating. This is a longstanding policy which has been supported by successive Governments for over 70 years.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether the Government of Australia has made representations to the Government on negotiating a reciprocal social security agreement that covers the uprating of pensions.

The Department has recently received representations from the Government of Canada to negotiate a reciprocal social security agreement covering the uprating of pensions.

We have not received any recent similar representations from Australia on this issue.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the longer term potential merits of suspending the Benefit Cap.

No Assessment has been made.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to support single parents to (a) stay in work, (b) return to work and (c) retrain.

We are committed to helping parents into work. Childcare is essential in enabling parents to work, although we recognise that this can cause additional financial difficulty. Universal Credit claimants are able to claim up to 85 per cent of their childcare costs, compared to 70 per cent on the legacy system. Work allowances for working parents and people with disabilities were increased by £1000 from April 2019. 2.4 million households will be up to £630 better off (per year), in a package worth £1.7bn by 2023/24.

Universal Credit Work Coaches have flexibility and autonomy to build individual support packages to help the individual into work and help those with low incomes. Work Coaches utilise additional packages to support individuals such as Self-Employment, New Enterprise Allowance (NEA) and funding from the Flexible Support Fund to help individuals overcome their barriers to enter employment.

The UC childcare policy aligns with the wider government childcare offer, which includes 15 hours per week free childcare for disadvantaged 2 year olds and 3 & 4 year olds. This doubles to 30 hours per week free childcare for working parents of 3 & 4 year olds.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the adequacy of the level of childcare costs that can be claimed under universal credit.

In Universal Credit, working families can claim up to 85%, increased from 70% in legacy benefits, of their eligible registered childcare costs each month. This equates to a maximum support of £646.35 per month for one child and £1,108.04 per month for two or more children.

The current childcare offer is comprehensive, broad ranging and reflects different family circumstances, covering children over a range of ages. We believe that helping parents with their childcare costs is one of the best ways to help people into work, support families with the cost of living, and ensure every child has the opportunity of a high quality early education.

The UC childcare policy aligns with the wider government childcare offer, which includes 15 hours per week free childcare for disadvantaged 2 year olds and 3 & 4 year olds. This doubles to 30 hours per week free childcare for working parents of 3 & 4 year olds.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether provisions are in place for universal credit claimants who go into arrears as a result of having to pay upfront fees when moving home before their universal credit has been paid.

Universal Credit is assessed and paid monthly, which reflects how the majority of the UK workforce is paid and helps prepare households to budget on a monthly basis, which will ease the transition into work. It also helps households to take advantage of cheaper tariffs for essential costs such as utility bills.

A Universal Credit Change of Circumstances Advance can be made available to existing claimants that experience a change of circumstance which results in a significant increase in entitlement, where the claimant cannot wait until the end of the assessment period to receive the increase.

For those individuals who require additional support, Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) are available. DHPs can be paid to those entitled to Housing Benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit who face a shortfall in meeting their housing costs. The payments are awarded at the discretion of the Local Authority and can provide help with on-going housing costs, or one-off expenses such as rent in advance, deposits or removal costs.

We have provided £180m in DHP funding to local authorities to support vulnerable claimants with housing costs in the private and social rented sector in England and Wales for 2020/21. This includes an extra £40m as announced last year at the spending round.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the effect of the timing of universal credit payments on the (a) assistance that people receive and (b) costs that people incur when moving home.

Universal Credit is assessed and paid monthly, which reflects how the majority of the UK workforce is paid and helps prepare households to budget on a monthly basis, which will ease the transition into work. It also helps households to take advantage of cheaper tariffs for essential costs such as utility bills.

A Universal Credit Change of Circumstances Advance can be made available to existing claimants that experience a change of circumstance which results in a significant increase in entitlement, where the claimant cannot wait until the end of the assessment period to receive the increase.

For those individuals who require additional support, Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) are available. DHPs can be paid to those entitled to Housing Benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit who face a shortfall in meeting their housing costs. The payments are awarded at the discretion of the Local Authority and can provide help with on-going housing costs, or one-off expenses such as rent in advance, deposits or removal costs.

We have provided £180m in DHP funding to local authorities to support vulnerable claimants with housing costs in the private and social rented sector in England and Wales for 2020/21. This includes an extra £40m as announced last year at the spending round.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent discussions she has had with with housing associations on the effect on universal credit claimants of upfront fees when moving home.

Universal Credit is assessed and paid monthly, which reflects how the majority of the UK workforce is paid and helps prepare households to budget on a monthly basis, which will ease the transition into work. It also helps households to take advantage of cheaper tariffs for essential costs such as utility bills.

A Universal Credit Change of Circumstances Advance can be made available to existing claimants that experience a change of circumstance which results in a significant increase in entitlement, where the claimant cannot wait until the end of the assessment period to receive the increase.

For those individuals who require additional support, Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) are available. DHPs can be paid to those entitled to Housing Benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit who face a shortfall in meeting their housing costs. The payments are awarded at the discretion of the Local Authority and can provide help with on-going housing costs, or one-off expenses such as rent in advance, deposits or removal costs.

We have provided £180m in DHP funding to local authorities to support vulnerable claimants with housing costs in the private and social rented sector in England and Wales for 2020/21. This includes an extra £40m as announced last year at the spending round.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the evidence given by Andrew Latto, Deputy Director; Devolution, Pensioner Benefits and Carer’s Allowance Policy, to the Scottish Social Security Committee on 23 January 2020, if she will publish the calculations supporting the Deputy Director's statement that, in the UK, 16 per cent of pensioners are in poverty [and] if all those pensioners claimed pension credit, housing benefit and the council tax reduction, especially the council tax reduction, that would reduce the 16 per cent to almost zero.

Since 2009/10, material deprivation for pensioners has fallen from 10% to 6% in 2018/19.

There are 100 thousand fewer pensioners in absolute poverty (before and after housing costs) than in 2009/10.

Average pensioner incomes have grown significantly in real terms over the last two decades (average weekly income in 1994/95 was £165 a week After Housing Costs, in 2018/19 prices, compared to £320 a week in 2018/19).

For 2020/21 we are forecast to spend over £126 billion a year on pensioners – including £102 billion on the State Pension.

In 2017/18 it was estimated that 1.6 million pensioners (14%) were in Absolute Poverty (After Housing Costs) and 2.0 million pensioners (16%) were in Relative Poverty (After Housing Costs).

The latest figures for 2017/18 estimate that 1.1 million pensioner households who were eligible for Pension Credit did not claim this benefit. 0.2 million pensioner households who were eligible for Housing Benefit did not claim.

Estimate for take-up for Council Tax reduction schemes by pensioner households are not available due to the localised nature of these schemes.

The Government want to ensure that older people receive the support they are entitled to. Although more than 1.5 million older people across Great Britain already receive extra financial help through Pension Credit, research suggests there are still a significant number of older people who are missing out. That is why, earlier this year, the Department ran a nationwide campaign to raise awareness of Pension Credit and highlight that even a small award can provide access to a wide range of other benefits, including Housing Benefit and Council Tax reduction schemes.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many non-resident parents were fined for non-payment of child maintenance in 2018.

The Child Maintenance Service does not fine Paying Parents for not paying their child maintenance. They do however recover the unpaid child maintenance through the use of enforcements actions such as deductions from earrings orders, deduction orders and civil enforcement. In cases where the Child Maintenance Service believe the Paying Parent can pay, but are refusing to do so they can apply to the courts to send the Paying Parents to prison, disqualifying them from holding or obtaining a passport or driving licence. The figures described can be found in the quarterly National Tables for the Child Maintenance Service statistics (data to September 2019), Table 12 (“Enforcement Actions”). This is available here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/child-maintenance-service-statistics-data-to-september-2019-experimental

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to help ensure that paying parents do not delay settlement of their child maintenance liabilities.

The Child Maintenance Service (CMS) continues to take steps to improve compliance, and deal with non-compliance before enforcement action is needed. Where compliance cannot be achieved and the parent is employed, we will attempt to deduct their maintenance and any arrears directly from their earnings. The CMS can also deduct directly from bank accounts as a lump sum or regular amount. We have a range of other strong enforcement powers, including the use of Enforcement Agents to take control of goods, forcing the sale of property, disqualification from holding a UK passport or commitment to prison.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many of the Child Maintenance Service’s deduction from earnings orders for child maintenance were not complied with in 2018.

Information relating to the number of Deduction from Earnings Orders / Requests being used to collect child maintenance each quarter, and their compliance is published online as part of the quarterly Child Maintenance Service statistics. The latest publication includes information to September 2019. This is available here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/child-maintenance-service-statistics-data-to-september-2019-experimental

The requested information is published in the National Tables, Table 12 (“Enforcement Actions”).

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to ensure that employers are complying with the seven day deadline of deduction from earnings orders, to ensure child maintenance is deducted from the parents pay.

To ensure that employers meet their obligations to deduct child maintenance from earnings, the Child Maintenance Group (CMG) has taken the following steps:

  • new employers are issued with a comprehensive welcome pack detailing their role and responsibilities;
  • the CMG has a dedicated Employer Payment Team (EPT) to assist and support employers with this process;
  • EPT call every employer new to CMG within seven days and talk them through our welcome pack;
  • we have enhanced specific procedures and training for Deduction from Earnings Orders (DEO) to ensure they are implemented promptly and accurately;
  • we have established DEO ambassadors to assist caseworkers across our organisation; and
  • we ensure Enforcement action where an employer is deemed non-compliant.
Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
17th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether a UK resident is allowed to quarantine in their motor home on return to the UK from Spain.

If someone has not been in a red-list country they must quarantine at home and book and take mandatory COVID-19 tests on day two and day eight of their quarantine. They must complete a Passenger Locator Form (PLF) two days before they travel with details of where they will quarantine when they arrive. Individuals must provide a registered United Kingdom address on the PLF. For someone quarantining in a motor home, this would mean they need to remain parked in the same location for the duration of the 10 days quarantine.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to tackle misinformation on vaccines online, and if he will make a statement.

We take the issue of vaccine misinformation extremely seriously and are working across Government to tackle this.

We continue to work with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, media, social media and technology companies to limit misinformation and promote positive messages about vaccination.

The Department works closely with Public Health England and NHS England and NHS Improvement to promote vaccinations and raise awareness of their benefits and the diseases they prevent.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to his recent meeting with Facebook’s Vice-President for Global Affairs and Communications, whether Section 230 of the US Communications Decency Act 1996 was discussed at that meeting; and if he will make a statement.

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care held a wide-ranging discussion on the role that social media companies, including Facebook, can play to tackle the spread of vaccine misinformation online.

We continue to work with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, media, social media and technology companies, including Facebook, to limit the impact and spread of misinformation and promote positive messages about vaccination.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to his recent meeting with Facebook’s Vice-President for Global Affairs and Communications, what the outcomes of that meeting were; and if he will make a statement.

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care’s recent meeting with Facebook’s Vice-President for Global Affairs and Communications included discussion on the actions that Facebook is taking to minimise the reach and influence of vaccine misinformation online and promote positive messages about vaccination.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the level of the provision of video telephoning facilities for patients in hospital that cannot have visitors during the covid-19 outbreak.

Ensuring patients can contact their family and friends during their stay in hospital is critical to their wellbeing and morale at all times. National Health Service providers are locally responsible for providing this, though its provision will depend on the clinical treatment being received and the facilities being utilised. In many cases this will involve utilisation of the patient’s own technology such as a smartphone, but consideration needs to be given by NHS trusts to alternative methods to ensure patients have the services they need.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with the Government’s Chief Scientific Advisers on the potential effect of the reduction in the Official Development Assistance budget on the UK’s scientific activities and collaborations at an international level.

Government Chief Scientific Advisers play an important role in providing Ministers with advice on the breadth of science and technology policy. ODA research and development is an important part of UK's official development assistance, delivering benefit to hundreds of millions of people. The Government Chief Scientific Advisers were closely involved in providing advice to the government on this issue, drawing on their individual expertise and wider networks.

This advice has informed the government's commitment to invest in ODA science and technology as a substantial force for good to tackle major challenges, develop international partnerships and deliver development impact.

James Duddridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he has met with representatives from the aviation industry to assess what financial support they need to survive the covid-19 outbreak.

The Chancellor speaks to industry representatives on a regular basis about a range of matters, including support for the aviation industry.

The Government recognises the challenging circumstances facing the aviation industry as a result of Covid-19 and firms experiencing difficulties can draw upon the unprecedented package of measures announced by the Chancellor, including schemes to raise capital and flexibilities with tax bills. In addition to economy-wide measures such as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the aerospace sector and its aviation customers are being supported with almost £11 billion made available through loan guarantees, support for exporters, the Bank of England’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility and grants for research and development. This includes £8bn of guarantees provided by UK Export Finance.

In addition, the renewed Airport and Ground Operations Support Scheme that the Chancellor announced in his Budget will provide support for eligible businesses with their fixed costs for a further six months, up to the equivalent of their business rates liabilities for the first half of the 2021-22 financial year, subject to certain conditions and a cap per claimant of £4m.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the effect of the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight system on wine importers; and if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of providing additional support to wine importers to help tackle issues relating to that system.

The Government recognises that businesses must get to grips with new customs procedures and is providing support.

The Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system continues to work well. In practice, most businesses do not connect to CHIEF, using the services of a customs intermediary instead or, if they do their own customs administration, commercial software that interacts with CHIEF.

HMRC have engaged extensively with excise trade associations through the Joint Alcohol and Tobacco Consultation Group (JATCG) which has included regular meetings with the Wines and Spirits Trade Association (WSTA). HMRC will continue that support and help to trade associations and individual businesses.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the benefits of an industry-wide commitment to membership of LINK and the Post Office Banking Framework ahead of the introduction of legislation protecting access to cash.

The Government recognises that cash remains important to millions of people across the UK and has committed to protecting access to cash for those that need it. The Government published a Call for Evidence on 15 October 2020 seeking views on the key considerations associated with cash access, including deposit and withdrawal facilities, cash acceptance, and regulatory oversight of the cash system. The Call for Evidence closed on the 25 November 2020. The Government is considering responses and will set out next steps in due course.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Treasury has been working closely with regulators and industry to ensure customers continue to have access to essential banking services, while also protecting the safety of staff and customers. This has meant the vast majority of people have been able to access cash through the pandemic.

The Government continues to be fully supportive of the Post Office Banking Framework Agreement. The agreement allows 95% of business and 99% of personal banking customers to carry out their everyday banking at 11,500 Post Office branches in the UK until December 2022. The terms of future Banking Framework Agreements are commercial decisions between industry and the Post Office. The Government will continue to engage with industry and the Post Office to ensure that that all customers, wherever they live, continue to have access to over the counter banking services.

Since 1998, all the major UK banks and building societies have participated in LINK, enabling their ATMs to be used by customers of the other members of the network. Presently, ATMs are the most commonly used means of withdrawing cash. Membership of LINK is a commercial decision.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing short term measures to protect the cash system following the national covid-19 lockdown announced in January 2021.

The Government recognises that cash remains important to millions of people across the UK and has committed to protecting access to cash for those that need it. The Government published a Call for Evidence on 15 October 2020 seeking views on the key considerations associated with cash access, including deposit and withdrawal facilities, cash acceptance, and regulatory oversight of the cash system. The Call for Evidence closed on the 25 November 2020. The Government is considering responses and will set out next steps in due course.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Treasury has been working closely with regulators and industry to ensure customers continue to have access to essential banking services, while also protecting the safety of staff and customers. This has meant the vast majority of people have been able to access cash through the pandemic.

The Government continues to be fully supportive of the Post Office Banking Framework Agreement. The agreement allows 95% of business and 99% of personal banking customers to carry out their everyday banking at 11,500 Post Office branches in the UK until December 2022. The terms of future Banking Framework Agreements are commercial decisions between industry and the Post Office. The Government will continue to engage with industry and the Post Office to ensure that that all customers, wherever they live, continue to have access to over the counter banking services.

Since 1998, all the major UK banks and building societies have participated in LINK, enabling their ATMs to be used by customers of the other members of the network. Presently, ATMs are the most commonly used means of withdrawing cash. Membership of LINK is a commercial decision.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will appoint the Financial Conduct Authority to track changes in cash acceptance by UK businesses in response to the finding in research from Which? that found 1 in 3 people have had their cash refused since the beginning of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government recognises that cash remains important to millions of people across the UK and has committed to protecting access to cash. The Government published a Call for Evidence on 15 October 2020 seeking views on the key considerations associated with cash access, including deposit and withdrawal facilities, cash acceptance, and regulatory oversight of the cash system.

The Government will ensure that regulators have the right responsibilities and powers to oversee the cash system. As set out in the Call for Evidence, effective coordination between the financial authorities will continue to be critical, but the Government considers that there may also be benefit in giving a single authority overall responsibility for ensuring the retail cash system meets the needs of consumers and businesses. The Government’s view is that the FCA may be well positioned to take on the function through legislation. The Call for Evidence closed on the 25 November 2020. The Government is considering responses and will set out next steps in due course.

The Government also remains closely engaged with the financial regulators, including through the Treasury-chaired Joint Authorities Cash Strategy Group, to monitor and assess risks around cash relating to COVID-19. In order to help control the virus, all businesses and individuals are encouraged to follow the latest Government advice. It is important to wash your hands regularly. To work safely, retailers have been recommended to minimise contact around transactions, for example, considering using contactless payments. It remains the individual retailer’s choice as to whether to accept or decline any form of payment, including cash or card.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what support is available for people who are employed in the coach tourism industry whose work has been adversely affected by the covid-19 pandemic.

The Government appreciates this is a difficult time for many businesses, including coach tourism companies. With the resurgence of the virus and tightening of restrictions to protect people's health, we have taken further steps to protect jobs and businesses.

People who are employed in the coach industry can benefit from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), which will remain open until 2 December, with employees receiving 80% of their current salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500.

Self-employed individuals in the coach industry can benefit from the Government’s recent announcement of more generous support for the self-employed, who will now receive 80% of average trading profits in November. As SEISS grants are calculated over 3 months, this increases the total level of the grant to 55% of trading profits for November to January and the maximum grant will increase to £5,160. We will also be paying this out more quickly by bringing forward the SEISS 3 claims window from 14 December to 30 November.

To support businesses with their cashflow, on 2 November the Chancellor also announced that the application deadline for the government-backed loan schemes have been further extended until 31 January 2021.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps the Government is taking to monitor the economic effect of its covid-19 business support packages; and what the timeframe is for the introduction of the proposed business rates relief support scheme to bring the food and drink wholesale sector into line with their customers in the hospitality, tourism and retail sector.

The Government is keeping the support measures, including their effect on businesses and the economy, under constant review.

The Government has provided enhanced support through business rates relief to businesses occupying properties used for retail, hospitality and leisure given the direct and acute impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on those sectors.

A range of other measures to support all businesses, including those not eligible for the business rates holiday, such as wholesalers, has also been made available. On 8 July the Chancellor set out a package of measures to support jobs across the UK, including a Job Retention Bonus to help firms keep furloughed workers and a new £2 billion Kickstart Scheme to create hundreds of thousands of new, fully subsidised jobs for young people.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to ensure that travel insurance companies are (a) communicating clearly to their consumers and (b) treating them fairly.

The Government is in continual dialogue with the insurance sector to understand and influence its contribution to handling this unprecedented situation.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) rules require insurers to handle claims fairly and promptly; provide reasonable guidance to help a policyholder make a claim; not reject a claim unreasonably; and settle claims promptly once settlement terms are agreed. In addition, the FCA has said that, in light of COVID-19, insurers must consider very carefully the needs of their customers and show flexibility in their treatment of them. The Government is working closely with the FCA to ensure that the rules are being upheld during this crisis and fully supports the regulator in its role.

The FCA have also issued guidance for travel insurance customers, which can be found on their website.

We have discussed with insurers the importance of insurance cover for Covid-19 in restoring consumer confidence to travel again. Firms assure us that they will look to offer cover again where and when they can. They are monitoring announcements by Government and reviewing their position as the situation evolves. We will continue to monitor this situation closely.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what support is available for self-employed people who have become self-employed in the last 12 months.

The newly self-employed are eligible for many elements of the unprecedented financial support provided by the Government. This package includes Bounce Back loans, tax deferrals, rental support,?increased levels of Universal Credit, mortgage holidays, and other business support grants. More information about the full range of business support measures is available at www.gov.uk/government/collections/financial-support-for-businesses-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Wales on using the Shared Prosperity Fund to support Wales in responding to the covid-19 outbreak.

The Chancellor discusses matters of importance to the Welsh economy with the Secretary of State for Wales and Cabinet on a regular basis.

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund will be used to bind together the whole of the United Kingdom, tackling inequality and deprivation in each of our four nations. It will replace the overly bureaucratic EU Structural Funds, and not only be better targeted at the UK’s specific needs, but will match the size of those funds in each nation.

Steve Barclay
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
11th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of extending the length of time employers can claim for employees through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

The Government has extended the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme until October 2020. Extending the scheme in its current form until July will provide workers, businesses and the economy with clarity on this support. After July, the Government will introduce more flexibility to the furlough scheme in a measured way that protects people’s incomes and helps support furloughed employees as they return to work. From August through to the end of October, employers currently using the scheme will have more flexibility to bring their furloughed employees back to work part-time while still receiving support from the scheme. Employers using the scheme will start contributing some of the costs of their workers’ salaries, substituting in part the contribution that the Government is currently making. The Government will outline more details of how this will work by the end of May.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
11th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of extending the Self-Employment Income Support scheme beyond the single instalment covering three months and capped at £7,500.

The UK has one of the most generous self-employed COVID-19 support schemes in the world.

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme opened on 13 May, ahead of schedule, and it provides support worth up to £7,500 each to millions of individuals. Recipients will have the grants in their bank accounts by end of this month.

The Chancellor will keep the scheme under review.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
11th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on long-term support for businesses who have been detrimentally affected by the covid-19 pandemic.

The Government has announced unprecedented support for business and workers to protect them against the current economic emergency including almost £300 billion of guarantees – equivalent to 15% of UK GDP. We have taken steps to give businesses access to cash to pay rent, salaries or suppliers, alongside a commitment to pay 80% of the regular monthly wages, up to £2,500, of furloughed workers via the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS).

On 12 May the Chancellor announced that the CJRS would be extended for a further three months until October. The Government will continue to monitor developments to understand the impacts of COVID-19 on business.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to maintain free access to cash withdrawals during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government recognises the importance of cash to the daily lives of millions of people across the UK, particularly to those in vulnerable groups and individuals who may be self-isolating.

The Government is working closely with the cash industry and regulators to ensure that people can continue to access their cash. Customers can continue to use ATMs or cash machines as normal for cash withdrawals and balance enquiries.

LINK, the scheme that runs the UK’s largest ATM network, has existing arrangements in place to protect free-to-use ATMs that do not have another free-to-use ATM or Post Office counter within 1 kilometre. LINK is also supporting the viability of remote ATMs with premium fees paid to ATM deployers.

The Financial Conduct Authority is monitoring the situation closely to ensure that regulated firms are providing clear information about the solutions that they offer to help customers make payments.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to support the ATM industry during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has announced unprecedented support for public services, workers and businesses to protect against the current economic emergency. The Government is monitoring the impact measures are having and keeps all policies under review.

To ensure that people continue to be able to access their cash during the Covid-19 outbreak, the Government continues to work closely with the cash industry and regulators.

LINK has existing commitments to protect free-to-use ATMs that are 1 kilometre or further from the next free-to-use ATM or Post Office, and several of its members have recently pledged to replace these protected ATMs should they close in the next 12 months.

The Government-established Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) is closely monitoring developments in ATM provision. The PSR regulates LINK, the scheme which runs the UK’s ATM network, and has used its powers to hold LINK to account over LINK’s commitments to preserve the broad geographic spread of the ATM network.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment the Government has made of the potential merits of allowing employers to include a proportion of employees wages which are earned through bonuses or commission in claims to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

The objective of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is to enable employers to continue to keep people in employment. To achieve this, the grants compensate employers for the payments that they are contractually obliged to make, in order to avoid the need for redundancies. Covering discretionary payments would go beyond the objectives of the scheme. Full guidance on how to calculate 80% of wages can be found at: www.gov.uk/guidance/work-out-80-of-your-employees-wages-to-claim-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

For some employees, the pay in scope for the grant will be less than the overall sum they usually receive. The Government is also supporting those on low incomes who need to rely on the welfare system through a significant package of temporary welfare measures. This includes a £20 per week increase to the Universal Credit standard allowance and Working Tax Credit basic element, and a nearly £1 billion increase in support for renters through increases to the Local Housing Allowance rates for Universal Credit and Housing Benefit claimants. These changes will benefit all new and existing claimants. Anyone can check their eligibility and apply for Universal Credit by visiting www.gov.uk/universal-credit.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what financial support his Department is providing during the covid-19 outbreak to people that are paid through dividends rather than a salary.

Those who pay themselves a salary through their own company may be eligible to claim for 80% of usual monthly wage costs, up to £2,500 a month, through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). The CJRS is available to employers, including personal service companies, and individuals paying themselves a salary through a PAYE scheme are eligible.

Income from dividends is a return on investment in the company, rather than wages, and is not eligible for support. Under current reporting mechanisms it is not possible for HM Revenue and Customs to distinguish between dividends derived from an individual’s own company and dividends from other sources, and between dividends in lieu of employment income and as returns from other corporate activity. Expanding the scope would require HMRC to collect and verify new information. This would take longer to deliver and put at risk the other schemes which the Government is committed to delivering as quickly as possible.

Individuals who are not eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme might be able to access the other support Government is providing, including the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme and the deferral of tax payments. More information about the full range of business support measures is available at?www.businesssupport.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-support/

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what financial support is available during the covid-19 outbreak to individuals who are a sole-person limited company.

Those who pay themselves a salary through their own company may be eligible to claim for 80% of usual monthly wage costs, up to £2,500 a month, through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). The CJRS is available to employers, including personal service companies, and individuals paying themselves a salary through a PAYE scheme are eligible.

Income from dividends is a return on investment in the company, rather than wages, and is not eligible for support. Under current reporting mechanisms it is not possible for HM Revenue and Customs to distinguish between dividends derived from an individual’s own company and dividends from other sources, and between dividends in lieu of employment income and as returns from other corporate activity. Expanding the scope would require HMRC to collect and verify new information. This would take longer to deliver and put at risk the other schemes which the Government is committed to delivering as quickly as possible.

Individuals who are not eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme might be able to access the other support Government is providing, including the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme and the deferral of tax payments. More information about the full range of business support measures is available at?www.businesssupport.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-support/

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of including (a) coded welders, (b) steel fabricators, (c) mechanical fitters and (d) pipe fitters on the Immigration Rules Appendix K: Shortage Occupation List.

In March, the Government commissioned the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to advise on the composition of the Shortage Occupation Lists (SOL) in light of the expanded skills threshold of the new Skilled Worker route, which will come into effect on 1 December.

The MAC published its findings and recommendations on 29 September. The Government welcomes the MAC’s comprehensive advice; however, we do not consider changes to the SOLs should be made at this time, before assessing how the UK labour market develops post-Covid 19 and in response to the introduction of the new Points-Based Immigration System on 1 January 2021.

As published on 22 October, the Immigration Rules for the new Points-Based Immigration System include an Appendix Shortage Occupation Lists. This replaces the existing lists under Appendix K. The contents are the same.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what visa options are available to the ship building industry for the use of non-UK labour for the delivery of shipbuilding projects.

The UK’s new Points-Based Immigration System will come into effect from 1 January 2021; however, to provide certainty for UK-based employers and individual migrants, a number of new routes – including the new Skilled Worker route – will open on 1 December 2020.

Occupations such as boat and ship builders and repairers will be eligible for the Skilled Worker route subject to meeting the wider criteria, including the relevant salary threshold and English Language requirements.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans she has to update the Immigration Rules Appendix K: Shortage Occupation List before the end of the transition period.

In March, the Government commissioned the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to advise on the composition of the Shortage Occupation Lists (SOL) in light of the expanded skills threshold of the new Skilled Worker route, which will come into effect on 1 December.

The MAC published its findings and recommendations on 29 September. The Government welcomes the MAC’s comprehensive advice; however, we do not consider changes to the SOLs should be made at this time, before assessing how the UK labour market develops post-Covid 19 and in response to the introduction of the new Points-Based Immigration System on 1 January 2021.

As published on 22 October, the Immigration Rules for the new Points-Based Immigration System include an Appendix Shortage Occupation Lists. This replaces the existing lists under Appendix K. The contents are the same.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has of the adequacy of the response times of Action Fraud.

Victims in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are encouraged to report these crimes directly to Action Fraud, the centralised reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime. Those in Scotland should report directly to Police Scotland, via the 101 service.

It is vital that victims of fraud have the confidence to come forward and know that their case will be dealt with.

The City of London Corporation (as the Police Authority for the City of London Police) commissioned an independent review by Sir Craig Mackey QPM into the standards, culture and management of Action Fraud. The findings and recommendations of that review were published on 24th January on the City of London Police Authority’s website, currently available at https://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/assets/About-us/action-fraud-report.pdf

The review highlights the need to improve the victim experience, with a focus on answering times, the time callers spend waiting in queues and the percentage of calls that are answered. The City of London Police are addressing Sir Craig’s recommendations regarding Action Fraud and the NFIB, working with the City of London Corporation, the National Crime Agency and the Home Office.

City of London Police transparently publish their response times. These are currently available at: https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/fraud-stats. We monitor these stats closely, working with City of London Police to understand any monthly drops in response times.

20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what avenues of redress there are for people who have been defrauded by an individual who is based outside of the UK.

Victims in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are encouraged to report these crimes directly to Action Fraud, the centralised reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime. Those in Scotland should report directly to Police Scotland, via the 101 service.

It is vital that victims of fraud have the confidence to come forward and know that their case will be dealt with.

The City of London Corporation (as the Police Authority for the City of London Police) commissioned an independent review by Sir Craig Mackey QPM into the standards, culture and management of Action Fraud. The findings and recommendations of that review were published on 24th January on the City of London Police Authority’s website, currently available at https://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/assets/About-us/action-fraud-report.pdf

The review highlights the need to improve the victim experience, with a focus on answering times, the time callers spend waiting in queues and the percentage of calls that are answered. The City of London Police are addressing Sir Craig’s recommendations regarding Action Fraud and the NFIB, working with the City of London Corporation, the National Crime Agency and the Home Office.

City of London Police transparently publish their response times. These are currently available at: https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/fraud-stats. We monitor these stats closely, working with City of London Police to understand any monthly drops in response times.

1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment he has made of the level of threat related to online child sexual abuse during the covid-19 outbreak.

Based on reporting from law enforcement partners and expert opinion, our assessment suggests the risk of online abuse has increased. We continue to develop our understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on child sexual abuse, gathering input from law enforcement, safeguarding leads, charities, international partners and other colleagues. We are working with all our partners to strengthen this assessment and deliver a whole system response.

The Government is committed to tackling online child sexual exploitation and abuse and recognises that whilst there are huge benefits to being online in order to stay connected to family and friends during this period, many parents may feel concerned about the activities and content their children are accessing. We have published Guidance (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-keeping-children-safe-online/coronavirus-covid-19-support-for-parents-and-carers-to-keep-children-safe-online) for parents and children outlining resources to help keep children safe from different risks online, including online grooming, and where to go to receive support and advice.

In May, the Government pledged more than £76?million?extra funding to support the most vulnerable in society during pandemic. The funding has been made available for charities to support?survivors of abuse, including child sexual abuse.

Recognising the impact of the current situation, the Prime Minister hosted the government’s first Hidden Harms virtual summit. It was attended by over 70 representatives from across government, the NHS, law enforcement, charities and frontline services, as well as survivors of hidden harms. The summit was an opportunity to share emerging best practice at the local and national level and identify areas to go further over the coming months.

Home Office Ministers have met the Internet Watch Foundation, children charities, the tech industry and other parties on the threat during the pandemic, including writing to industry partners on countering online child sexual exploitation and abuse during the pandemic.

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the covid-19 lockdown, what assessment she has made of when people will be able to register births, marriages and civil partnerships.

The local registration service in England has been advised that birth registrations can recommence where these can be safely delivered in line with Public Health and local authority guidelines. The restrictions in Wales have not yet been lifted. The Government is further considering the options for how marriages and civil partnerships can be registered while respecting prevailing public health guidance and regulations to slow the spread of Covid-19.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the adequacy of precautionary plans in place at UK borders for people travelling into the UK during the covid-19 pandemic.

Our approach to tackling coronavirus has been driven by the latest scientific and medical advice provided by SAGE and Public Health England. In line with that advice, to date, no changes have been required at the UK border.

Any decision to implement additional restrictions on international travel to the UK or on arrival at ports/airports will be made by Ministers.

We are continuously reviewing the most appropriate response at the UK border to the changing situation in relation to CV-19, both in the UK and across the international community.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether an individual who is on a spousal visa will be penalised if their employer places them on the furloughed workers scheme.

The Home Office has put in place a range of measures to support those affected by the Covid-19 outbreak.

These concessions are set out for customers on GOV.UK and are available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-uk-visa-applicants-and-temporary-uk-residents.

We continue to monitor the situation closely and take the current exceptional circumstances into account.

To ensure a spouse or partner applying for entry clearance, leave to remain or indefinite leave are not unduly affected by circumstances beyond their control, for the purpose of the minimum income requirement an applicant or sponsor furloughed under the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will be deemed as earning 100% of their salary.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what financial support her Department is providing during the covid-19 outbreak to people that hold visas that restrict their access to public funds.

The Government has put in place a range of measures to support people affected by the covid-19 outbreak and we will continue to review the situation to consider if more can be done.

The Home Office is working closely with other government departments to support people, including migrants with no recourse to public funds, through this crisis. We are taking a compassionate and pragmatic approach to an unprecedented situation.

Migrants with leave under the Family and Human Rights routes can apply to have the restriction lifted by making a ‘change of conditions’ application if there has been a change in their financial circumstances. The Home Office has recently digitised the application form to make sure it is accessible for those who need to remain at home, and I can assure you that the applications are being dealt with swiftly and compassionately.

The Coronavirus job retention scheme, self-employment income support and statutory sick pay are not classed as public funds for immigration purposes. Contribution-based benefits are also not classed as public funds for immigration purposes. Additionally, measures we have brought forward such as rent and mortgage protections are not considered public funds and can be accessed by migrants with leave to remain.

The Government has made in excess of £3.2bn of funding available to local authorities in England to assist them in managing the pressures arising out of the pandemic.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, when veterans who left service more than 2 years ago are planned to receive their Veteran ID card.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 24 November 2020 to Question 115709 to the hon. Member for Ellesmere Port and Neston (Justin Madders).

https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-11-16/115709

7th Dec 2020
What recent discussions he has had with military charities on improving support for veterans throughout the UK.

MOD officials and I have regular discussions with the Service charities on a range of subjects including support for veterans. This Government has been proactive in providing support to the charity sector in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The MOD and the OVA provided £6million in funding for the Armed Forces community, through the COVID Impact Fund, working in partnership with Service charities to deliver support for the most vulnerable. Over 100 Service charities benefited from this funding.

9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of changes to UK immigration policy on the shipbuilding industry who employ non-UK labour on projects relevant to the UK's national security.

In my role as Shipbuilding Tsar, I am committed to developing this sector and recognise the importance of access to skills.

I am working closely with colleagues across Government to deliver the pipeline of skilled workers that the industry needs to successfully deliver the ships required for our national security and prosperity.

In future, any EU citizen wishing to come to live and work in the UK will need to apply under the UK's future immigration system, which we are now capable of setting in the national interest.

Ben Wallace
Secretary of State for Defence
23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what plans his Department has to use the methodology for the determination of priority places for the UK Community Renewal Fund to inform the determination of similar areas under the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

The UK Community Renewal Fund will help inform the design of the UK Shared Prosperity through funding of one year pilots, but the funds are distinct in regard to design, eligibility and duration. Successful UK Community Renewal Fund bids will be for 2021/22 only.

The UK Community Renewal Fund aims to support our communities to pilot programmes and new approaches, aligning national and local provision. We want to use the UK Community Renewal Fund to test greater integration of types of interventions and greater flexibility between investment themes than under EU structural funds.

A big part of testing and trialling means evaluating what works well and what does not so that it can feed into the development of both the places and people portions of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. Spending Review 2020 set out the main strategic elements of the UKSPF in the Heads of Terms.  The Government will publish a UK-wide investment framework later this year and confirm its funding profile at the next Spending Review

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
21st Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether the Legatum Institute's UK Prosperity Index 2021 area rankings will inform the design of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund will help to level up and create opportunity across the UK in places most in need, such as ex-industrial areas, deprived towns and rural and coastal communities, and for people who face labour market barriers.

Spending Review 2020 set out the main strategic elements of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund in the Heads of Terms. We will ramp up funding so that total domestic UK-wide funding will at least match EU receipts, on average reaching around £1.5 billion a year. In addition, the UK Government is providing an additional £220 million funding in 2021/22 through the UK Community Renewal Fund to help local areas prepare for the launch of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

The Government will publish a UK-wide investment framework later this year and confirm its funding profile at the next Spending Review.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
21st Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment his Department has made of the implications for its policies of the Legatum Institute's UK Prosperity Index 2021 area rankings.

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund will help to level up and create opportunity across the UK in places most in need, such as ex-industrial areas, deprived towns and rural and coastal communities, and for people who face labour market barriers.

Spending Review 2020 set out the main strategic elements of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund in the Heads of Terms. We will ramp up funding so that total domestic UK-wide funding will at least match EU receipts, on average reaching around £1.5 billion a year. In addition, the UK Government is providing an additional £220 million funding in 2021/22 through the UK Community Renewal Fund to help local areas prepare for the launch of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

The Government will publish a UK-wide investment framework later this year and confirm its funding profile at the next Spending Review.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
21st Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps he plans to take to engage and consult representatives of local authorities in Wales on the design of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

The Government has been engaging with stakeholders on the design and priorities of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund since 2016, including holding a series of engagement events.

Over 500 stakeholders attended these events across a variety of sectors, including businesses, public bodies (such as Local Enterprise Partnerships, Mayoral Combined Authorities, local governments), higher education institutions, voluntary and charity sector and rural partnership groups.

Our engagement events have taken place across the UK including in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. Government officials will continue to work closely with interested parties as we develop the Fund.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, when he plans to announce the deadlines for the subsequent bidding rounds of the Levelling Up Fund.

The £4.8 billion Levelling Up Fund will invest in infrastructure that improves everyday life across the UK, including regenerating town centres and high streets, upgrading local transport, and investing in cultural and heritage assets.

The prospectus published at Budget provides guidance for local areas on how to submit bids for the first round of funding for projects starting in 2021-22. This includes guidance on the process for submitting bids, the types of projects eligible for funding, and how bids will be assessed.

Further detail on how the Fund will operate from 2022-23 onwards will be set out later this year.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether he has reviewed the eligibility criteria for the allocation of priority places for the UK Community Renewal Fund.

To ensure the UK Community Renewal Fund funding reaches the most in need, we have identified 100 priority places based on an index of economic resilience across Great Britain which measures productivity, household income, unemployment, skills, and population density.

We are committed to transparency and a methodological note has been published explaining how the 100 priority places were selected.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what discussions he has had with local authorities in Wales on the UK Community Renewal Fund.

As set out in the UK Community Renewal Fund prospectus, the UK Government will work directly with local partners and communities across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, who are best placed to understand the needs of their local areas and more closely aligned to the local economic geographies to deliver quickly on the ground.

Following the launch of the Fund, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government and officials held webinar events with all local authorities, including those in Wales, to provide details on the design of the new fund.

UK Government officials have been in touch with local authorities in Wales to assist them further in their understanding of the UK Community Renewal Fund, including how to apply.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, for what reason Bridgend County Borough Council did not meet the criteria to be a priority place for the UK Community Renewal Fund.

To ensure that the UK Community Renewal Fund reaches those most in need, we have identified 100 priority places based on an index of economic resilience across Great Britain which measures productivity, household income, unemployment, skills and population density. This has been developed based on a consistent approach to identifying need across Great Britain. We are committed to transparency and a methodological note explaining how the 100 priority places were determined has been published alongside further guidance for applicants and lead authorities.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
18th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor for the Exchequer on support for the wholesale food and drink sector in Scotland.

I am in regular contact with the Chancellor for the Exchequer and all members of the Cabinet to discuss how best the UK Government can support sectors of the Scottish economy, including the wholesale food and drink sector.

At the last budget delivered in March I was pleased to see the Scotch whisky industry getting a welcome boost, with a freeze on spirits and a commitment to a review of alcohol duty, and £10 million help to develop green technology. I was also extremely happy to see £1 million investment in promoting Scottish produce to overseas markets.

The wholesale food and drink sector in Scotland has also been considered as part of the UK Government’s broader Covid-19 support. This included the support offered through the Job Retention Scheme and the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme which have protected the incomes of almost 800,000 people in Scotland – more than a quarter of the workforce. This is in addition to the various loans and guarantees to help UK businesses survive the economic fallout from coronavirus. However, our response to Covid-19 must be UK-wide and that’s why we have announced over £7 billion of additional funding to the devolved administrations to support people, business and public services in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. This means £3.8 billion for the Scottish Government, £2.2 billion for the Welsh Government and £1.2 billion for the Northern Ireland Executive.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
18th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on trends in the level of unemployment in Scotland in the last three years.

I have regular discussions with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on a range of matters, including trends in the level of unemployment in Scotland.

The UK Government recognises that this is a challenging time for Scotland. This is why the Chancellor has committed an unprecedented package of support. This includes a range of loan schemes and grants and, in particular, the Job Retention and Self-Employment Support Schemes which have protected the incomes of almost 800,000 people in Scotland – more than a quarter of the workforce. I am delighted that the Job Retention Scheme has now been extended to October.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what support the Government has offered to Rolls Royce in Scotland.

The UK Government is committed to supporting companies through the COVID-19 crisis and has worked with many businesses across the economy to understand how best to do so, including Rolls-Royce.

The UK Government has been in close discussions with Rolls-Royce on the various business support schemes available to the business and its suppliers. Through the Aerospace Growth Partnership, the company has also fed into the UK Government’s dialogue with the wider aerospace sector about business support.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what discussions he has had with the Scottish Government on support for Rolls Royce in Scotland.

I have regular discussions with the Scottish Government on a number of policy issues. The UK Government regularly speaks with Rolls-Royce and has worked closely with the company in response to COVID-19.

We have discussed with Rolls-Royce the various UK Government business support schemes available to the company and its suppliers. Rolls-Royce has also been part of the Department’s regular engagements with the wider aerospace sector about business support during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what consultation the Government undertook with relevant stakeholders prior to the decision that student number controls will be applied to Scottish universities’ recruitment of English students for 2020.

Funding decisions affecting students domiciled in England are for the Department of Education to determine, however the Minister of State for Universities Michelle Donelan discussed the matter with Cabinet Secretary Richard Lochead on several occasions prior to the announcement.

This measure, which applies across the whole of the UK, will avoid harmful over-recruitment among providers which could go against the interests of both students and universities.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what steps his Department is taking to support people that live in areas of higher deprivation in Scotland during the covid-19 outbreak.

I am committed to ensuring that those people living in Scotland who are affected by Covid-19 receive the support that they need. I have regular conversations with my Cabinet colleagues, including the Secretary of State for the Department for Work and Pensions where I champion the interests of Scotland.

The UK Government is ensuring that people continue to receive their benefits and we continue to work collaboratively with the Scottish Government to support those who need us the most.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what support his Department is providing to the Scottish tourism industry during the covid-19 pandemic.

Ministers and officials in the Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland are in regular contact with Scottish businesses and their representative organisations, including those in the tourism sector.

The UK Government recognises that this is a challenging time for the sector. This is why the Chancellor has committed an unprecedented package of business support. This includes a range of loan schemes, grants, self-employment support and the Job Retention Scheme. Business representative organisations I have talked with have welcomed the Chancellor’s announcement of the Job Retention Scheme’s extension to October.

In addition, we will continue to work collaboratively with the Scottish Government to support the tourism industry in Scotland during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, how much funding for covid-19 testing has been allocated from the public purse to Scotland.

Funding for Covid-19 testing is UK-wide. This means Devolved Administrations do not receive a Barnett Consequential on this expenditure, but receive a share of the testing equipment that DHSC procure for the UK. At present, DHSC are providing five testing sites and thirteen mobile testing units in Scotland, which complement the testing activities of NHS Scotland.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, what discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on the registration of births, marriages or civil partnerships during the covid-19 lockdown.

The UK Government meets regularly with the Welsh Government on a wide range of issues. We are all doing whatever it takes to help the UK defeat Coronavirus. Following the Prime Minister’s announcement of 23 March regarding measures to help stop the spread of the Coronavirus, the Local Registration Service in England and Wales deferred birth registration appointments and notifications of marriages and other ceremonies in line with social distancing guidelines. Plans to reopen these services will be discussed with the Welsh Government.

Simon Hart
Secretary of State for Wales