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Written Question
Faith Schools
23 Jul 2021

Questioner: Crispin Blunt (CON - Reigate)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the number of pupils with no reasonable choice other than to attend a faith school due to lack of secular provision in their area.

Answered by Nick Gibb

The majority of parents are offered a place at a school of their choice. In 2021, 98% of parents received an offer from one of their top three choices of primary school, while 93.4% received offers from one of their top three choices of secondary school.

The Department has not made an estimate of the number of pupils with no reasonable choice other than to attend a faith school due to a lack of secular provision in their area, or an estimate of the number of pupils unable to access their nearest school because of religiously selective admissions.

Local authorities have a duty to provide sufficient school places in their area. Faith schools have played an important role in our education system for many years. Faith schools are popular with parents and are more likely than other schools to be rated by Ofsted as Good or Outstanding.

Faith schools are allowed to give priority to children of their faith where they are oversubscribed. Of those that do, some choose to allocate only a certain percentage of their places with reference to faith, while others do not have faith admissions criteria at all.


Written Question
Academies: Religion
23 Jul 2021

Questioner: Crispin Blunt (CON - Reigate)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he has taken to protect the secular ethos of (a) non-faith and (a) community-ethos academies entering into mixed-multi academy trusts.

Answered by Nick Gibb

Non-faith or community-ethos schools have different characteristics, particularly in relation to governance, compared to schools with a religious designation. Their secular character and ethos are protected regardless of which type of multi-academy trust they join.

The academy trust’s charitable object is to recognise and support a school’s individual ethos. This places an obligation on the trust and its board to ensure that a non-faith or community school’s character is safeguarded in a mixed multi-academy trust.

The supplemental funding agreement, a contract between my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, and academy trusts, has recently been updated to include clauses to protect the local governance arrangements of a non-faith or community school joining a mixed multi-academy trust.


Written Question
Faith Schools: Admissions
23 Jul 2021

Questioner: Crispin Blunt (CON - Reigate)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the number of pupils unable to access their nearest school because of religiously selective admissions.

Answered by Nick Gibb

The majority of parents are offered a place at a school of their choice. In 2021, 98% of parents received an offer from one of their top three choices of primary school, while 93.4% received offers from one of their top three choices of secondary school.

The Department has not made an estimate of the number of pupils with no reasonable choice other than to attend a faith school due to a lack of secular provision in their area, or an estimate of the number of pupils unable to access their nearest school because of religiously selective admissions.

Local authorities have a duty to provide sufficient school places in their area. Faith schools have played an important role in our education system for many years. Faith schools are popular with parents and are more likely than other schools to be rated by Ofsted as Good or Outstanding.

Faith schools are allowed to give priority to children of their faith where they are oversubscribed. Of those that do, some choose to allocate only a certain percentage of their places with reference to faith, while others do not have faith admissions criteria at all.


Written Question
LGBT People
19 Jul 2021

Questioner: Crispin Blunt (CON - Reigate)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 2 July 2021 to Question 21124 on LGBT People, if he will publish the details of the targeted international LGBT rights programmes funded by his Department.

Answered by Wendy Morton

The UK government is committed to the promotion and protection of the rights of LGBT+ people. Our overseas missions prioritise engagement with local human rights defenders and we have consistently committed funding to targeted international LGBT+ rights programmes. In 2020/21 the UK committed £5.47 million to targeted international LGBT+ rights programmes. For more information on some of our programmes, see the FCDO's 2020 Annual Human Rights Report: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/999607/Human_Rights_and_Democracy_the_2020_Foreign__Commonwealth___Development_Office_report.pdf


Written Question
Travel: Quarantine
13 Jul 2021

Questioner: Crispin Blunt (CON - Reigate)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he plans to make a decision on whether people who are double-vaccinated can be exempt from covid-19 quarantine measures.

Answered by Robert Courts

From 19 July, arrivals who have been fully vaccinated through the UK vaccination programme (plus 14 days) will not have to self-isolate or take a day 8 test when travelling to England from amber list countries. There are no changes to the green or red list, or for those arriving from countries on these lists.


Written Question
Travel: Coronavirus
13 Jul 2021

Questioner: Crispin Blunt (CON - Reigate)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what methodology his Department uses to allocate countries to the green, amber and red travel lists; and if he will publish that methodology.

Answered by Robert Courts

Decisions on Red, Amber or Green List assignment and associated border measures are taken by Ministers, who take into account the JBC risk assessments, alongside wider public health factors.

Key factors in the JBC risk assessment of each country include:

  • genomic surveillance capability
  • COVID-19 transmission risk
  • Variant of Concern transmission risk

A summary of the JBC methodology is published on gov.uk, alongside key data that supports Ministers' decisions.


Written Question
Drugs: Crime
12 Jul 2021

Questioner: Crispin Blunt (CON - Reigate)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many people have been subject to immediate custody for offences committed under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 since that legislation came into force, broken down by (a) year, (b) offence type including (i) production, supply and possession with intent to supply a controlled drug by Class A, B and C, (ii) unlawful importation by Class A, B, C and unknown class, (iii) possession of a controlled drug by Class A, B, C and unknown class and (iv) permitting premises to be used for unlawful purposes by Class A, B, C and unknown class.

Answered by Chris Philp

The Ministry of Justice has published information on immediate custodial sentences for specific offences under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, in England and Wales, up to December 2020, in the ‘Principal Offence Proceedings and Outcomes by Home Office Offence Code’ data tool, available here:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/987731/HO-code-tool-principal-offence-2020.xlsx

As the data tool above does not cover the full time series requested, please see the attached table with details of immediate custodial sentences given for offences under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 from 2005 to 2020. 2005 is the earliest year that the level of detail required is available within the Courts Proceedings Database.


Written Question
Nuclear Weapons: Testing
9 Jul 2021

Questioner: Crispin Blunt (CON - Reigate)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how much his Department has spent on legal fees in relation to British nuclear test litigation to date.

Answered by Leo Docherty

The net amount spent on legal costs in relation to the Nuclear Test Veterans Group Litigation known as AB and Ors v Ministry of Defence is £786,939.48. The legal action reached the Supreme Court in November 2011 on the issue of limitation. The Supreme Court found in favour of the MOD in March 2012 when the legal costs in the Group Litigation were £4,786,939.48.

In line with the Court's decision to award MOD 90% of its costs of the limitation issue in the High Court and 100% of its costs in the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court, MOD recovered £4,000,000 in legal costs from the Claimants' After The Event Insurers giving the net costs figure of £786,939.48.


Written Question
Cannabis: Medical Treatments
7 Jul 2021

Questioner: Crispin Blunt (CON - Reigate)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the evidential basis is for cannabis-based products for medical use to be placed alongside fentanyl and diamorphine in Schedule 2 of the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001; and if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of placing such products in lower schedule such as Schedule 4.1 alongside Sativex.

Answered by Kit Malthouse

In February 2019, the then Home Secretary commissioned the ACMD to conduct a longer-term review of Cannabis-Based Products for Medicinal use (CBPM). The ACMD published their report on 27 November 2020 on gov.uk. In it they recommended:

“that the scheduling of CBPMs under Schedule 2 of the MDR remains appropriate and that no further legislative amendments to the MDR regarding CBPMs are required at this point in time.”

Unlike Sativex, most CBPM do not have a marketing authorisation from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). As such, in the absence of the reassurance that a CBPM has gone through the safety, quality and efficacy process established by the MHRA, it is right that it is in Schedule 2 of the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001. However, should a cannabis-based medicine receive a marketing authorisation from the MHRA, the Government will commission the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) to reconsider the scheduling of the product under the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001. This was the case for Sativex following its marketing authorisation.


Written Question
Drugs: Smuggling
7 Jul 2021

Questioner: Crispin Blunt (CON - Reigate)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 26 May 2021 to Question 5143, what evidence demonstrates that the arrests made have included high-level actors in the trafficking of controlled drugs; and how many of those arrested or charged in relation to Operation VENETIC have been convicted.

Answered by Kit Malthouse

The NCA reports that data derived from Operation VENETIC has, to date, led to over 2,300 people being arrested, over 1000 charged and 162 individuals convicted of a range of serious offences. These include well publicised cases of individuals involved in drug trafficking, like Thomas Maher, described by the judge at his trial as “an extremely important cog in the wheel of a sophisticated network”. A large number of cases linked to Operation VENETIC are progressing through the criminal justice system and it would be inappropriate to comment further on these at this time. The NCA regularly publishes the outcomes of investigations via press notices on its website.


Written Question
Drugs: Misuse
6 Jul 2021

Questioner: Crispin Blunt (CON - Reigate)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 11 June 2020 to Question 11461 on Drugs: Misuse, for what reason the crimes referred to in that Answer that would be associated with a medically supervised drug consumption clinic do not apply to (a) needle and syringe programmes for injecting drug users and (b) other programmes and services that engage those users.

Answered by Kit Malthouse

Needle and syringe programmes and other programmes and services that engage drug users do not involve the organiser condoning and facilitating consumption of controlled drugs on the premises, nor do they create spaces where police enforcement of the law in relation to drug possession and supply is compromised.

Drug Consumption Rooms would not be lawful in the UK due to the offences which would be committed in the course of running such a facility.


Written Question
Drugs: Misuse
6 Jul 2021

Questioner: Crispin Blunt (CON - Reigate)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 11 June 2020 to Question 11461, whether her Department has received written legal opinion on the provisions in law that would be engaged by the operation of medically supervised Drug Consumption Clinics.

Answered by Kit Malthouse

Needle and syringe programmes and other programmes and services that engage drug users do not involve the organiser condoning and facilitating consumption of controlled drugs on the premises, nor do they create spaces where police enforcement of the law in relation to drug possession and supply is compromised.

Drug Consumption Rooms would not be lawful in the UK due to the offences which would be committed in the course of running such a facility.


Written Question
Drugs: Organised Crime
6 Jul 2021

Questioner: Crispin Blunt (CON - Reigate)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 16 June 2021 to Question 14126 and with reference to the findings of the Dame Carol Black review of drugs: phase one report, what assessment has been made of the effect of county line closures and drugs seized on (a) drug availability or rates of drug use, (b) potency, (c) price and (d) new trends including local recruitment of children and children being missing for longer periods in adaption to police activity and covid-19; what Government national leadership and oversight on the implementation of a public health approaches to youth violence has taken place; how the Department for Education is involved with that oversight; what assessment she has made of the ethical implications of state use of children to be used as a covert human intelligence source as detailed in The Covert Human Intelligence Sources Bill; and whether a Child Rights impact assessment has been undertaken in relation to that proposed policy.

Answered by Kit Malthouse

In May 2021, the National County Lines Coordination Centre published the latest County Lines strategic assessment. The assessment found that county lines continue to be at the forefront of drug supply nationally and have evolved in response to environmental changes.

The county lines business model remains heavily weighted towards the supply of heroin and crack cocaine. NCLCC’s latest assessment indicates that there has been a reduction in the total number of potentially active deal lines, with numbers reported to have fallen from between 800-1,100 in 2019/20 to 600 in 2020/21.

We continue to work with partners to address the underlying drivers of exploitation and ensure support and protection is in place for children exploited through county lines criminality. We have funded specialist support for victims of county lines exploitation to deliver one-to-one support to under 25s and their families in the three largest county lines exporting force areas

This Government is also delivering a range of initiatives to tackle youth violence including investing over £105.5 million in Violence Reduction Units from 2019 to 2022. The Home Office works closely with the Department for Education to tackle youth violence.

We will continue to use data on rates of drug use to monitor trends and inform the Government’s approach to addressing drugs and drug harms.

The Government acknowledges the strength of feeling on juvenile CHIS, however, we must recognise that some juveniles are involved in serious crimes, as perpetrators and victims. In some circumstances a young person may have unique access to information or intelligence that could play a vital part in preventing or detecting serious offences.

Young people are only authorised as CHIS in rare circumstances. Between January 2015 and December 2018, there were only 17 instances where law enforcement bodies deployed those under 18 years old as CHIS, and their participation in criminal conduct is rarer still.

The Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Act 2021 includes a commitment on the face of the legislation that young people will only be authorised to undertake criminal conduct in exceptional circumstances.


Written Question
Drugs: Misuse
5 Jul 2021

Questioner: Crispin Blunt (CON - Reigate)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what (a) recent progress the Prisons Minister has made on reporting on the implementation of recommendations in the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs report on Custody-Community Transitions, published on 12 June 2019, (b) the expected timescale is for receipt of that report and (c) Departmental bodies will receive that report once completed.

Answered by Alex Chalk

The government responded to the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs’ (ACMD) report on Custody to Community Transitions in October 2019. The MoJ is working closely with key departments across government to tackle the misuse of drugs. We are keen to align this work with any recommendations stemming from Part two of Dame Carol Black’s review, which is due for publication shortly. This forms part of cross departmental work on combatting drug misuse, including support for those moving from custody to the community. This includes many areas highlighted in the ACMD Custody to Community transitions report.

In January, the Department of Health and Social Care received £80m additional funding for drug treatment in 2021/22. The bulk of the funding (£55m circa) has been given to local authorities via a specific grant allocation to support delivery of services to reduce drug related deaths and target the offender cohort. This funding will be used to enhance drug treatment and the numbers of treatment places available, including for those leaving prison, to reduce drug-related crime. It will also tackle the rise in drug-related deaths via the provision of naloxone to prevent drug overdoses. The remainder will fund the treatment element of the ADDER Accelerator programme and an increase the number of inpatient detoxification placements available, for people with the most complex needs.


Written Question
Cannabis
5 Jul 2021

Questioner: Crispin Blunt (CON - Reigate)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 16 June 2021 to Question 14128, for what reasons cannabis continues to be controlled as a class B drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 when the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) recommended that cannabis be controlled as a class C drug (a) since it was asked to review that classification by David Blunkett following a recommendation by the Police Foundation in 2000 and (b) in its recent report on Cannabis classification and Public Health, published in 2008.

Answered by Kit Malthouse

The Government considers advice from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) before making any classification or scheduling decisions under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. ACMD advice is not binding and decisions are ultimately for Ministers. The decision to control cannabis as a Class B drug was taken under a previous government. However, this Government remains of the view that cannabis is a harmful drug for which the current controls are proportionate.