Claudia Webbe Portrait

Claudia Webbe

Independent - Leicester East


Select Committee Meeting
Wednesday 12th May 2021
14:00
Environmental Audit Committee - Oral evidence
Subject: Green Jobs
12 May 2021, 2 p.m.
At 2.30pm: Oral evidence
Jane Cooper - UK Stakeholder Relations & Regulatory Affairs at Orsted
Dr Adam Read - External Affairs Director at SUEZ Recycling and Recovery UK Ltd
Venetia Knight - Head of Employment and Enterprise at Groundwork Greater Manchester at Groundwork
At 3.30pm: Oral evidence
Andrew Mennear - Director, UK Government Affairs at BP
Peter Walters - Head of Environment and Sustainability at Chemical Industries Association
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Select Committee Meeting
Tuesday 18th May 2021
09:15
Committees on Arms Export Controls - Oral evidence
Subject: UK arms exports in 2019
18 May 2021, 9:15 a.m.
At 10.00am: Oral evidence
Andrew Kinniburgh - General Director at Make UK Defence
Nick Radiven - Negotiations Officer at Prospect
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Select Committee Meeting
Tuesday 18th May 2021
13:15
Select Committee Meeting
Wednesday 19th May 2021
14:00
Select Committee Meeting
Wednesday 26th May 2021
14:00
Environmental Audit Committee - Oral evidence
Subject: Water Quality in Rivers
26 May 2021, 2 p.m.
At 2.30pm: Oral evidence
Alastair Chisholm - Director of Policy at Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management
Bronwyn Buntine - Sustainable Drainage Team Leader at Kent Council
Ian Titherington - Lead drainage officer at Cardiff Council
Dr Gabriela Dotro - Senior Research Fellow in Environmental Engineers, Cranfield Water Science Institute at Cranfield University
At 3.30pm: Oral evidence
Daniel Johns - Head of Public Affairs at Anglian Water Services Ltd
Lila Thompson - Chief Executive at British Water
Jo Bradley - UK Director of Operations at Stormwater Shepherds
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Division Votes
Wednesday 28th April 2021
Fire Safety Bill
voted No
One of 4 Independent No votes vs 0 Independent Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 322 Noes - 256
Speeches
Tuesday 27th April 2021
Support for Asylum Seekers

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Davies. I congratulate the hon. Member for Bermondsey and Old …

Written Answers
Tuesday 27th April 2021
Coronavirus: Vaccination
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish all his communications with the …
Early Day Motions
Wednesday 24th March 2021
Strike at SPS Technologies
That this House notes that staff at aerospace parts firm SPS Technologies in Leicester are taking strike action against management …
Bills
None available
MP Financial Interests
Saturday 11th January 2020
1. Employment and earnings
19 December 2019, received £3,452.60 from Islington Council, Town Hall, Upper St, London N1 2UD for duties as a Councillor …
EDM signed
Wednesday 12th May 2021
NHS privatisation
That this House expresses dismay at the Government’s White Paper, The Future of Health and Care, published on 11 February …
Supported Legislation
Wednesday 5th February 2020
Education and Training (Welfare of Children) Act 2021
A Bill to impose duties on certain education and training providers in relation to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Claudia Webbe has voted in 225 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Claudia Webbe 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.

View all Claudia Webbe's debates

Leicester East Petitions

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

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

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

Petitions with highest Leicester East signature proportion
Petitions with most Leicester East signatures
Petition Debates Contributed

Black Women in the U.K. are 5 times more likely to die during pregnancy and after childbirth compared to White Women (MBRRACE, 2019). We need more research done into why this is happening and recommendations to improve health care for Black Women as urgent action is needed to address this disparity.

All students should be reimbursed of this years tuition fees as universities are now online only due to COVID-19, with only powerpoints online for learning materials which is not worthy of up to £9,250. Furthermore, all assessments are being reconsidered to ‘make do’ and build up credits.

As students are unable to access facilities or continue with their eduction at their university setting in the following semester, we would like to request that the government considers refunding tuition payments for Semester 3.

As the Coronavirus escalates, there are concerns that a trade deal between the UK Government and the US deal might not exempt our NHS, leaving it vulnerable to privatisation and in direct contradiction to promises this would not happen.

The quality of online lectures is not equal to face-to-face lectures. Students should not have to pay full tuition fees for online lectures, without experiencing university life. The Government should require UK universities to partially refund tuition fees while online teaching is implemented.

Students across the UK have returned to University to be told our learning will be predominantly online for the foreseeable future. The Government should therefore lower our tuition fees and we should receive a partial refund for the effects this will have on our learning and university experience.

The University and College Union has repeatedly called on its members to strike. However, strikes are ineffective if students, not employees are the main source of revenue. For this to change, government needs to step in and require universities to reimburse tuition fees lost due to strike action.

A significant number of students will sit their final 2021 examinations. The outcome of which undoubtedly will be their passport, for many of their future life chances and successes. In order for this to be done fairly, it is imperative that the amount of content they are tested on is reduced.

We want the Education Secretary and the Government to step in and review the exam board’s decision on how GCSE and A-Level grades will be calculated and awarded due to the current coronavirus crisis. We want a better solution than just using our previous data to be the basis of our grade.


Latest EDMs signed by Claudia Webbe

11th May 2021
Claudia Webbe signed this EDM as a sponsor on Wednesday 12th May 2021

NHS privatisation

Tabled by: Jon Trickett (Labour - Hemsworth)
That this House expresses dismay at the Government’s White Paper, The Future of Health and Care, published on 11 February 2021 which rubber stamps the US care models for the UK; notes that the Bill is a Trojan horse for deregulated privatisation and that language on integrated care championed by …
11 signatures
(Most recent: 12 May 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 7
Alba Party: 2
Independent: 2
11th May 2021
Claudia Webbe signed this EDM as a sponsor on Wednesday 12th May 2021

Undocumented migrants

Tabled by: Bell Ribeiro-Addy (Labour - Streatham)
That this House recognises that there are many barriers that prevent people from accessing and maintaining stable immigration status even when they were either born in the UK or have lived in the UK for many years; further recognises that the majority of undocumented migrants have lost their status through …
7 signatures
(Most recent: 12 May 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 3
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Alliance: 1
Independent: 1
Green Party: 1
View All Claudia Webbe's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Claudia Webbe, 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.


Claudia Webbe has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Claudia Webbe has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

Claudia Webbe has not introduced any legislation before Parliament


195 Written Questions in the current parliament

(View all written questions)
Explanation of written questions
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent steps his Department has taken to enable and support overseas workers who are victims of corporate harm in the supply chain of UK fashion brands to access remedy via UK courts.

Whether an overseas worker would be able to access remedy against a UK company in the courts of England and Wales or an employment tribunal would depend on a number of different factors, including whether the court or tribunal has territorial jurisdiction, the nature of the employment relationship, and what right the claimant is asserting under UK law. This would be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

The UK government has an extensive history of funding organisations such as the Ethical Trading Initiative who proactively support worker representation, freedom of association and collective bargaining. This support has led to direct remediation of labour rights violations for vulnerable workers, including dismissal for joining a union.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans the Government has to establish a judge-led public inquiry into Leicester’s garment industry.

We are engaging with the sector to understand the systemic issues that lead to non-compliance and what measures could be used to tackle them. I have met with the British Retail Consortium to discuss the issues in the sector and will be holding a roundtable with their members to further discuss potential solutions. We also look forward to seeing the outcomes of work between the enforcement agencies and retailers as part of the work of the Apparel and General Merchandise Public/Private Protocol, a partnership between the enforcement agencies and industry partners, including NGOs, sector bodies and brands, aimed at tackling labour exploitation in the garment industry.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to promote transparency and accountability within garment industry supply chains.

UK listed companies are required to report on social and environmental impacts material to their business, including information about supply chains, where this is necessary for an understanding of the business as part of annual reports.

The Government looks to businesses to be open and transparent in responding to consumers’ interest in where and how the products they source have been manufactured, including the use of raw materials. Since being introduced, we have seen more businesses open up about their supply chains, identify high-risk areas and introduce tailored steps to support vulnerable workers.

The Government response to the Transparency in Supply Chains consultation, published on 22 September 2020, committed to taking forwards an ambitious package of changes to strengthen and future-proof the Modern Slavery Act’s transparency legislation, including:

  • Extending the reporting requirement to public bodies with a budget of £36 million or more.
  • Mandating the specific reporting topics statements must cover.
  • Requiring organisations to publish their statement on the new Government digital reporting service.
  • Setting a single reporting deadline by which all modern slavery statements must be published.
  • Considering enforcement options in line with the ongoing development of the Single Enforcement Body for Employment rights.

The Home Office announced a series of measures to strengthen the Modern Slavery Act, including introducing fines for businesses that do not comply with their transparency obligations. We will introduce the necessary legislation, setting out the level of those fines as soon as parliamentary time allows.

BEIS and the Home Office are also working in partnership with the industry through the Apparel and General Merchandise Public and Private Protocol, a partnership between enforcement bodies and industry partners, including, the British Retail Consortium, UK Fashion and the Textile Association. This is aimed at tackling all forms of labour exploitation in the garment industry.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of actively involving trade unions in workplace inspections in order to help tackle exploitation in the garment industry.

Trade unions have been involved in the Apparel and General Merchandise Public/Private Protocol, a partnership between enforcement bodies and industry partners aimed at tackling all forms of labour exploitation in the garment trade. Brands, sector bodies and trade unions are working with the enforcement agencies to bring a coordinated approach to improve working conditions in the UK supply chain. All partners are participating in the following workstreams: worker and community voice; intervention mechanisms; business accountability; and regulation, legislation and political engagement.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing a Fit-to-Trade licensing scheme so that no garment factory could operate unless it was approved by labour enforcement agencies.

BEIS officials, along with Home Office colleagues and the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority have been engaging with the British Retail Consortium and the wider retail sector to understand the systemic issues that lead to non-compliance and what measures could be used to tackle them. Given the serious nature of the allegations in Leicester and the spectrum of issues and concerns, it is imperative that we have a strong evidence base to inform the options we are considering in order to protect vulnerable workers and drive-up standards.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of introducing a statutory mandatory human rights and due diligence responsibility for the textile and clothing industry.

The Modern Slavery Act specifically requires UK large businesses to publish transparency in supply chains statements in a prominent place on their website.

The Government expects all companies operating within the UK to put measures in place to protect their supply chains from labour exploitation. Following changes to the Modern Slavery Act – where timelines are to be confirmed - organisations will be required to include information about their organisation’s structure and supply chains in their modern slavery statement or to explicitly state that their statement omits this information.

The Home Office announced a series of measures to strengthen the Modern Slavery Act, including introducing fines for businesses that do not comply with their transparency obligations. We will introduce the necessary legislation, setting out the level of those fines, as soon as parliamentary time allows.

The Government provides advice to businesses on human rights issues across their supply chains, including pressing them to undertake appropriate due diligence to satisfy themselves that their activities do not support, or risk being seen to support, any human rights violations or abuses. BEIS has reinforced this message through engagement with businesses, industry groups and other stakeholders.

UK listed companies are required to report on social and environmental impacts material to their business, including information about supply chains, where this is necessary for an understanding of the business as part of annual reports.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing a compulsory requirement for garment industry companies to publish a full list of their suppliers.

The Government currently has no plans for introducing a compulsory requirement for garment industry companies to publish a full list of their suppliers.

The Government encourages businesses to be open and transparent to respond to consumers’ legitimate interest in where and how the products they buy have been manufactured. UK listed companies are required to report on impacts material to their business including information about supply chains where this is necessary for an understanding of the business as part of their annual reports.

Under section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015, the UK became the first country in the world to require businesses to report on how they prevent modern slavery in their operations. Following consultation, the Home Office has announced a series of measures to strengthen the Modern Slavery Act. Organisations will be required to include information about their organisation’s structure and supply chains in their modern slavery statement or to explicitly state that their statement omits this information. These new measures will be introduced once parliamentary time allows.

A multi-faceted approach is required to address supply chain challenges. The Government recently hosted two Minister-led roundtables with garment industry leaders, civil-society and other key stakeholders, during which a range of different solutions were explored.

BEIS officials are also in the process of engaging with retailers, civil society and key organisations to explore the merits and challenges of different approaches.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the finding by the British Retail Consortium that workers in Leicester's apparel manufacturing industry are underpaid by over £2.1 million a week, what steps his Department is taking to enforce UN guiding principles on business and human rights in respect of the duty of employers to remedy human rights violations in respect of underpaid wages in that industry in (a) Leicester and (b) the rest of the UK.

The UK supports the United Nations Guiding Principles on business and human rights, the authoritative voluntary international framework to steer practical action by Governments and businesses worldwide.

The UK was the first state to produce a national action plan to respond to the UN Guiding Principles. The Plan sets out how the UN Guiding Principles are applied in the UK and expectations of UK businesses’ conduct, including that they comply with relevant laws and respect internationally recognised human rights.

In the UK, the right to just and favourable remuneration for work is protected by National Minimum Wage legislation, which is enforced by the HMRC National Minimum Wage team. All businesses, irrespective of size or business sector, are responsible for paying the correct minimum wage to their staff, and consequences for not complying with paying NMW can include fines of 200% of the arrears, public naming and, for the worst offences, criminal prosecution. HMRC follows up on every worker complaint it receives, even those which are anonymous.

HMRC are an active participant in the multiagency taskforce which is responding to allegations of non-compliance in the Leicester garment sector and has undertaken joint operations with partner agencies in Leicester for a number of years. They have historically investigated more than 150 textile businesses, including multiple employers operating in Leicester; and have opened a significant number of investigations in Leicester since 1 July 2020.

HMRC continues to take proactive steps in this industry. They have written to over 18,000 workers in the textile sector flagging their entitlement to minimum wage, common causes of underpayment and encouraging confidential reporting of employers and have written to over 2500 employers in the sector highlighting the main risks which lead to NMW underpayment.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of introducing maximum pay ratios between maximum and minimum earners for garment industry companies and their supply chains.

We have not made an assessment of the merits of this proposal. Levels of renumeration of staff above the National Minimum Wage is a matter for employers.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what representations he has received on bringing forward legislative proposals on textile and garment adjudication similar to the Groceries Code Adjudicator to regulate the purchasing practices of brands.

The Groceries Code Adjudicator was established in 2013 to enforce the Groceries Supply Code of Practice (the Groceries Code). The Groceries Code was introduced to address unfair trading practices identified by the Competition Commission in a market investigation into the grocery retail sector in 2009. The competition authorities have not investigated similar supply chain issues in the textile and garment sectors.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department has taken to (a) tackle the payment of illegal wages to workers in parts of Leicester’s garment industry and (b) ensure those workers are (i) compensated and (ii) reimbursed.

As a result of the allegations of labour exploitation in Leicester, a new multi-agency taskforce led by the GLAA has been set up to bring together the enforcement bodies to continue to work together to secure robust intelligence to enable appropriate enforcement activity. It consists of: HMRC National Minimum Wage; Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate (BEIS); Leicestershire Police; National Crime Agency; Leicester City Council; Department for Work and Pensions and Immigration Enforcement (Home Office).

HMRC’s National Minimum Wage team are active participants in the Leicester Taskforce and are attending visits to textile businesses in Leicester. They have also set up a new dedicated team to investigate Leicester textile businesses and other potential non-compliance textile hotspots across the UK. Where appropriate, these cases will be investigated with HMRC tax colleagues and taskforce partners. While we cannot comment on individual cases, HMRC have a number of open investigations in the textiles industry in Leicester. Where non-compliance is found, they will take appropriate enforcement action. This can include issuing notices of underpayment, recovering arrears for workers, issuing penalties to employers and, in the most serious cases, prosecutions. Since 2012/13, HMRC have recovered over £215,000 in wage arrears for 411 textile workers in the UK and issued over £325,000 in corresponding penalties to employers.

HMRC are also undertaking outreach activities with local groups in Leicester designed to promote awareness of National Minimum Wage rights for workers, and support employers and agency partners in Leicester. This includes distributing multi-lingual advice leaflets for workers, writing directly to both textile workers and employers, and a bespoke webinar for textile sector employers.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what legal steps his Department has taken to (a) compensate workers and (b) ensure minimum wage compliance following the Levitt review of Boohoo wage practices.

As a result of the allegations of labour exploitation in the textile industry in Leicester, a multi-agency taskforce led by the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) has been set up to bring together the enforcement bodies to continue to work together to secure robust intelligence to enable appropriate enforcement activity. HMRC’s National Minimum Wage team are active participants in the Leicester Taskforce and are attending visits to textile business in Leicester. They have also set up a new dedicated team to investigate Leicester textile businesses and other potential non-compliance textile hotspots across the UK. HMRC are undertaking outreach activities with local groups in Leicester designed to promote awareness of National Minimum Wage rights for workers, and support employers and agency partners in Leicester. This includes distributing multi-lingual advice leaflets for workers, writing directly to both textile workers and employers, and a bespoke webinar for textile sector employers.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Home Secretary has written to Boohoo setting out her expectation that the company demonstrates long-term commitment to enhancing the protections for workers and preventing exploitation in its supply chains. The Home Secretary has said that she was deeply concerned by the allegations against Boohoo and expects the company to fully cooperate with law enforcement agencies and implement the commitments they have made after the Levitt Review. The GLAA has established a constructive working dialogue with Boohoo to help tackle labour exploitation in the wider textiles industry and they have subsequently begun providing information to help inform enforcement activity.

HMRC have a range of enforcement tools that they can use to tackle minimum wage offences, including issuing notices of underpayment, recovering arrears for workers, issuing penalties to employers and, in the most serious cases, prosecutions. While we cannot comment on individual cases, HMRC have a number of open investigations in the Leicester textiles sector and will take appropriate enforcement action where non-compliance is found. Since 2012/13, HMRC have recovered over £215,000 in wage arrears for 411 textile workers in the UK and issued over £325,000 in corresponding penalties to employers.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
2nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he plans to take on workers’ rights following the conclusion of the Alison Levitt QC report into exploitation in Leicester’s garment industry.

Exploiting vulnerable workers for commercial gain is despicable and we expect businesses to do all they can to tackle abuse and exploitation in their supply chains. The findings of this review are concerning and we expect Boohoo to continue to fully cooperate with law enforcement agencies in their ongoing investigations in Leicester.

In response to the allegations of labour market non-compliance in Leicester garment factories, a taskforce led by the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority has been set up. The taskforce coordinates a multi-agency approach to enforcement activity, the gathering and sharing of intelligence and wider community engagement aimed at encouraging reporting and helping raise awareness of workers’ rights. It includes: HMRC National Minimum Wage; Employment Agencies Standards Inspectorate; Leicestershire Police; National Crime Agency; Leicester City Council; Department for Work and Pensions and Immigration Enforcement. Where evidence of non-compliance is found, the enforcement bodies will take appropriate enforcement activity.

The Government is committed to improving enforcement of employment rights and following a consultation, we have announced our intention to create a single enforcement body. The single enforcement body will provide a clearer route for workers to raise a complaint and get support, enabling more coordinated enforcement action and the use of pooled intelligence to better target proactive enforcement.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
2nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to ensure that garment manufacturers in Leicester work with trade unions to set employee terms and conditions.

We are deeply concerned by reports of illegal and unsafe working conditions for garment workers in Leicester.

Collective bargaining is largely a matter for individual employers, their employees and their trade unions. The Government encourages employers to engage with their workforce’s representatives, whether these be union or non-union representatives.

The Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority and Leicester City Council, both members of the Taskforce that has been established in response to the allegations of labour abuse in Leicester, have engaged with the TUC on the issues in the garment trade. We are also working with industry through the Apparel and General Merchandise Public and Private Protocol, a partnership between enforcement bodies and industry partners – including the British Retail Consortium, UK Fashion and the Textile Association – aimed at tackling all forms of labour exploitation in the garment trade

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
2nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he has taken to ensure that businesses in the hospitality supply chain are able to access the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund.

Under the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF), businesses in England that would have been in receipt of the Expanded Retail Discount (which covers retail, hospitality and leisure) on 11 March, with a rateable value of less than £51,000, will have been eligible for cash grants of up to £25,000 per property.

Eligibility for the RHLGF was therefore contingent on businesses being in scope of the Expanded Retail Discount Scheme for Business Rates, as set out here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/business-rates-retail-discount-guidance. This eligibility definition was agreed by Ministers as a way of ensuring that Local Authorities could target businesses at pace and ensure that the process of disbursing funding could proceed quickly.

As per the Expanded Retail Discount guidance, properties that will benefit from the relief will be occupied hereditaments that are wholly or mainly being used:

  1. as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues,
  2. for assembly and leisure; or
  3. as hotels, guest & boarding premises and self-catering accommodation.

In order to qualify for the relief, the hereditament should be wholly or mainly being used for the qualifying purposes as outlined in the guidance. The guidance is not intended to be exhaustive and authorities should determine for themselves whether particular properties not listed are broadly similar in nature to those included within the guidance and, if so, to consider them eligible for the relief.

In addition, on?1 May,?the Government announced the Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund. This scheme was intended to support small businesses?in some of the hardest hit sectors?that were previously outside the scope of the Small Business and Retail, Hospitality & Leisure Grant Funds.

Local authorities were responsible for defining the precise eligibility for this Fund?and?may choose to make payments to businesses based on local economic need,?subject to those businesses meeting the specific eligibility criteria.?Guidance for Local Authorities was published 13 May: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-business-support-grant-funding-guidance-for-businesses.

Businesses which are not eligible for or have not received grant funding should be able to benefit from other measures in the Government’s unprecedented package of support for business.?For further information please?visit:?https://www.gov.uk/business-coronavirus-support-finder

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
2nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans he has to raise the minimum wage to (a) at least £10 an hour or (b) a real living wage as calculated by the Living Wage Foundation.

The Government is committed to building an economy that works for everyone. Through the National Minimum Wage (NMW) and the National Living Wage (NLW) the Government protects the lowest paid within our society.

The Low Pay Commission (LPC) is an independent and expert body which makes annual recommendations on the appropriate rates for NMW and NLW and other low pay related issues. They will continue to recommend the path of the NLW going forward, aiming to increase the NLW to two-thirds of median earnings by 2024, provided economic conditions allow.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that garment companies in Leicester comply with their responsibilities under the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

The Government expects UK businesses to act according to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the authoritative, voluntary international framework, which steers all businesses worldwide on these matters and sets expectations that they should respect human rights.

The UK was the first country in the world to produce a national action plan, in 2013, to respond to the voluntary Guiding Principles and subsequently we were also the first to review and update our national plan, in 2016. Our action plan confirms the expectation that all our businesses should comply with all applicable laws; identify and prevent human rights risks; and behave in line with the Guiding Principles, including in management of their supply chains here and overseas.

Following the increase in COVID-19 infections in Leicester and fresh allegations of links to unsafe working conditions, labour exploitation, and potential modern slavery in textiles factories, the National Crime Agency have launched an investigation into these serious concerns. If evidence of wrongdoing and illegal exploitation comes to light, the perpetrators will face the full force of the law.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans his Department has to encourage trade union membership to help tackle exploitation in Leicester’s garment industry.

The Government recognises the positive role trade unions can play in the workplace, however collective bargaining is largely a matter for individual employers, their employees and their trade unions. Where possible, industrial relations should be undertaken on a voluntary basis, although if workers want a union to represent them, they have the means to secure this through the CAC statutory recognition procedure.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions officials of his Department have had with representatives of (a) trade unions and (b) civil society groups on labour rights (i) protections and (ii) violations in supply chains.

As part of his annual strategy 2018/19, the former Director of Labour Market Enforcement - Sir David Metcalf – recommended that the Government introduce joint responsibility to encourage the top of the chain to take an active role to tackle labour market breaches through their supply chain. Sir David also recommended that provisions should be made to enable the temporary embargo of “hot goods” to disrupt supply chain activity where significant non-compliance is found.

The Government consulted on these recommendations as part of a wider consultation on the creation of a new Single Enforcement Body for employment rights. During the consultation period, officials from the Department discussed labour market breaches in supply chains with a range of representatives of trade unions and civil society groups. This included a dedicated roundtable to discuss non-compliance in supply chains, and a meeting with members of the Modern Slavery Strategy Implementation Group to further discuss the topic. These discussions have been of great value and the Government response to the consultation will be published in due course.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of making it compulsory for (a) garment industry and (b) other companies to publish a full list of their supplier facilities on an annual basis.

The Government encourages businesses to be open and transparent to respond to consumers’ legitimate interest in where and how the products they buy have been manufactured.

UK listed companies are required to report on impacts material to their business including information about supply chains where this is necessary for an understanding of the business as part of their annual reports.

Separately, the Modern Slavery Act specifically requires UK large businesses to publish supply chain transparency statements in a prominent place on their website.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if his Department will undertake a review of garment distributors' (a) purchasing practices and (b) costing models to assess whether those practices and models support the payment of the minimum wage by garment industry suppliers.

The Department does not have any current plans to review garment distributors’ purchasing practices or costing models.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of suspending the sales and production of allegedly exploitative companies in the garment industry sector pending investigation into (a) safety measures and (b) reports of fraud at factories supplying those companies.

We are deeply concerned by the appalling reports of illegal and unsafe working conditions for garment workers and welcome all intelligence on this issue. The Government will not tolerate the exploitation of vulnerable workers for commercial gain and already spends £33 million a year on state enforcement of employment rights. Where non-compliance is found, the enforcement bodies will deploy a range of actions ranging from providing specific advice to employers, issuing enforcement notices, prosecutions and director disqualification.

In his 2018/19 Labour Market Enforcement Strategy, the previous Director of Labour Market Enforcement recommended introducing joint responsibility for brands at the top of a supply chain where non-compliance is found. He also recommended provisions for the temporary embargo of “hot goods” to disrupt supply chain activity where significant non-compliance is found. The Government agrees that businesses at the top of the supply chain need to work with their suppliers to take corrective action when non-compliance is identified but recognises that any measures should be proportionate. Government has consulted on these recommendations as part of the Single Enforcement Body consultation and will publish the response in due course.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department plans to take to ensure that the incomes of workers are fully supported at or above the minimum wage in cases where their employers are under investigation for alleged exploitative or unsafe working practices.

The Government is committed to cracking down on employers who fail to pay the National Minimum Wage. We are clear that anyone entitled to be paid the minimum wage should receive it. All businesses – irrespective of their size or business sector – are responsible for paying the correct minimum wage to their staff.

Individuals can contact the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) on 0300 123 1100 or at www.acas.org.uk for confidential, impartial, and free advice if they think they are being underpaid. They can also complain to HMRC, which is responsible for enforcing National Minimum Wage legislation. HMRC will consider every complaint it receives.

The Government has more than doubled the budget for National Minimum Wage compliance and enforcement to £27.5 million for 2020/21, up from £13.2 million in 2015/16. Increasing the budget allows HMRC to focus on tackling the most serious cases of non-compliance. It also increases the number of compliance officers available to investigate minimum wage complaints and conduct risk-based enforcement in sectors where non-compliance is most likely.

The safer workplaces guidance does not change existing obligations relating to health and safety, employment, or equalities. If the enforcing authority finds that an employer is not taking action to properly manage workplace risk, a range of actions are open to them including specific advice or issuing enforcement notices.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if the Government will make an assessment of the potential merits of bringing forward legislative proposals to update the Companies Act 2006 to include explicit reference to modern slavery and supply chains.

UK listed companies are currently required to report on human rights impacts material to their business as part of their annual reports.

Separately, the Modern Slavery Act specifically requires UK large businesses to publish supply chain transparency statements in a prominent place on their website.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans he has to publish an update of the Financial Reporting Council’s (FRC) Corporate Governance Code and UK Stewardship Code, and the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) listing rules to require modern slavery disclosures on a (a) comply or (b) explain basis.

It is already a legal requirement under Section 54 (transparency in supply chains provision) of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 for commercial organisations carrying on business in the UK with a turnover of over £36m a year to produce an annual statement setting out the measures they have taken to ensure that no slavery or human trafficking has taken place in their business or through their supply chains.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps the Government has taken to work with representatives of industrial sectors to identify the source of raw material in garments to tackle social and environmental abuses in supply chains.

UK listed companies are required to report on social and environmental impacts material to their business, including information about supply chains, where this is necessary for an understanding of the business as part of their annual reports. Separately, the Modern Slavery Act specifically requires UK large businesses to publish transparency in supply chains statements in a prominent place on their website.

The Government looks to businesses to be open and transparent in responding to consumers’ interest in where and how the products they source have been manufactured, including the use of raw materials.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if his Department will take steps with social media companies to tackle online abuse directed at supporters of the Indian farmers protests.

We are taking steps through the online harms regulatory framework to ensure that online abuse is addressed. Under a new legal duty of care, companies will need to remove and limit the spread of illegal content, including illegal online abuse. All companies will need to take swift and effective action against such content.

Companies providing high-risk, high-reach services will also need to undertake regular risk assessments to identify legal but harmful material on their services. These companies will need to set clear terms and conditions which explicitly state what categories of legal but harmful material they accept (and do not accept) on their service. Companies will need to enforce these terms and conditions consistently and transparently and could face enforcement action if they do not.

The new regulatory framework will require companies to address the risk of harm to users in the UK, no matter where the companies are based. The Online Safety Bill, which will give effect to the regulatory framework, will be ready this year.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will publish an annual report on the progress being made to achieve diversity and equality targets within cricket at all levels.

The Government is clear that racism has no place in cricket, sport, or society at large. Our sport and physical activity strategy ‘Sporting Future’ has diversity and inclusion at its heart. In addition, Sport England’s new ten year strategy, “Uniting the Movement”, reinforces their commitment to increasing diversity and inclusion in grassroots sport and physical activity. However, it is ultimately for the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), as for all individual sports’ national governing bodies, to decide on the specific aims and appropriate initiatives to increase diversity in their organisations, and to evaluate progress with these.

We welcome the steps taken by the ECB in recent years to increase diversity in cricket, including the recent establishment of the Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket, chaired by Cindy Butts. This body looks to examine all issues relating to race and equity in cricket. The evaluation will play an important role in ensuring inclusivity, and that cricket is a game for everyone.

Since 2009, Sport England funding has directly contributed to a number of cricket participation projects with an equality, diversity and inclusion focus run by the ECB. This is in addition to the requirements around diversity set out in the UK Sport and Sport England Code for Sports Governance since 2017.

One example of the ECB’s work on diversity, funded by Sport England, is the South Asian Action Plan. This focuses on increasing racial diversity and opening up access to cricket, including facilities and delivery of bespoke formats of the sport for the community’s needs. After the success of the first investment of £1 million, this has recently been awarded an additional £1 million for the next 2 years.


There is still more to do, however, and we will continue to liaise with the ECB ensure this issue is tackled effectively and that recommendations from the commission are implemented.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that (a) African, (b) Caribbean and (c) Asian (i) players, (ii) umpires, (iii) coaches (iv) and staff are protected when alleging (A) race discrimination, (B) ball tampering and (C) any other form of unlawful behaviour within the game.

The Government is clear that racism has no place in cricket, sport, or society at large. Our sport and physical activity strategy ‘Sporting Future’ has diversity and inclusion at its heart. In addition, Sport England’s new ten year strategy, “Uniting the Movement”, reinforces their commitment to increasing diversity and inclusion in grassroots sport and physical activity. However, it is ultimately for the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), as for all individual sports’ national governing bodies, to decide on the specific aims and appropriate initiatives to increase diversity in their organisations, and to evaluate progress with these.

We welcome the steps taken by the ECB in recent years to increase diversity in cricket, including the recent establishment of the Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket, chaired by Cindy Butts. This body looks to examine all issues relating to race and equity in cricket. The evaluation will play an important role in ensuring inclusivity, and that cricket is a game for everyone.

Since 2009, Sport England funding has directly contributed to a number of cricket participation projects with an equality, diversity and inclusion focus run by the ECB. This is in addition to the requirements around diversity set out in the UK Sport and Sport England Code for Sports Governance since 2017.

One example of the ECB’s work on diversity, funded by Sport England, is the South Asian Action Plan. This focuses on increasing racial diversity and opening up access to cricket, including facilities and delivery of bespoke formats of the sport for the community’s needs. After the success of the first investment of £1 million, this has recently been awarded an additional £1 million for the next 2 years.


There is still more to do, however, and we will continue to liaise with the ECB ensure this issue is tackled effectively and that recommendations from the commission are implemented.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will make an assessment of the effectiveness of (a) unconscious bias and (b) anti-racism training for decision makers of the England and Wales Cricket Board and its delegated authority to its regional bodies.

The Government is clear that racism has no place in cricket, sport, or society at large. Our sport and physical activity strategy ‘Sporting Future’ has diversity and inclusion at its heart. In addition, Sport England’s new ten year strategy, “Uniting the Movement”, reinforces their commitment to increasing diversity and inclusion in grassroots sport and physical activity. However, it is ultimately for the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), as for all individual sports’ national governing bodies, to decide on the specific aims and appropriate initiatives to increase diversity in their organisations, and to evaluate progress with these.

We welcome the steps taken by the ECB in recent years to increase diversity in cricket, including the recent establishment of the Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket, chaired by Cindy Butts. This body looks to examine all issues relating to race and equity in cricket. The evaluation will play an important role in ensuring inclusivity, and that cricket is a game for everyone.

Since 2009, Sport England funding has directly contributed to a number of cricket participation projects with an equality, diversity and inclusion focus run by the ECB. This is in addition to the requirements around diversity set out in the UK Sport and Sport England Code for Sports Governance since 2017.

One example of the ECB’s work on diversity, funded by Sport England, is the South Asian Action Plan. This focuses on increasing racial diversity and opening up access to cricket, including facilities and delivery of bespoke formats of the sport for the community’s needs. After the success of the first investment of £1 million, this has recently been awarded an additional £1 million for the next 2 years.


There is still more to do, however, and we will continue to liaise with the ECB ensure this issue is tackled effectively and that recommendations from the commission are implemented.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what bullying, harassment and anti discrimination policies apply to members of the (a) England and Wales Cricket Board, (b) County Cricket Boards and (c) County and regional management; how many allegations concerning that policy have been made against members of those boards in the last five years; and how many of those allegations have been (i) upheld and (ii) rejected.

The Government is clear that racism has no place in cricket, sport, or society at large. Our sport and physical activity strategy ‘Sporting Future’ has diversity and inclusion at its heart. In addition, Sport England’s new ten year strategy, “Uniting the Movement”, reinforces their commitment to increasing diversity and inclusion in grassroots sport and physical activity. However, it is ultimately for the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), as for all individual sports’ national governing bodies, to decide on the specific aims and appropriate initiatives to increase diversity in their organisations, and to evaluate progress with these.

We welcome the steps taken by the ECB in recent years to increase diversity in cricket, including the recent establishment of the Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket, chaired by Cindy Butts. This body looks to examine all issues relating to race and equity in cricket. The evaluation will play an important role in ensuring inclusivity, and that cricket is a game for everyone.

Since 2009, Sport England funding has directly contributed to a number of cricket participation projects with an equality, diversity and inclusion focus run by the ECB. This is in addition to the requirements around diversity set out in the UK Sport and Sport England Code for Sports Governance since 2017.

One example of the ECB’s work on diversity, funded by Sport England, is the South Asian Action Plan. This focuses on increasing racial diversity and opening up access to cricket, including facilities and delivery of bespoke formats of the sport for the community’s needs. After the success of the first investment of £1 million, this has recently been awarded an additional £1 million for the next 2 years.


There is still more to do, however, and we will continue to liaise with the ECB ensure this issue is tackled effectively and that recommendations from the commission are implemented.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps Sport England takes to ensure that funding provided to the England and Wales Cricket Board achieves sustainable diversity at all levels.

The Government is clear that racism has no place in cricket, sport, or society at large. Our sport and physical activity strategy ‘Sporting Future’ has diversity and inclusion at its heart. In addition, Sport England’s new ten year strategy, “Uniting the Movement”, reinforces their commitment to increasing diversity and inclusion in grassroots sport and physical activity. However, it is ultimately for the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), as for all individual sports’ national governing bodies, to decide on the specific aims and appropriate initiatives to increase diversity in their organisations, and to evaluate progress with these.

We welcome the steps taken by the ECB in recent years to increase diversity in cricket, including the recent establishment of the Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket, chaired by Cindy Butts. This body looks to examine all issues relating to race and equity in cricket. The evaluation will play an important role in ensuring inclusivity, and that cricket is a game for everyone.

Since 2009, Sport England funding has directly contributed to a number of cricket participation projects with an equality, diversity and inclusion focus run by the ECB. This is in addition to the requirements around diversity set out in the UK Sport and Sport England Code for Sports Governance since 2017.

One example of the ECB’s work on diversity, funded by Sport England, is the South Asian Action Plan. This focuses on increasing racial diversity and opening up access to cricket, including facilities and delivery of bespoke formats of the sport for the community’s needs. After the success of the first investment of £1 million, this has recently been awarded an additional £1 million for the next 2 years.


There is still more to do, however, and we will continue to liaise with the ECB ensure this issue is tackled effectively and that recommendations from the commission are implemented.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how much of the £60 million Sport England budget allocated to the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) between 2009 and 2017 has been spent on achieving equality and diversity on that board; and if his Department will undertake a cost benefit analysis of the money spent to date.

The Government is clear that racism has no place in cricket, sport, or society at large. Our sport and physical activity strategy ‘Sporting Future’ has diversity and inclusion at its heart. In addition, Sport England’s new ten year strategy, “Uniting the Movement”, reinforces their commitment to increasing diversity and inclusion in grassroots sport and physical activity. However, it is ultimately for the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), as for all individual sports’ national governing bodies, to decide on the specific aims and appropriate initiatives to increase diversity in their organisations, and to evaluate progress with these.

We welcome the steps taken by the ECB in recent years to increase diversity in cricket, including the recent establishment of the Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket, chaired by Cindy Butts. This body looks to examine all issues relating to race and equity in cricket. The evaluation will play an important role in ensuring inclusivity, and that cricket is a game for everyone.

Since 2009, Sport England funding has directly contributed to a number of cricket participation projects with an equality, diversity and inclusion focus run by the ECB. This is in addition to the requirements around diversity set out in the UK Sport and Sport England Code for Sports Governance since 2017.

One example of the ECB’s work on diversity, funded by Sport England, is the South Asian Action Plan. This focuses on increasing racial diversity and opening up access to cricket, including facilities and delivery of bespoke formats of the sport for the community’s needs. After the success of the first investment of £1 million, this has recently been awarded an additional £1 million for the next 2 years.


There is still more to do, however, and we will continue to liaise with the ECB ensure this issue is tackled effectively and that recommendations from the commission are implemented.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many (a) African Caribbean and (b) Asian umpires have applied to be part of the England and Wales Cricket Board panel in the last 29 years; how many such applications were rejected; and on what basis those applications were rejected.

The Government is clear that racism has no place in cricket, sport, or society at large. Our sport and physical activity strategy ‘Sporting Future’ has diversity and inclusion at its heart. In addition, Sport England’s new ten year strategy, “Uniting the Movement”, reinforces their commitment to increasing diversity and inclusion in grassroots sport and physical activity. However, it is ultimately for the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), as for all individual sports’ national governing bodies, to decide on the specific aims and appropriate initiatives to increase diversity in their organisations, and to evaluate progress with these.

We welcome the steps taken by the ECB in recent years to increase diversity in cricket, including the recent establishment of the Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket, chaired by Cindy Butts. This body looks to examine all issues relating to race and equity in cricket. The evaluation will play an important role in ensuring inclusivity, and that cricket is a game for everyone.

Since 2009, Sport England funding has directly contributed to a number of cricket participation projects with an equality, diversity and inclusion focus run by the ECB. This is in addition to the requirements around diversity set out in the UK Sport and Sport England Code for Sports Governance since 2017.

One example of the ECB’s work on diversity, funded by Sport England, is the South Asian Action Plan. This focuses on increasing racial diversity and opening up access to cricket, including facilities and delivery of bespoke formats of the sport for the community’s needs. After the success of the first investment of £1 million, this has recently been awarded an additional £1 million for the next 2 years.


There is still more to do, however, and we will continue to liaise with the ECB ensure this issue is tackled effectively and that recommendations from the commission are implemented.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions he has had with the England and Wales Cricket Board on the (a) number of grievances raised against that Board on the grounds of (i) racial discrimination and (ii) victimisation since 2010 and (b) the number of those grievances in that period that were (A) upheld and (B) dismissed.

The Government is clear that racism has no place in cricket, sport, or society at large. Our sport and physical activity strategy ‘Sporting Future’ has diversity and inclusion at its heart. In addition, Sport England’s new ten year strategy, “Uniting the Movement”, reinforces their commitment to increasing diversity and inclusion in grassroots sport and physical activity. However, it is ultimately for the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), as for all individual sports’ national governing bodies, to decide on the specific aims and appropriate initiatives to increase diversity in their organisations, and to evaluate progress with these.

We welcome the steps taken by the ECB in recent years to increase diversity in cricket, including the recent establishment of the Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket, chaired by Cindy Butts. This body looks to examine all issues relating to race and equity in cricket. The evaluation will play an important role in ensuring inclusivity, and that cricket is a game for everyone.

Since 2009, Sport England funding has directly contributed to a number of cricket participation projects with an equality, diversity and inclusion focus run by the ECB. This is in addition to the requirements around diversity set out in the UK Sport and Sport England Code for Sports Governance since 2017.

One example of the ECB’s work on diversity, funded by Sport England, is the South Asian Action Plan. This focuses on increasing racial diversity and opening up access to cricket, including facilities and delivery of bespoke formats of the sport for the community’s needs. After the success of the first investment of £1 million, this has recently been awarded an additional £1 million for the next 2 years.


There is still more to do, however, and we will continue to liaise with the ECB ensure this issue is tackled effectively and that recommendations from the commission are implemented.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the Racial Equality in Cricket Report, published in 1997, what assessment he has made of the England and Wales Cricket Board's progress on the implementation of the recommendations in that report.

The Government is clear that racism has no place in cricket, sport, or society at large. Our sport and physical activity strategy ‘Sporting Future’ has diversity and inclusion at its heart. In addition, Sport England’s new ten year strategy, “Uniting the Movement”, reinforces their commitment to increasing diversity and inclusion in grassroots sport and physical activity. However, it is ultimately for the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), as for all individual sports’ national governing bodies, to decide on the specific aims and appropriate initiatives to increase diversity in their organisations, and to evaluate progress with these.

We welcome the steps taken by the ECB in recent years to increase diversity in cricket, including the recent establishment of the Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket, chaired by Cindy Butts. This body looks to examine all issues relating to race and equity in cricket. The evaluation will play an important role in ensuring inclusivity, and that cricket is a game for everyone.

Since 2009, Sport England funding has directly contributed to a number of cricket participation projects with an equality, diversity and inclusion focus run by the ECB. This is in addition to the requirements around diversity set out in the UK Sport and Sport England Code for Sports Governance since 2017.

One example of the ECB’s work on diversity, funded by Sport England, is the South Asian Action Plan. This focuses on increasing racial diversity and opening up access to cricket, including facilities and delivery of bespoke formats of the sport for the community’s needs. After the success of the first investment of £1 million, this has recently been awarded an additional £1 million for the next 2 years.


There is still more to do, however, and we will continue to liaise with the ECB ensure this issue is tackled effectively and that recommendations from the commission are implemented.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of forgiving student debt accrued during the covid-19 outbreak.

This has been a very difficult time for students, and the government is working with the higher education (HE) sector to make sure all reasonable efforts are being made to enable students to continue their studies. We thank all HE staff for their tireless work to ensure that young people do not have to put their lives or their academic journeys on hold.

The government’s clear and stated expectation is that universities should maintain the quality and quantity of tuition and should seek to ensure that all students, regardless of their background, have the resources to study remotely.

Universities are autonomous and responsible for setting their own fees within maximum fee limits set by regulations. The government is committed to a sustainable HE funding model that supports high quality provision, meets the skills needs of the country and maintains the world-class reputation of UK HE. We recognise that tuition fees must continue to represent value for money for students and taxpayers, both during the COVID-19 outbreak and afterwards.

The government has already announced that the maximum tuition fee cap will remain at £9,250 for the 2021/22 academic year, in respect of standard full-time courses at approved (fee cap) HE providers. We also intend to freeze the maximum tuition fee caps for the 2022/23 academic year to deliver better value for students and to keep the cost of HE under control (the fifth year in succession that maximum fees have been frozen). Our income-contingent student loan system helps remove financial barriers to study and means that no eligible student needs to pay tuition fees upfront.

The Office for Students, as the regulator for HE providers in England, has made it clear that HE providers must continue to comply with registration conditions relating to quality and academic standards. These standards set out requirements to ensure that courses are high-quality, that all students (both domestic and international) are supported and achieve good outcomes and that standards are protected, regardless of whether a provider is delivering its courses through face-to-face teaching, remote online learning or a combination of both.

Whether or not an individual student is entitled to a refund will depend on the specific contractual arrangements between the HE provider and student. If students have concerns, there is a process in place. They should first raise their concerns with their university. If their concerns remain unresolved, students at providers in England or Wales can ask the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) for Higher Education to consider their complaint, this is the case for both domestic and international students. The OIA website is available at: https://www.oiahe.org.uk/.

The OfS does not get involved in individual student complaints, as this is for the relevant HE provider and possibly the OIA. Students can, however, notify the OfS of issues that may be of regulatory interest to it. These are called ‘notifications’. The OfS uses this information as part of its regulatory monitoring activity and keep higher education providers under review to ensure that they comply with the ongoing conditions of registration. The OfS has produced a guide for students to support them in this process, which is available here: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/publications/office-for-students-notifications/.

The government recognises that in these exceptional circumstances some students may face financial hardship. The department has worked with the OfS to clarify that providers are able to use existing funds, worth around £256 million for the academic year 2020/21, towards hardship support. We have also made an additional £70 million of student hardship funding available to HE providers this financial year. HE providers have flexibility in how they distribute the funding to students, in a way that best prioritises those in greatest need – this is available to all students.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the finding by the UCL Institute of Education in June 2017 which found that risk of student loan debt deters students from poorer backgrounds from applying to university.

The government’s approach to student finance ensures that costs are split fairly between borrowers and the taxpayer and has helped more young people from disadvantaged backgrounds go to university than ever before. Data for 2020 shows, there were 25,820 placed English 18-year-old applicants from disadvantaged backgrounds (POLAR Q1), entry rate of 24.0%. Both are the highest on record.

Higher education (HE) providers wishing to charge higher levels fees (£9250) must have an access and participation plan agreed by Office for Students. Plans set out how they will support, including providing financial support, students from disadvantaged backgrounds and under-represented groups to access and successfully participate in HE.

Student finance is available to all eligible students, irrespective of their background and credit history. The current system protects borrowers if they see a reduction in their income. Monthly repayments are linked to income, not to interest rates or the amount borrowed. Repayments are made based on a borrower’s monthly or weekly income, not the interest rate or amount borrowed, and no repayments are made for earnings below the repayment threshold, which is currently equivalent to £26,575 a year for borrowers with a post-2012 loan, rising to £27,295 from 6 April 2021. Borrowers are protected, as their repayments decrease if their income decreases, and stops where income falls below the relevant repayment threshold. Any outstanding debt is written off after 30 years or in line with the terms of their specific loan type, with no detriment to the borrower. This write-off (currently around 50%) is a government subsidy of the cost of HE and is a conscious investment in our people and the skills base of the economy.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many complaints his Deaprtment has received on the cancellation of tuition fees (a) during the covid-19 outbreak and (b) over the last 10 years.

This is a difficult and uncertain time for students, but we are working with the sector to make sure all reasonable efforts are being made to enable students to continue their studies.

The government’s expectation is that quality and academic standards must be maintained, and the Office for Students (OfS) has made it clear that all higher education (HE) providers must continue to comply with registration conditions relating to quality and standards.

If students have concerns, there is a process in place. They should first raise their concerns with their higher education provider. If their concerns remain unresolved, students at providers in England or Wales can ask the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA) to consider their complaint. The OIA is independent of government, and because of this and the autonomy and independence of HE providers, the government does not become involved in individual student complaints.

The OIA was established in 2005 as an alternative to the courts to consider unresolved student complaints. It is independent of government, providers and students and it is free of charge to students.

The OIA reports the numbers of complaints it has handled during the previous calendar year in its Operating Report and in its Annual Report which is published in the spring each year. The OIA received 2,604 complaints in 2020, which represents a 10% increase on 2019. The OIA has reported that complaints have continued to rise this year, with more than half of them relating to disruption caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Many of the complaints the OIA receives are not related to tuition fee refunds although that may be a remedy which the OIA recommends. The OIA publishes, in its Annual Report, the total compensation for students it has recommended. The OIA has also published a number of COVID-19 related case summaries and their outcomes which can be found here: https://www.oiahe.org.uk/resources-and-publications/case-summaries/?keyword=coronavirus&type=&sort=desc.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of cancelling all student debt.

Cancelling all student loan debt would have a significant fiscal impact on the economy, and on taxpayers, many of whom may not have benefited directly from higher education (HE), but who would be required to fund this additional public spending.

The latest statistical release, published in December 2020, shows that the value of outstanding loans at the end of March 2020 reached £140 billion: https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/sn01079/.

The government’s approach to student finance ensures that costs are split fairly between borrowers and the taxpayer. This approach has helped more young people from disadvantaged backgrounds go to university than ever before. Taxpayers currently subsidise around 50% of the cost of HE, which is a conscious investment in the skills capacity of the economy.

We believe that it is right that students should contribute to the cost of their HE and that this contribution should be linked to their income. Monthly repayments are linked to income and not to interest rates or the amount borrowed. Repayments are made at 9% of amounts earned over the relevant repayment threshold. The repayment threshold is currently equivalent to £26,575 a year for borrowers with a post-2012 loan, rising to £27,295 from 6 April 2021. Borrowers are protected, as their repayments decrease if their income decreases, and stop where income falls below the relevant repayment threshold. Any outstanding debt is written off after 30 years or in line with the terms of the borrower’s specific loan type, with no detriment to the borrower.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will work with the Office for Students to provide guidance to universities on how to effectively take account of the effect of the covid-19 pandemic on academic performance.

It is vital that a fair approach to exams and assessment is in place and understood by students. As autonomous bodies, higher education (HE) providers will make their own judgements about how best to ensure students’ achievements are reliably and fairly assessed.

The government’s clear and stated expectation is that quality and academic standards must be maintained. We expect providers to make all reasonable efforts for student achievement to be reliably assessed and for qualifications to be awarded securely.

The Office for Students (OfS), as the HE regulator in England, has produced guidance to the sector setting out expectations about provider approaches to teaching and assessment during this time. OfS guidance is clear that standards must be maintained, but clearly changes to assessments may be required in some circumstances. The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) has also published resources for providers on practical ways in which students can be assessed and complete their studies while ensuring quality and standards are upheld.

The government will continue to work closely with the QAA, professional bodies and the OfS to ensure students continue to leave university with qualifications that have real value, reflect their hard work and allow people to progress.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will require the Competition and Markets Authority formally assesses the offers made by universities for the 2020-21 student intake.

The government is committed to transforming the lives of young people so they can go as far as their hard work will take them. Our primary goal has been to ensure that the vast majority of students who wanted to go to university in the 2020-21 academic year could do so. We took steps, with support from the higher education (HE) sector, to increase capacity in the 2020-21 cycle. The end of cycle figures from UCAS for the 2020 cycle show that the percentage of accepted applicants deferring their place only went up by 0.7 percentage points compared to 2019. HE providers, as autonomous bodies, are independent from the government and are responsible for their own recruitment decisions.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is an independent non-ministerial department. The CMA makes its own choices about which cases to take forward based on its published prioritisation principles. The CMA offers guidance on consumer law for HE providers. It has been clear that obligations under the law have not changed during the COVID-19 outbreak and that HE providers must ensure that they are meeting these obligations.

The government has been clear throughout the COVID-19 outbreak that we expect providers to ensure that they are fully complying with their consumer law obligations, including in relation to admissions decisions. The department has regular contact with the CMA, including via the Consumer Benefit Forum, which was formed following the government’s consultation on the Office for Students (OfS) regulatory framework in 2017. Information about the Consumer Benefit Forum is available here: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/advice-and-guidance/student-wellbeing-and-protection/student-protection/consumer-benefit-forum/.

On 30 November 2020, the CMA published a re-statement of their views on consumer law in relation to HE. This is available at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/5fc4bab98fa8f5474e63ab0b/HE_restatement_.pdf.

The CMA had also previously published guidance on consumer contracts, cancellation and refunds affected by COVID-19. This sets out the CMA’s view on how the law operates to help students understand their rights and help providers treat their students fairly. This is available at: https://www.gov.uk/cma-cases/consumer-protection-review-of-higher-education.

Although the CMA is able to take enforcement action where there are breaches of consumer law, the OfS also has an important role, as the regulatory body in HE. All registered HE providers are subject to ongoing OfS conditions of registration relating to student protection and consumer law. The OfS is also responsible for ensuring that HE providers comply with their registration requirements.

The OfS does not get involved in individual student complaints, as that is for the relevant HE provider and possibly the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education. Students can, however, notify the OfS of issues that may be of regulatory interest to it. These are called ‘notifications’. The OfS uses this information as part of its regulatory monitoring activity and to keep HE providers under review to ensure that they comply with the ongoing conditions of registration. The OfS has produced a guide for students to support them in this process, which is available here: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/publications/office-for-students-notifications/.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of abolishing tuition fees (a) for the duration of the covid-19 outbreak and (b) in perpetuity.

The government is committed to a sustainable higher education (HE) funding model that supports high quality provision, meets the skills needs of the country, and maintains the world-class reputation of UK HE. We recognise that tuition fees must continue to represent value for money for students and taxpayers, both during the COVID-19 outbreak and after.

The government has already announced that the maximum tuition fee cap will remain at £9,250 for the 2021/22 academic year in respect of standard full-time courses at approved (fee cap) providers. We also intend to freeze the maximum tuition fee caps for 2022/23 to deliver better value for students and to keep the cost of higher education under control, the fifth year in succession that maximum fees have been frozen. Our income-contingent student loan system helps remove financial barriers to study and means that no eligible student needs to pay tuition fees upfront.

The COVID-19 outbreak continues to be a difficult and uncertain time for students. The government’s expectations are very clear: HE providers should maintain the quality and quantity of tuition and seek to ensure that all students regardless of their background have the resources to study remotely. The HE regulator in England, the Office for Students (OfS), has made it clear that all HE providers must continue to comply with registration conditions relating to quality and standards. The OfS is taking very seriously the potential impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak on teaching and learning. It is actively monitoring providers to ensure that they maintain the quality of their provision, that it is accessible for all, and that they have been clear in their communications with students about how arrangements for teaching and learning may change throughout the year. The OfS is also following up directly with providers where they receive notifications from students, parents or others raising concerns about the quality of teaching on offer and requiring providers to report to them when they are not able to deliver a course or award a qualification. If the OfS has any concerns, it will investigate further.

If students have concerns, there is also a complaints process in place. They should first raise their concerns with their university. If their concerns remain unresolved, students at providers in England or Wales can ask the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) to consider their complaint. The OIA website is available at: https://www.oiahe.org.uk/.

After finishing study, we believe that it is right that students should contribute to the cost of their HE, and that this contribution should be linked to their income. Only those who earn above the repayment threshold, which is £27,295 per year from April 2021, are required to make repayments. This system of income-based repayment means that those who have benefited the most from their education repay their fair share and helps to ensure that costs are split fairly between borrowers and the taxpayer.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will take steps with representatives of the Student Loan Company to remove 50 per cent of tuition fee debt incurred by students in the 2019-20 and 2020-21 academic year.

This has been a very difficult time for students, and the government is working with the sector to make sure all reasonable efforts are being made to enable students to continue their studies. We are committed to ensuring students receive high-quality education. I want to thank all higher education (HE) staff for their tireless work to ensure that young people do not have to put their lives or their academic journeys on hold. I have been impressed by the innovative and dynamic approaches so many providers have taken to online learning.

I welcome the huge amount of resource universities have given to ensuring online teaching is of the high quality expected by the government and the Office for Students (OfS). The government’s clear and stated expectation is that universities should maintain the quality and quantity of tuition and seek to ensure that all students regardless of their background have the resources to study remotely.

Universities are autonomous and responsible for setting their own fees within maximum fee limits set by regulations, where applicable. The OfS, as regulator for HE providers in England, has made it clear that HE providers must continue to comply with registration conditions relating to quality and academic standards, which set out requirements to ensure that courses are high-quality, that all students, both domestic and international are supported and achieve good outcomes, and that standards are protected, regardless of whether a provider is delivering its courses through face-to-face teaching, remote online learning, or a combination of both.

I wrote to the OfS on 13 January 2021, outlining the government’s expectations of the HE sector. Following this, the OfS wrote to provider accountable officers, setting out the actions they are taking in connection with providers’ compliance to existing regulatory requirements. The OfS has also published guidance on student and consumer protection during the COVID-19 outbreak, which is available via the following link: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/publications/guidance-for-providers-about-student-and-consumer-protection-during-the-pandemic/.

Whether or not an individual student is entitled to a refund will depend on the specific contractual arrangements between the provider and student. Due to the individualised nature of student contracts and student circumstances, the process which is in place ensures that institutions have the opportunity to consider student complaints effectively and offers them an opportunity for early resolution of complaints with students. This is particularly important in situations where remedies other than refunds would be more helpful or beneficial to a student.

If students have concerns, there is a process in place. They should first raise their concerns with their university. If their concerns remain unresolved, students at providers in England or Wales can ask the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) for Higher Education to consider their complaint. This is the case for both domestic and international students. The OIA website is available via the following link: https://oiahe.org.uk.

The OfS does not get involved in individual student complaints, that is for the relevant HE provider and possibly the OIA. Students can, however, notify the OfS of issues that may be of regulatory interest to it. These are called notifications. The OfS uses this information as part of its regulatory monitoring activity and keep HE providers under review to ensure that they comply with the ongoing conditions of registration. The OfS has produced a guide for students to support them in this process, which is available via the following link: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/publications/office-for-students-notifications/.

The government recognises that in these exceptional circumstances some students may face financial hardship. The department has worked with the OfS to clarify that providers are able to use existing funds, worth around £256 million for academic year 2020/21, towards hardship support. We have also made an additional £70 million of student hardship funding available to HE providers this financial year. HE providers have flexibility in how they distribute the funding to students, in a way that best prioritises those in greatest need. This is available to all students, including international.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will take steps with (a) universities and (b) NHS mental health service providers to ensure that students are able to access support free at the point of access which is available between their term-time address and non-term time address.

This has been a very difficult time for students, and we urge universities and private landlords to review their accommodation policies to ensure that they are fair, clear and have the interests of students at heart.

The government plays no role in the provision of student residential accommodation. Universities and private accommodation providers are autonomous and are responsible for setting their own rent agreements. Whether a student is entitled to a refund or to an early release from their contract will depend on the specific contractual arrangements between them and their higher education (HE) provider.

We recognise that, in these exceptional circumstances, some students may face financial hardship. The department has worked with the Office for Students (OfS) to clarify that HE providers are able to use existing funds, worth around £256 million for the 2020/21 academic year, towards hardship support. We have also made an additional £70 million of student hardship funding available to HE providers this financial year.

HE providers will have flexibility in how they distribute the funding to students, in a way that will best prioritise those in greatest need. Support might include help for students facing additional costs arising from having to maintain accommodation in more than one location. The funding can be distributed to a wide population of students, including postgraduates (whether taught or research) and international students. We will continue to monitor the situation to look at what impact this funding is having.

The department has also provided £50,000 in funding to help set up the Civic University Network. This funding and the network will help to improve the relationship between universities and their communities and will facilitate sharing of good practice between HE institutions.

Tenants, including student renters, should continue to pay rent and abide by all other terms of their tenancy agreement to the best of their ability. Where tenants can pay the rent as normal, they should do so. Tenants who are unable to do so should speak to their landlord at the earliest opportunity.

There is further information for tenants and landlords in the context of COVID-19, available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-and-renting-guidance-for-landlords-tenants-and-local-authorities.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has published guidance on consumer contracts, cancellation and refunds affected by COVID-19: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cma-to-investigate-concerns-about-cancellation-policies-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic/the-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic-consumer-contracts-cancellation-and-refunds. This guidance sets out the CMA’s view on how the law operates to help consumers understand their rights and help businesses treat their customers fairly.

Students may be entitled to refunds from certain accommodation providers. depending on the terms of their contract and their particular circumstances. Organisations such as Citizens Advice offer a free service, providing information and support.

Protecting student and staff wellbeing is vital - it is important students can still access the mental health and wellbeing support they need. We recognise that many students are facing additional mental health challenges due to the disruption and uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

We expect HE providers to continue to support their students, which has included making services accessible from a distance. We encourage students to stay in touch with their provider’s student support and welfare teams as these services are likely to continue to be an important source of support. Many providers have bolstered their existing mental health services, and adapted delivery mechanisms including reaching out to students who may be more vulnerable.

I have engaged with universities on this issue and I have written to Vice Chancellors on numerous occasions, outlining that student welfare should be prioritised. I have also convened a working group of representatives from the higher education and health sectors to specifically address the current and pressing issues that students are facing during the COVID-19 outbreak.

My hon. Friend, the Minister for Children and Families, and I have convened the Mental Health in Education Action Group. This new group, which met for the first time on 8 March, will look at the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the mental health and wellbeing of children, young people, and staff in nurseries, schools, colleges and universities.

We have worked with the OfS to provide Student Space, which has been funded by up to £3 million by the OfS. Student Space is a mental health and wellbeing platform designed to bridge any gaps in support for students arising from this unprecedented situation and is designed to work alongside existing services. Ensuring that students have access to quality mental health support is my top priority, which is why I asked the OfS to look at extending the platform. I am delighted they have been able to extend the platform to support students for the whole 2020/21 academic year, because no student should be left behind at this challenging time. This resource provides dedicated one-to-one phone, text and web chat facilities as well as a collaborative online platform providing vital mental health and wellbeing resources.

Furthermore, we have asked the OfS to allocate £15 million towards student mental health in the 2021/22 academic year through proposed reforms to Strategic Priorities grant funding, to help address the challenges to student mental health posed by the transition to university, given the increasing demand for mental health services. This will target those students in greatest need of such services, including vulnerable groups and hard to reach students.

Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak the government has provided over £10 million to leading mental health charities including charities like Young Minds and Place 2 Be, which specifically support the mental health of young people.

Students struggling with their mental health can access services through the GP they are registered with, or they can register temporarily with a GP closer to their current location if needed: https://www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/nhs-services-and-treatments/how-do-i-register-as-a-temporary-resident-with-a-gp/, Students can also access online resources from the NHS, Public Health England via the Every Mind Matters website and the mental health charity Mind: https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will provide additional funding for universities to fund (a) additional mental health support, (b) community building initiatives and (c) student hardship grants.

This has been a very difficult time for students, and we urge universities and private landlords to review their accommodation policies to ensure that they are fair, clear and have the interests of students at heart.

The government plays no role in the provision of student residential accommodation. Universities and private accommodation providers are autonomous and are responsible for setting their own rent agreements. Whether a student is entitled to a refund or to an early release from their contract will depend on the specific contractual arrangements between them and their higher education (HE) provider.

We recognise that, in these exceptional circumstances, some students may face financial hardship. The department has worked with the Office for Students (OfS) to clarify that HE providers are able to use existing funds, worth around £256 million for the 2020/21 academic year, towards hardship support. We have also made an additional £70 million of student hardship funding available to HE providers this financial year.

HE providers will have flexibility in how they distribute the funding to students, in a way that will best prioritise those in greatest need. Support might include help for students facing additional costs arising from having to maintain accommodation in more than one location. The funding can be distributed to a wide population of students, including postgraduates (whether taught or research) and international students. We will continue to monitor the situation to look at what impact this funding is having.

The department has also provided £50,000 in funding to help set up the Civic University Network. This funding and the network will help to improve the relationship between universities and their communities and will facilitate sharing of good practice between HE institutions.

Tenants, including student renters, should continue to pay rent and abide by all other terms of their tenancy agreement to the best of their ability. Where tenants can pay the rent as normal, they should do so. Tenants who are unable to do so should speak to their landlord at the earliest opportunity.

There is further information for tenants and landlords in the context of COVID-19, available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-and-renting-guidance-for-landlords-tenants-and-local-authorities.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has published guidance on consumer contracts, cancellation and refunds affected by COVID-19: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cma-to-investigate-concerns-about-cancellation-policies-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic/the-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic-consumer-contracts-cancellation-and-refunds. This guidance sets out the CMA’s view on how the law operates to help consumers understand their rights and help businesses treat their customers fairly.

Students may be entitled to refunds from certain accommodation providers. depending on the terms of their contract and their particular circumstances. Organisations such as Citizens Advice offer a free service, providing information and support.

Protecting student and staff wellbeing is vital - it is important students can still access the mental health and wellbeing support they need. We recognise that many students are facing additional mental health challenges due to the disruption and uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

We expect HE providers to continue to support their students, which has included making services accessible from a distance. We encourage students to stay in touch with their provider’s student support and welfare teams as these services are likely to continue to be an important source of support. Many providers have bolstered their existing mental health services, and adapted delivery mechanisms including reaching out to students who may be more vulnerable.

I have engaged with universities on this issue and I have written to Vice Chancellors on numerous occasions, outlining that student welfare should be prioritised. I have also convened a working group of representatives from the higher education and health sectors to specifically address the current and pressing issues that students are facing during the COVID-19 outbreak.

My hon. Friend, the Minister for Children and Families, and I have convened the Mental Health in Education Action Group. This new group, which met for the first time on 8 March, will look at the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the mental health and wellbeing of children, young people, and staff in nurseries, schools, colleges and universities.

We have worked with the OfS to provide Student Space, which has been funded by up to £3 million by the OfS. Student Space is a mental health and wellbeing platform designed to bridge any gaps in support for students arising from this unprecedented situation and is designed to work alongside existing services. Ensuring that students have access to quality mental health support is my top priority, which is why I asked the OfS to look at extending the platform. I am delighted they have been able to extend the platform to support students for the whole 2020/21 academic year, because no student should be left behind at this challenging time. This resource provides dedicated one-to-one phone, text and web chat facilities as well as a collaborative online platform providing vital mental health and wellbeing resources.

Furthermore, we have asked the OfS to allocate £15 million towards student mental health in the 2021/22 academic year through proposed reforms to Strategic Priorities grant funding, to help address the challenges to student mental health posed by the transition to university, given the increasing demand for mental health services. This will target those students in greatest need of such services, including vulnerable groups and hard to reach students.

Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak the government has provided over £10 million to leading mental health charities including charities like Young Minds and Place 2 Be, which specifically support the mental health of young people.

Students struggling with their mental health can access services through the GP they are registered with, or they can register temporarily with a GP closer to their current location if needed: https://www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/nhs-services-and-treatments/how-do-i-register-as-a-temporary-resident-with-a-gp/, Students can also access online resources from the NHS, Public Health England via the Every Mind Matters website and the mental health charity Mind: https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will bring forward legislative proposals to enable students who wish to break (a) university and (b) private-sector accommodation contracts early due to being unable to access their term-time housing for significant periods during the covid-19 outbreak.

This has been a very difficult time for students, and we urge universities and private landlords to review their accommodation policies to ensure that they are fair, clear and have the interests of students at heart.

The government plays no role in the provision of student residential accommodation. Universities and private accommodation providers are autonomous and are responsible for setting their own rent agreements. Whether a student is entitled to a refund or to an early release from their contract will depend on the specific contractual arrangements between them and their higher education (HE) provider.

We recognise that, in these exceptional circumstances, some students may face financial hardship. The department has worked with the Office for Students (OfS) to clarify that HE providers are able to use existing funds, worth around £256 million for the 2020/21 academic year, towards hardship support. We have also made an additional £70 million of student hardship funding available to HE providers this financial year.

HE providers will have flexibility in how they distribute the funding to students, in a way that will best prioritise those in greatest need. Support might include help for students facing additional costs arising from having to maintain accommodation in more than one location. The funding can be distributed to a wide population of students, including postgraduates (whether taught or research) and international students. We will continue to monitor the situation to look at what impact this funding is having.

The department has also provided £50,000 in funding to help set up the Civic University Network. This funding and the network will help to improve the relationship between universities and their communities and will facilitate sharing of good practice between HE institutions.

Tenants, including student renters, should continue to pay rent and abide by all other terms of their tenancy agreement to the best of their ability. Where tenants can pay the rent as normal, they should do so. Tenants who are unable to do so should speak to their landlord at the earliest opportunity.

There is further information for tenants and landlords in the context of COVID-19, available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-and-renting-guidance-for-landlords-tenants-and-local-authorities.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has published guidance on consumer contracts, cancellation and refunds affected by COVID-19: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cma-to-investigate-concerns-about-cancellation-policies-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic/the-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic-consumer-contracts-cancellation-and-refunds. This guidance sets out the CMA’s view on how the law operates to help consumers understand their rights and help businesses treat their customers fairly.

Students may be entitled to refunds from certain accommodation providers. depending on the terms of their contract and their particular circumstances. Organisations such as Citizens Advice offer a free service, providing information and support.

Protecting student and staff wellbeing is vital - it is important students can still access the mental health and wellbeing support they need. We recognise that many students are facing additional mental health challenges due to the disruption and uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

We expect HE providers to continue to support their students, which has included making services accessible from a distance. We encourage students to stay in touch with their provider’s student support and welfare teams as these services are likely to continue to be an important source of support. Many providers have bolstered their existing mental health services, and adapted delivery mechanisms including reaching out to students who may be more vulnerable.

I have engaged with universities on this issue and I have written to Vice Chancellors on numerous occasions, outlining that student welfare should be prioritised. I have also convened a working group of representatives from the higher education and health sectors to specifically address the current and pressing issues that students are facing during the COVID-19 outbreak.

My hon. Friend, the Minister for Children and Families, and I have convened the Mental Health in Education Action Group. This new group, which met for the first time on 8 March, will look at the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the mental health and wellbeing of children, young people, and staff in nurseries, schools, colleges and universities.

We have worked with the OfS to provide Student Space, which has been funded by up to £3 million by the OfS. Student Space is a mental health and wellbeing platform designed to bridge any gaps in support for students arising from this unprecedented situation and is designed to work alongside existing services. Ensuring that students have access to quality mental health support is my top priority, which is why I asked the OfS to look at extending the platform. I am delighted they have been able to extend the platform to support students for the whole 2020/21 academic year, because no student should be left behind at this challenging time. This resource provides dedicated one-to-one phone, text and web chat facilities as well as a collaborative online platform providing vital mental health and wellbeing resources.

Furthermore, we have asked the OfS to allocate £15 million towards student mental health in the 2021/22 academic year through proposed reforms to Strategic Priorities grant funding, to help address the challenges to student mental health posed by the transition to university, given the increasing demand for mental health services. This will target those students in greatest need of such services, including vulnerable groups and hard to reach students.

Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak the government has provided over £10 million to leading mental health charities including charities like Young Minds and Place 2 Be, which specifically support the mental health of young people.

Students struggling with their mental health can access services through the GP they are registered with, or they can register temporarily with a GP closer to their current location if needed: https://www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/nhs-services-and-treatments/how-do-i-register-as-a-temporary-resident-with-a-gp/, Students can also access online resources from the NHS, Public Health England via the Every Mind Matters website and the mental health charity Mind: https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will provide funding for (a) private sector landlords and (b) owners of purpose-built students accommodation to offer proportionate rebates for students not using such accommodation during the covid-19 outbreak.

This has been a very difficult time for students, and we urge universities and private landlords to review their accommodation policies to ensure that they are fair, clear and have the interests of students at heart.

The government plays no role in the provision of student residential accommodation. Universities and private accommodation providers are autonomous and are responsible for setting their own rent agreements. Whether a student is entitled to a refund or to an early release from their contract will depend on the specific contractual arrangements between them and their higher education (HE) provider.

We recognise that, in these exceptional circumstances, some students may face financial hardship. The department has worked with the Office for Students (OfS) to clarify that HE providers are able to use existing funds, worth around £256 million for the 2020/21 academic year, towards hardship support. We have also made an additional £70 million of student hardship funding available to HE providers this financial year.

HE providers will have flexibility in how they distribute the funding to students, in a way that will best prioritise those in greatest need. Support might include help for students facing additional costs arising from having to maintain accommodation in more than one location. The funding can be distributed to a wide population of students, including postgraduates (whether taught or research) and international students. We will continue to monitor the situation to look at what impact this funding is having.

The department has also provided £50,000 in funding to help set up the Civic University Network. This funding and the network will help to improve the relationship between universities and their communities and will facilitate sharing of good practice between HE institutions.

Tenants, including student renters, should continue to pay rent and abide by all other terms of their tenancy agreement to the best of their ability. Where tenants can pay the rent as normal, they should do so. Tenants who are unable to do so should speak to their landlord at the earliest opportunity.

There is further information for tenants and landlords in the context of COVID-19, available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-and-renting-guidance-for-landlords-tenants-and-local-authorities.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has published guidance on consumer contracts, cancellation and refunds affected by COVID-19: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cma-to-investigate-concerns-about-cancellation-policies-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic/the-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic-consumer-contracts-cancellation-and-refunds. This guidance sets out the CMA’s view on how the law operates to help consumers understand their rights and help businesses treat their customers fairly.

Students may be entitled to refunds from certain accommodation providers. depending on the terms of their contract and their particular circumstances. Organisations such as Citizens Advice offer a free service, providing information and support.

Protecting student and staff wellbeing is vital - it is important students can still access the mental health and wellbeing support they need. We recognise that many students are facing additional mental health challenges due to the disruption and uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

We expect HE providers to continue to support their students, which has included making services accessible from a distance. We encourage students to stay in touch with their provider’s student support and welfare teams as these services are likely to continue to be an important source of support. Many providers have bolstered their existing mental health services, and adapted delivery mechanisms including reaching out to students who may be more vulnerable.

I have engaged with universities on this issue and I have written to Vice Chancellors on numerous occasions, outlining that student welfare should be prioritised. I have also convened a working group of representatives from the higher education and health sectors to specifically address the current and pressing issues that students are facing during the COVID-19 outbreak.

My hon. Friend, the Minister for Children and Families, and I have convened the Mental Health in Education Action Group. This new group, which met for the first time on 8 March, will look at the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the mental health and wellbeing of children, young people, and staff in nurseries, schools, colleges and universities.

We have worked with the OfS to provide Student Space, which has been funded by up to £3 million by the OfS. Student Space is a mental health and wellbeing platform designed to bridge any gaps in support for students arising from this unprecedented situation and is designed to work alongside existing services. Ensuring that students have access to quality mental health support is my top priority, which is why I asked the OfS to look at extending the platform. I am delighted they have been able to extend the platform to support students for the whole 2020/21 academic year, because no student should be left behind at this challenging time. This resource provides dedicated one-to-one phone, text and web chat facilities as well as a collaborative online platform providing vital mental health and wellbeing resources.

Furthermore, we have asked the OfS to allocate £15 million towards student mental health in the 2021/22 academic year through proposed reforms to Strategic Priorities grant funding, to help address the challenges to student mental health posed by the transition to university, given the increasing demand for mental health services. This will target those students in greatest need of such services, including vulnerable groups and hard to reach students.

Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak the government has provided over £10 million to leading mental health charities including charities like Young Minds and Place 2 Be, which specifically support the mental health of young people.

Students struggling with their mental health can access services through the GP they are registered with, or they can register temporarily with a GP closer to their current location if needed: https://www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/nhs-services-and-treatments/how-do-i-register-as-a-temporary-resident-with-a-gp/, Students can also access online resources from the NHS, Public Health England via the Every Mind Matters website and the mental health charity Mind: https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will increase funding for universities to enable those universities to offer proportionate rebates for students in halls who entered into accommodation contracts for the 2020-21 academic year.

This has been a very difficult time for students, and we urge universities and private landlords to review their accommodation policies to ensure that they are fair, clear and have the interests of students at heart.

The government plays no role in the provision of student residential accommodation. Universities and private accommodation providers are autonomous and are responsible for setting their own rent agreements. Whether a student is entitled to a refund or to an early release from their contract will depend on the specific contractual arrangements between them and their higher education (HE) provider.

We recognise that, in these exceptional circumstances, some students may face financial hardship. The department has worked with the Office for Students (OfS) to clarify that HE providers are able to use existing funds, worth around £256 million for the 2020/21 academic year, towards hardship support. We have also made an additional £70 million of student hardship funding available to HE providers this financial year.

HE providers will have flexibility in how they distribute the funding to students, in a way that will best prioritise those in greatest need. Support might include help for students facing additional costs arising from having to maintain accommodation in more than one location. The funding can be distributed to a wide population of students, including postgraduates (whether taught or research) and international students. We will continue to monitor the situation to look at what impact this funding is having.

The department has also provided £50,000 in funding to help set up the Civic University Network. This funding and the network will help to improve the relationship between universities and their communities and will facilitate sharing of good practice between HE institutions.

Tenants, including student renters, should continue to pay rent and abide by all other terms of their tenancy agreement to the best of their ability. Where tenants can pay the rent as normal, they should do so. Tenants who are unable to do so should speak to their landlord at the earliest opportunity.

There is further information for tenants and landlords in the context of COVID-19, available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-and-renting-guidance-for-landlords-tenants-and-local-authorities.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has published guidance on consumer contracts, cancellation and refunds affected by COVID-19: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cma-to-investigate-concerns-about-cancellation-policies-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic/the-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic-consumer-contracts-cancellation-and-refunds. This guidance sets out the CMA’s view on how the law operates to help consumers understand their rights and help businesses treat their customers fairly.

Students may be entitled to refunds from certain accommodation providers. depending on the terms of their contract and their particular circumstances. Organisations such as Citizens Advice offer a free service, providing information and support.

Protecting student and staff wellbeing is vital - it is important students can still access the mental health and wellbeing support they need. We recognise that many students are facing additional mental health challenges due to the disruption and uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

We expect HE providers to continue to support their students, which has included making services accessible from a distance. We encourage students to stay in touch with their provider’s student support and welfare teams as these services are likely to continue to be an important source of support. Many providers have bolstered their existing mental health services, and adapted delivery mechanisms including reaching out to students who may be more vulnerable.

I have engaged with universities on this issue and I have written to Vice Chancellors on numerous occasions, outlining that student welfare should be prioritised. I have also convened a working group of representatives from the higher education and health sectors to specifically address the current and pressing issues that students are facing during the COVID-19 outbreak.

My hon. Friend, the Minister for Children and Families, and I have convened the Mental Health in Education Action Group. This new group, which met for the first time on 8 March, will look at the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the mental health and wellbeing of children, young people, and staff in nurseries, schools, colleges and universities.

We have worked with the OfS to provide Student Space, which has been funded by up to £3 million by the OfS. Student Space is a mental health and wellbeing platform designed to bridge any gaps in support for students arising from this unprecedented situation and is designed to work alongside existing services. Ensuring that students have access to quality mental health support is my top priority, which is why I asked the OfS to look at extending the platform. I am delighted they have been able to extend the platform to support students for the whole 2020/21 academic year, because no student should be left behind at this challenging time. This resource provides dedicated one-to-one phone, text and web chat facilities as well as a collaborative online platform providing vital mental health and wellbeing resources.

Furthermore, we have asked the OfS to allocate £15 million towards student mental health in the 2021/22 academic year through proposed reforms to Strategic Priorities grant funding, to help address the challenges to student mental health posed by the transition to university, given the increasing demand for mental health services. This will target those students in greatest need of such services, including vulnerable groups and hard to reach students.

Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak the government has provided over £10 million to leading mental health charities including charities like Young Minds and Place 2 Be, which specifically support the mental health of young people.

Students struggling with their mental health can access services through the GP they are registered with, or they can register temporarily with a GP closer to their current location if needed: https://www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/nhs-services-and-treatments/how-do-i-register-as-a-temporary-resident-with-a-gp/, Students can also access online resources from the NHS, Public Health England via the Every Mind Matters website and the mental health charity Mind: https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will allocate funding from the public purse for universities to offer refunds of 50 per cent to (a) postgraduate, (b) international and (c) other students who privately fund the cost of their tuition in the 2019-20 and 2020-21 academic year.

This has been a very difficult time for students, and the government is working with the sector to make sure all reasonable efforts are being made to enable students to continue their studies. I want to thank all higher education (HE) staff for their tireless work to ensure that young people do not have to put their lives or their academic journeys on hold.

I welcome the huge amount of resources universities have given to ensure online teaching is of the high quality expected by the government and the Office for Students (OfS). The government’s clear and stated expectation is that universities should maintain the quality and quantity of tuition and seek to ensure that all students regardless of their background have the resources to study remotely.

Universities are autonomous and responsible for setting their own fees within maximum fee limits set by regulations, where applicable. The OfS, as regulator for HE providers in England, has made it clear that HE providers must continue to comply with registration conditions relating to quality and academic standards, which set out requirements to ensure that courses are high quality, that all students, both domestic and international are supported and achieve good outcomes, and that standards are protected, regardless of whether a provider is delivering its courses through face-to-face teaching, remote online learning, or a combination of both.

We continue to regularly engage the sector in discussion on this issue. I wrote to the OfS on 13 January 2021 outlining the government’s expectations of the HE sector. Following this, the OfS wrote to provider accountable officers, setting out the actions they are taking in connection with providers’ compliance to existing regulatory requirements. The OfS has also published guidance on student and consumer protection during the COVID-19 outbreak, which is available via the following link: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/publications/guidance-for-providers-about-student-and-consumer-protection-during-the-pandemic/.

Whether or not an individual student is entitled to a refund will depend on the specific contractual arrangements between the provider and student. Due to the individualised nature of student contracts and student circumstances, the process which is in place ensures that institutions have the opportunity to consider student complaints effectively and offers them an opportunity for early resolution of complaints with students. This is particularly important in situations where remedies other than refunds would be more helpful or beneficial to a student.

If students have concerns, there is a process in place. They should first raise their concerns with their university. If their concerns remain unresolved, students at providers in England or Wales can ask the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) for Higher Education to consider their complaint. This is the case for both domestic and international students. The OIA website is available via the following link: https://www.oiahe.org.uk/.

The OfS does not get involved in individual student complaints. These are for the relevant HE provider and possibly the OIA. Students can, however, notify the OfS of issues that may be of regulatory interest to it. These are called notifications. The OfS uses this information as part of its regulatory monitoring activity and keep HE providers under review to ensure that they comply with the ongoing conditions of registration. The OfS has produced a guide for students to support them in this process, which is available via the following link: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/publications/office-for-students-notifications/.

In relation to international students, the government has worked closely with the HE sector to ensure that existing rules and processes are as flexible as possible for international students at this time. This includes the ability to engage via distance/blended learning for the duration of the 2020/21 academic year and confirming that existing international students who have been studying by distance distance/blended learning will remain eligible to apply for the new graduate route, provided they are in the UK by 21 June 2021 (27 September for those studying one-year courses in 2021) and meet the other requirements of the route. I have also written to international students directly throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, providing up-to-date guidance and setting out the support available for students.

In relation to postgraduate students, the master’s loan scheme was introduced in summer 2016 to help remove the financial barrier often faced by those wishing to step up to achieving a master’s level qualification. This was followed two years later with the doctoral degree loan. Both loans are intended as a contribution to the cost of postgraduate level study and is not intended to cover all costs associated with postgraduate study.

We recognise that in these exceptional circumstances some students may face financial hardship. The department has worked with the OfS to clarify that providers are able to use existing funds, worth around £256 million for academic year 2020/21, towards hardship support. We have also made an additional £70 million of student hardship funding available to HE providers this financial year. HE providers have flexibility in how they distribute the funding to students, in a way that best prioritises those in greatest need. This is available to all students, including international and postgraduate students.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will provide a list of (a) primary, (b) secondary, (c) academy and (d) free schools whose pupils are being provided with food packages by Chartwells.

The continuing provision of free school meals to children from out-of-work families or those on low incomes is of the utmost importance to this government.

School catering contracts are agreed locally, and the department does not hold a contract with Chartwells UK or any other food company to provide free school meals or lunch parcels to children. We have guidance in place allowing schools to decide the best approach for their pupils. This can be through lunch parcels, locally arranged vouchers or the national voucher scheme.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the importance of early intervention financial education at a primary school level; and if he will make a statement.

It is important that pupils are well prepared to manage their money, make sound financial decisions, and know where to seek further information, if required. In 2014, for the first time, financial literacy was made statutory within the National Curriculum as part of the citizenship curriculum for 11 to 16 year olds.

The Department has introduced a rigorous Mathematics curriculum, which provides pupils with the knowledge and skills to make important financial decisions. The Department has also published statutory programmes of study for Mathematics and citizenship that outline what pupils should learn about financial education from Key Stages One to Four.

In the primary Mathematics curriculum, there is a strong emphasis on the arithmetical knowledge that pupils should have. This knowledge is vital, as a strong understanding of numeracy will underpin pupils’ ability to manage budgets and money. There is also some specific content about financial education, including calculations with money.

The Department does not monitor or assess the resources that schools use and we trust schools to use their professional judgement and understanding of their pupils to develop the right teaching approach for their particular school, drawing on the expertise of subject associations. The Department will continue to work closely with the Money and Pensions Service and other stakeholders such as Her Majesty’s Treasury, to consider what can be learned from other sector initiatives and whether there is scope to provide further support for the teaching of financial education in schools.

Schools are doing their best to ensure pupils continue to be taught a wide range of subjects so that they can maintain their choices for further study and employment. The Department’s latest guidance on teaching during the COVID-19 outbreak is set out here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many laptops were (a) requested by and (b) provided to schools in Leicester East during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Department has invested over £195 million to support remote education and access to online social care, delivering over 220,000 laptops and tablets during the summer term for disadvantaged children who would not otherwise have access to a digital device.

The Department has published data about the delivery of laptops and tablets, in the summer term. The data includes delivery data for Leicester local authorities and trusts and can be viewed at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/912888/Devices_and_4G_wireless_routers_progress_data_as_of_27_August_2020.pdf.

We are now supplementing this support by making available 340,000 additional laptops and tablets in the event of face-to-face schooling is disrupted as a result of COVID-19 restrictions and children become reliant on remote education. Since September over 100,000 of these have already been delivered to schools. More information is available at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/929064/Ad-hoc_stats_note_shipped_data_231020_FINAL.pdf.

This represents an injection of over half a million laptops and tablets by the end of the year.

Laptops and tablets are owned by schools, trusts or local authorities who can lend these to children and young people who need them most and if they experience disruption to face-to-face education due to COVID-19.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans have been made to expand the 30 hours free childcare scheme to include children under the age of three with parents who are key workers.

This government is committed to making childcare more affordable and accessible. That is why the government offers a package of free childcare entitlements: 15 hours of free childcare a week for disadvantaged 2-year-olds; universal 15 hours for all 3- and 4-year-olds; and an additional 15 hours (30 hours free childcare) for eligible working parents of 3- and 4-year-olds.

We introduced 30 hours free childcare for working families in September 2017. Many parents want to return to work and 30 hours free childcare supports them to do so. Responses to the Childcare and Early Years Survey of Parents show that in 2019, parents who applied for the 30 hours did so to maintain (39%) or increase (21%) their working hours. We are clear that the 30 hours offer aims to support eligible working families with the cost of childcare, and to support parents back into work, or to work more hours should they wish to, saving parents up to £5,000 per year in total if they use the full 30 hours. The 2019 Parents Survey backs this, with 78% of parents reporting improved family finances whilst using 30 hours.

There is a wide range of support available for parents with childcare costs outside of the free early education entitlements, including for parents of children under the age of 3. With Tax-Free Childcare, for every £8 parents pay their provider via an online account, the government will pay £2 – up to a maximum contribution of £2,000 per child each year (up to £500 every 3 months), for children under 12. Eligible families can also get help with up to 85% of their childcare costs through Universal Credit, subject to a monthly limit.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
13th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many children were taken into care in (a) the East Midlands, (b) Leicester and (c) Leicester East constituency in each of the last 5 years.

The latest figures on the number of children taken into care in England, the East Midlands region and Leicester local authority area since 2014/15 are shown in the attached table. The department does not collect this data by parliamentary constituency area.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
13th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to promote degree apprenticeships as a route to an undergraduate degree in (a) Leicester and (b) the East Midlands.

Degree and degree-level apprenticeships offer people of all ages and from all backgrounds the chance to earn while they learn and access a range of professions.

We are continuing to promote these apprenticeships as a genuine, high-quality alternative to traditional academic study, and want to make sure we reach those who might not otherwise have considered higher education as an option.

Our Five Cities project continues to promote the uptake of all apprenticeships by Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic individuals in Leicester, whilst our Opportunities Through Apprenticeships project is working to identify skills gaps and encourage new higher-level provision within Nottingham.

To support employers in raising awareness of opportunities in their businesses across the whole of England, we have worked with the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) to develop an online higher and degree apprenticeship vacancy listing. The most recent update was published in February’s National Apprenticeship Week for starts in 2020. It includes over a thousand vacancies from employers in a range of sectors, from aeronautical engineering to town planning.

Representatives from the National Apprenticeship Service also attended 30 UCAS exhibitions in 2019, engaging with around 10,000 young people, their parents and careers advisers. This work will continue during 2020 alongside our wider communications and marketing activity to raise the profile of apprenticeships, including the second phase of our ‘Fire It Up’ campaign. A number of the apprentices who feature in advertising throughout the second phase are undertaking degree or degree-level apprenticeships.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to promote environmental sustainability among fast fashion garment producers.

Since 2012, Defra has worked with the clothing industry through the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan (SCAP), co-ordinated by WRAP, to reduce the environmental impact of the sector. During this time SCAP signatories have reduced their water and carbon footprints per tonne of clothing by 19.5% and 15.9% respectively. Building on this, we have worked closely with the industry through WRAP, to develop a new voluntary agreement ‘Textiles 2030’, scheduled for launch in April. This has ambitious targets, aligned with global goals on carbon and water and aims to drive the shift to a more resource efficient textiles sector in the UK.

Textiles is also one of seven key sectors included in our new draft Waste Prevention Programme for England, which was published for consultation on 18 March. This builds on the Resources and Waste Strategy (2018) and sets out government’s approach to improve resource efficiency and reduce waste. It announces that we will develop a proposal for an Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) scheme for textiles, supported by measures to encourage better design and information, and will consult with stakeholders on this by the end of 2022. This could help to boost reuse and recycling of textiles and reduce the environmental footprint of the sector. Our landmark Environment Bill will also give us the powers to take action to ensure better design and provision of consumer information to promote sustainability.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many exports of pesticides banned in the UK have been supplied to (a) India and (b) other regions in the last two years; and what plans he has to prohibit exports of (a) Paraquet and (b) other pesticides that are banned in the UK to India.

The export of non-approved or severely restricted pesticides is regulated under the Great Britain Prior Informed Consent (PIC) regulatory regime for the export and import of certain hazardous chemicals. Companies intending to export any of these chemicals must notify the importing country via the exporter’s Designated National Authority. If a chemical is restricted for one use (for example use as a pesticide) all exports will be covered by PIC even if the export will in fact be used for a purpose that is not subject to restrictions.

The exchange of information under PIC helps importing countries to make informed decisions on the import, handling and use of those chemicals for their specific circumstances.

Some information on exports in previous years can be found on the website of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), although this does not include all the detail requested. Defra does not hold this information.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department has plans to keep garden centres open in the event of a lockdown as a result of covid-19.

We understand this issue is of great concern to the sector and we are in discussions with the Horticultural Trades Association.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that future trade deals are designed to help tackle the exploitation of garment industry workers around the world.

The UK is committed to working with international partners and businesses to tackle modern slavery in global supply chains. It is vital that increased trade is not based on the exploitation and abuse of workers. In line with our international obligations, the Government ensures a high level of protection of labour standards in new trade agreements, including considering how future trade policy can be shaped to ensure the exploitation and abuse of workers is prevented.

Graham Stuart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
12th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of prohibiting the sale of weapons including water cannons, tear gas and batons to India which could be used against peaceful protestors.

HM Government takes its export control responsibilities extremely seriously. All export licences are assessed in accordance with the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (the ‘Consolidated Criteria’). For items that require an export licence, the Consolidated Criteria provide a thorough risk assessment framework and require us to consider the possible impact of providing equipment and its capabilities. HM Government will not grant an export licence if to do so would be inconsistent with the Consolidated Criteria.

Graham Stuart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions his Department has had with Midlands Connect on a direct rail connection between Coventry, Leicester and Nottingham as part of the Midlands Rail Hub project.

Officials have been in discussion with Midlands Connect and Network Rail regarding proposals for new infrastructure, which would allow direct services between Coventry, Leicester and Nottingham. A strategic outline business case is being developed by Midlands Connect, and we expect to receive it in Spring 2021.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he plans to introduce quadruple-track railway at Leicester station; and if he will make a statement.

Following Network Rail’s publication of the Strategic Advice for improving capacity in the Leicester area, they are working on a business case for a suite of interventions which could deliver the enhancements required in the area. Quadruple-tracking is one of the options that Network Rail is considering. Network Rail is producing a Strategic Outline Business Case for the first part of the scheme which we expect to receive by Summer 2021.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans his Department has to work with airlines to provide refunds for customers who have been forced to cancel holidays as a result of local covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

The department is in regular contact with industry and has encouraged businesses to act fairly during this unprecedented event. Whether a consumer is entitled to a refund will depend on the terms and conditions of the contract in place. Consumers are encouraged to first contact travel providers or accommodation providers for reimbursement. In the next instance, credit card providers may be able to provide a refund under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 if the payment was made by credit card.

13th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent estimate he has made of the average number of passengers on public service bus routes in (a) the East Midlands, (b) Leicester and (c) Leicester East constituency.

The Department does not hold data on the average number of passengers per route at regional or parliamentary constituency level.

The average bus occupancy on local bus services was 12.5 in England in 2018/19, an increase from 12.2 in 2017/18 and 11.7 in 2009/10.

13th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to improve public transport in Leicester.

Leicester is one of 12 city regions with the opportunity to bid for a share of £1.22 billion from the Transforming Cities Fund. The Fund is designed to improve public and sustainable transport links.

The bus market outside London is deregulated and decisions regarding service provision is primarily a commercial matter for bus operators. Decisions on subsidised bus services are a matter for individual English local authorities, in the light of their other spending priorities.

The Bus Services Act 2017 introduced new powers for local authorities and operators to work together to grow bus passenger numbers.

The £220 million Better Deal for Bus Users package provides new funding to transform bus services and includes a National Bus Strategy, which together will detail measures to improve bus services. This includes an extra £30 million for local authorities in 2020/21. If Leicester City Council complete statements of intent demonstrating how they will meet the funding requirements, it will be provided with the additional allocation of £83,550. This is on top of the £100,287 received in 2018/19 from the annual Bus Service Operators Grant.

There is £5billion of new funding to overhaul bus and cycle links outside London. This investment will boost bus services by including: higher frequency services, new priority schemes will make routes more efficient, more affordable simpler fares and at least 4,000 new Zero Emission Buses.

For rail, the new operator of East Midlands Railway, Abellio, is bringing a package of more than £600 million investment in improvements to rail services across their area. This will include an investment of £20 million on stations, including a larger scheme at Leicester, and replacement of the entire train fleet with more than 340 carriages.

15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the ability of the Health and Safety Executive to tackle exploitation in the garment industry following a 46 per cent reduction in the budget of that organisation since 2009-10.

For the financial year 2020/21, the Health and Safety Executive has been provided with an additional £19m, an increase of over 10% of their budget, to ensure that workplaces are COVID secure. HSE targets its resources to higher risk sectors or to where they have intelligence or complaints to investigate further and this latter approach targets the textile sector.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many garment factories in Leicester have failed a covid-19 inspection conducted by the Health and Safety Executive.

HSE have carried out 296 Covid19 specific interventions in respect of textile factories, in Leicester, since April 2020. Premises do not pass and fail, as such, however we can confirm that enforcement action has been taken in respect of 54 premises. Action taken includes a mixture of enforcement notices and letters, in addition to written advice, which were follow up to ensure compliance.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what powers the Health and Safety Executive has to investigate factories in Leicester where the failure to implement covid-19 safety measures is a serious risk to public health.

Under Section 20 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, HSE Inspectors have a range of powers that they can use to investigate reported incidents and concerns, including those relating to implementation of Covid 19 safety measures in factories in Leicester.

Inspectors have the right to enter premises to carry out their functions at any reasonable time. They have the right to ask questions, to examine documents and to take copies. They also have the right to talk to employees and safety representatives, as required.

Inspectors have the power to issue Improvement Notices where they identify a breach of health and safety legislation or to issue Prohibition Notices where they identify a risk of serious personal injury. They also have powers to institute proceedings in Court where there has been a serious breach of health and safety legislation.

Throughout the pandemic, HSE has actively engaged with businesses, through site visits and phone calls, investigating reports from those raising concerns, assessing compliance with health and safety law, and using guidance such as that published about social distancing from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19) to ensure businesses are adhering to requirements. HSE has also provided support to local public health bodies who lead on dealing with outbreaks.

HSE continues to regulate in areas of highest risk and industries where concerns of Covid-19 transmission are greatest.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to Recommendation 13 of the Work and Pensions Select Committee's report entitled, DWP’s response to the coronavirus outbreak, HC 178, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of suspending the ‘No Recourse to Public Funds’ conditions on public health grounds for the duration of the covid-19 outbreak.

Access to DWP income-related benefits such as Universal Credit flows from an individual’s immigration status.

DWP has no legal powers to award taxpayer-funded benefits to an individual whose Home Office immigration status specifies no recourse to public funds. Non-UK nationals and family members who are issued with a residence permit with a ‘no recourse to public funds’ condition are not eligible to access taxpayer-funded benefits such as Universal Credit.

Guidance on the support available for persons granted leave with no recourse to public funds conditions, including from local authorities, is available on the Gov.uk website. Those with a ‘no recourse to public funds’ condition can claim contributions-based benefits, such as new-style Jobseeker’s Allowance, providing they meet the eligibility criteria.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she plans to take to (a) adequately fund and (b) strengthen the powers of the Health and Safety Executive to support their proactive inspection of (a) premises occupied by the garment industry in Leicester and (b) other workplaces.

HSE is funded to deliver its planned regulatory role and the government has made available up to an extra £14.19 million to support the provision of Covid-19 advice and additional regulatory activities.

Under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, HSE has a sufficient range of powers to enforce health and safety law in the workplaces it regulates. HSE continues to regulate in areas of greatest risk and build capability for proactively inspecting workplaces across the country to target regions and industries where concerns of Covid-19 transmission are greatest.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many decisions on habitual resident tests for universal credit took (a) less than 14 days, (b) between 14 and 28 days, (c) more than 28 days but less than 60 days and (d) 60 days or more from the habitual residence test interview date from July 2018 to March 2020.

The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, for what reasons claimants were refused universal credit linked to a habitual residence tests from July 2018 to March 2020.

The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the effect on child poverty of the roll-out of universal credit in (a) Leicester East constituency, (b) Leicester and (c) the East Midlands.

Universal Credit will provide an extra £2.1bn a year once full rolled out, compared to the legacy benefits it replaces. Claimants receive better support to prepare for work, move into work, or to increase earnings. The Universal Credit Work Allowance was increased by £1,000 in April 2019 and means that 2.4m households will keep an extra £630 of income each year.

DWP and HMRC have pre-announced publication of improved Official Statistics on Children in Low Income Families at local area level. These statistics will provide insights of the number of children and the proportion of children living in low income families at constituency level and how these compare over time and across constituencies.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to reduce child poverty in (a) Leicester and (b) the UK.

The Government is committed to action that delivers a sustainable long-term solution to child poverty in all areas of the UK, including reforming the benefits system so that it supports employment and higher pay.

There is clear evidence that work, in particular full time work, significantly reduces the risk of being in poverty. For example, there is only a 4% chance of a child being in absolute poverty before housing costs where both parents work full-time, compared to 44% where one or more parents in a couple are in part-time work.

Universal Credit will provide an extra £2.1bn a year once fully rolled out, compared to the legacy benefits it replaces. Claimants receive better support to prepare for work, move into work, or to increase earnings. The Universal Credit Work Allowance was increased by £1,000 in April 2019 and means that 2.4m households will keep an extra £630 of income each year.

Other measures we have taken to support working families include delivering another rise in the National Living Wage - increasing a full-time worker’s annual pay by over £2,750 since its introduction, and by nearly £3,700 with the recently announced rise from this April. Our tax changes make basic rate tax payers over £1,200 better off from April 2019, compared with 2010.

DWP and HMRC have pre-announced publication of improved Official Statistics on Children in Low Income Families at local area level. These statistics will provide insights of the number of children and the proportion of children living in low income families at constituency level and how these compare over time and across constituencies.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it Government policy to undertake an inquiry into the disproportionate effect of covid-19 on BAME, migrant and low-income workers.

We have no plans to do so. The Minister for Equalities (Kemi Badenoch MP) is leading cross-Government work to understand the disparities in the risks and outcomes from COVID-19 among the black, Asian and minority ethnic community and the relationships between the different risk factors.

Her first quarterly progress report concluded that a range of socioeconomic and geographical factors coupled with pre-existing health conditions were contributing to the higher infection and mortality rates for ethnic minority groups. The report can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/quarterly-report-on-progress-to-address-covid-19-health-inequalities

Findings of the second quarterly progress report included the role of deprivation in the unequal impact of COVID-19 which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/second-quarterly-report-on-progress-to-address-covid-19-health-inequalities/second-quarterly-report-on-progress-to-address-covid-19-health-inequalities

Tackling deprivation will be the focus of the third quarterly progress report. The Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities has been set up to explore issues faced by ethnic minorities in this country and the challenges identified in the COVID-19 response is a key part of the Commission’s work, which is due to report shortly.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he will take to ensure that undocumented migrants will be able to access covid-19 vaccinations without fear of immigration enforcement action.

Vaccination against COVID-19 is offered to every adult living in the United Kingdom free of charge, regardless of immigration status. No immigration checks are needed to receive these services and the National Health Service is not required to report undocumented migrants to the Home Office.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions his Department has had with the Home Office on the progress of the distribution of the covid-19 vaccine to undocumented migrants.

The Department and Public Health England have engaged with the Home Office throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, including in relation to the vaccination programme.

Anyone living in the United Kingdom, including refugees and asylum seekers, can receive a COVID-19 vaccine free of charge in line with advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation’s on prioritisation. Because there is no charge for the vaccine for people living in the UK, no proof of residence or immigration status is needed.

National Health Service regional teams, working with various appropriate local systems, will reach out to unregistered people to ensure that they are offered the vaccine. A condition of No Recourse of Public Funds does not have a bearing on a person’s access to healthcare or the COVID-19 vaccine.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions his Department has had with the Home Office on the progress of the distribution of the covid-19 vaccine to UK residents with No Recourse to Public Funds.

The Department and Public Health England have engaged with the Home Office throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, including in relation to the vaccination programme.

Anyone living in the United Kingdom, including refugees and asylum seekers, can receive a COVID-19 vaccine free of charge in line with advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation’s on prioritisation. Because there is no charge for the vaccine for people living in the UK, no proof of residence or immigration status is needed.

National Health Service regional teams, working with various appropriate local systems, will reach out to unregistered people to ensure that they are offered the vaccine. A condition of No Recourse of Public Funds does not have a bearing on a person’s access to healthcare or the COVID-19 vaccine.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions his Department has had with the Home Office on the progress of the distribution of the covid-19 vaccine to people awaiting determination of their asylum, visa and immigration applications.

The Department and Public Health England have engaged with the Home Office throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, including in relation to the vaccination programme.

Anyone living in the United Kingdom, including refugees and asylum seekers, can receive a COVID-19 vaccine free of charge in line with advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation’s on prioritisation. Because there is no charge for the vaccine for people living in the UK, no proof of residence or immigration status is needed.

National Health Service regional teams, working with various appropriate local systems, will reach out to unregistered people to ensure that they are offered the vaccine. A condition of No Recourse of Public Funds does not have a bearing on a person’s access to healthcare or the COVID-19 vaccine.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of care home (a) residents and (b) staff have been (i) offered and (ii) refused each vaccine dose in care homes in (A) Leicester East constituency, (B) Leicester and (C) the UK.

The information requested is not collected centrally.

Published data for England from 4 March shows that as at 28 February, 93.8% of eligible care home residents and 72.9% of eligible care home staff had received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. The proportion of care home residents and staff who have received their second dose is not yet available.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the personal data of those seeking access to NHS services is shared with immigration enforcement authorities.

National Health Service trusts may contact the Home Office in relation to overseas visitors who are presenting or have presented for NHS secondary care treatment for the following two purposes:

- To complete an immigration status check through the Home Office Evidence and Enquiry service, where the trust is unable to establish this by any other means and this information is relevant to establishing a person’s entitlement to free secondary care; and

- To notify the Home Office of individuals subject to immigration control with debts of £500 or more that have been outstanding for two or more months. In doing so they must follow strict processes, set out in the Department of Health and Social Care’s guidance.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to extend access to covid-19 vaccinations to adults without indefinite right to remain status.

Vaccination against COVID-19 is a primary care service and is free to all overseas visitors to England, including anyone living in the United Kingdom without permission. It is not, therefore, within scope of the National Health Service (Charges to Overseas Visitors) Regulations 2015. As no charges apply, immigration status checks are not required in order to assess eligibility. This message has been shared with the public through the NHS website and Public Health England’s Migrant Health Guide.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has made an assessment of worst-case scenario if it is proven that protection from a single dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech covid-19 vaccine does not persist after 21 days.

After studying all the available data, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) concluded that the first dose of either Pfizer-BioNTech or Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine provided substantial protection from severe COVID-19 disease within two to three weeks of vaccination.  Whilst the second vaccine dose is important to sustain the protection and extend its duration, in the short term the additional impact of the second dose is likely to be modest and most of the initial protection from clinical disease is after the first dose of vaccine.

The latest data from Public Health England, published on 1 March showed that  both the Pfizer and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines are highly effective in reducing COVID-19 infections among older people aged 70 years old and over. Since January protection against symptomatic COVID-19, four weeks after the first dose, ranged between 57 and 61% for one dose of Pfizer and between 60 and 73% for the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.

No specific assessment has been made.   The decision to extend the dosing interval to up to twelve weeks was based on advice from the JCVI and United Kingdom’s four Chief Medical Officers.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to produce an estimate of the efficacy for a single dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech covid-19 vaccine beyond 21 days.

After studying all the available data, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) concluded that the first dose of either Pfizer-BioNTech or Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine provided substantial protection from severe COVID-19 disease within two to three weeks of vaccination.  Whilst the second vaccine dose is important to sustain the protection and extend its duration, in the short term the additional impact of the second dose is likely to be modest and most of the initial protection from clinical disease is after the first dose of vaccine.

The latest data from Public Health England, published on 1 March showed that  both the Pfizer and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines are highly effective in reducing COVID-19 infections among older people aged 70 years old and over. Since January protection against symptomatic COVID-19, four weeks after the first dose, ranged between 57 and 61% for one dose of Pfizer and between 60 and 73% for the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.

No specific assessment has been made.   The decision to extend the dosing interval to up to twelve weeks was based on advice from the JCVI and United Kingdom’s four Chief Medical Officers.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the report, Optimising the COVID-19 vaccination programme for maximum short-term impact , updated on 26 January 2021, if he will publish a specific timeframe for the short-term vaccine efficacy referred to in that report.

A phase three clinical trial study on the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine efficacy demonstrated a two-dose vaccine efficacy of 95% with a second dose delivered between 19 and 42 days.

Using data available from this study, Public Health England estimated that short term vaccine efficacy from the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to be approximately 89%. This is the efficacy calculated 15 to 21 days after the first dose. The estimate for 15 to 28 days is 91% which includes the seven days after the second dose and is prior to the time protection may be expected from the second dose.

There is no estimate of efficacy for a single dose beyond 21 days. Given the data available, evidence on the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine and from the use of many other non-COVID-19 vaccines, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advises a maximum interval between the first and second doses of 12 weeks. The use of ‘short-term’ in this report refers to the impact of the programme over the first months of the programme. Further information on the estimates of efficacy of one dose is available in the JCVI’s statement on 31 December which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/prioritising-the-first-covid-19-vaccine-dose-jcvi-statement/optimising-the-covid-19-vaccination-programme-for-maximum-short-term-impact

The British Medical Association have questioned the decision to use an extended schedule for COVID-19 vaccines. Data on the AstraZeneca vaccine indicate better immune responses from the second dose with an extended schedule and that protection is maintained over a twelve-week period.

The JCVI is of the view that the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is likely to provide protection for at least 12 weeks.

There is no evidence to indicate a correlation between the presence of neutralising antibodies and a vaccine effect on transmission.

The JCVI aims to publish background documents to its meetings. However many of these relating to vaccine efficacy were provided to the committee in confidence or under a non-disclosure agreement and cannot be published by the JCVI. Evidence on vaccine immunogenicity and efficacy will be published by the relevant industry groups, usually in peer reviewed journals.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the efficacy of the Pfizer/BioNTech covid-19 vaccine when there is a 12-week gap between the first and second dose.

A phase three clinical trial study on the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine efficacy demonstrated a two-dose vaccine efficacy of 95% with a second dose delivered between 19 and 42 days.

Using data available from this study, Public Health England estimated that short term vaccine efficacy from the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to be approximately 89%. This is the efficacy calculated 15 to 21 days after the first dose. The estimate for 15 to 28 days is 91% which includes the seven days after the second dose and is prior to the time protection may be expected from the second dose.

There is no estimate of efficacy for a single dose beyond 21 days. Given the data available, evidence on the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine and from the use of many other non-COVID-19 vaccines, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advises a maximum interval between the first and second doses of 12 weeks. The use of ‘short-term’ in this report refers to the impact of the programme over the first months of the programme. Further information on the estimates of efficacy of one dose is available in the JCVI’s statement on 31 December which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/prioritising-the-first-covid-19-vaccine-dose-jcvi-statement/optimising-the-covid-19-vaccination-programme-for-maximum-short-term-impact

The British Medical Association have questioned the decision to use an extended schedule for COVID-19 vaccines. Data on the AstraZeneca vaccine indicate better immune responses from the second dose with an extended schedule and that protection is maintained over a twelve-week period.

The JCVI is of the view that the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is likely to provide protection for at least 12 weeks.

There is no evidence to indicate a correlation between the presence of neutralising antibodies and a vaccine effect on transmission.

The JCVI aims to publish background documents to its meetings. However many of these relating to vaccine efficacy were provided to the committee in confidence or under a non-disclosure agreement and cannot be published by the JCVI. Evidence on vaccine immunogenicity and efficacy will be published by the relevant industry groups, usually in peer reviewed journals.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the efficacy of the Pfizer/BioNTech covid-19 vaccine when there is a six-week gap between the first and second dose.

A phase three clinical trial study on the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine efficacy demonstrated a two-dose vaccine efficacy of 95% with a second dose delivered between 19 and 42 days.

Using data available from this study, Public Health England estimated that short term vaccine efficacy from the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to be approximately 89%. This is the efficacy calculated 15 to 21 days after the first dose. The estimate for 15 to 28 days is 91% which includes the seven days after the second dose and is prior to the time protection may be expected from the second dose.

There is no estimate of efficacy for a single dose beyond 21 days. Given the data available, evidence on the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine and from the use of many other non-COVID-19 vaccines, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advises a maximum interval between the first and second doses of 12 weeks. The use of ‘short-term’ in this report refers to the impact of the programme over the first months of the programme. Further information on the estimates of efficacy of one dose is available in the JCVI’s statement on 31 December which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/prioritising-the-first-covid-19-vaccine-dose-jcvi-statement/optimising-the-covid-19-vaccination-programme-for-maximum-short-term-impact

The British Medical Association have questioned the decision to use an extended schedule for COVID-19 vaccines. Data on the AstraZeneca vaccine indicate better immune responses from the second dose with an extended schedule and that protection is maintained over a twelve-week period.

The JCVI is of the view that the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is likely to provide protection for at least 12 weeks.

There is no evidence to indicate a correlation between the presence of neutralising antibodies and a vaccine effect on transmission.

The JCVI aims to publish background documents to its meetings. However many of these relating to vaccine efficacy were provided to the committee in confidence or under a non-disclosure agreement and cannot be published by the JCVI. Evidence on vaccine immunogenicity and efficacy will be published by the relevant industry groups, usually in peer reviewed journals.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the efficacy of the Pfizer/BioNTech covid-19 vaccine when there is a three-week gap between the first and second dose.

A phase three clinical trial study on the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine efficacy demonstrated a two-dose vaccine efficacy of 95% with a second dose delivered between 19 and 42 days.

Using data available from this study, Public Health England estimated that short term vaccine efficacy from the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to be approximately 89%. This is the efficacy calculated 15 to 21 days after the first dose. The estimate for 15 to 28 days is 91% which includes the seven days after the second dose and is prior to the time protection may be expected from the second dose.

There is no estimate of efficacy for a single dose beyond 21 days. Given the data available, evidence on the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine and from the use of many other non-COVID-19 vaccines, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advises a maximum interval between the first and second doses of 12 weeks. The use of ‘short-term’ in this report refers to the impact of the programme over the first months of the programme. Further information on the estimates of efficacy of one dose is available in the JCVI’s statement on 31 December which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/prioritising-the-first-covid-19-vaccine-dose-jcvi-statement/optimising-the-covid-19-vaccination-programme-for-maximum-short-term-impact

The British Medical Association have questioned the decision to use an extended schedule for COVID-19 vaccines. Data on the AstraZeneca vaccine indicate better immune responses from the second dose with an extended schedule and that protection is maintained over a twelve-week period.

The JCVI is of the view that the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is likely to provide protection for at least 12 weeks.

There is no evidence to indicate a correlation between the presence of neutralising antibodies and a vaccine effect on transmission.

The JCVI aims to publish background documents to its meetings. However many of these relating to vaccine efficacy were provided to the committee in confidence or under a non-disclosure agreement and cannot be published by the JCVI. Evidence on vaccine immunogenicity and efficacy will be published by the relevant industry groups, usually in peer reviewed journals.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the data that indicates that two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech covid-19 vaccine are still effective when administered 12 weeks apart.

A phase three clinical trial study on the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine efficacy demonstrated a two-dose vaccine efficacy of 95% with a second dose delivered between 19 and 42 days.

Using data available from this study, Public Health England estimated that short term vaccine efficacy from the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to be approximately 89%. This is the efficacy calculated 15 to 21 days after the first dose. The estimate for 15 to 28 days is 91% which includes the seven days after the second dose and is prior to the time protection may be expected from the second dose.

There is no estimate of efficacy for a single dose beyond 21 days. Given the data available, evidence on the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine and from the use of many other non-COVID-19 vaccines, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advises a maximum interval between the first and second doses of 12 weeks. The use of ‘short-term’ in this report refers to the impact of the programme over the first months of the programme. Further information on the estimates of efficacy of one dose is available in the JCVI’s statement on 31 December which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/prioritising-the-first-covid-19-vaccine-dose-jcvi-statement/optimising-the-covid-19-vaccination-programme-for-maximum-short-term-impact

The British Medical Association have questioned the decision to use an extended schedule for COVID-19 vaccines. Data on the AstraZeneca vaccine indicate better immune responses from the second dose with an extended schedule and that protection is maintained over a twelve-week period.

The JCVI is of the view that the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is likely to provide protection for at least 12 weeks.

There is no evidence to indicate a correlation between the presence of neutralising antibodies and a vaccine effect on transmission.

The JCVI aims to publish background documents to its meetings. However many of these relating to vaccine efficacy were provided to the committee in confidence or under a non-disclosure agreement and cannot be published by the JCVI. Evidence on vaccine immunogenicity and efficacy will be published by the relevant industry groups, usually in peer reviewed journals.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the validity of the British Medical Association’s reported concerns on the 12-week wait for the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech covid-19 vaccine.

A phase three clinical trial study on the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine efficacy demonstrated a two-dose vaccine efficacy of 95% with a second dose delivered between 19 and 42 days.

Using data available from this study, Public Health England estimated that short term vaccine efficacy from the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to be approximately 89%. This is the efficacy calculated 15 to 21 days after the first dose. The estimate for 15 to 28 days is 91% which includes the seven days after the second dose and is prior to the time protection may be expected from the second dose.

There is no estimate of efficacy for a single dose beyond 21 days. Given the data available, evidence on the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine and from the use of many other non-COVID-19 vaccines, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advises a maximum interval between the first and second doses of 12 weeks. The use of ‘short-term’ in this report refers to the impact of the programme over the first months of the programme. Further information on the estimates of efficacy of one dose is available in the JCVI’s statement on 31 December which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/prioritising-the-first-covid-19-vaccine-dose-jcvi-statement/optimising-the-covid-19-vaccination-programme-for-maximum-short-term-impact

The British Medical Association have questioned the decision to use an extended schedule for COVID-19 vaccines. Data on the AstraZeneca vaccine indicate better immune responses from the second dose with an extended schedule and that protection is maintained over a twelve-week period.

The JCVI is of the view that the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is likely to provide protection for at least 12 weeks.

There is no evidence to indicate a correlation between the presence of neutralising antibodies and a vaccine effect on transmission.

The JCVI aims to publish background documents to its meetings. However many of these relating to vaccine efficacy were provided to the committee in confidence or under a non-disclosure agreement and cannot be published by the JCVI. Evidence on vaccine immunogenicity and efficacy will be published by the relevant industry groups, usually in peer reviewed journals.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the scientific basis was to inform the decision that one dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine produces enough neutralising antibodies to protect against the covid-19 virus and reduce transmission.

A phase three clinical trial study on the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine efficacy demonstrated a two-dose vaccine efficacy of 95% with a second dose delivered between 19 and 42 days.

Using data available from this study, Public Health England estimated that short term vaccine efficacy from the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to be approximately 89%. This is the efficacy calculated 15 to 21 days after the first dose. The estimate for 15 to 28 days is 91% which includes the seven days after the second dose and is prior to the time protection may be expected from the second dose.

There is no estimate of efficacy for a single dose beyond 21 days. Given the data available, evidence on the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine and from the use of many other non-COVID-19 vaccines, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advises a maximum interval between the first and second doses of 12 weeks. The use of ‘short-term’ in this report refers to the impact of the programme over the first months of the programme. Further information on the estimates of efficacy of one dose is available in the JCVI’s statement on 31 December which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/prioritising-the-first-covid-19-vaccine-dose-jcvi-statement/optimising-the-covid-19-vaccination-programme-for-maximum-short-term-impact

The British Medical Association have questioned the decision to use an extended schedule for COVID-19 vaccines. Data on the AstraZeneca vaccine indicate better immune responses from the second dose with an extended schedule and that protection is maintained over a twelve-week period.

The JCVI is of the view that the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is likely to provide protection for at least 12 weeks.

There is no evidence to indicate a correlation between the presence of neutralising antibodies and a vaccine effect on transmission.

The JCVI aims to publish background documents to its meetings. However many of these relating to vaccine efficacy were provided to the committee in confidence or under a non-disclosure agreement and cannot be published by the JCVI. Evidence on vaccine immunogenicity and efficacy will be published by the relevant industry groups, usually in peer reviewed journals.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish all evidence, minutes and documents relating to the decision not to implement Pfizer's recommendation that the two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech covid-19 vaccine be administered within three weeks.

A phase three clinical trial study on the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine efficacy demonstrated a two-dose vaccine efficacy of 95% with a second dose delivered between 19 and 42 days.

Using data available from this study, Public Health England estimated that short term vaccine efficacy from the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to be approximately 89%. This is the efficacy calculated 15 to 21 days after the first dose. The estimate for 15 to 28 days is 91% which includes the seven days after the second dose and is prior to the time protection may be expected from the second dose.

There is no estimate of efficacy for a single dose beyond 21 days. Given the data available, evidence on the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine and from the use of many other non-COVID-19 vaccines, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advises a maximum interval between the first and second doses of 12 weeks. The use of ‘short-term’ in this report refers to the impact of the programme over the first months of the programme. Further information on the estimates of efficacy of one dose is available in the JCVI’s statement on 31 December which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/prioritising-the-first-covid-19-vaccine-dose-jcvi-statement/optimising-the-covid-19-vaccination-programme-for-maximum-short-term-impact

The British Medical Association have questioned the decision to use an extended schedule for COVID-19 vaccines. Data on the AstraZeneca vaccine indicate better immune responses from the second dose with an extended schedule and that protection is maintained over a twelve-week period.

The JCVI is of the view that the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is likely to provide protection for at least 12 weeks.

There is no evidence to indicate a correlation between the presence of neutralising antibodies and a vaccine effect on transmission.

The JCVI aims to publish background documents to its meetings. However many of these relating to vaccine efficacy were provided to the committee in confidence or under a non-disclosure agreement and cannot be published by the JCVI. Evidence on vaccine immunogenicity and efficacy will be published by the relevant industry groups, usually in peer reviewed journals.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to study the efficacy of a single dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech covid-19 vaccine beyond 21 days.

Public Health England (PHE) has been monitoring the effectiveness of the vaccines. Early data has shown that the Pfizer vaccine is highly effective in reducing COVID-19 infections among older people aged 70 years old and over. Since January, protection against symptomatic COVID-19 four weeks after the first dose ranged from 57-61% for one dose.

PHE has also undertaken their first analysis of the early effects of COVID-19 vaccination using routine testing and vaccination data across England. This data, published in a pre-print on 1 March 2021, provides early evidence that a single dose of the Pfizer vaccine is having a significant effect on the reduction of COVID-19 infection, hospitalisations and deaths in those over 70 years old. The Pfizer vaccine was shown as approximately 60-70% effective, rising to 85-90% after two doses. This analysis is available at the following link:

https://khub.net/documents/135939561/430986542/Early+effectiveness+of+COVID+vaccines.pdf/ffd7161c-b255-8e88-c2dc-88979fc2cc1b?t=1614617945615

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish all his communications with the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation on the decision to extend the maximum wait to receive the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech covid-19 vaccine to 12 weeks.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) are independent and advise the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care through published statements and letters on GOV.UK. The Secretary of State’s acceptance of their advice is also published on GOV.UK.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs and their international counterparts on the decision to extend the maximum wait to receive the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech covid-19 vaccine to 12 weeks.

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care regularly discusses a range of issues related to the pandemic with the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, including COVID-19 vaccines. Ministers and officials are regularly in discussions with other countries to share learning and collaborate internationally on the vaccination programme.

Updating the dosing interval is in line with the advice of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). Whilst the National Health Service across the United Kingdom will prioritise giving the first dose of the vaccine to those in the most high-risk groups, everyone will still receive their second dose within 12 weeks of their first.   The JCVI’s statement on changing the dose interval is available at the following link:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/prioritising-the-first-covid-19-vaccine-dose-jcvi-statement/optimising-the-covid-19-vaccination-programme-for-maximum-short-term-impact

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he made of the World Health Organisation’s recommendations that two covid-19 vaccination doses should be administered within 42 days when deciding that the UK’s limit should be extended to 84 days.

Interim recommendations issued by the World Health Organization on 10 February 2021 on the use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine concluded that vaccine efficacy tended to be higher when the interval between doses was longer, together with the finding of higher antibody levels with increasing inter-dose interval. This supports the conclusion that longer dose intervals are associated with greater vaccine efficacy.

The decision to extend the dosing interval in the United Kingdom was based on a range of scientific and public health input and evidence. This included the independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency and the UK Chief Medical Officers. Experts concluded that the best way to save lives with a limited supply of vaccine was to prioritise the first doses of vaccine for as many people as possible on the priority list, to protect the greatest number of at-risk people in the shortest possible time.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the report of the British Society for Immunology for studies on the efficacy of the Pfizer/BioNTech covid-19 vaccine after altering the dosing interval of that vaccine.

The British Society for Immunology report provides an expert review of current research on immunity and COVID-19 and recommends research to add to our knowledge about the immune system’s response. The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and UK Research and Innovation are jointly funding the UK Coronavirus Immunology Consortium, which will address key research themes on immunity to COVID-19.

In addition, the NIHR has contracted the National Immunisation Schedule Evaluation Consortium to gather immunological evidence on 28 day and 12 week dosing intervals for the Oxford University/AstraZeneca and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines. Public Health England is also monitoring the effectiveness of vaccines on disease, infection and transmission including the impact of dosing intervals on effectiveness.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies on the covid-19 vaccine rollout of the British Medical Journal report, Covid-19: Reports from Israel suggest one dose of Pfizer vaccine could be less effective than expected, published on 22 January 2021.

The Government has not made an assessment of the named British Medical Journal report.

An independent assessment of the data from Israel, published by the Norwich Medical School, concluded that estimated vaccine effectiveness is zero 14 days after vaccination, this rose to about 90% at day 21, before levelling off. Further information is available at the following link:

www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.02.01.21250957v1.full

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has not undertaken a specific assessment. The JCVI’s position is that there is high efficacy with the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine. The JCVI continues to advise two doses of the vaccine, with a three to 12 week interval.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many school age children have been diagnosed with symptoms of long covid to date in (a) Leicester East constituency and (b) England.

There has been no specific assessment of the prevalence of ‘long’ COVID-19 in children.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many GP surgeries have not yet received supplies of a covid-19 vaccine in (a) Leicester East constituency and (b) England.

Individual general practitioner practices do not receive supplies of the COVID-19 vaccine. General practices are delivering COVID-19 vaccinations at scale, coming together in Primary Care Network (PCN) groupings to deliver the vaccine as local vaccination services. Over 1,000 PCN-led local vaccination sites are now open and offering the vaccine across England.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many housebound residents have received at least one dose of a covid-19 vaccination in (a) Leicester East constituency and (b) the UK.

The data is not held in the format requested. However, NHS England publishes daily data for vaccinations in England, showing the total first and second doses given to date, by region. NHS England also publishes the number of people in the clinically extremely vulnerable cohort who have received their first and second doses, updated weekly. The number of vaccinations in each United Kingdom constituency by age group is also updated weekly. The data is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/covid-19-vaccinations/

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people have received both the first and second dose of a covid-19 vaccine in (a) Leicester and (b) the UK to date.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are working with voluntary community and social enterprise partners, inclusion health providers and others to develop an accessible model for delivery of the vaccine to people from inclusion health populations. We are considering a number of options and will co-design these with partners.

In the immediate period we are asking partners to support their clients and service users to register with a general practice, where they are not already and if they have health conditions that would make them clinically vulnerable/clinically extremely vulnerable, that this is recorded to ensure they receive the vaccine in line with the Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisation’s advice on prioritisation.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate his Department has made of the number of cancer patients who have had their cancer (a) diagnosis and (b) treatment delayed since the start of the covid-19 outbreak in Leicester East constituency.

Information is not available in the format requested for the Leicester East constituency. Monthly data on cancer activity and waiting times is collected at provider and regional level.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has made an estimate of the number of cancer patients who are likely to have their cancer (a) diagnosis and (b) treatment delayed as a result of the latest wave of covid-19 and the January 2021 lockdown restrictions in Leicester East constituency.

Information is not available in the format requested for the Leicester East constituency. Monthly data on cancer activity and waiting times is collected at provider and regional level.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if the Government will provide additional capital funding for development of a GP hub and observation beds at the site of the Leicester General Hospital.

Following the outcome of Spending Review 2020, capital spending plans for 2021/22 will be subject to a detailed financial planning exercise and finalised in due course. Any opportunities to bid for funding will be communicated when available.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if the Government will be provide further funding, in addition to the £450 million announced in January 2020, to support the reorganisation local hospital services in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust recently received £2 million to upgrade the accident and emergency department at Leicester Royal Infirmary as part of our recent investment to improve infection control and increase capacity.

On 2 October 2020, the Prime Minister also confirmed the five hospitals in the Midlands which are part of the 40 new hospitals to be built by 2030. This will include University Hospitals of Leicester, rebuild at Leicester Royal Infirmary and Glenfield as well as new facilities at Leicester General. Individual allocations for trusts will be determined once the respective final business cases have been reviewed and agreed.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of (a) NHS staff and (b) staff in the social care sector have access to FFP3 respirators.

The Government has established a four-month stockpile of all key personal protective equipment (PPE), including FFP3 respirator masks, which means we have a secure supply for workers in both the National Health Service and social care settings.

For workers in the NHS, Infection Prevention and Control guidance, which is published on GOV.UK, sets out the occasions when an FFP3 mask should be used. The equivalent guidance for workers in social care settings is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-social-care-guidance

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that all health and social care workers have access to FFP3 respirators.

The Government has established a four-month stockpile of all key personal protective equipment (PPE), including FFP3 respirator masks, which means we have a secure supply for workers in both the National Health Service and social care settings.

For workers in the NHS, Infection Prevention and Control guidance, which is published on GOV.UK, sets out the occasions when an FFP3 mask should be used. The equivalent guidance for workers in social care settings is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-social-care-guidance

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that detailed guidance on visiting relatives in care homes will be published before Christmas.

The Department published detailed guidance covering both visits into care homes, and outward visits by care residents, on 2 December. This guidance, along with the rollout of rapid (lateral flow) testing will enable families to spend time with their loved ones, while helping to reduce the risks of COVID transmission to vulnerable care home residents. The guidance is available here at the following links:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/visiting-care-homes-during-coronavirus/update-on-policies-for-visiting-arrangements-in-care-homes

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/arrangements-for-visiting-out-of-the-care-home/visits-out-of-care-homes

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people tested for covid-19 were found to be asymptomatic in (a) Leicester East constituency and (b) the UK.

We do not publish data in the format requested.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will commission a public inquiry into the disproportionate impact of covid-19 cases and fatalities amongst BAME, migrant and low-income workers.

The Government has no plans to commission a public inquiry into the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 and fatalities amongst black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME), migrant and low-income workers.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Equalities (Kemi Badenoch MP) is leading cross-Government work on the findings from Public Health England’s reports to better understand the drivers behind the disparities in the risk and outcomes from COVID-19 and the relationships between the different risk factors. Her work will help us to improve understanding of the virus and who it affects so we can build on and protect our most vulnerable communities.

In addition, the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities has been set up to explore issues faced by minorities in this country and to champion the success of BAME groups. The aim is to set out a new, positive agenda for change – balancing the needs of individuals, communities and society, maximising opportunities and ensuring fairness. Challenges identified in COVID-19 response will be part of the Commission’s work and we anticipate a report on their findings and recommendations by the end of this year.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government has taken to consult people resident in Leicester on the proposed changes to Leicester General Hospital.

The pre-consultation business case on the proposed reconfiguration of three hospitals in Leicester, including Leicester General Hospital, requires approval at a local, regional and national level prior to the commencement of formal public consultation. It is anticipated that this process will soon be completed. Subject to this, a consultation will follow.

In January 2020 the three Clinical Commissioning Groups set out a plan to consult the public. Regular discussions have taken place with the local authorities, councillors and the Health Overview and Scrutiny Committees throughout the development of the proposals. Engagement with the public has also been ongoing. This work has enabled the proposals to be refined and developed taking on board the feedback from the local population.

Leicester’s Hospitals are currently undertaking a transformation of Intensive Care Services, which includes moving the Level 3 Intensive Care Unit and associated services from the Leicester General Hospital to the Leicester Royal Infirmary and Glenfield Hospitals. As part of the complex service moves between sites, there will be a temporary split of nephrology and transplant services between the Leicester General Hospital and Glenfield Hospital. It is not anticipated that there will be any resulting effect on, or risk for hepatobiliary patients, who are cared for under a different clinical service.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the proposed sale of land on the Leicester General Hospital site, what assessment he has made of that hospital's future demand for additional capacity.

The proposals for reconfiguring Leicester’s hospitals are subject to public consultation.

The plans involve the disposal of land that will no longer be needed under the proposal.

The Trust have undertaken a full review of their estate and clinical services over a number of years to ensure that they have an appropriate service delivery strategy supported by the most appropriate estate.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment has been made of the potential risk to hepatobiliary patients in Leicester of dividing kidney transplant and nephrology services between the Leicester General Hospital and Glenfield Hospital sites.

The pre-consultation business case on the proposed reconfiguration of three hospitals in Leicester, including Leicester General Hospital, requires approval at a local, regional and national level prior to the commencement of formal public consultation. It is anticipated that this process will soon be completed. Subject to this, a consultation will follow.

In January 2020 the three Clinical Commissioning Groups set out a plan to consult the public. Regular discussions have taken place with the local authorities, councillors and the Health Overview and Scrutiny Committees throughout the development of the proposals. Engagement with the public has also been ongoing. This work has enabled the proposals to be refined and developed taking on board the feedback from the local population.

Leicester’s Hospitals are currently undertaking a transformation of Intensive Care Services, which includes moving the Level 3 Intensive Care Unit and associated services from the Leicester General Hospital to the Leicester Royal Infirmary and Glenfield Hospitals. As part of the complex service moves between sites, there will be a temporary split of nephrology and transplant services between the Leicester General Hospital and Glenfield Hospital. It is not anticipated that there will be any resulting effect on, or risk for hepatobiliary patients, who are cared for under a different clinical service.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with Prime Minister on condemning the state violence against the farmers protestors in India.

The Foreign Secretary has not discussed this issue with the Prime Minister. We recognise the interest in the Indian government's agricultural reform program, and we respect India's democratic process, which includes the ability to debate and peacefully protest.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for International Trade on the export of (a) Paraquat and (b) other pesticides that are banned in the UK to India.

The Foreign Secretary has not discussed this with the International Trade Secretary. The export of paraquat is regulated under the Great Britain Prior Informed Consent (PIC) regulatory regime for the export and import of certain hazardous chemicals. Companies intending to export any of these chemicals from Great Britain must notify the importing country via the exporter's Designated National Authority. For Great Britain the Designated National Authority is The Health and Safety Executive.

Paraquat additionally requires the explicit consent of the importing country before export can take place. India allows the import of Paraquat and the exchange of information that PIC provides allows all countries to make informed decisions on the import of those chemicals and on how to handle and use them safely.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if his Department will take steps to reassess the UK-India Infrastructure Technical Co-Operation Facility in light of the farmers protests in India.

The UK-India Infrastructure Technical Co-Operation Facility is a programme which has focused on infrastructure for transportation, telecommunication, water supply and sanitation, urban infrastructure and emerging areas like renewable energy. There have been no projects relating to agriculture or agri-infrastructure under this programme. We recognise the interest in the Indian government's agricultural reform programme, and we respect India's democratic process, which includes the ability to debate and peacefully protest.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if his Department will take steps to reassess the Conceptual Framework on Agriculture in light of the farmers protests in India.

The British High Commission in New Delhi monitors developments in India, including recent reforms in agricultural law. We work with our partners in India to build capacity and share expertise to promote prosperity. Through the FCDO's Conceptual Framework on Agriculture, we support small-scale farmers to grow sustainably by improving market access and finance. We recognise the interest in the Indian government's agricultural reform programme, and we respect India's democratic process, which includes the ability to debate and peacefully protest.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for International Trade on prohibiting the sale of weapons including water cannons, tear gas and batons which could be used against peaceful protestors in India.

The Foreign Secretary has not discussed this issue with the International Trade Secretary. HM Government takes its export responsibilities seriously and will continue to assess all export licences in accordance with the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria. For items that require an export licence, the criteria provide a thorough risk assessment framework and require us to consider the possible impact of providing equipment and its capabilities. HM Government will not grant an export licence if to do so would be inconsistent with the criteria.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with US counterpart on encouraging Saudi Arabia to (a) release and lift restrictions on Loujain Alhathloul and other women's rights activists and (b) release Prince Turki Bin Abdullah and other political detainees.

The Foreign Secretary raised a number of human rights issues including the detention of women's rights defenders, during his visit to Saudi Arabia in March 2020. FCDO Ministers and senior officials also regularly raise human rights with the Saudi authorities. We continue to monitor the cases of Women's rights defenders; and Prince Turki bin Abdullah and Prince Mohammed Bin Nayef. We have consistently pressed for due process and raised concerns about the use of solitary confinement, lack of family contact and allegations of torture, and were pleased to see Loujain Al Hathloul reunited with her family on 10 February.

The UK regularly engages international partners on human rights. For example, in September, the UK, alongside international partners, signed a statement at the UN Human Rights Council expressing concern over the use of arbitrary detention and calling for the release of all political detainees. In November, the UK Ambassador for Human Rights and six European counterparts released a joint statement reiterating our call for the release of all political detainees.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether new open arms export licences to Saudi Arabia have been issued; and whether new companies have been registered to use open licences.

HM Government publishes Official Statistics (on a quarterly and annual basis) on export licences granted, refused and revoked to all destinations on GOV.UK containing detailed information including the overall value, type (e.g. Military, Other) and a summary of the items covered by these licences. This information is available at www.gov.uk/government/collections/strategic-export-controls-licensing-data, and the most recent publication was on 13th October 2020, covering the period 1st April - 30th June 2020.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether applications for arms export licences to Saudi Arabia have been denied .

HM Government publishes Official Statistics (on a quarterly and annual basis) on export licences granted, refused and revoked to all destinations on GOV.UK containing detailed information including the overall value, type (e.g. Military, Other) and a summary of the items covered by these licences. This information is available at www.gov.uk/government/collections/strategic-export-controls-licensing-data, and the most recent publication was on 13th October 2020, covering the period 1st April - 30th June 2020.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he is having with international partners on how to ensure that humanitarian aid reaches Yemenis in need.

We are playing a leading role in combating hunger in Yemen by committing £214 million this financial year (2020/21), of which £200m has already been disbursed. Our funding is providing support to at least 500,000 vulnerable people each month to help them buy food and household essentials, enrolling 25,000 children on malnutrition programmes and providing 1 million people with improved water supply and basic sanitation across Yemen.

We have shown extensive leadership by hosting an event at the UN in December, which sounded the alarm on the increased risk of famine and called on donors to disburse funding. Ministers and officials will continue to engage closely with the UN and other donors, including the new US administration, to ensure life-saving humanitarian aid reaches the millions of Yemenis in need.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he is taking steps to offer legal protection to commercial food importers in Yemen from the US designation of the Houthis as a terror group.

We are currently analysing the US humanitarian and commercial exemptions, but we are concerned that they are insufficient to avoid a serious deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Yemen. To mitigate this risk, we have already engaged with the US to urge them to ensure that the vital humanitarian response, including food supplies, is not disrupted and will raise this urgently with the new administration.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to contribute to international efforts to help (a) tackle starvation and (2) prevent famine in Yemen.

We are playing a leading role in combating hunger in Yemen by committing £214 million this financial year (2020/21), of which £200m has already been disbursed. Our funding is providing support to at least 500,000 vulnerable people each month to help them buy food and household essentials, enrolling 25,000 children on malnutrition programmes and providing 1 million people with improved water supply and basic sanitation across Yemen.

We have shown extensive leadership by hosting an event at the UN in December, which sounded the alarm on the increased risk of famine and called on donors to disburse funding. Ministers and officials will continue to engage closely with the UN and other donors, including the new US administration, to ensure life-saving humanitarian aid reaches the millions of Yemenis in need.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his Saudi Arabian and United Arab Emirates counterparts on their role in the peace process on Yemen.

The UK continues to fully support UN Special Envoy Martin Griffith's efforts to secure a political settlement to the conflict in Yemen. We regularly engage with Saudi Arabia, the UAE and all our partners across the Gulf regarding the situation in Yemen and in support of UN peace efforts. Most recently I spoke with Saudi Deputy Foreign Minister al-Jubeir and Emirati Deputy Foreign Minister Gargash on 13 January to discuss the latest developments.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will make it his policy to condemn Saudi Arabia for its role in the humanitarian situation in Yemen.

The UK continues to fully support UN Special Envoy Martin Griffith's efforts to secure a political settlement to the conflict in Yemen. We regularly engage with Saudi Arabia, the UAE and all our partners across the Gulf regarding the situation in Yemen and in support of UN peace efforts. Most recently I spoke with Saudi Deputy Foreign Minister al-Jubeir and Emirati Deputy Foreign Minister Gargash on 13 January to discuss the latest developments.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what the value is of arms exports licenses for weapons sold to Saudi Arabia (a) over the last 12 months and (b) since 2014.

HM Government publishes Official Statistics (on a quarterly and annual basis) on export licences granted, refused and revoked to all destinations on GOV.UK containing detailed information including the overall value, type (e.g. Military, Other) and a summary of the items covered by these licences. This information is available at www.gov.uk/government/collections/strategic-export-controls-licensing-data, and the most recent publication was on 13th October 2020, covering the period 1st April - 30th June 2020.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, how many arms exports licences issued to Saudi Arabia are in military list categories (a) ML4 and (b) ML10; and what is the value of those licences.

HM Government publishes Official Statistics (on a quarterly and annual basis) on export licences granted, refused and revoked to all destinations on GOV.UK containing detailed information including the overall value, type (e.g. Military, Other) and a summary of the items covered by these licences. This information is available at www.gov.uk/government/collections/strategic-export-controls-licensing-data, and the most recent publication was on 13th October 2020, covering the period 1st April - 30th June 2020.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether the Government takes into account the potential risk of harm to civilians in Yemen in assessing whether or not to grant arms export licenses.

The UK Government takes its arms licensing responsibilities seriously, and assesses all export licences in accordance with strict licensing criteria. Criterion 2c of the Consolidated Criteria prohibits the granting of export licences where there is a clear risk that the items to be exported might be used in the commission of a serious violation of International Humanitarian Law (IHL). The protection of civilians during armed conflict is a cornerstone of IHL. We will not issue any export licences where there is a clear risk that the items might be used in the commission of a serious IHL violation.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will take steps with the Secretary of State for Defence to publish the Ministry of Defence's tracker of all recorded incidents of Saudi Arabian airstrikes impacting civilians in Yemen.

I am unable to answer the honourable Member's question due to ongoing legal proceedings.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will immediately suspend all arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

The UK Government takes its arms licensing responsibilities seriously, and assesses all export licences in accordance with strict licensing criteria. Criterion 2c of the Consolidated Criteria prohibits the granting of export licences where there is a clear risk that the items to be exported might be used in the commission of a serious violation of International Humanitarian Law (IHL). The protection of civilians during armed conflict is a cornerstone of IHL. We will not issue any export licences where there is a clear risk that the items might be used in the commission of a serious IHL violation.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
2nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the UK Chargé d’Affaires to the UN's statement of 8 September 2020 at the Security Council briefing on resolution 2332, what diplomatic steps he is taking to support the UN Secretary General's call for a global ceasefire to help tackle the covid-19 pandemic.

The UK strongly supports the UN Secretary-General's call for a global ceasefire, the implementation of UN Security Council resolution 2532, and calls on all UN Member States to uphold their international commitments. We have made that support clear at the UN Security Council, and in joint statements with other UN member states as part of the Groups of Friends of Women, Peace and Security and Children and Armed Conflict on 30 March, and the Protection of Civilians on 27 May.

COVID-19 affects vulnerable countries in different ways. In our statement assessing the global ceasefire to help fight COVID-19 at the UN Security Council on 8 September, we pressed the need to look further ahead at evolving risks to instability and take action to prevent conflict. The UK Government believes problems with access to humanitarian aid and healthcare should be highlighted in such assessments. We also support horizon scanning, effective early warning mechanisms and UN analysis from the ground to enable us to respond in a more agile and timely manner to threats to international peace and security. We will continue to work within the UN Security Council and with international partners to promote initiatives which build on the global ceasefire and marshal support for UN efforts to take forward peace processes and mitigate risks of conflict escalation.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
2nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the UK Chargé d’Affaires to the UN's statement of 8 September 2020 at the Security Council briefing on resolution 2332, what steps the Government has taken to remove British troops from conflict zones around the globe.

The UK strongly supports the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2532 and the ongoing role of necessary counter terrorism operations to protect civilian populations and prevent terror groups from using the COVID-19 pandemic to their advantage.

Our armed forces continue to keep us safe from threats that we face and, through their participation in peacekeeping operations and observer missions, continue to protect the most vulnerable.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
2nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what diplomatic steps his Department is taking to support a ceasefire in Yemen.

The UK continues to support fully the efforts of the UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths to secure the Yemeni parties' agreement to the UN proposals for a nationwide ceasefire, confidence-building measures and a resumption of the UN-led political process. The Foreign Secretary and Ministers engage frequently with international partners on Yemen. On 6 October, I spoke with Yemeni Foreign Minister Hadhrami about the peace process and developments in the South. On 17 September, the Foreign Secretary co-hosted a P5+ Ministerial meeting on Yemen calling on the international community to pressure Yemeni parties to agree to the UN peace proposals and to step up their funding to the humanitarian response. On 2 September, the Prime Minister discussed Yemen with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The UK continues to lobby all parties directly to engage constructively with the UN Special Envoy.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the finding by the British Retail Consortium that workers in Leicester's apparel manufacturing industry are underpaid by over £2.1 million a week, whether he plans to take steps to help ensure that those workers receive backdated pay in line with the National Minimum Wage.

Exploiting vulnerable workers for commercial gain is despicable and the Government will not stand for it. The Government is determined that everyone who is entitled to the National Minimum Wage (NMW) receives it.

All businesses, irrespective of size or business sector, are responsible for paying the correct minimum wage to their staff; and consequences for not complying with paying NMW can include fines of 200% of the arrears, public naming and, for the worst offences, criminal prosecution.

HMRC take seriously and review all complaints from workers referred by the Acas helpline, or received via the online complaints form, and investigate as appropriate. If anyone thinks they are not receiving at least the minimum wage, they can contact Acas, in confidence, on 0300 123 1100 or submit a query online using the link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pay-and-work-rights-complaints(opens in a new tab) .

HMRC NMW has undertaken joint operations with partner agencies in Leicester for a number of years and have historically investigated more than 150 textile businesses, including multiple employers operating in Leicester; recovering over £215,000 in wage arrears for over 400 workers and issued over £325,000 in penalties. HMRC NMW has also opened a significant number of investigations in Leicester since 1 July 2020.

HMRC continues to take proactive steps in this industry: we have written to over 18,000 workers in the textile sector flagging their entitlement to minimum wage, common causes of underpayment and encouraging confidential reporting of employers, and have written to over 2,500 employers in the sector highlighting the main risks which lead to NMW underpayment.

The British Retail Consortium has alleged that workers in the Leicester textile sector are underpaid by £2.1m per week. Previous and ongoing HMRC investigations have not identified non-compliance with NMW on this scale.

We continue to work closely with industry bodies and would welcome any evidence they have in support of the findings by the British Retail Consortium.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to tackle (a) illegal levels of pay, (b) furlough fraud, (c) double record keeping and (d) VAT fraud in Leicester’s garment Industry.

HMRC enforce the National Minimum and National Living Wage (NMW) in line with the law and policy set out by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

All businesses, irrespective of size or sector, are responsible for paying the correct minimum wage to their staff. Consequences for not complying with paying NMW can include penalties of 200% of the arrears, public naming and, for the worst offences, criminal prosecution.

Breaches of NMW legislation are normally a civil matter, but the most serious cases involving obstruction, falsifying of documents by, for example, creating a second set of ‘compliant records’ or wilful failure to pay workers the minimum wage that form part of a pattern of wider criminality may be referred to HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service and subsequently to the Crown Prosecution Service who decide whether or not to prosecute.

Since 2012-13, HMRC’s NMW team has investigated 150 textile trade employers (59 employers in Leicester), recovering over £215,000 in wage arrears for over 400 workers and issued over £325,000 of penalties to employers.

As a result of the widespread allegations about labour exploitation in Leicester this year, a new multi-agency taskforce (Operation Tacit) led by the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) has been set up to bring together the enforcement bodies (HMRC, Employment Agencies Standards Inspectorate (BEIS), Leicestershire Police, National Crime Agency, Leicester City Council, Department for Work and Pensions and Home Office Immigration Enforcement).

Across tax and the NMW, HMRC have a significant number of live investigations involving businesses in the textile sector (over 90 NMW investigations and over 30 tax investigations), a large majority of which relate to Leicester. In 2019/20 HMRC completed 25 separate investigations into the VAT affairs of businesses in the textile trade in Leicester alone and in doing so recovered more than £2 million of tax that would otherwise have been lost and facilitated 21 director disqualifications relating to the textile sector.

HMRC are also taking steps to counteract those seeking to abuse the COVID-19 support schemes. In line with other “payment-out” regimes, HMRC undertake pre-payment authentication and risking to identify and block fraudulent claims. HMRC also carry out proportionate risk-based post-payment compliance checks to test the accuracy of claims they receive. HMRC are able to retrospectively audit all aspects of the COVID-19 schemes, with scope to claw back fraudulent or inaccurate claims, applying their existing compliance approaches.

HMRC take seriously and review all complaints from workers referred by the Acas helpline, or received via the online complaints form, and investigate as appropriate. If anyone thinks they are not receiving at least the minimum wage, they can contact Acas, in confidence, on 0300 123 1100 or submit a query online using the link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pay-and-work-rights-complaints.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
7th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many businesses have been fined for paying below the national minimum wage in (a) Leicester East constituency and (b) the UK in each of the last three years.

The Government is determined that everyone who is entitled to the National Minimum Wage (NMW) should receive it. HMRC enforce the National Minimum Wage (NMW) and National Living Wage (NLW) in line with the law and policy set out by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

All businesses, irrespective of size or business sector, are responsible for paying the correct minimum wage to their staff. The consequences of not complying with payment of NMW can include fines of 200% of the arrears, public naming and, for the worst offences, criminal prosecution.

HMRC take seriously and review all complaints from workers referred by the Acas helpline, or received via the online complaints form, and investigate as appropriate. If anyone thinks they are not receiving at least the minimum wage, they can contact Acas, in confidence, on 0300 123 1100 or submit a query online: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pay-and-work-rights-complaints.

The total numbers of businesses which have failed to pay the correct rates of national minimum wage and have received penalties as a result in the last three years are provided in the table below:

Year

Leicester East constituency*

UK

2017-18

>5

810

2018-19

>5

1008

2019-20

>5

992

* Businesses with a registered address within the Leicester East postcode.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
2nd Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of preventing businesses that are registered in tax havens from accessing covid-19 related financial support.

The Government’s unprecedented package of support has been targeted at the businesses and individuals who most need assistance. Those businesses that most need support sometimes include foreign companies who employ people and have property in the UK.

The Government continues to be at the forefront of global action to tackle tax avoidance, with a series of robust measures in place to tackle profit shifting arrangements.

Since 2010, the Government has introduced over 100 new measures to tackle tax non-compliance, and HMRC’s compliance activities have protected over £200 billion that would have otherwise gone unpaid. That is the right way to challenge avoidance; not by denying support to British workers, who pay their taxes and would otherwise lose their jobs.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
2nd Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of preventing businesses that engage in high levels of executive pay from accessing covid-19 related financial support.

The Government’s current support measures are well-targeted at the businesses and individuals who most need support, bearing in mind the need to act very quickly to deliver the unprecedented packages of economic support. The Government expects everyone to act responsibly and in the spirit of the package, and only to claim and use support as intended. In certain cases where firms participate in the COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF), it has been appropriate to require businesses to commit to restraint on the payment of dividends and other capital distributions, and on senior pay.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
2nd Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the effect of Public Works Loan Board debt on the ability of local authorities to fund essential services during the covid-19 outbreak.

The government has worked closely with local authorities to understand the financial consequences of the covid-19 outbreak, which includes ongoing costs for pre-existing commitments such as repayment of debt. The government has provided councils with over £3.7 billion of grant funding to help them respond to pressure across all their services, a further £1.1 billion to support social care, and over £300 million to support test and trace. The government has also launched an unprecedented new scheme to reimburse councils for lost income during the pandemic.

This additional support addresses the pressures caused by the pandemic and ensures that local authorities can continue to fund essential services. The cost of managing the repayment of PWLB debt is low and, as most PWLB debt is fixed-rate, has not changed because of the pandemic.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
2nd Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what support his Department is providing to retail supply chain businesses that are ineligible for both the Small Business Grant and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Scheme.

The Government recognises that the past few months have been very challenging for businesses in a wide variety of sectors. Small businesses occupying properties for retail, hospitality or leisure purposes were likely to have been particularly affected by COVID-19 due to their reliance on customer footfall, and the fact that they were less likely than larger businesses to have sufficient cash reserves to meet their high fixed property-related costs. The Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund was intended to help small businesses in this situation.

Local Authorities could choose to make discretionary grants to businesses in other sectors if they feel there is a particular local economic need. However, the priority of all the grants schemes was to help the smallest businesses, and small businesses which were facing significant property-related costs and operated in sectors which were particularly hard hit by the steep decline in customer footfall.

Businesses which did not receive a grant from any of the business grant schemes should have been able to benefit from other policies in the Government’s unprecedented package of economic support during this difficult time. Businesses in the retail supply chain should also be able to benefit from the additional support measures which the Government announced on 24 September as part of the Winter Economy Plan. These new measures include:

  • The new Jobs Support Scheme, which for six months from 1 November will see the Government contribute towards the wages of employees across the UK who are working fewer than normal hours due to decreased demand related to COVID-19;
  • The SEISS Grant Extension, which provides additional taxable grant funding to self-employed individuals who are currently eligible for the SEISS and are actively continuing to trade, but are facing reduced demand due to COVID-19;
  • Extending the temporary VAT cut for hospitality and tourism businesses to March 2021;
  • Extending the deadline for new applications to four of the COVID-19 loan schemes to 30 November; and
  • Help for businesses in repaying loans from Government-backed schemes through the Pay as you Grow scheme and allowing lenders to extend the terms of CBILS loans to up to 10 years.
Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
8th Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department plans to take to enforce the minimum wage rules for all garment factory workers (a) in Leicester and (b) throughout the UK.

The Government is determined that everyone who is entitled to the National Minimum Wage (NMW) receives it.

HMRC enforce the National Minimum Wage (NMW) and National Living Wage (NLW) in line with the law and policy set out by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

All businesses, irrespective of size or business sector, are responsible for paying the correct minimum wage to their staff.

HMRC continue to take action against employers who ignore the law, ensuring that workers receive the wages they are entitled to.

HMRC take seriously and review all complaints from workers referred by the Acas helpline, or received via the online complaints form, and investigate as appropriate. If anyone thinks they are not receiving at least the minimum wage, they can contact Acas, in confidence, on 0300 123 1100 or submit a query online using the link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pay-and-work-rights-complaints .

As part of continuing operational activity in Leicester and throughout the UK, over the past two years HMRC have completed over 50 investigations into textile traders, uncovering over £125,000 in wage arrears for more than 280 workers and issuing over £240,000 in penalties.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans the Government has to suspend the No Recourse to Public Funds conditions on public health grounds for the duration of the covid-19 outbreak, as recommended by the Work and Pensions Select Committee in its first report of Session 2019-21, DWP’s response to the coronavirus outbreak, published 22 June 2020.

The Government remains committed to protecting vulnerable people and has acted decisively to ensure that we support everyone through this pandemic.

Healthcare is not classified as a public fund, and testing and treatment for COVID-19 is free of charge to all regardless of immigration status. Also, NHS Trusts have been advised that no immigration checks are required for these patients. The guidance can be viewed here:https://www.gov.uk/guidance/nhs-entitlements-migrant-health-guide.

Many of the wide-ranging COVID-19 measures the Government has put in place are available to migrants with NRPF. These range from assistance being given under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Self-employed Income Support Scheme, statutory sick pay and discretionary hardship payments for those who have to self-isolate.

Migrants who have been granted leave on the basis of their family life / human rights can apply to have the NRPF condition on their stay lifted by making a ‘change of conditions’ application.

Since the onset of the pandemic, we have continued to prioritise NRPF ‘change of conditions’ applications and deal with them compassionately. Data published in February 2021 for quarter 4 of 2020 shows the average time taken to make a decision on cases is 18 days. Of the decisions taken in the same period, 86% were granted.

Local authorities may also provide basic safety net support, regardless of immigration status, if it is established that there is a genuine care need that does not arise solely from destitution, for example, where there are community care needs, migrants with serious health problems or family cases where the wellbeing of a child is in question.

The Government has provided unprecedented support of over £8 billion of funding to local authorities in England to help councils manage the impacts of COVID-19 and respond to the spending pressures they are facing, including £4.6 billion which is not ringfenced. Additional funding of nearly £19 billion has also been provided for the devolved administrations under the Barnett formula as part of the wider government response.

In light of the support that is available to those with NRPF, we do not believe it is necessary to suspend the NRPF condition for the duration of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
12th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on the distribution of the covid-19 vaccine to people awaiting determination of their asylum, visa and immigration applications.

The Department for Health and Social Care took early steps to ensure diagnosis and treatment for COVID-19 is free for all, including anyone living in the UK without permission.

Distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine to people awaiting determination of their asylum, visa and immigration applications is therefore not a matter for the Home Office.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
12th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on the distribution of the covid-19 vaccine to undocumented migrants.

For public health protection, it is very important people are not deterred from seeking treatment for COVID-19. The Department for Health and Social Care took early steps to ensure diagnosis and treatment for COVID-19 is free for all, including anyone living in the UK without permission. As such, progress on administering the COVID-19 vaccine to illegal immigrants is not a matter for the Home Office

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
12th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of granting (a) undocumented migrants, (b) people with no recourse to public funds, and (c) people awaiting determination of their asylum, visa and immigration applications indefinite leave to remain to help ensure a complete roll-out of the covid-19 vaccine.

The COVID-19 vaccine is available free of charge to anyone living in the UK, including those here without permission. If they are registered with a GP practice, they will be invited for the vaccine at the appropriate time based on the prioritisation set out by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.

If they are not registered with a GP, they will still be able to receive the vaccine under the GP COVID-19 vaccination programme 2020/21 Enhanced Service Specification. More information can be found here:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-content/uploads/sites/52/2020/12/C0917-Covid-19-Enhanced-Service-ES-Specification-1-December-2020.pdf

The Home Office is supporting the Department for Health and Social Care’s approach to ensure we are reaching as many people as possible.

A condition of No Recourse of Public Funds does not have a bearing on a person’s access to healthcare or the COVID-19 vaccine.

In light of the availability of the COVID-19 vaccination for all UK residents, including those who are undocumented, we have no plans to grant immigration leave for this purpose.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
12th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on the distribution of the covid-19 vaccine to UK residents with no recourse to public funds.

The COVID-19 vaccine is available free of charge to anyone living in the UK, including those here without permission. If they are registered with a GP practice, they will be invited for the vaccine at the appropriate time based on the prioritisation set out by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.

If they are not registered with a GP, they will still be able to receive the vaccine under the GP COVID-19 vaccination programme 2020/21 Enhanced Service Specification. More information can be found here:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-content/uploads/sites/52/2020/12/C0917-Covid-19-Enhanced-Service-ES-Specification-1-December-2020.pdf

The Home Office is supporting the Department for Health and Social Care’s approach to ensure we are reaching as many people as possible.

A condition of No Recourse of Public Funds does not have a bearing on a person’s access to healthcare or the COVID-19 vaccine.

In light of the availability of the COVID-19 vaccination for all UK residents, including those who are undocumented, we have no plans to grant immigration leave for this purpose.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
2nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Office, what plans she has to commission a full, judge-led public inquiry into exploitation in Leicester’s Garment Industry.

We are deeply concerned by the appalling reports of illegal and unsafe working conditions for garment workers in Leicester. The Government will not tolerate the exploitation of vulnerable workers for commercial gain and is committed to taking action against those who seek to do so.

In light of these very serious recent allegations, The Home Secretary announced in the House on 13 July that a multi-agency Taskforce, led by the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) has been set up in Leicester to enable the relevant enforcement bodies to work together at pace, to take appropriate action against unscrupulous employers and individuals who exploit workers.

If evidence of wrongdoing and illegal exploitation comes to light, perpetrators should face the full force of the law.

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
2nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she plans to provide dependant family members of all migrant NHS workers Indefinite Leave to Remain during the covid-19 outbreak.

Migrants working in the NHS and wider health and care sector have made a huge contribution in tackling COVID-19 and the Government has taken un-precedented measures to ensure the sector is supported fully.

We are granting immediate indefinite leave to remain (ILR), free of any charges, to family members of migrant NHS, health and care workers who unfortunately lose their lives as a result of contracting COVID-19.

All other dependant family members of migrant NHS workers may be granted ILR if they meet the relevant eligibility criteria.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
2nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will waive the NHS health surcharge for all migrant frontline workers during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has now exempted NHS and care workers from paying the Immigration Health Surcharge, and this is not just for the duration of the pandemic.

This is in recognition of the contribution they make to the NHS. The purpose of the surcharge is to benefit the NHS and support patient care, something NHS and care workers do directly through their work. However, it is fair to expect people arriving in the UK to work in non-health related roles to contribute to the comprehensive range of NHS services available to them from when they arrive in the UK.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what estimate she has made of the number of people who have No Recourse to Public Funds conditions attached to their immigration status in (a) Leicester East constituency and (b) the UK.

The information you have requested is not currently published by the department. The department has written to the UKSA with regard to this matter. Please see the link below: https://www.statisticsauthority.gov.uk/correspondence/response-from-daniel-shaw-to-ed-humpherson-parliamentary-question-response/.

In the Chief Statistician’s response to the UKSA, we committed to investigate whether there is data held by the Department which can inform understanding of the effect of the NRPF condition. Following our investigation, we have now published information relating to change of conditions at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/immigration-protection-data-august-2020

Migrants coming to the UK are expected to maintain and support themselves and their families without posing a burden on the UK’s welfare system. Access to benefits and other publicly funded services reflects the strength of a migrant’s connections to the UK.

The Home Office publish a range of statistics on entry clearance visas, and extensions of leave in the UK in the quarterly Immigration Statistics. However, these do not show the number of people subject to NRPF.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
8th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans her Department has to work with (a) local authorities and (b) other stakeholders in Leicester to establish a helpline for workers reporting instances of exploitation.

We are deeply concerned by the appalling reports of illegal and unsafe working conditions for garment workers in Leicester. The Government will not tolerate the exploitation of vulnerable workers for commercial gain and is committed to taking action against those who seek to do so.

Investigations of criminal offences are the responsibility of operational law enforcement partners, who have the appropriate powers to do so. Following these allegations, the National Crime Agency have launched an investigation into these serious concerns. This has been taken forward using a partnership approach, using the expertise of several bodies, including the Health and Safety Executive, the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA), Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs and Leicestershire Police.

Workers can report information or concerns about suspected labour exploitation in confidence through the telephone to the GLAA or to the Modern Slavery and Exploitation Helpline. For advice on the legal minimum wage, working hours and employment agencies, workers can call the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service helpline for free.

We have also committed to going further on state enforcement and establishing a single enforcement body for employment rights to better protect vulnerable workers and create a level playing field for the majority of employers that comply with the law.

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
8th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans her Department has to investigate Leicester’s garment factories for alleged instances of (a) wage theft, (b) denial of benefits and (c) modern slavery conditions.

We are deeply concerned by the appalling reports of illegal and unsafe working conditions for garment workers in Leicester. The Government will not tolerate the exploitation of vulnerable workers for commercial gain and is committed to taking action against those who seek to do so.

Investigations of criminal offences are the responsibility of operational law enforcement partners, who have the appropriate powers to do so. Following these allegations, the National Crime Agency have launched an investigation into these serious concerns. This has been taken forward using a partnership approach, using the expertise of several bodies, including the Health and Safety Executive, the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA), Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs and Leicestershire Police.

Workers can report information or concerns about suspected labour exploitation in confidence through the telephone to the GLAA or to the Modern Slavery and Exploitation Helpline. For advice on the legal minimum wage, working hours and employment agencies, workers can call the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service helpline for free.

We have also committed to going further on state enforcement and establishing a single enforcement body for employment rights to better protect vulnerable workers and create a level playing field for the majority of employers that comply with the law.

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
8th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if her Department will adopt the recommendations from the Independent Review of the Modern Slavery Act 2015: Final report, CP 100, published in May 2019, to strengthen the domestic legal framework for ensuring corporate accountability for modern slavery in supply chains.

Section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 established the UK as the first country in the world to require businesses to report annually on steps taken to prevent modern slavery in their operations and supply chains. The Government is committed to continuously strengthening our approach to increase transparency in supply chains. In 2018, the Home Office commissioned an Independent Review of the Modern Slavery Act to look at where the Act has worked well and where it could be more effective, including section 54.

The Government accepted the majority (see https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/government-response-to-the-independent-review-of-the-modern-slavery-act)of the Review’s recommendations and on 9 July 2019 the Home Office launched a public consultation seeking views on an ambitious package of measures to strengthen the Act’s transparency legislation. These included requiring organisations to report on specific topics, introducing a single reporting deadline and extending transparency to the public sector. The Government will publish its response to the consultation this summer.

We are also developing a new gov.uk registry for statements published under the Modern Slavery Act, to enable greater scrutiny from consumers, investors, civil society and others and drive a “race to the top”.

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
8th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will bring forward legislative proposals to introduce penalties for companies who fail to (a) publish an annual statement and (b) comply with their obligations under the Modern Slavery Act 2015.

This Government is committed to eliminating modern slavery from our communities and the global economy. The landmark transparency requirement contained in section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 made the UK the first country in the world to require businesses to report on how they are tackling modern slavery in their operations and supply chains. Section 54 was designed to empower consumers, investors, civil society and others to scrutinise the action that businesses are taking to identify and address modern slavery in their supply chains.

To further increase transparency in supply chains, the Home Office launched a public consultation on a range of measures to strengthen section 54, including requiring organisations to report on specific topics, including due diligence, and introducing civil penalties for non-compliance. The Government will publish its response to the consultation this summer. We are also developing a new gov.uk registry for organisations in scope of the requirements of the Modern Slavery Act to publish their modern slavery statements which will enable greater scrutiny.

In March this year, we became the first country to publish a modern slavery statement setting out how we are preventing modern slavery in Government supply chains. Bidders for central Government contracts, above relevant thresholds, are required to confirm that they are compliant with the transparency requirement in the Modern Slavery Act 2015, where the bidder is in scope of the transparency requirement. Bidders for public contracts that have failed to meet their legal obligations in the last three years risk being excluded from public procurements, unless they can demonstrate that they have taken measures to remedy the failures and prevent recurrence.

The Home Office has written twice to the CEOs of more than 16,000 businesses in scope with clear information about how to meet their obligations.

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
8th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans she has to strengthen the provisions of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 to require (a) large companies and (b) fashion brands to undertake due diligence checks throughout their supply chains to ensure (i) materials and (ii) products are produced without the use of exploited labour.

This Government is committed to eliminating modern slavery from our communities and the global economy. The landmark transparency requirement contained in section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 made the UK the first country in the world to require businesses to report on how they are tackling modern slavery in their operations and supply chains. Section 54 was designed to empower consumers, investors, civil society and others to scrutinise the action that businesses are taking to identify and address modern slavery in their supply chains.

To further increase transparency in supply chains, the Home Office launched a public consultation on a range of measures to strengthen section 54, including requiring organisations to report on specific topics, including due diligence, and introducing civil penalties for non-compliance. The Government will publish its response to the consultation this summer. We are also developing a new gov.uk registry for organisations in scope of the requirements of the Modern Slavery Act to publish their modern slavery statements which will enable greater scrutiny.

In March this year, we became the first country to publish a modern slavery statement setting out how we are preventing modern slavery in Government supply chains. Bidders for central Government contracts, above relevant thresholds, are required to confirm that they are compliant with the transparency requirement in the Modern Slavery Act 2015, where the bidder is in scope of the transparency requirement. Bidders for public contracts that have failed to meet their legal obligations in the last three years risk being excluded from public procurements, unless they can demonstrate that they have taken measures to remedy the failures and prevent recurrence.

The Home Office has written twice to the CEOs of more than 16,000 businesses in scope with clear information about how to meet their obligations.

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
8th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans she has to ensure that Government procurement is compliant with the Modern Slavery Act 2015.

This Government is committed to eliminating modern slavery from our communities and the global economy. The landmark transparency requirement contained in section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 made the UK the first country in the world to require businesses to report on how they are tackling modern slavery in their operations and supply chains. Section 54 was designed to empower consumers, investors, civil society and others to scrutinise the action that businesses are taking to identify and address modern slavery in their supply chains.

To further increase transparency in supply chains, the Home Office launched a public consultation on a range of measures to strengthen section 54, including requiring organisations to report on specific topics, including due diligence, and introducing civil penalties for non-compliance. The Government will publish its response to the consultation this summer. We are also developing a new gov.uk registry for organisations in scope of the requirements of the Modern Slavery Act to publish their modern slavery statements which will enable greater scrutiny.

In March this year, we became the first country to publish a modern slavery statement setting out how we are preventing modern slavery in Government supply chains. Bidders for central Government contracts, above relevant thresholds, are required to confirm that they are compliant with the transparency requirement in the Modern Slavery Act 2015, where the bidder is in scope of the transparency requirement. Bidders for public contracts that have failed to meet their legal obligations in the last three years risk being excluded from public procurements, unless they can demonstrate that they have taken measures to remedy the failures and prevent recurrence.

The Home Office has written twice to the CEOs of more than 16,000 businesses in scope with clear information about how to meet their obligations.

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how much funding she has allocated to public safety in and around mosques in the most recent 12 month period for which figures are available; and if she will make a statement.

In addition to the 134 grants already provided over the first three years of the Places of Worship scheme, the Government have announced a further commitment of £1.6m funding for the Places of Worship Scheme this financial year and are further doubling the available funding in 2020-21. We will shortly be announcing the outcome of the fourth year of the scheme, which will see over fifty organisations receive funding to enhance the security of their premises.

The police regularly review events and potential threats to ensure everything is being done to protect all our communities from terrorism, hate crime and the impact of public protest. The Government also has an established programme that provides those responsible for crowded places with high quality advice and guidance, to enable them to understand the terrorist threat; prepare for all types of terrorist attacks; and ensure appropriate measures may be taken to reduce their vulnerability.

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans her Department has to increase funding for security in and around mosques in response to the Hanau terrorist attack on 19 February 2020.

In addition to the 134 grants already provided over the first three years of the Places of Worship scheme, the Government have announced a further commitment of £1.6m funding for the Places of Worship Scheme this financial year and are further doubling the available funding in 2020-21. We will shortly be announcing the outcome of the fourth year of the scheme, which will see over fifty organisations receive funding to enhance the security of their premises.

The police regularly review events and potential threats to ensure everything is being done to protect all our communities from terrorism, hate crime and the impact of public protest. The Government also has an established programme that provides those responsible for crowded places with high quality advice and guidance, to enable them to understand the terrorist threat; prepare for all types of terrorist attacks; and ensure appropriate measures may be taken to reduce their vulnerability.

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what funding is available to support security and safety in and around mosques; and if she will make a statement.

In addition to the 134 grants already provided over the first three years of the Places of Worship scheme, the Government have announced a further commitment of £1.6m funding for the Places of Worship Scheme this financial year and are further doubling the available funding in 2020-21. We will shortly be announcing the outcome of the fourth year of the scheme, which will see over fifty organisations receive funding to enhance the security of their premises.

The police regularly review events and potential threats to ensure everything is being done to protect all our communities from terrorism, hate crime and the impact of public protest. The Government also has an established programme that provides those responsible for crowded places with high quality advice and guidance, to enable them to understand the terrorist threat; prepare for all types of terrorist attacks; and ensure appropriate measures may be taken to reduce their vulnerability.

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many mosques have applied unsuccessfully for funding from the Place of Worship Security Fund.

431 applications have been made to the Places of Worship Security Funding Scheme since it began in 2016. In total, 109 applications were from Muslim communities. Of these, 49 applications were successful whilst 60 applications were unsuccessful.

James Brokenshire
Minister of State (Home Office)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans the Government has to ensure equitable access to security funding for religious institutions.

All places of worship, other than the Jewish community, have access to the Places of Worship Scheme that funds protective security measures to counter hate crime. The Jewish community has access to separate funding that was put in place following a series of terrorist attacks against Jews and Jewish targets in Europe. The Government regularly considers the range of threats to our places of worship from hate crime.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many mosques have received funding from the Place of Worship Security Fund since its establishment.

431 applications have been made to the Places of Worship Security Funding Scheme since it began in 2016. In total, 109 applications were from Muslim communities. Of these, 49 applications were successful whilst 60 applications were unsuccessful.

James Brokenshire
Minister of State (Home Office)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans she has to ensure equitable access to security funding for places of worship.

All places of worship, other than the Jewish community, have access to the Places of Worship Scheme that funds protective security measures to counter hate crime. The Jewish community has access to separate funding that was put in place following a series of terrorist attacks against Jews and Jewish targets in Europe. The Government regularly considers the range of threats to our places of worship from hate crime.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many mosques have unsuccessfully applied for funding from the Place of Worship Security Fund since its establishment.

431 applications have been made to the Places of Worship Security Funding Scheme since it began in 2016. In total, 109 applications were from Muslim communities. Of these, 49 applications were successful whilst 60 applications were unsuccessful.

James Brokenshire
Minister of State (Home Office)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many mosques have received funding from the Place of Worship Security Fund.

Over the first three years, the Places of Worship scheme has approved 134 grants worth approximately £1.5m to 63 churches, 49 to mosques, 5 to Hindu temples and 17 to Gurdwaras.

We received a high number of applications for the scheme in 2019/20 and will be informing successful applicants in the near future.

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
13th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what information her Department holds on the number of victims of the Windrush scandal that reside in Leicester East constituency.

Data on the number of members of the Windrush generation that reside in Leicester East constituency is not available. Information relating to individual Windrush migrants is not recorded by constituency.

Information on the total number of claims paid and the overall amount paid out by the scheme is available to view on GOV.UK at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/windrush-compensation-scheme-data-may-2020.

We do not break down the number of claims awarded by geographical area as this could potentially identify individual claimants. Furthermore, the addresses provided by claimants may well change over time, therefore rendering a search potentially inaccurate.

Priti Patel
Home Secretary
13th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many victims of the Windrush scandal in Leicester East constituency have received compensation.

Data on the number of members of the Windrush generation that reside in Leicester East constituency is not available. Information relating to individual Windrush migrants is not recorded by constituency.

Information on the total number of claims paid and the overall amount paid out by the scheme is available to view on GOV.UK at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/windrush-compensation-scheme-data-may-2020.

We do not break down the number of claims awarded by geographical area as this could potentially identify individual claimants. Furthermore, the addresses provided by claimants may well change over time, therefore rendering a search potentially inaccurate.

Priti Patel
Home Secretary
8th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether he plans to bring forward legislative proposals to strengthen the powers of local authorities to intervene in unsafe workplaces during the covid-19 outbreak.

This is the policy responsibility of my Rt Hon Friend the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

4th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many deaths have been recorded as a result of homeless people taking shelter in bins which are then removed by refuse workers in each of the last twelve months; what steps he is taking to help prevent further such deaths; and whether he plans to provide training to refuse workers to help reduce the risk of further deaths.

Every premature death of someone homeless is one too many and we take this matter extremely seriously.?It should not happen that people die prematurely?and on the street?because they are homeless.

We are absolutely committed to ending rough sleeping by the end of this parliament. To achieve this, we are providing £437 million to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping in 2020/2021.This marks a £69 million increase in funding from the previous year.

This year we have expanded the Rough Sleeping Initiative with investment of £46 million for 246 areas – providing funding for an estimated 2,600 bed spaces and 750 staff. Next year, we are allocating a further £112 million to around 270 areas, funding up to 6,000 bed spaces and 2,500 staff. And this is having an impact.?The RSI?impact evaluation?shows that the Initiative has reduced the number of people sleeping rough by 32 per cent in the areas funded, compared to the number it would have been had the RSI not been in place.

We do not hold data on the?number of deaths as a result of people taking shelter in refuse bins.?However, we understand some local councils and businesses have conducted research and supplied advice on this issue in recent years.

This Government is aware that a skilled frontline workforce is essential to delivering good services and ultimately reducing homelessness.?Delivery of the?Key Groups?Training programme launched in Summer 2019. ?The training programme is expected to cater for 3,450 members of the frontline homelessness workforce by the end of June 2020.

Local authorities and outreach teams work tirelessly to ensure that appropriate support is given to all rough sleepers regardless of where they are found, be that in tents, doorways, bins or on the street.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment the Government has made of the effect on regional disparities of the proposed move to 100 per cent business rate retention.

The Government is continuing to work with the sector on the aim to increase retention of locally retained business rates from 50 per cent to 75 per cent from April 2021. The current Local Government Finance system has measures in place to ensure that funds are distributed according to assessed relative needs. Ensuring that the system continues to provide incentives for local growth, while ensuring funding appropriately matches spending needs, is an important objective for the Government.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what discussions he has had with local authority leaders on the effect on Leicester City Council’s budget of (a) the 75 per cent business rate retention pilot and (b) 100 per cent business rate retention.

Local authorities taking part in the 2019-20 one year business rates retention pilot programme retain an additional level of growth in business rates compared to other authorities. These areas have flexibility over how they spend this additional income. These pilot areas have provided us with useful information which will help inform the future direction of business rates retention reform. There will be no further pilots in 2020-21.

The Government is continuing to work with the sector on the aim to increase retention of locally retained business rates from 50 per cent to 75 per cent from April 2021. This would give local authorities greater control over locally raised taxes. We are continuing to work collaboratively with the local government sector on the future direction of reform.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what support his Department is providing to meet the demand for social care in Leicester.

The Government has recognised and responded to the pressures local authorities are facing on social care and other frontline services: the Local Government Finance Settlement for 2020-21 gives them access to the largest year-on-year increase in Core Spending Power (CSP) for almost a decade, an estimated 4.4 per cent real terms increase.

This includes an additional £1 billion in grant funding for adult and children’s social care, £10 million of which has been allocated to Leicester City Council. This is on top of the continuation of existing social care grant funding, and the 2 per cent Adult Social Care precept which will enable councils to access a further £500 million. Longer term funding decisions will be made at the next Spending Review.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many (a) Employment Tribunal and (b) other proceedings have been brought against the (i) judiciary, (ii) his Department, (iii) HM Courts and Tribunals Service and (iv) Judicial Conduct Investigations Office by (A) other judges and (B) his Department since 2015; and if he will publish the (1) outcome and (2) status of each of those proceedings.

This information could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what the (a) ethnicity and (b) gender was of the judges referred (i) informally and (ii) formally for disciplinary action since 2015; and what the (A) ethnicity and (B) gender was of the complainant in each of those cases.

The Judicial Conduct Investigations Office does not record the diversity profile of complainants, or of judges who are subject to disciplinary action.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what bullying, harassment and anti-discrimination policies apply to members of the Judiciary; what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of training offered in respect of that policy; and whether such training is provided to all (a) full-time and (b) part-time office holders.

There are three related Judicial Grievance policies which cover complaints of bullying, harassment and/or discrimination, systemic complaints and complaints of broader wrongdoing. The grievance policies provide a framework for raising complaints formally or informally. These apply to all judicial office holders; salaried and fee-paid including the magistracy. In addition, the Judicial Guide to Conduct offers assistance to judges, coroners and magistrates about their conduct through the provision of a set of core principles.

The Lord Chief Justice (LCJ), the Senior President of the Tribunals, and the Chief Coroner have statutory responsibility for judicial training, under the Constitutional Reform Act 2005, Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007, and Coroners and Justice Act 2009 respectively. As judicial training is a matter for the independent judiciary, no assessment of training is undertaken by the Ministry of Justice

All new Judicial Office Holders attend courses which include sessions on Conduct and Ethics which make specific reference to the 2012 Equality and Diversity Policy for the Judiciary and the Dignity at Work statement it contains, and further training is provided for judges when they are new to leadership roles.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many complainant judges have left their judicial appointment prior to normal retirement age after issuing a grievance alleging race, sex, sexual orientation or disability discrimination in the last two years.

There are no central records of how many complainant judges have left their judicial appointment prior to normal retirement age after issuing a grievance alleging race, sex, sexual orientation or disability discrimination. Information about judicial office holders who leave prior to retirement is not compared with grievance records.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, whether secret soundings are taken from leadership judges or other automatic consultees on the suitability of an individual for judicial appointment.

Consultation with the judiciary in relation to judicial recruitment is provided for in statute.

The independent Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) has the responsibility to run selection exercises and make recommendations to judicial posts up to and including the High Court. The JAC has a statutory duty to only select people for judicial appointment only on merit and who are of good character, in line with section 63 of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005.

As part of the selection process, a range of shortlisting and selection day tools are used to assess candidates. The Lord Chief Justice and another person who held the office for which the candidate is applying or has relevant experience are also consulted on the applicant, in line with section 30(1) of the Judicial Appointments Regulations 2013 to ensure that candidates are of good character and have relevant capabilities for the role. Further information on the JAC’s selection process regarding the suitability of candidates for appointments is available at – https://judicialappointments.gov.uk/guidance-on-the-application-process-2/

For judges above the High Court an independent selection panel is convened as set out in the Constitutional Reform Act 2005. In line with those provisions, the commission, consisting of non-legally qualified members, judicial members and members of the JAC, will determine and apply the selection process required and will consult key officials and senior members of the judiciary on the candidates.

For appointments to the UK Supreme Court, a selection panel is convened. The panel consists of the UKSC President, a member from the JAC, the Judicial Appointments Board for Scotland, the Northern Ireland JAC and a Senior UK Judge in line with Part 3 (11) of the UK Supreme Court Regulations 2013. The panel will determine and apply the selection process required and consult with the senior judiciary and senior officials on candidates, in line with Section 27 (1) of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps his Department is taking to communicate the findings and recommendations of the Lammy Review to the full and part-time judiciary; and what steps his Department is taking to protect whistleblowers from discrimination and victimisation.

Since the publication of the Lammy Review in September 2017, the Ministry of Justice has worked with Judicial Office to respond to its recommendations, which have been disseminated and widely read amongst the Judiciary. The issues raised are of continued interest and concern and remain high on the agenda.

Any Ministry of Justice employees who raise a concern using the Raising a Concern (including whistleblowing) policy will be supported and will not suffer any unfair or negative treatment as a result. Where a protected disclosure is made, the individual also has a legal entitlement to protection. Any disclosures made under this policy will be treated in a sensitive manner. Details of individuals will only be shared with those who need to know in order to investigate and progress the matter.

For the Judiciary, there are three related Judicial Grievance policies which cover complaints of bullying, harassment and/or discrimination, systemic complaints and complaints of broader wrongdoing. The grievance policies provide a framework for raising complaints formally or informally. These apply to all judicial office holders; salaried and fee-paid including the magistracy.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, for what reason recruitment, retention and promotion targets are not used in the judiciary.

Judges are selected following a rigorous, independent and merit-based process which is key to maintaining the quality, integrity and independence of our judiciary.

The Judicial Appointments Commission is asked by the Lord Chancellor to deliver a specified programme of judicial recruitment each year and reports against this in its annual report. The Lord Chancellor’s Advisory Committees are also asked to recruit a specified number of magistrates each year.

We do not consider that diversity targets on recruitment, retention or promotion are the right approach. The Lord Chancellor, Lord Chief Justice and the Judicial Appointments Commission have statutory duties to improve judicial diversity and through the Judicial Diversity Forum, are delivering a wide range of actions to improve judicial diversity.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps his Department has taken to implement the findings of the Lammy Review in the judicial appointments’ system.

The Ministry of Justice has published regular updates on the actions the department has taken in response to the Lammy Review recommendations.

The Lord Chancellor, alongside other members of the Judicial Diversity Forum (JDF), including the Lord Chief Justice, Chair of the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) and the Chairs and Chief Executives of the legal professional bodies are leading a wide range of actions to improve diversity, which were set out in the JDF’s action plan published in September 2020.

This includes an expanded Pre-Application Judicial Education (PAJE) programme, which supports lawyers from a Black, Asian and minority ethnic background in pursuing a judicial career; the work of the JAC’s Targeted Outreach and Research Team, who are actively engaging with and providing guidance and advice to potential candidates from under-represented groups including those from a BAME background for specific court and tribunal roles; the application of an equal merit policy in JAC selection exercises; and a range of judicial outreach programmes. Coupled with this, end to end data on diversity across the legal professions and the judiciary has been brought together and published, and a range of research commissioned to inform actions to improve judicial diversity.

For the magistracy, the department is investing c.£1m to improve the magistrates’ recruitment process and the diversity of magistrates’ recruitment through targeted marketing and attraction activities.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many substantive complaints of unfairness in the making of appointments from the Judicial Appointments Commission have been upheld by the Judicial Appointments and Conduct Ombudsman in the latest period for which figures are available; and what remedy was offered and provided in each such case.

The Constitutional Reform Act 2005 enables the Judicial Appointments & Conduct Ombudsman to consider complaints from applicants for judicial office who claim to have been adversely affected, as a candidate for selection or as someone selected for judicial office, by maladministration on the part of the Judicial Appointments Commission.

A finding that a candidate was adversely affected by maladministration does not necessarily mean that their application was treated unfairly. The Ombudsman partially upheld one complaint during 2019/20, the latest period for which figures are available. This was on account of inadequacies in communications with the complainant. The Ombudsman’s 2019/20 Annual Report makes it clear that the Ombudsman had not found maladministration in the handling of the application in question. The Ombudsman did not make any substantive findings of unfairness by the Judicial Appointments Commission. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/902198/jaco-annual-report-2019-20.pdf

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many substantive complaints of unfairness in the making of judicial appointments have been upheld by the Judicial Appointments Commission under its own internal procedures; and what remedy has been offered and provided in each such case.

JAC complaints are not categorised by reference to claims of unfairness. All internal complaints upheld since 2014-15 are set out below.

Year

Complaints Upheld

Remedy

2020-21

3 Partially Upheld

3 Apologies Issues

2019-20

0

N/A

2018-19

3 Upheld

3 re-admitted to next stage of exercise (all Selection Day)

2017-18

4 Upheld

2 re-admitted to next stage of exercise, 1 retrospective adjustment applied, 1 apology

2016-17

1 Upheld

Invited to Selection Day (Complainant Holiday originally clashed)

2015-16

1 Upheld

1 re-admitted to next stage of process

2014-15

0

N/A

Totals

9 Upheld

3 Partially Upheld

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
2nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps his Department is taking to enable overseas workers who are victims of corporate harm in the UK to access the UK courts.

In cross-border cases, there are well established rules and procedures that determine whether a court in the UK has jurisdiction to determine a case.

This will include considering factors such as where the defendant in the case is based, or whether they can be served a claim in the UK. The court may also consider whether the alleged damage or loss was sustained within the UK or resulted from an act committed within the UK.

Subject to certain limited exceptions, Article 4.1 of the Recast Brussels Regulation confers a right on any claimant (regardless of their domicile) to sue a UK domiciled defendant in a UK court.

The Government has no plans to legislate to amend the current position in law.

From 11pm on 31st December 2020 the UK will no longer be party to the Recast Brussels Regulation. Transitional provisions will apply in cases where proceedings have been instituted before that date (so that the Brussels rules will still apply in those cases).

For cases where the Brussels Regulation does not apply, and where proceedings are instituted after the end of the Transition Period, the domestic private international law rules – in a case like the one mentioned, those of England and Wales - will apply to determine where such cases will be heard. Each of the three jurisdictions in the UK have their own rules. Under the rules in England and Wales, the primary factor determining where a case may be heard relates to where the claimant needs to serve the claim against the defendant. If the defendant is present within England and Wales (even temporarily) such that service can take place, then the court in England and Wales is able to take jurisdiction (although the defendant may seek to dispute that). If service in England and Wales is not possible, the claimant will need to obtain permission from the court to serve proceedings overseas (subject to certain limited exceptions).

The UK has applied to rejoin the Lugano Convention 2007. This has similar jurisdiction rules to the Brussels recast Regulation. If the UK’s application is accepted, then broadly speaking, in any case where Lugano applied jurisdiction would once again primarily turn on the domicile of the defendant.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)