Colum Eastwood

Social Democratic & Labour Party - Foyle

2 APPG memberships (as of 2 Jun 2021)
Celtic Nations, Showing Racism the Red Card
Colum Eastwood has no previous appointments


There are no upcoming events identified
Division Votes
Wednesday 9th June 2021
Protecting the Public and Justice for Victims
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 2 Social Democratic & Labour Party Aye votes vs 0 Social Democratic & Labour Party No votes
Tally: Ayes - 223 Noes - 0
Speeches
Tuesday 22nd June 2021
Northern Ireland (Ministers, Elections and Petitions of Concern) Bill

Will the Secretary of State explain very carefully for some people in this House who do not seem to understand …

Written Answers
Thursday 10th June 2021
Health Services: Reciprocal Arrangements
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress he is making on providing Global Health …
Early Day Motions
Tuesday 2nd March 2021
Anti-Irish discrimination
That this House condemns anti-Irish racism in all its forms; notes that recent reports of anti-Irish and anti-Irish Traveller sentiments …
Bills
Wednesday 16th June 2021
Climate Change Bill 2021-22
A Bill to place a duty on the Government to declare a climate emergency; to amend the Climate Change Act …
Tweets
None available
MP Financial Interests
None available
EDM signed
Thursday 17th June 2021
Windrush Day 2021
That this House notes that 22 June 2021 will be the 73rd anniversary of the arrival of HMT Empire Windrush …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Colum Eastwood has voted in 217 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Colum Eastwood Division Votes

Debates during the 2019 Parliament

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

Sparring Partners
Brandon Lewis (Conservative)
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
(28 debate interactions)
Boris Johnson (Conservative)
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
(14 debate interactions)
Robin Walker (Conservative)
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
(6 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Cabinet Office
(24 debate contributions)
Northern Ireland Office
(18 debate contributions)
Scotland Office
(8 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Colum Eastwood's debates

Foyle 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).

Colum Eastwood has not participated in any petition debates

Latest EDMs signed by Colum Eastwood

17th June 2021
Colum Eastwood signed this EDM on Thursday 17th June 2021

Windrush Day 2021

Tabled by: Helen Hayes (Labour - Dulwich and West Norwood)
That this House notes that 22 June 2021 will be the 73rd anniversary of the arrival of HMT Empire Windrush at Tilbury Dock and the fourth annual Windrush Day; supports the commemorations across the country recognising the immense impact that the Windrush generation has had on the UK's society and …
34 signatures
(Most recent: 22 Jun 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 20
Scottish National Party: 4
Independent: 3
Plaid Cymru: 3
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 2
Liberal Democrat: 2
Conservative: 1
Green Party: 1
26th May 2021
Colum Eastwood signed this EDM on Wednesday 16th June 2021

Justice for Reggie Campaign

Tabled by: Neale Hanvey (Alba Party - Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath)
That this House recognises the efforts of Richard Ackers and the Justice for Reggie Campaign in seeking to protect the well-being of domestic animals; supports their call for more stringent laws on the breeding, transportation and sale of those animals, particularly with regard to unregulated puppy farming and illegal online …
13 signatures
(Most recent: 22 Jun 2021)
Signatures by party:
Scottish National Party: 4
Democratic Unionist Party: 3
Labour: 3
Alba Party: 1
Conservative: 1
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 1
Plaid Cymru: 1
View All Colum Eastwood's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Colum Eastwood, 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.


Colum Eastwood has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Colum Eastwood has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

1 Bill introduced by Colum Eastwood


A Bill to place a duty on the Government to declare a climate emergency; to amend the Climate Change Act 2008 to bring forward the date by which the United Kingdom is required to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions; to place a duty on the Government to create and implement a strategy to achieve objectives related to climate change, including for the creation of environmentally-friendly jobs; to require the Secretary of State to report to Parliament on proposals for increased taxation of large companies to generate revenue to be spent to further those objectives; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading (Commons)
Wednesday 16th June 2021
Next Event - 2nd Reading (Commons)
Friday 10th December 2021

Colum Eastwood has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


115 Written Questions in the current parliament

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department
1 Other Department Questions
17th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he plans to take to ensure that the contaminated blood inquiry takes evidence at a session in Northern Ireland.

The Infected Blood Inquiry is a statutory inquiry, independent of Government, and the procedure and conduct of the Inquiry are a matter for the Chair, Sir Brian Langstaff.

Penny Mordaunt
Paymaster General
30th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what discussion he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the rules on state aid that will apply to Northern Ireland after the end of the transition period in the event that the UK does not follow EU state aid rules.

In line with the practice of successive administrations, details of internal discussions are not normally disclosed.

Penny Mordaunt
Paymaster General
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department's Biomass Supply Feedstock Innovation Programme applies to farmers and processors throughout the UK.

Our programme targets biomass feedstock innovations that will increase the production of sustainable domestic biomass. We will have £4 million of funding available for our feasibility stage and anticipate launching in March 2021. This will support suppliers from right across the UK, including Northern Ireland, to develop project proposals that will deliver innovations in biomass production.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
4th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the ability of businesses to make the first repayments of the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme due in April 2021.

Many businesses have already begun paying off their Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) facility. While the Government covers the interest due on CBILS loans for the first twelve months of the loan, repayments of capital are required during this period unless the lender chooses to grant additional forbearance measures.

CBILS lenders are able extend the repayment period for CBILS facilities where this is needed, to a maximum of 10 years. CBILS term extensions are offered at the discretion of lenders, and for forbearance purposes only.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the number of businesses that will be unable to make their first repayment of the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme due in April 2021.

Many businesses have already begun paying off their Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) facility. While the Government covers the interest due on CBILS loans for the first twelve months of the loan, repayments of capital are required during this period unless the lender chooses to grant additional forbearance measures.

CBILS lenders are able extend the repayment period for CBILS facilities where this is needed, to a maximum of 10 years. CBILS term extensions are offered at the discretion of lenders, and for forbearance purposes only.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many loans have been made under Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme to businesses in (a) Foyle constituency and (b) Northern Ireland; and what value of those loans was.

A breakdown on the number of loans provided through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme as of 10 January 2021 is in the table below.

Region

Number of Loans Offered

Value of Loans offered (£)

Foyle

64

21,789,006

Northern Ireland

1,501

496,806,683

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 14 January 2021 to Question 136096, what financial support the Government plans to provide to importers that will become responsible persons for the purpose of cosmetic imports in the event they are subject to associated additional costs.

Under the terms of the Protocol, the EU’s Cosmetics Regulations apply in Northern Ireland and set out the requirements that must be met before cosmetic products are placed on the market in Northern Ireland and the EU. The Office for Product Safety and Standards has provided detailed guidance for cosmetics businesses on Gov.uk that sets out the obligations under the relevant cosmetic legislation that applies in Great Britain and in Northern Ireland.

In addition, the UK has put in place arrangements for Northern Ireland businesses to have unfettered access to the rest of the UK market, and this means that the same safe cosmetic products that can be sold in Northern Ireland can also be sold in Great Britain regardless of future changes to the rules in GB. It is essential that a Responsible Person within the UK is identified for all cosmetic products to maintain consumer protection and confidence.

We recognise that some businesses may incur some additional costs and Government has worked closely with the business community to reduce any additional costs by making the notifications process by Responsible Persons for the market in Great Britain as simple as possible, allowing an additional 90 days to notify a product onto the UK database if it had been previously notified, and allowing for an additional two years from 1 January 2021 for businesses to update labelling on cosmetic products to reflect the new Responsible Person.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether covid-19 grants have been allocated to political parties and organisations registered in the UK.

The Government has put forward a package of support for business in recognition of the disruption caused by Covid-19. In England, this included the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF), the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants Fund (RHLGF) and the Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund (LADGF). The Government published clear guidance on the three grant schemes, and local authorities were responsible for delivering grants to businesses what were in scope: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-business-support-grant-funding.

We do not hold grant payment data from local authorities broken down by sector or type of organisation.

On 3 November, the Government published guidance for English local authorities on additional grant funding to support businesses during the November to December national restrictions and periods of local restrictions: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/local-restrictions-support-grants-lrsg-and-additional-restrictions-grant-arg-guidance-for-local-authorities. Each of the devolved nations has developed their own schemes to support businesses and the Government has provided further funding to ensure they can continue to plan for Covid-19 response in the months ahead. Enquiries relating to grant schemes in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland should be directed to the relevant administration.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what additional support the Government plans to provide to (a) staff and (b) suppliers of Debenhams following its closure during the covid-19 outbreak.

We recognise that this must be a worrying time for Debenhams’ employees, their families and their suppliers.

Government is doing everything we can to support Debenhams’ employees and suppliers during the Covid-19 outbreak. UK wide schemes include a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme where small and large employers will be eligible to apply for a government grant of 80% of workers’ salaries up to £2,500 a month, a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme to support SMEs with a turnover of up to £45 million access vital financial support, a Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme providing a Government guarantee of 80% to enable banks to make loans of up to £25 million to firms with an annual turnover of between £45 million and £500 million and a new Covid-19 Corporate Financing Facility where the Bank of England will buy short term debt from larger companies.

Certain support such as Business Grants and the Business Rates Holiday is devolved in Northern Ireland. The devolved administrations will receive at least £3.5bn as a result of the support for businesses in England so they can provide support in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
5th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans he has to allocate additional funding to the Northern Ireland Executive for the support for staff affected by the collapse of Flybe.

The Government appreciates the impact this insolvency will have on Flybe passengers and employees. Our immediate priorities are to ensure passengers are kept informed of alternative travel options, and that employees who have lost their jobs are assisted in accessing support and advice. We know this will be a worrying time for Flybe staff; our Jobcentre Plus Rapid Response Service will help anyone whose job may be at risk.

The powers to provide financial support in this situation are devolved in Northern Ireland, and it is therefore within the responsibility of the Executive.

The UK Government will continue to closely monitor the situation, working with the Northern Ireland Executive and local partners.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to support the Northern Ireland Executive in reaching its net zero carbon emissions targets.

Ministers and officials in the Department engage regularly with counterparts in the Northern Ireland Executive on a wide range of issues relating to climate change and emissions reduction. We are committed to collaborative engagement in support of the UK’s net zero target and interim carbon budgets, including through regular Energy and Climate Change Ministerial Quad meetings.

In addition, the independent Committee on Climate Change published a report in February 2019 advising on how Northern Ireland can reduce its greenhouse gas emissions in order to meet UK-wide emissions reduction targets between now and 2030 ('Reducing emissions in Northern Ireland').

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
3rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that Northern Ireland has security of energy supply.

Energy policy in Northern Ireland is largely a devolved matter under the responsibility for the Northern Ireland Executive.

In relation to electricity, the Single Electricity Market (SEM) is an example of North-South cooperation that has benefited consumers and the economies of Northern Ireland and Ireland and supports the stability of energy supply on the island of Ireland. The Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol to the Withdrawal Agreement provides the basis for the SEM to continue after January 2021. Within the SEM, the Capacity Remuneration Mechanism helps ensure that generation capacity is sufficient to meet demand. The Moyle Interconnector, linking electricity markets in Northern Ireland and Great Britain, also strengthens Northern Ireland’s security of supply, and the proposed North-South Interconnector between Ireland and Northern Ireland will further enhance this.

In relation to gas, the UK gas market is one of the world’s most developed and provides security from highly diverse and flexible sources of gas supply. Over the past 10 years, analysis undertaken by the UK Government and others has delivered a consistent message: the gas system is secure in the face of all but the most extreme and unlikely shocks.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
4th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what estimate his Department has made of the number of over 75s in the Foyle constituency who will be required to pay for TV licences.

The government is deeply disappointed with the BBC’s decision to restrict the over 75 licence fee concession to only those in receipt of pension credit. We recognise the value of free TV licences for over-75s and believe they should be funded by the BBC.

However, the Digital Economy Act 2017 provides that the future of the concession is the responsibility of the BBC, not of the government. The BBC must look urgently at how it can use its substantial licence fee income to support older people and deliver for UK audiences of all ages.

The BBC has estimated that around 3.7 million households will now be expected to pay for their TV licence as a result of its decision. The BBC has not published information on the breakdown by constituency of those affected by its decision.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking with the Minister for the Cabinet Office on ensuring that Northern Ireland can continue to participate in the Erasmus+ programme after the end of the transition period.

The UK will continue to participate fully in the current (2014-2020) Erasmus+ programme under the Withdrawal Agreement negotiated with the European Union (EU). This means that the projects successfully bid for during the current programmes will continue to receive EU funding for the full duration of the project. This includes projects where funding runs beyond 2020 and the end of the transition period.

With regards to the next Erasmus+ programme (2021-27), the government remains open to considering participation in elements of the next Erasmus+ programme, provided that the terms are in the UK’s interests. Future participation is subject to our ongoing negotiations with the EU.

Ministers regularly meet to discuss the ongoing negotiations, including the UK’s consideration of programmes participation. While international relations remain a reserved matter, the UK government is committed to working closely with the devolved administrations throughout negotiations with the EU to ensure a future relationship that works in the interests of the whole of the UK.

In parallel, the government is continuing to develop a domestic alternative to Erasmus+, to ensure we are prepared for every eventuality. We are working closely with other government departments and the devolved administrations as we work towards a UK-wide domestic alternative scheme.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with (a) the Northern Ireland Executive and (b) other devolved institutions in Northern Ireland on creating a co-ordinated policy to provide assistance to students financially affected by continuing obligations to pay rent on student accommodation during the covid-19 outbreak.

As my right hon. Friends, the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer have both made clear, the government will do whatever it takes to support people affected by COVID-19.

Housing and student maintenance loans are devolved matters, as is higher education. However, the department has been working closely with colleagues in Northern Ireland to discuss a range of higher education areas affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

English-domiciled students anywhere in the UK are continuing to receive scheduled payments of loans towards their living costs for the remainder of the current, 2019/20, academic year. Many higher education providers will have hardship funds to support students in times of need, including emergencies.

We have worked closely with the Office for Students to enable providers in England to draw upon existing funding to increase hardship funds and support disadvantaged students impacted by COVID-19. As a result, providers will be able to use the funding, worth around £23 million per month for April and May, towards student hardship funds.

Students with a part-time employment contract should speak to their employer about the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/financial-support-for-businesses-during-coronavirus-covid-19), which has been set up to help pay staff wages and keep people in employment.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with counterparts in the devolved Administrations on the refunding of tuition fees paid by students who have had their tuition interrupted as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Education is devolved and it will be for each administration to determine the actions they wish to take.

We are working closely with sector representative bodies in England to understand the impact of COVID-19 and the immediate financial implications for students and providers, and we are working with universities to make sure all reasonable efforts are being made to enable students to continue their studies to the best of their abilities.

The government has made it clear that if universities are unable to deliver adequate online teaching then it would be unacceptable for students to be charged for any additional terms of study, which would effectively mean that they were being charged twice. We only expect full tuition fees to be charged if online courses are of good quality, fit for purpose and help students progress towards their qualification. If universities want to charge full fees, they will have to ensure that the quality is there.

Whether or not an individual student is entitled to a refund of their fees will depend on specific contractual arrangements between the student and their university. Students ordinarily should not expect any fee refund if they are receiving adequate online learning and support.

In the first instance, students should speak to their university. We expect student complaints and appeals processes to be operated flexibly, accessibly and sympathetically by institutions to resolve any concerns. Students who are not satisfied with their institution’s final response can ask the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education to consider their complaint if their institution is based in England or Wales.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what support his Department is providing to university students tied into rental agreements during the covid-19 outbreak.

As my right hon. Friends the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer have both made clear, the government will do whatever it takes to support people affected by Covid-19.

Students will continue to receive scheduled payments of loans towards their living costs for the remainder of the 2019/20 academic year.

While it is for universities and private accommodation providers to make their own decisions about charging rents to absent students, we would encourage them to consider the fairness of doing so and to clearly communicate their policies to students. It is also important to stress that accommodation providers should not have instructed any student to leave. If any accommodation provider did formally instruct a student to leave the property then it would be unacceptable to continue to charge student rents.

Students who are tenants with individual private landlords should discuss the possibility of an early release from their lease. As tenants, students are entitled to support such as repayable rent reductions or postponements and assurances that eviction proceedings cannot begin against them for 3 months if they are impacted by Covid-19. However, students renting under licence (which is the case in most halls of residence) are ineligible for this support.

Students with a part-time employment contract should speak to their employer about the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme - https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/financial-support-for-businesses-during-coronavirus-covid-19 - which has been set up to help pay staff wages and keep people in employment.

We have also asked that higher education providers pay particular attention to the additional financial hardships that are being faced by student staff who have been reliant on income from campus-based jobs at this time.

If a student thinks that their accommodation provider is treating them unfairly, they can raise a complaint under the accommodation codes of practice as long as their provider is a code member. The codes can be found at: https://www.thesac.org.uk/; https://www.unipol.org.uk/the-code/how-to-complain and: https://www.rla.org.uk/about/nrla-code-of-practice.shtml.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with the Northern Ireland Executive on ensuring that students tied into private rental agreements are supported during the covid-19 outbreak.

As my right hon. Friends the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer have both made clear, the government will do whatever it takes to support people affected by COVID-19.

Housing and student maintenance loans are devolved matters, as is higher education. However, the department has been working closely with colleagues in Northern Ireland to discuss a range of higher education areas affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

The government encourages universities and private hall providers to be fair in their decisions about rent charges for this period.

Students who are tenants with individual private landlords should discuss the possibility of an early release from their lease.

If a student thinks that their accommodation provider is treating them unfairly, they can raise a complaint under the UK accommodation codes of practice as long as their provider is a code member. The codes can be found at: https://www.thesac.org.uk/ and https://www.unipol.org.uk/the-code/how-to-complain. The code of practice for the Landlords Association for Northern Ireland is at: https://www.lani.org.uk/about/code-of-practice/.

Students with a part-time employment contract should speak to their employer about the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/financial-support-for-businesses-during-coronavirus-covid-19) which has been set up to help pay staff wages and keep people in employment.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent progress he has made on discussions with the European Union to ensure that pets can travel between Northern Ireland and Great Britain without additional impediment following the UK's exit from the European Union.

The UK has been formally ‘listed’ as a ‘Part 2’ third country for the purposes of the EU pet travel regulations, which means that new rules apply to pet movements from Great Britain to the EU and also – under the Northern Ireland Protocol – to the non-commercial movements of pets into Northern Ireland. The health and documentary requirements for such pet travel are set out under the EU Pet Travel Regulations.

We are continuing to press the European Commission on securing Part 1 listed status and in regaining recognition of our freedom from the tapeworm Echinococcus multilocularis, as achieving these would alleviate some of these new requirements for pet owners and assistance dog users. We meet all the animal health requirements for this, and we have one of the most rigorous pet checking regimes in Europe to protect our biosecurity.

Additionally, the Government is engaging with the Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) to explore means to streamline pet travel between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, recognising the high standards of animal health that we share. Current guidance on pet travel to Northern Ireland is available on DAERA’s NIDirect website.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to Answer of 25 February to Question 156629, what steps he is taking to consult (a) non-governmental organisations from Northern Ireland and (b) other non-governmental organisations on the new Chemicals Strategy set out in Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan.

Following the end of the Transition Period and our departure from the EU, the Government, working with the Devolved Administrations, is developing an ambitious Chemicals Strategy which will set out our immediate priorities, and provide a framework for any actions we will need to take to achieve safer and more environmentally sustainable management of chemicals for present and future generations.


As we develop our Strategy, we are continuing to gather evidence and engage with a wide range of stakeholders, including environmental and human health NGOs from across the UK. We will set out next steps in due course.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether pest control services are classified as a key service in relation to the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government’s guidance for critical workers specifically relates to the continued offer for education provision for their children. The indicative list of critical sectors published in the guidance does not have wider implications, and does not confer special status on individuals included in the guidance pertaining to travel, business or any other services.

Pest control services come under the ‘Food and other necessary goods’ section of the government’s guidance here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision


In the first instance, employees should confirm with their employer if their role is critical and if they are able to work from home, to establish whether they meet the criteria for their children to attend school. We are asking individuals, employers and schools to make sensible judgments about the policy.

The Government's position remains that everyone who can work from home should do so. Where that is not possible, people should go into work where it is safe and they (or members of their household) are not symptomatic, following relevant PHE guidance. This applies to pest control services. The guidance for employers and businesses on coronavirus (COVID-19) can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/guidance-for-employers-and-businesses-on-coronavirus-covid-19.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with (a) the Northern Ireland Executive and (b) representatives of the agricultural industry in Northern Ireland on maintaining current levels of agricultural funding for Northern Ireland at the end of the transition period.

The Secretary of State has had recent discussions with the Northern Ireland Executive both bilaterally and via the Inter-Ministerial Group for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which brings together ministers from all parts of the UK to discuss matters of shared interest, including funding. Defra also regularly holds discussions with stakeholders from across the agricultural industry, including representatives from Northern Ireland.

The Government has pledged to guarantee the current annual budget in every year of this Parliament. HM Treasury is ultimately responsible for financial matters across UK Government and lead on discussions on all funding matters with finance ministers in the devolved administrations. Defra will of course continue to work closely with HM Treasury and the devolved administrations on these funding arrangements and to agree funding after 2020.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether her Department is advising businesses to register in the EU Single Market.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 28 January to Question UIN 143100.

Graham Stuart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
5th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what support he plans provide to Belfast City Airport to help ensure that vacant routes are filled by other airlines following the collapse of Flybe.

We are urgently working with industry to identify opportunities to re-establish key Flybe routes throughout the UK, and have kept in close contact with airlines and airports over the last few days to emphasise this. We are pleased to see that a number of airlines have already committed to operating many of these routes in the near future, including from Belfast City Airport.

13th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to assist customers of Post Office card accounts who will no longer be able to use those accounts for the receipt of benefits as of November 2021.

The Department is committed to supporting claimants to access their benefit and pension payments as we transform our payment exception services. Nobody will be left without a means to access to their benefits or pension.

The Department has put in place a dedicated team, the Financial Inclusion Customer Contact Centre. This team are able to support all Post Office Card Account customers to update their payment details to a standard account, answer questions about the payment change and to signpost customers to impartial financial advice available through the Money and Pensions Service where they need help to identify a suitable alternative account.

Customers who are unable to access a standard account will continue to receive their benefit and pension payments through an alternative payment exception service.

The Financial Inclusion Customer Contact Centre can be contacted on 0800 085 7133 Freephone.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, for what reason her Department has not increased the state pension to assist people through the covid-19 outbreak.

In April 2020, the Government increased the rates of the basic and new State Pensions by 3.9%, in line with average earnings growth. This was the highest increase since 2012. In cash terms, it took the full yearly amount of the basic State Pension to over £1,900 more than it had been in April 2010.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government introduced an Uprating Bill to ensure State Pension and Pension Credit could be increased from April 2021. The Secretary of State will very shortly be announcing the outcome of her annual uprating review which will set out planned increases for State Pension rates for 2021/22.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans the Government has to provide an uplift to the state pension beyond inflation, in line with the increase to universal credit introduced in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has no such plans.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress he is making on providing Global Health Insurance Cards to residents in Northern Ireland without the Union Flag on them.

The Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) provides necessary healthcare cover to United Kingdom residents when travelling in the European Union. It is important that the card can be easily identified as a UK document and can be recognised by healthcare providers internationally. The Union Flag is the official flag of the UK and therefore the appropriate branding for such documents.

The Government recognises the particular sensitivities around flags in Northern Ireland. As such, residents in Northern Ireland will be provided with an option to choose an alternative version of the GHIC which does not feature a Union Flag background. For security reasons all versions of GHIC have the same anti-fraud hologram which does feature the Union Flag. Residents of Northern Ireland can apply for the alternative GHIC design from 30 June 2021 at the following link:

NHS.UK/GHIC

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to Answer of 22 February to Question 156628, what role can devolved institutions play in the Centre for Radiation, Chemical and Environmental Hazards group, part of Public Health England.

The Department and Public Health England (PHE) regularly engage with other Government departments. The devolved administrations are represented on the Department’s Expert Committees which are supported by PHE’s Centre for Radiation, Chemical and Environmental Hazards. This includes the Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment, the Administration of Radioactive Substances Advisory Committee and the Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will adopt a cross departmental and cross governmental approach to the management of harmful chemicals identified as risk factors in causing cancer and include the devolved Administrations in that approach.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and Public Health England regularly engage with other government departments, including the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the devolved administrations, on the management of harmful chemicals. A cross governmental approach to the management of harmful chemicals, which includes chemicals identified as risk factors for cancer, is adopted to protect public health and the environment.

The Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan commits to a new strategy to tackle chemicals of national concern. Following EU exit, the Government is developing an ambitious Chemicals Framework which will set out immediate priorities, alongside any actions needed to take to achieve safer and more environmentally sustainable management of chemicals for present and future generations. Defra hold the policy lead for chemicals. DHSC will continue to liaise with on the development of a Chemicals Framework to ensure the safe use and management of chemicals in the UK. Government aims to publish the Framework in 2021/22.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if the Government will give the National Institute for Health Protection responsibility to monitor, research and propose restrictions on potentially harmful chemicals suspected as risk factors in causing cancer.

The Centre for Radiation, Chemical and Environmental Hazards (CRCE) in Public Health England supports the Government’s policy on chemicals by providing advice on harmful effects. ‘The future of public health: the National Institute for Health Protection and other public health functions’ published on 15 September 2020 confirmed that the responsibilities of the National Institute for Health Protection will include the functions of the CRCE.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of the covid-19 vaccines purchased by the NHS will be provided to Northern Ireland.

The United Kingdom Government has committed to purchasing COVID-19 vaccines on behalf of the UK. As health is a devolved matter, the Government is working closely with the Northern Ireland Executive to ensure successful deployment of a COVID-19 vaccine across the whole of the UK. This includes considerations of planning and key decisions which will need to be aligned across the devolved administrations.?The Government will distribute available COVID-19 vaccines on an equitable basis across the UK.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
27th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that the supply of medicines to Northern Ireland is not affected by the outbreak of covid-19.

The National Health Service and wider health systems throughout the United Kingdom are extremely well prepared for these types of outbreaks and follow tried and tested procedures of the highest standards to protect staff, patients and the public. The Department has stepped up its efforts to assess risks to the availability of medicines and medical products and put in place contingencies to help ensure uninterrupted supply to the entire UK, including Northern Ireland.

The steps being taken to protect UK supplies in response to the outbreak were set out in the Department’s press statement issued on 11 February 2020. This statement is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-to-monitor-impact-of-coronavirus-on-uk-medicine-supply

The Department has worked closely at Ministerial and official level with our partners in the devolved administrations since the beginning of the outbreak to formulate an effective response. Alongside this, Professor Chris Whitty, the Chief Medical Officer, is working with his counterparts in the devolved administrations to ensure the response is effective across the whole UK.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
27th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to allocate additional support to the Northern Ireland Executive in the event of an outbreak of covid-19 outbreak in Northern Ireland.

The Department is working closely with the Northern Ireland Executive across several areas, including supply chains and preparations for the National Health Service. We hold regular discussions with the devolved administrations, including between the Chief Medical Officers. The Department continues to develop plans in case the virus spreads further including in Northern Ireland, which have been published in our Action Plan.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has had recent discussions with his counterpart in the Northern Ireland Executive on the provision of medicinal cannabis in Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement.

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has not had any recent discussions with the Northern Ireland Executive on the provision of medicinal cannabis in Northern Ireland.

Policy on the availability of medicines, including medicinal cannabis, funded by the Health and Social Care Board in Northern Ireland is a devolved matter for the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to increase the availability of medical cannabis through the NHS in Northern Ireland.

Policy on the availability of medicines, including medicinal cannabis, funded by the Health and Social Care Board in Northern Ireland is a devolved matter for the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for relations with the Irish Government of the boarding of the Irish fishing vessel the Northern Celt by Marine Scotland.

The Scottish Government have confirmed that a Marine Scotland patrol vessel carried out a routine inspection on 4 January 2021 of an Irish fishing vessel within 12 nautical miles of Rockall. Fisheries management is a devolved matter for the Scottish Government.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for UK-Ireland relations of the boarding of the Irish fishing vessel the Northern Celt by a UK vessel.

The Scottish Government have confirmed that a Marine Scotland patrol vessel carried out a routine inspection on 4 January 2021 of an Irish fishing vessel within 12 nautical miles of Rockall. Fisheries management is a devolved matter for the Scottish Government.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with his Israeli counterparts on reports of the recent demolition of a Palestinian drive-through covid-19 testing centre in the City of Hebron, south of the occupied West Bank.

We are concerned by the reports of a recent demolition of a covid-19 testing centre in Hebron. We have not to date made representations on this particular case but have repeatedly made clear to the Israeli authorities our view that demolitions, in all but the most exceptional of circumstances, are contrary to International Humanitarian Law.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions he has had with his Israeli counterpart since the formation of the new Israeli Government on the illegal occupation of the West Bank and the proposed annexation of territory.

We made clear our concerns about reports that the new Israeli Government coalition has reached an agreement, which may pave the way for annexation of parts of the West Bank, at the UN Security Council remote meeting on the Middle East Peace Process on 20 May. The Foreign Secretary reiterated this message during a call with Israeli Alternate Prime Minister Gantz on 20 May. The UK position is clear: any unilateral moves towards annexation of parts of the West Bank by Israel would be damaging to efforts to restart peace negotiations and contrary to international law. We will continue to press Israel and the Palestinians strongly on the need to refrain from taking actions which make peace more difficult.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
4th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assistance the UK Government is providing to the Greek Government in moving refugees from the Greek Islands to a place of safety.

The British Government remains committed to supporting the Greek Government's efforts to manage migration effectively. Current UK support includes provision of both interpreters in the migrant camps and search and rescue operations in the Aegean.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
4th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions he has had with his counterpart in Greece on (a) that Government's methods of monitoring and patrolling its borders and (b) the effect of those methods on the humanitarian programme to assist refugees.

We are concerned by the situation on the Greek border and UK officials remain in close contact with the Greek Government. The British Government remains committed to supporting Greek efforts to manage migration effectively. We are working both bilaterally and with our international partners to this end.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how much revenue has been generated by the Soft Drinks Industry Levy in the last three years; and how much of that revenue has been provided to Northern Ireland through Barnett consequentials.

Since its introduction in April 2018, the provisional total for revenue raised from the Soft Drinks Industry Levy up to and including March 2021 is £878 million. This consists of the following amounts raised per financial year:

2018-19: £240 million
2019-20: £337 million
2020-21 (provisional): £301 million

Funding for the devolved administrations through the Barnett formula is based on UK Government spending rather than revenues. A breakdown of the Northern Ireland Executive’s funding, including Barnett consequentials, can be found in the Block Grant Transparency publication.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
13th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what progress has been made in establishing a freeport in Northern Ireland; and what engagement has been carried out with Foyle Port to identify Derry City and the North West as a site for a freeport.

At Budget, the Chancellor announced 8 Freeports from 8 regions of England, as selected by the Secretary of State for the Ministry for Housing, Communities & Local Government – this followed the fair, open and transparent assessment process outlined in the Bidding Prospectus.

We want to ensure that the whole of the UK can benefit, not just England. We have been in discussions with the Northern Ireland Executive to establish at least one Freeport in Northern Ireland as soon as possible.

Steve Barclay
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether eligibility for the Bounce Back Loan Scheme is dependent on an applicant holding a bank account with a bank that is accredited under that scheme.

The Government launched the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) on 4 May 2020 to ensure that the smallest businesses could access loans from £2,000 up to £50,000, capped at 25% of turnover in a matter of just days. As of 21 March, over 1.5 million UK businesses have received Bounce Back Loans worth over £46 billion. Please note the scheme has now closed to new applications.

Whilst the scheme was open, there was no requirement under the scheme rules for borrowers to hold a bank account with an accredited lender to be eligible for a facility. However, decisions on what products were offered to individual businesses were fully delegated to lenders.

Under the scheme rules applicants were required to make a number of declarations to self-certify their eligibility, for example, that they will only use funds solely for the economic benefit of their business. Accredited lenders also carried out anti-fraud, know-your-customer and anti-money laundering checks as part of the application process.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions he has had with banks in Northern Ireland on the rollout of 95 per cent loan to value mortgages announced in Budget 2021.

First time buyers and homemovers will benefit from a new mortgage guarantee scheme, which will increase the availability of 95% loan to value (LTV) mortgage products across the UK, helping borrowers with small deposits into home ownership.

The scheme is open to any regulated residential mortgage lender in the UK, including lenders based in Northern Ireland. The Government is open to discussions with any lender interested in joining the scheme.

The 2013 Help to Buy: Mortgage guarantee scheme supported 2,660 mortgage completions in Northern Ireland, with the country’s share of mortgage completions under the scheme being higher than its share of overall UK mortgage lending during the same period.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions his Department has had with local authorities in Northern Ireland on his proposed £4.8 billion levelling up fund.

HM Treasury is committed to levelling up the UK and is working closely with the Northern Ireland Office to ensure the Levelling Up Fund benefits all parts of the UK, including Northern Ireland. The Levelling Up Fund will allow UKG to invest directly in communities and level up across the UK. The Levelling Up Fund will be open to all local areas across the UK.


UKG will work directly with local areas across the UK to take a holistic approach to their needs. This will extend the benefits of previous England-only local growth programmes, which the devolved administrations have not replicated in SW&NI (such as the Towns Fund), to all parts of the UK.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when he plans to announce details of how MPs can apply for up to £20 million under his proposed levelling up plan.

The £4 billion Levelling Up Fund announced at the Spending Review is being extended to directly support communities in all regions and nations of the UK. The £4 billion Fund announced at the Spending Review will now be made £4.8 billion to operate UK-wide. The Fund will invest at least £800m in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The Fund will be allocated competitively and be open to all local areas across the UK to boost growth and spread opportunity. Further details on how the Fund will operate will be published in the prospectus shortly – including who can bid, the types of projects eligible for funding, and the criteria for assessing proposals.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
4th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of deferring the first repayments of the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme due in April 2021 in light of the ongoing financial pressures on businesses as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) rules, capital repayments start immediately, unlike the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) where no repayments are due from the business during the first 12 months of the facility. As a result, many CBILS borrowers started repaying their facilities from the date they were taken out.

Following the Chancellor’s announcement at the Winter Economy Plan, to help businesses repay their CBILS facilities the Government have amended the CBILS rules to allow lenders to extend loan terms from six to a maximum of ten years where the borrower is in difficulty and where the lender judges that an extension would help their situation. I should be clear that CBILS term extensions will be offered at the discretion of lenders, unlike the “Pay As You Grow” options for Bounce Back loans. Such extensions would therefore be given in line with a lender’s forbearance policies.

Any business concerned about their ability to repay their finance should discuss this with their lender in the first instance. Given loans under CBILS are varied and resemble more traditional commercial lending, CBILS borrowers are more likely to benefit from tailored engagement with their lender if they have concerns about repayments. Lenders have an ongoing relationship with CBILS borrowers and will be best placed to provide support tailored to an individual businesses circumstance.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
4th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he plans to defer the first payments of the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, due in April 2021, in response to the financial pressures on businesses resulting from the covid-19 outbreak.

Under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) rules, capital repayments start immediately, unlike the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) where no repayments are due from the business during the first 12 months of the facility. As a result, many CBILS borrowers started repaying their facilities from the date they were taken out.

Following the Chancellor’s announcement at the Winter Economy Plan, to help businesses repay their CBILS facilities the Government have amended the CBILS rules to allow lenders to extend loan terms from six to a maximum of ten years where the borrower is in difficulty and where the lender judges that an extension would help their situation. I should be clear that CBILS term extensions will be offered at the discretion of lenders, unlike the “Pay As You Grow” options for Bounce Back loans. Such extensions would therefore be given in line with a lender’s forbearance policies.

Any business concerned about their ability to repay their finance should discuss this with their lender in the first instance. Given loans under CBILS are varied and resemble more traditional commercial lending, CBILS borrowers are more likely to benefit from tailored engagement with their lender if they have concerns about repayments. Lenders have an ongoing relationship with CBILS borrowers and will be best placed to provide support tailored to an individual businesses circumstance.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what plans his Department has to assist second hand car dealers in Northern Ireland who have been affected by changes to VAT margin after the end of the transition period.

The Northern Ireland Protocol governs the approach to VAT on goods, including the second-hand margin scheme, in Northern Ireland. As is the case for tax policy generally, the Government is keeping this under review.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what progress the UK-EU Joint Committee has made on the VAT Margin scheme for goods moving between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

The Northern Ireland Protocol frames the approach to VAT on goods, including the second-hand margin scheme, in Northern Ireland. As set out in the Command Paper on the Northern Ireland Protocol in December, the Government is aware of concerns raised about the changes to the second-hand margin scheme on certain specific sectors moving goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.

The Government is aiming to minimise disruption for Northern Ireland traders to the extent possible, including through discussions with the European Commission as appropriate.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what support the Government is providing to the Northern Ireland Executive to support high streets during the covid-19 outbreak.

Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, the UK Government has supported businesses in Northern Ireland.

To give the Northern Ireland Executive the upfront certainty to plan and deliver their Covid-19 response this year, the UK Government guaranteed they would receive at least £2.8 billion in additional resource funding on top of their Spring Budget 20 funding. Spending Review 2020 is also providing a further £540 million for the Northern Ireland Executive in relation to Covid-19 in 2021-22. It is for the Executive to decide how to use this funding.

This is on top of all the UK-wide schemes that the UK government has introduced this year to support all parts of the UK, including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) and Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).

Steve Barclay
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that the VAT paid on second hand vehicles entering Northern Ireland from Great Britain is solely for the profit made rather than on the sale price of the vehicle after the transition period.

The Northern Ireland Protocol frames the approach to VAT on goods, including the second-hand margin scheme, in Northern Ireland. As is the case for tax policy generally, the Government is keeping this under review.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what (a) financial support to furlough staff employed by and (b) other financial support for political parties has been allocated (i) intentionally and (ii) in error during the covid-19 outbreak.

HMRC are not able to provide information on political parties or any other specific organisations that may have received financial support from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS).

This is because of HMRC’s duty of confidentiality. HMRC cannot publish identifying information that relates to their functions, which includes the CJRS, unless there is an appropriate legal basis for publication. No such legal basis was in place for the CJRS prior to 12 November 2020 when the latest CJRS Direction was signed.

In line with the published direction, as part of HMRC’s commitment to transparency and to deter fraudulent claims, HMRC will publish information about employers who claim for periods starting on or after 1 December 2020.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how much funding has been returned to his Department from the Northern Ireland Executive in each of the last five financial years.

The Statement of Funding Policy sets out the amount that the Northern Ireland Executive is able to put through Budget Exchange, which allows the Executive to carry over underspends from one year to the next. A limit of 0.6% Resource DEL and 1.5% Capital DEL can be carried forward in any year. Any underspends in excess of these limits will be forfeited unless exceptionally agreed otherwise with HM Treasury.

The Northern Ireland Executive publishes information on underspends in end of year accounts and underspends for the past 5 years are published here: https://www.finance-ni.gov.uk/sites/default/files/publications/dfp/FOI%20DOF%202020-0091%20Response.pdf

Steve Barclay
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will provide additional financial support to the Northern Ireland Executive to assist local businesses affected by local lockdowns in Northern Ireland as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

On 24 July we made an unprecedented upfront guarantee to the Northern Ireland Executive. We guaranteed that they will receive at least £2.2bn in additional Resource DEL funding for this year. This gives the Northern Ireland Executive the certainty to plan and deliver their coronavirus response this year. The guaranteed funding helps to ensure people, businesses and public services in the Northern Ireland Executive are supported throughout the pandemic

On 9 October we uplifted this guarantee to £2.4bn, thereby providing an additional £200m to the Executive

This is in addition to the UK-wide measures that the people and businesses in Northern Ireland will benefit from, such as the Job Retention Scheme, Business Interruption Loan Scheme and the Bounce Back Loan Scheme.

Steve Barclay
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
4th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what (a) discussions and (b) meetings his Department has held with the Northern Ireland Executive in delivering a Free Port in the Foyle constituency.

We plan to introduce up to 10 Freeports across the UK. Freeports will unleash the potential of our ports, regenerating communities across the UK.

We are working with the Devolved Administrations, including the Northern Ireland Executive, to enable the creation of Freeports across all four nations of the UK.

Specific locations will be chosen in due course according to a fair, open and transparent allocation process.

Steve Barclay
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
16th Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment his Department has made of the ability of Northern Ireland's airports to offer duty free sales after the transition period.

The Government continues to work through the implications of the Northern Ireland Protocol, and the unique situation in Northern Ireland that it creates for VAT and excise.

The Government is committed to providing guidance on how the NI Protocol will work, including for duty-free goods, ahead of the end of the transition period.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
16th Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking with HMRC to provide financial assistance for increased utilities costs to those working from home during the covid-19 outbreak.

Employees who have been advised to work from home during the COVID-19 outbreak are eligible to claim tax relief for the additional cost of heating and lighting the room in which they work and for the cost of business telephone calls. They can claim relief on a fixed amount of £4 per week up to 5 April 2020 and £6 per week thereafter. This increase was announced at Budget. Alternatively, employees can claim relief on the actual amounts incurred, subject to them being able to provide evidence, such as phone bills.

In addition, the Government has introduced legislation so that, where an employer encourages their staff to purchase their own home office equipment and reimburses the expense, an exemption will ensure that employees now receive the full reimbursement free from tax and Class 1 National Insurance Contributions (NICs). This is a temporary exemption which applies from 16 March 2020 until 5 April 2021. Relevant guidance can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-which-expenses-are-taxable-if-your-employee-works-from-home-due-to-coronavirus-covid-19.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
13th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what additional financial support the Government plans to provide to the devolved Administrations to ensure that people on universal credit are supported when facing increasing food costs during the covid-19 pandemic.

The UK Government’s response to Covid-19 has been UK-wide, and that is why the UK Government has so far announced almost £7 billion of funding to the devolved administrations to support people, business and public services in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland This means £3.5 billion for the Scottish Government, £2.1 billion for the Welsh Government and £1.2 billion for the Northern Ireland Executive. This is in addition to the package of temporary welfare measures we have announced to support those on low incomes, including a £20 per week increase to the Universal Credit standard allowance and Working Tax Credit basic element.

Steve Barclay
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
5th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will lower the minimum lending criteria under the Bounce Back Loan Scheme from £10 million per lender in order to ensure credit unions are able to provide loans.

The Government has set out an unprecedented package of support for all businesses affected by this crisis, including the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS).

There are currently 14 lenders offering loans under BBLS. More information on these partners can be found on the British Business Bank’s (BBB’s) website: https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-schemes/bounce-back-loans/current-accredited-lenders-and-partners/.

There are currently over 60 lenders offering finance under CBILS, with 22 new lenders having been accredited since the scheme launched. The list of accredited CBILS lenders can be found on the British Business Bank’s website: https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme-cbils-2/current-accredited-lenders-and-partners/.

Any lender that wishes to become accredited under BBLS or CBILS should contact the BBB, who administer the scheme.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will take steps to enable all care providers to register as zero-rated for VAT.

Many care services provided by charities, public bodies and regulated private welfare institutions to elderly people are exempt from VAT, meaning no VAT is charged on the care service. Organisations offering such services are not required to charge VAT where they are regulated by the Care Quality Commission.

There are no plans to change the VAT treatment of care services at present.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what support the Government provides to self employed people that are unable to access the self employed income support scheme as a result of not having the relevant income tax and national insurance contributions.

The Government has designed measures that can be operationalised quickly and effectively under the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS). It continues to work with stakeholders to make sure funding reaches those who need it most, keeping all policies under review. Some 95% of people who receive the majority of their income from self-employment could benefit from the SEISS and anyone requiring support before the beginning of June should have access to other measures appropriate to their individual circumstances. For example, the self-employed can benefit from the Government’s relaxation of the earnings rules (known as the Minimum Income Floor) in Universal Credit. Individuals may also have access to a range of grants and loans depending on their circumstances, including the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, the Bounce Back Loans Scheme, and the deferral of tax payments.
Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether Credit Unions in Northern Ireland are able to be accredited lenders under the Bounce Back Loan scheme.

On 27 April, the Chancellor announced the Bounce Back Loans Scheme to ensure that the smallest businesses can access loans in a matter of days. The scheme launched on 4 May, offering loans from £2,000 up to £50,000, capped at 25% of firms’ turnover. The Government will provide lenders with a 100% guarantee on each loan, to give lenders the confidence they need to support the smallest businesses in the country. The Bounce Back Loans Scheme is open to businesses and lenders across the UK. Lenders in Northern Ireland interested in accreditation can enquire through the British Business Bank.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will provide financial support to front line NHS, care sector and emergency service workers during the covid-19 outbreak by (a) reducing income tax and (b) making a one-off payment.

The Government is proud of the extraordinary commitment shown by all health and care staff. The Government is working hard to ensure that staff feel supported and safe to continue the fight against COVID-19.

More than one million NHS staff continue to benefit from the Agenda for Change deal, under which the starting pay for a newly qualified nurse has risen by over 12% since 2017/18. The Government has also agreed a pay deal that provides junior doctors with a minimum 8.2% pay rise over four years. The Government will work to ensure that the NHS employment offer continues to attract, retain and reward staff, and this continues to be kept under review.

The Government is also taking action to reduce the tax that individuals pay and to support those with limited incomes. For example, it raised the personal allowance to £12,500 from April 2019. As a result, a typical basic rate taxpayer pays over £1,200 less this year than in 2010.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
19th Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions he has had with his counterparts in Northern Ireland on introducing a universal basic income scheme for the duration of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government is doing whatever it can to ensure that individuals, families and businesses are supported during the Covid-19 outbreak.

The Government’s priority has been to focus on measures that can be operationalised as quickly as possible in order to provide support to those who need it.

The Government has announced a wide-ranging package of measures to support individuals and families affected by Covid-19. These measures include:

  • making Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) available for individuals diagnosed with Covid-19 or those unable to work because they are self-isolating in line with Government guidance. This is in addition to the change announced by the Prime Minister that SSP will be payable from day one instead of day four for affected individuals.
  • introducing the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to help firms continue to keep people in employment. Businesses can put workers on temporary leave and the Government will pay cash grants to cover 80% of their wages up to a cap of £2,500 per month, providing they keep the worker employed.
  • ensuring that those who are not eligible for SSP can now more easily make a claim for Universal Credit or Contributory Employment and Support Allowance.
  • increasing the standard allowance in Universal Credit and the basic element of Working Tax Credit by up to £20 per week.
  • a further temporary relaxation of earnings rules for self-employed Universal Credit claimants
  • increasing the Local Housing Allowance for Universal Credit and Housing Benefit claimants to the 30th percentile of market rents.

While all welfare policy is devolved to Northern Ireland, the Northern Ireland Executive will be fully funded to deliver these measures and the Government expects them to replicate GB policy.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she plans to extend the period for EU Settlement Scheme applications for people resident in Northern Ireland; and whether the Government plans to include EU Settlement Scheme applications in a request for an extension to the grace period for the Northern Ireland Protocol as a result of the covid-19 pandemic.

There are no plans to extend the deadline for applications to the EU Settlement Scheme.

We have continued to receive and process thousands of applications a day to the scheme throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, with more than 5 million applications received and more than 4.6 million applications concluded by 31 January 2021.

Support for applicants who need it has remained available, including from the network of 72 organisations across the UK now grant-funded by the Home Office to help vulnerable people apply to the scheme.

In line with the Withdrawal Agreement, the Government has made clear, where a person has reasonable grounds for missing the 30 June 2021 deadline for applications to the EU Settlement Scheme by EU citizens and their family members resident in the UK by the end of the transition period, they will be given a further opportunity to apply.

Published guidance for EUSS applicants on the impact of COVID-19 is available at:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-eu-settlement-scheme-guidance-for-applicants.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will make it her policy to waive the cost for visa renewal for all (a) NHS, (b) social care sector and (c) key sector workers who are working in response to the covid-19 outbreak; and to extend that same waiver to the families of those workers.

The Government has announced we will extend the visas for a range of healthcare professionals working for the NHS and independent health and care providers, where their current visa expires before 1 October.

This offer also applies to their families. The 12-month extension is automatic and free of charge and those benefitting will not have to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to relax visa-based barriers to work for students who may need to remain longer in the UK to complete their studies as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Work related restrictions for Tier 4 students who are employed or volunteering in NHS Trusts as Doctors, Nurses and Paramedics have been relaxed. Students who are working in these roles for an NHS trust are currently able to work full-time.

Students who aren’t working for the NHS can also work full-time where their sponsoring institution has suspended all studies. If an institution is continuing to offer tuition via distance learning, students continue to be restricted in working hours in the normal way.

Where students are unable to complete their courses within the initial validity of their leave, they will be able to apply for further leave within the UK to complete their studies and will be exempt from demonstrating the academic progression requirement.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when she plans to respond to Question 25212 tabled on 4 March 2020 by the hon. Member for Foyle.

The response for UIN 25212 was given on the 6th April 2020.

James Brokenshire
Minister of State (Home Office)
4th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, for what reason her Department has reclassified more than 600 files relating to the 1974 Provisional IRA Guildford pub bombings resulting in some files remaining closed for an additional 84 to 100 years.

These files have not been reclassified. The files were held as a single collection with a closed status at The National Archives and a review date of 2019.

Following review of the files, it was decided that it was necessary to apply to extend the closure periods. The Freedom of Information Act exemptions engaged can be found by searching individual records at: http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C3043

James Brokenshire
Minister of State (Home Office)
24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the potential effect on the health and social care sector in Northern Ireland of the Government's proposed immigration reforms.

The Government has considered relevant views, evidence, and analysis. We are also working alongside employers across the whole of the UK to ensure the workforce has the right number of people to meet increasing demands and have recently launched a national recruitment campaign.

The Government published “The UK’s Points-Based System: Policy Statement” on 19 February.

To facilitate the migration of skilled workers to support the NHS, we will create a fast-track NHS visa for certain medical professionals with NHS job offers reducing their visa fees and providing support to come to the UK with their families.

Senior care workers who meet the criteria will be able to come to the UK through the points-based system. The Independent Migration Advisory Committee, the MAC has been clear immigration is not the solution to addressing staffing levels in the social care sector.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what discussions she has had with employers in the (a) public and (b) private sector throughout Northern Ireland's border regions on the movement of labour required to ensure (i) effective service delivery and (ii) economic growth.

We will deliver a future immigration system which works for the whole of the UK. The Government published “The UK’s Points-Based System: Policy Statement” on 19 February.

This was based on the report of the independent Migration Advisory Committee which considered a range of evidence about the UK Labour Market. Immigration is and will remain a reserved matter.

A new programme of engagement will begin this March to raise awareness of the new system, ensuring those affected by the changes are fully aware of what it means for them and understand how the system will operate. This will include engagement with stakeholders across Northern Ireland.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what discussions (a) she and (b) her Cabinet colleagues have had with the Northern Ireland Executive on the proposed changes to immigration policy.

We will deliver a future immigration system which works for the whole of the UK. The Government published “The UK’s Points-Based System: Policy Statement” on 19 February.

This was based on the report of the independent Migration Advisory Committee which considered a range of evidence about the UK Labour Market. Immigration is and will remain a reserved matter.

A new programme of engagement will begin this March to raise awareness of the new system, ensuring those affected by the changes are fully aware of what it means for them and understand how the system will operate. This will include engagement with stakeholders across Northern Ireland.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether the Government's proposed immigration changes were discussed with the heads of the devolved Administrations at the recent Joint Ministerial Committee meeting.

We will deliver a future immigration system which works for the whole of the UK. The Government published “The UK’s Points-Based System: Policy Statement” on 19 February.

This was based on the report of the independent Migration Advisory Committee which considered a range of evidence about the UK Labour Market. Immigration is and will remain a reserved matter.

A new programme of engagement will begin this March to raise awareness of the new system, ensuring those affected by the changes are fully aware of what it means for them and understand how the system will operate. This will include engagement with stakeholders across Northern Ireland.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what the estimated value is of each his Department's sites in Northern Ireland.

The market value of a Ministry of Defence site is normally only assessed when a site is due for disposal. Valuations are not released as to do so could prejudice commercial interests.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
17th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether (a) people from Northern Ireland and (b) other people with dual citizenship are barred from taking up positions within the UK with (a) BAE Systema Submarines and (b) the Atomic Weapons Establishment and (c) other defence contractors carrying out contracts for his Department.

The Ministry of Defence is obligated under the Government’s Security Policy Framework to ensure personnel with access to sensitive information are appropriately vetted. We pass on this obligation to our contractors through relevant contractual security conditions which restrict the transfer of SECRET and above SECRET information to employees who hold the right level of security clearance where this is required for the role.

British citizens who hold dual nationality are in principle eligible for employment by the Ministry of Defence and its defence contractors subject to achieving the appropriate level of security clearance. Due to the sensitive nature of the work concerned or International Treaty obligations there are circumstances in which dual nationals cannot be employed. This is likely to include posts within BAE Systems and AWE.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what support his Department is providing (a) directly and (b) to the Northern Ireland Executive to support Northern Ireland’s high streets.

This Government is fully committed to supporting the businesses and communities that make our high streets and town centres successful, particularly as the nation responds to the impacts of the Covid-19 outbreak. Now more than ever, it is vital that we continue to help our local economies by supporting town centres and high streets, adapt and evolve.

High streets and town centres policy is a devolved matter. Government officials have worked and will continue to work closely with their counterparts in the devolved administrations on the response to Covid-19 and in the future.

2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what support his Department has given to victims of clerical abuse to access justice.

Rape and sexual abuse are devastating crimes that can have a life-long impact, and the Government is committed to ensuring the victims of these crimes have access to high-quality support services to help them cope and, as far as possible, recover. These services are available to all victims whether or not they report to the police.

In 2020/21, the Ministry of Justice awarded £12m to 91 rape support centres across England and Wales to provide independent, specialist support to female and male victims of sexual violence, an increase of £4m from 2019/20. This includes £1.8m of ringfenced funding for victims of recent and non-recent child sexual abuse.

The government has also recently doubled the financial support it provides to national organisations that support victims and survivors of child sexual abuse to £2.4m.

The new funding is in addition to the £4.79m provided to Police and Crime Commissioners by the Ministry of Justice to support victims of child sexual abuse (part of the £69m provided this year for them to commission victim support service based on local need).

We are committed to ensuring that victims can continue to access such support during the pandemic, and recently announced a £76m package of funding for victims, with £10 million ringfenced to provide support for victims of sexual violence specifically. This has helped fund technology to enable charities to offer services remotely.

The Government also recently announced that an additional £4m per annum until 2022 will be invested in recruiting more Independent Sexual Violence Advisers (ISVAs) to help victims feel informed and supported at every stage of their recovery journey. ISVAs provide an important link between police, support services and criminal justice agencies.

We will continue to work with the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse to expose what went wrong in the past and to learn the lessons for the future.

Alex Chalk
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, how much his Department has spent on social media advertising in each month since January 2020; and on which platforms that money was money spent.

Between January 2020 and June 2021, the Northern Ireland Office spent a total of £18,626 on social media advertising on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. A monthly breakdown is detailed below.

2020

Expenditure

January

n/a

February

n/a

March

n/a

April

n/a

May

n/a

June

£5,500

July

n/a

August

n/a

September

n/a

October

n/a

November

£787

December

£6,106

Total

£12,393

2021

Expenditure

January

n/a

February

n/a

March

n/a

April

£340

May

£4,090

June

£1,803

Total

£6,233

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, how much his Department has spent on social media advertisements in each of the last five financial years; and on which platforms that money was spent.

The Northern Ireland Office only started paid-for activity on social media platforms in 2020. Since then a total of £18,626 has been spent on social media advertising on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, how much his Department spent on print media advertisements in each of the last five financial years; and on which media outlets that was spent.

Over the past five financial years, the Northern Ireland Office has not had any expenditure on print media advertisements.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what progress has been made on establishing a Culture and Community fund as committed to in Annex A of the New Decade New Approach Deal; and what the eligibility criteria will be to access that fund.

Since the New Decade, New Approach (NDNA) deal was reached in January 2020, the UK Government has provided £2 billion in funding to support the implementation of the agreement and has continued to make good progress on delivering these commitments. This includes a £1 billion Barnett-based investment guarantee from the UK Government, which will include significant new funding to turbocharge infrastructure investment. This guarantee will apply in all circumstances, and allow the Executive to plan new investment over a five-year period.

The UK Government and Northern Ireland Executive have recently agreed to the allocation of £40 million of unique circumstances funding as part of our commitment to the New Decade, New Approach Agreement. The UK Government remains committed to providing funding for the establishment of a Culture and Community Fund and we are currently reviewing options with regards to the delivery of the fund and the eligibility criteria.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what progress has been made on the establishment of a Northern Ireland hub in London as committed to in Annex A, Section 7 of the New Decade New Approach Deal.

The UK Government is committed to delivering on its commitments under the New Decade, New Approach Agreement as well as strengthening the ties across the UK.

We recognise the strong case for a Northern Ireland hub in London and I hope that the Executive might be able to support the proposal, which would strengthen Northern Ireland’s presence and impact in London and more widely. However, this proposal has been delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic and remains at the early scoping stage. The next step will be to explore the feasibility of the proposal and the Executive’s appetite for a base in London.

In the meantime, InvestNI has an existing hub in London that supports business development, networking and marketing opportunities for InvestNI clients across the UK. Part of the New Deal for Northern Ireland included £8m funding to InvestNI to expand their presence overseas and help increase exports and attract investment.

We are also committed to continuing to showcase the brilliance of Northern Ireland across the UK and to the world. The Centenary of Northern Ireland this year presents a wonderful opportunity to drive this forward, including through our hosting a NI Business Showcase event in London to boost exports and investment into Northern Ireland.

We will continue to work with partners in Northern Ireland and beyond to champion all that it, and the rest of the United Kingdom has to offer.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what steps he has taken to promote Northern Ireland as a global cyber security hub as committed to in Annex A, Section 6 of the New Decade New Approach Deal.

The UK Government is committed to meeting its New Decade, New Approach pledge to have 5,000 cyber professionals working in Northern Ireland by 2030.

Northern Ireland already benefits from an exceptionally strong cyber talent pool, including through the Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research at Queen’s University, and as being positioned as the number one international investment location for US cyber security development projects.

The UK cyber sector is worth over £8 billion, and we have invested £1.5 billion in the creation of a UK-wide National Cyber Force. We are continuing to work with key cyber stakeholders in Northern Ireland to identify opportunities to encourage more research and development, and have identified cybersecurity as a sector to support via the Belfast and Derry City and Growth Deals. Moreover, we are looking to accelerate skills programmes and build the talent pipeline going forward so that Northern Ireland can continue to lead the way in cyber security.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what progress he has made on (a) establishing a new Trade Advisory Board in Northern Ireland, (b) appointing Northern Ireland Trade Ambassadors and (c) developing a Trade Accelerator Plan as agreed to in Annex A, Section 4 of the New Decade New Approach deal.

The UK Government is committed to delivering on its commitments under the New Decade, New Approach deal and more widely promoting Northern Ireland as a great place to live, work, visit and do business.

On 8 March 2021, we announced the allocation of £8m from the New Deal for Northern Ireland funding, to enhance InvestNI plans to expand their presence into new locations, crucially opening up exciting opportunities for NI businesses to access a rapidly changing global market.

However, the commitments relating to the establishment of a new Trade Advisory Board, appointment of NI Trade Ambassadors and developing a Trade Accelerator Plan are important matters for the Executive to deliver.

The UK Government stands ready to support the Executive with these initiatives.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, if he will commission a review into the accuracy of information given by Government Departments in the aftermath of the 1971 bombing of McGurk's Bar in Northern Ireland.

The bombing of McGurk’s bar was a terrible tragedy. The investigation by the Police Ombudsman of Northern Ireland found that erroneous suggestions that republican paramilitaries were responsible were made in the immediate aftermath of the explosion, noting that "Inconsistent police briefings, some of which inferred that victims of the bombing were culpable in the atrocity, caused the bereaved families great distress, which has continued for many years."

The Police Ombudsman acknowledged that the prevailing situation in Northern Ireland at the time presented significant challenges to policing but concluded that the RUC investigation was not proportionate to the magnitude of the incident, which was one of the biggest losses of life during any incident of 'The Troubles' until the bombing of Omagh in 1998.

The Police Ombudsman also noted that "The tragedy for families, survivors and police is that the present process of seeking information, truth and justice is fragmented and inadequate." The Government remains committed to introducing legislation to address these issues and delivers for all those affected by the legacy of Northern Ireland’s past.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
20th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what assessment his Department has made of the effect on the Northern Ireland economy of the recent application of the 25 per cent steel tariff on steel movements from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.

The Government wrote to affected businesses to set out routes for bringing UK-origin and EU-origin steel into Northern Ireland tariff-free.

The Government also set out how relevant quotas can be accessed when businesses in Northern Ireland import steel from the rest of the world.

We will continue to engage on this issue with industry, the European Commission, and the Northern Ireland Executive.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
20th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what engagement (a) he and (b) Cabinet colleagues have had with representatives of the EU on seeking a resolution to the matter of the recent application of the 25 per cent steel tariff on steel movements between Great Britain to Northern Ireland.

The Government wrote to affected businesses to set out routes for bringing UK-origin and EU-origin steel into Northern Ireland tariff-free.

The Government also set out how relevant quotas can be accessed when businesses in Northern Ireland import steel from the rest of the world.

We will continue to engage on this issue with industry, the European Commission and the Northern Ireland Executive.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
20th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, if he will publish the engagements he has had with stakeholders on the 25 per cent tariff on steel moving between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

The Government wrote to affected businesses to set out routes for bringing UK-origin and EU-origin steel into Northern Ireland tariff-free.

The Government also set out how relevant quotas can be accessed when businesses in Northern Ireland import steel from the rest of the world.

We will continue to engage on this issue with industry, the European Commission, and the Northern Ireland Executive.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
20th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what plans his Department has to (a) seek removal of the 25 per cent tariff on steel moving between Great Britain and Northern Ireland and (b) mitigate the effects of that tariff through provision of financial support.

The Government wrote to affected businesses to set out routes for bringing UK-origin and EU-origin steel into Northern Ireland tariff-free.

The Government also set out how relevant quotas can be accessed when businesses in Northern Ireland import steel from the rest of the world.

We will continue to engage on this issue with industry, the European Commission, and the Northern Ireland Executive.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, whether retailers in Northern Ireland importing cosmetic goods from suppliers in Great Britain can be classified as responsible persons under the new import arrangements; and if he will provide financial assistance to offset any additional costs resulting from new or increased indemnities from acting as a responsible person.

Northern Ireland businesses that bring cosmetic products from Great Britain into Northern Ireland will automatically become the Responsible Person unless they designate this role in writing to another person established within the EEA or Northern Ireland who must in turn formally accept the role in writing. The Government has provided comprehensive guidance to businesses placing goods on the Northern Ireland market at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cosmetic-products-enforcement-regulations-2013

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what steps the Government has taken to ensure that there are no food shortages in Northern Ireland as a result of the UK-EU Trade and Co-operation Agreement.

The UK-EU Trade and Co-operation Agreement is based on friendly cooperation between sovereign equals, centred on free trade and inspired by our shared history and values. This is the first free trade agreement the EU has ever reached based on zero tariffs and zero quotas and it is fantastic news for families and businesses in every part of the UK, including Northern Ireland.

The deal we have reached on the Northern Ireland Protocol provides a sensible, phased solution under which trusted traders such as supermarkets and their suppliers will benefit from a three month grace period from official certification. We will continue to work closely with traders as they adapt to the new arrangements

From all accounts these grace periods are working well, and where issues do arise, the government has well-established ways of working with the food industry. This includes extensive and ongoing engagement to support industry in preparedness for, and response to, potential food supply chain disruptions.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, if he will publish his Department's correspondence with the Treasury on changes to the VAT margins scheme regarding VAT on second hand cars purchased in Great Britain and imported to Northern Ireland.

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and I regularly liaise with Her Majesty’s Treasury on a wide range of issues affecting Northern Ireland.

During an Urgent Question on 18 November, I committed to engaging with the Treasury on this very issue, however it would not be appropriate to disclose inter-departmental discussions at this time.

We are committed to implementing the Protocol in a flexible and proportionate way and to deliver unfettered access for Northern Ireland business to the whole UK market. Talks are ongoing as part of the Joint Committee process on the impact for certain industries at the end of the transition period, including the re-sale of second-hand cars.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what additional support his Department is providing to assist the Northern Ireland Executive in acquiring covid-19 vaccines.

The UK Government is working with several potential vaccine suppliers with the ambition to roll out an immunisation programme on a UK-wide basis as soon as regulatory approval is granted. We have secured early access to over 350 million vaccine doses through a portfolio of promising new vaccines to ensure we are in the best place, and we are taking every possible step to ensure we can move as quickly as possible to deploy a vaccine if and when one is found to work.

We have invested over £140m into manufacturing any successful vaccine and an enormous amount of planning and preparation has taken place across Government to be able to quickly roll out the vaccine, including ensuring we have adequate provision, transport, PPE and logistical expertise to do so.

Once any vaccine is approved, the Government will distribute these equitably amongst the four nations, for the Devolved Administrations to then administer roll out to the public.

The UK Government has been in constant communication with the NI Executive over the progress on the acquisition, and potential approval, of any vaccine to assist in planning and preparation for their roll out. The UK Government stands ready to assist the Devolved Administrations concerning a vaccine roll out.


Robin Walker
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
12th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what assessment his Department has made of the potential for Northern Ireland to be operating in a different time zone from the rest of the island of Ireland in the event that the EU goes ahead with plans not to continue daylight savings hours as proposed by the EU Parliament.

The setting of time zones is a devolved matter for the locally elected political institutions in Northern Ireland to consider.

The Withdrawal Agreement does not require Northern Ireland to align with the European Union approach to time zones.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what discussions he has had with Northern Ireland’s business community in areas of localised covid-19 lockdown on the provision of additional financial support to businesses and employees in those areas.

The UK Government remains committed to supporting businesses in Northern Ireland, and across the UK, as they continue to deal with the impact of Covid-19.

We continue to regularly engage with business representatives and businesses on a range of issues, including the response to Covid-19. We will continue to work closely with the Executive to support businesses, jobs and the economy in Northern Ireland.

The Government has provided some of the most generous support packages in the world to support the economy through the pandemic. This includes UK-wide measures such as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the Self-Employed Job Support Scheme and the Job Support Scheme. On 9 October, the Chancellor announced that the Job Support Scheme will be extended so that firms in areas affected by local restrictions will be able to pay staff up to two thirds of employee wages, to a maximum of £2,100 a month, should they legally be required to close. We will continue to support businesses in Northern Ireland and across the UK to build back better.

In addition to these measures, the Government has provided £2.4bn in additional funding to the Northern Ireland Executive as part of our response to Covid-19. This additional funding is being used by the Executive to help support businesses as they deal with the impact of this crisis.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
4th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what meetings he has held with human rights organisations based in Northern Ireland to discuss the UK's exit from the EU and the Northern Ireland protocol.

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and I, along with departmental officials continue to engage on the Protocol with stakeholders across Northern Ireland to ensure that it is implemented effectively. This includes engaging with human rights organisations on issues such as our commitment to ensure that no diminution of certain rights, safeguards or equality of opportunity protections results from the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union.

Northern Ireland Office officials are in frequent contact with relevant organisations, the Secretary of State spoke with the Chief Commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission on 3 March 2020, and a number of further engagements are planned in the coming weeks and months.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what steps he plans to take to support border areas in Northern Ireland after the end of the transition period.

The Protocol provides a practical solution to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland in a way that preserves the Belfast (“Good Friday”) Agreement and continues to protect the interests of people and businesses in Northern Ireland. The Government will continue to support East-West and North-South cooperation to protect communities and individuals, including in border areas.

We have already guaranteed that businesses will face no tariffs for movement of goods within the UK, will have unfettered access to the whole UK market for NI goods, and will benefit from the lower tariffs we deliver through our new Free Trade Agreements with third countries. In addition, the Government remains committed to a New Deal for Northern Ireland to help boost economic growth, competitiveness and to support infrastructure and connectivity North-South and East-West.

We have also committed to participation in the Peace Plus programme. The programme will support activities to promote peace and reconciliation and contribute to the cross-border economic and territorial development of the region.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that EU structural funding for Northern Ireland is replaced by other Government funding after the end of the transition period.

The UK Government is committed to strengthening the Union, levelling up every part of the UK and has committed to replacing EU Structural Funds with the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

The Government recognises the importance of reassuring local areas on the future of local growth funding and of providing clarity on the UKSPF. We remain committed to creating the UKSPF to succeed European structural funds and provide vital investment across the UK as we support the recovery, renewal and levelling up of local economies following Covid-19.

Now we have left the European Union, we have an opportunity to replace European structural funds with a UKSPF which binds together the whole of the United Kingdom, tackling inequality and deprivation in each of our four nations. The 2019 Conservative Manifesto committed to, at minimum, matching current levels of funding for each nation from EU structural funds.


Over the coming weeks, the Government will be assessing the impact of Covid-19 and how best to support economic recovery. We will need to work closely as one United Kingdom to understand the changing needs of local and regional economies and tailor our response to the impact of Covid-19. We have a real opportunity through the UKSPF to design a fund that is driven by domestic priorities. The Government will set out further plans for the fund at the Comprehensive Spending Review.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
16th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what recent discussions he has had with Northern Ireland’s First and Deputy First Minister on plans to legislate for same-sex religious marriage.

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland has not had any recent discussions with the First and deputy First Minister specifically on plans to legislate for same-sex religious marriage.

The Northern Ireland Executive is aware of the duty that the Government is under in section 8 of the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc.) Act 2019, which led to the making of The Marriage (Same-sex Couples) and Civil Partnership (Opposite-sex Couples) (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2019. These Regulations came into force on 13 January and legalised same-sex civil marriage and opposite-sex civil partnerships in Northern Ireland.

We have been clear that there were two remaining areas we are committed to delivering on - same-sex religious marriage and conversion entitlements - following publicly consulting on these two issues earlier this year. We will continue to work closely with the Northern Ireland Civil Service, following confirmation from the Minister for Finance, Conor Murphy MLA, that the working relationship with his officials should continue. We intend to make regulations on same-sex religious marriage as soon as possible before the end of 2020 to provide similar rights and protections to the law in other parts of the UK.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what support his Department is providing to (a) the Northern Ireland Executive and (b) journalists in Northern Ireland to ensure that they receive sufficient protection in response to threats made against them in the course of doing their job.

Journalists play a vital role in our society, as do the public representatives who have defended press freedoms. It is unacceptable that they should find themselves threatened for doing their job. The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland made this clear last month when he signed the public statement issued by the National Union of Journalists, calling for the freedom of the press to be respected and protected.

Plans for the National Committee and the National Action Plan for the Safety of Journalists are currently being developed by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, but have been necessarily delayed as the Government turns its attention to supporting newspapers through the current Covid-19 crisis. However, the Committee and the Action Plan remain priorities for the UK Government.

Her Majesty’s Government gives the fullest possible support to efforts to tackle the threat from the groups involved in terrorism and paramilitarism in Northern Ireland, supporting the Police Service of Northern Ireland with additional security funding and the Northern Ireland Executive’s programme to tackle paramilitary activity, criminality and organised crime.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland works tirelessly to prevent crime and harm to individuals, including journalists, protect the vulnerable and detect those who commit crime and bring them before the courts.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what assessment he has made of the effect of the Government’s lockdown measures on the Common Travel Area between the UK and Ireland.

The UK Government continues to abide by its obligations under the Common Travel Area (CTA) arrangements and we are clearly committed to working closely with the Northern Ireland Executive and the Irish Government on our response to the COVD-19 pandemic. In recognition of the importance of the CTA, as well as the unique position of Northern Ireland, the UK Government’s measures on restrictions applying in respect of new arrivals into the UK will not apply to CTA routes.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what recent discussions he has had with the Irish Government on a common approach to tackling the covid-19 outbreak.

The UK is committed to working with the Irish Government on our response to the COVID-19 pandemic and we are communicating at all levels to ensure a joined-up approach. There have been regular discussions between Ministers and officials from the UK and Irish governments and from the Northern Ireland Executive, including a regular Quad meeting, most recently on 19 May, jointly chaired by the Tánaiste and I.

Brandon Lewis
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
27th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what support the Government plans to provide to manufacturers in Northern Ireland whose supply chain is affected by a reduction in imports from China as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The UK Government is closely monitoring developments in relation to the potential impacts on the UK, including the Northern Ireland, economy.

The Government is advising businesses to build their resilience by reviewing their business continuity plans, developing an understanding on the potential impacts to their supply chains or other factors critical to their operations, and following the advice for employers available which is available on GOV.uk at: https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response

Brandon Lewis
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
26th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what assessment his Department has made of the possible effect on (a) consumers and (b) the price of goods in Northern Ireland as a result of (i) Governments Brexit deal and (ii) a potential border in the Irish Sea.

There will be no border down the Irish Sea. The Withdrawal Agreement means Northern Ireland and Great Britain remain part of one UK customs territory while Northern Ireland will continue to benefit from tariff free access to the UK Single Market.

The UK will ensure unfettered market access for goods moving from Northern Ireland to Great Britain and the Prime Minister has been clear that, beyond the limited changes introduced by the Protocol, there will be no changes to trade from Great Britain to Northern Ireland. The Government will be considering the best way to implement the Protocol in the best interests of the people of Northern Ireland and will be discussing this with the EU in the Joint Committee and Specialised Committee created under the Withdrawal Agreement.

Brandon Lewis
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what scoping exercises his Department has commissioned on the potential for Foyle port to become a free port.

The Government consultation on Freeports was launched on 10 February 2020 and runs for ten weeks.

The Government wants all the nations of the UK to be able to share in the benefits of Freeports. As such, the Government is committed to working with all the Devolved Administrations to develop a Freeport policy that works for Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, as well as England.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, whether the boarding of the Irish fishing vessel the Northern Celt by Marine Scotland was (a) necessary and (b) conducive to UK-Ireland relations.

The Scottish Government has confirmed that a Marine Scotland patrol vessel carried out a routine inspection on 4 January 2021 of an Irish fishing vessel within 12 nautical miles of Rockall. Fisheries management is a devolved matter for the Scottish Government.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland