Darren Henry Portrait

Darren Henry

Conservative - Broxtowe

First elected: 12th December 2019


Electronic Trade Documents Bill [HL]
14th Jun 2023 - 14th Jun 2023
Data Protection and Digital Information (No. 2) Bill
3rd May 2023 - 23rd May 2023
Assistant Whip
20th Sep 2022 - 27th Oct 2022
Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee
29th Mar 2022 - 25th Oct 2022
Employment (Allocation of Tips) Bill
7th Sep 2022 - 12th Oct 2022
Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill
15th Jun 2022 - 11th Oct 2022
Armed Forces Bill Select Committee
22nd Feb 2021 - 22nd Feb 2021
Select Committee on the Armed Forces Bill
22nd Feb 2021 - 22nd Feb 2021


Department Event
Thursday 7th March 2024
09:30
Department for Business and Trade
Oral questions - Main Chamber
7 Mar 2024, 9:30 a.m.
Business and Trade (including Topical Questions)
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Department Event
Thursday 2nd May 2024
09:30
Department for Business and Trade
Oral questions - Main Chamber
2 May 2024, 9:30 a.m.
Business and Trade (including Topical Questions)
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View calendar
Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Division Votes
Tuesday 27th February 2024
Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 293 Conservative No votes vs 2 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 179 Noes - 294
Speeches
Wednesday 21st February 2024
Independent School Fees: VAT
It is pleasure to serve under your chairship, Mr Henderson. I thank my hon. Friend the Member for Northampton South …
Written Answers
Tuesday 16th January 2024
Floods: Nottinghamshire
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to help …
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
Tuesday 20th December 2022
Shared Parental Leave and Pay (Bereavement) Bill 2022-23
A Bill to make provision about shared parental leave and pay in certain cases where one or both of a …
MP Financial Interests
Monday 10th February 2020
1. Employment and earnings
Until 19 January 2020, Councillor, Wiltshire Council, County Hall, Bythesea Road, Trowbridge BA14 8JN. I received an annual allowance of …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliament, Darren Henry has voted in 908 divisions, and 3 times against the majority of their Party.

16 Jan 2024 - Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill - View Vote Context
Darren Henry voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 57 Conservative Aye votes vs 262 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 58 Noes - 525
16 Jan 2024 - Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill - View Vote Context
Darren Henry voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 58 Conservative Aye votes vs 262 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 68 Noes - 529
17 Jan 2024 - Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill - View Vote Context
Darren Henry voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 59 Conservative Aye votes vs 266 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 65 Noes - 536
View All Darren Henry 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
Rishi Sunak (Conservative)
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
(11 debate interactions)
Jacob Rees-Mogg (Conservative)
(8 debate interactions)
Johnny Mercer (Conservative)
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister for Veterans' Affairs)
(7 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Department for Transport
(21 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(18 debate contributions)
Home Office
(14 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Darren Henry's debates

Broxtowe Petitions

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

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

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

Petition Debates Contributed

After owning nurseries for 29 years I have never experienced such damaging times for the sector with rising costs not being met by the funding rates available. Business Rates are a large drain on the sector and can mean the difference between nurseries being able to stay open and having to close.

For the UK government to provide economic assistance to businesses and staff employed in the events industry, who are suffering unforeseen financial challenges that could have a profound effect on hundreds of thousands of people employed in the sector.

If nurseries are shut down in view of Covid-19, the Government should set up an emergency fund to ensure their survival and ensure that parents are not charged the full fee by the nurseries to keep children's places.

The prospect of widespread cancellations of concerts, theatre productions and exhibitions due to COVID-19 threatens to cause huge financial hardship for Britain's creative community. We ask Parliament to provide a package of emergency financial and practical support during this unpredictable time.

As a result of the COVID-19 outbreak there are travel bans imposed by many countries, there is a disastrous potential impact on our Aviation Industry. Without the Government’s help there could be an unprecedented crisis, with thousands of jobs under threat.

The cash grants proposed by Government are only for businesses in receipt of the Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Relief, or for particular sectors. Many small businesses fall outside these reliefs desperately need cash grants and support now.

To extend the business rate relief to all dental practices and medical and aesthetics clinics and any small business that’s in healthcare

Zoos, aquariums, and similar organisations across the country carry out all sorts of conservation work, animal rescue, and public education. At the start of the season most rely on visitors (who now won't come) to cover annual costs, yet those costs do not stop while they are closed. They need help.

As we pass the COVID-19 Peak, the Government should: State where the Theatres and Arts fit in the Coronavrius recovery Roadmap, Create a tailor made financial support mechanism for the Arts sector & Clarify how Social Distancing will affect arts spaces like Theatres and Concert Venues.


Latest EDMs signed by Darren Henry

Darren Henry has not signed any Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Darren Henry, 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.


Darren Henry has not been granted any Urgent Questions

1 Adjournment Debate led by Darren Henry

1 Bill introduced by Darren Henry


A Bill to make provision about shared parental leave and pay in certain cases where one or both of a child’s parents has died; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Tuesday 20th December 2022
(Read Debate)

Darren Henry has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


80 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
9th Jun 2021
What steps he is taking to promote investment in green spaces in preparation for COP26.

As part of the UK’s commitment to put nature at the heart of climate action, between 2021 and 2026 at least £3bn of UK International Climate Finance will be invested to protect, restore and sustainably manage nature, delivering strong outcomes for biodiversity, climate mitigation and adaptation, and poverty reduction; creating jobs and sustainable economic growth for those communities acutely at risk.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th Feb 2021
To ask the Attorney General, what recent assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the CPS in prosecuting fraud cases.

The Crown Prosecution Service (‘CPS’) continues to work with the police and other investigators to prosecute criminal cases involving fraud.

In 2019-20, the CPS prosecuted over 10,000 defendants where Fraud and Forgery was the principal offence.

The CPS has a dedicated, Specialist Fraud Division to ensure they devote the right skills and resources to prosecuting complex and serious fraud and economic crime. Their work ranges from prosecution of bankers and investment scams to prosecuting those who seek to defraud the taxpayer of millions of pounds.

12th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on publishing a roadmap out of the covid-19 lockdown for people who have been separated from families and partners who live outside of the UK.

The UK is working with other countries who have programmes to allow vaccinated people to travel more freely, to lead global efforts to adopt a clear international framework with standards that provide consistency for passengers and industry alike. The Government is working closely with the World Health Organisation and other multilateral organisations like ICAO to help shape an internationally interoperable certification system. Additionally, we have been working with like-minded partners, to ensure people can prove their health status when travelling abroad, once international travel resumes from 17 May at the earliest.

On 9 April, a framework to chart the safe return of international travel was set out by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps. The report, produced by the Global Travel Taskforce shows how international travel could resume from 17 May 2021 at the earliest, and commits to working with industry to do so in a safe, accessible and affordable way. This report shows how the UK will once again allow people with families and partners outside the UK to see their loved ones again.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what discussions his Department has had with other Departments on supporting small businesses to bid for Government contracts to assist with their post-covid recovery.

Further to my answer to questions on 11 February, this Government is doing more than ever to support small businesses to bid for Government contracts and all departments are actively supporting this agenda. Each department has a dedicated SME Champion who works with Commercial teams to promote SME engagement and departments have published SME plans which show how they plan to work with SMEs.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
26th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps the Government has taken to help ensure (a) businesses and (b) people are prepared for the end of the transition period.

To help businesses get ready, we have launched a major communications campaign in the UK and EU urging businesses to visit gov.uk/transition to take action now, get their personalised list of actions and subscribe to updates to find out when things change. The Department for International Trade is also running a campaign ensuring that businesses in the EU are ready for 1 January 2021.


The Government has produced an easy-to-use checker tool which can be accessed via gov.uk/transition for businesses and citizens to find out exactly what they need to do to prepare.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if the Government will publish guidance to businesses on any new regulations that may be imposed following the end of the November 2020 covid-19 lockdown in advance of the end of that lockdown period.

The Cabinet Office has been in discussion with other Departments regarding COVID-19 guidance for England after 2 December. The Government is publishing new guidance or updating existing guidance ahead of 2 December.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on ensuring businesses and citizens are prepared for the end of the November 2020 covid-19 lockdown in England.

The Cabinet Office has been in discussion with other Departments regarding COVID-19 guidance for England after 2 December. The Government is publishing new guidance or updating existing guidance ahead of 2 December.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
18th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he is taking to ensure (a) tariff and quota free trade with the European Union and (b) non-tariff barriers are kept to a minimum.

The Political Declaration sets out the aim for a zero tariff and zero quota Free Trade Agreement. We would like to achieve that. Reducing the costs and processes associated with trade is in the interests of people and businesses across the UK and the EU.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
21st Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether planning permission is required for works undertaken as part of the Green Homes Grant Scheme for properties that are not in a conversation area.

The Government is fully committed to encouraging homeowners to incorporate energy efficiency measures in their properties, to tackle climate change.

In order to be eligible for funding under the Green Homes Grant Voucher scheme, applicants must have obtained the necessary consents and permissions from all relevant authorities and parties to install measures in their property. This is specified in the scheme’s Customer Terms and Conditions.

Furthermore, all works completed under the scheme must be compliant with building regulations and standards.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will provide flexibility to allow local authorities to redistribute grant funding underspent in one area of business support to other business support schemes.

The Government has put forward an unprecedented package of support for businesses in recognition of the disruption caused by Covid-19. This support includes extensive grant funding for businesses that have been required by law to close as a result of, or have been severely impacted by, localised and national restrictions.

Local Authorities should pay businesses in line with the eligibility criteria and restriction period to which the funding is allocated to ensure local economies are supported during restrictions. Any unspent funding allocated to Local Authorities under a mandatory grants scheme cannot be redistributed to other business support schemes and will be recovered after a reconciliation process. It is not expected that discretionary schemes, such as the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG), will have any unallocated funding, as we would expect Local Authorities to apportion this funding to businesses. We are working closely with Local Authorities to ensure funding gets out the door to businesses as quickly as possible.

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing a Government backed scheme to support wedding businesses in the absence of available insurance cover during the covid-19 outbreak.

We have provided an unprecedented package of financial support since March 2020 to businesses, including those in the weddings sector, which is kept under regular review.

2nd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment his Department has made of the extent to which supermarkets have been covid-secure during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government welcomes the tremendous efforts and expense supermarkets have made making their businesses COVID-Secure. We have worked closely with retailers to develop comprehensive guidance to assist them in the safe operation of their business.

The best available Public Health England and NHS Track and Trace data shows there is at present no evidence of significant increased risk of virus transmission in retail premises.

23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to support job retention during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has been in place since March 2020 and has now been extended to March 2021. This extension will support businesses during the latest national restrictions by paying up to 80% of wages for furloughed employees.

Up until 15 November 2020 the scheme has helped 1.2 million employers and 9.6 million employees.

29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of providing further financial support to beauty salons unable to re-open while existing covid-19 lockdown restrictions remain in place.

The Government has announced an unprecedented package of measures to support businesses and individuals during Covid-19.

In order to support businesses where restrictions remain in place, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced an extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme until October 2020. The level of the grant will be slowly tapered to reflect that people will be returning to work. The Chancellor has also extended the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme with businesses adversely affected being able to claim for the first grant on or before 13 July 2020, and any businesses adversely affected on or after 14 July 2020 can make a claim in August 2020.

Businesses are still able to apply for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme or The Bounce Back Loan Scheme.

Additionally, beauty salons are able to continue benefiting from the 100% reduction in business rates for 12 months.

29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the scientific basis is to allow hair salons to reopen on 4 July 2020 as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased, but not beauty salons, massage therapists and tattoo parlours.

Following my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister’s announcement, from 4 July hairdressers and barbers in England will be able to reopen, to offer hairdressing services, once they are following the COVID-secure guidelines.

Other close contact services, like massage therapists, beauty and tattoo parlours remain closed until further notice.

We are taking a phased, cautious approach to reopening our economy, working with businesses, trade associations and medical experts on the safest way to reopen close contact services like massage therapists, beauty salons and tattoo parlours, where there is often greater risk of transmission due to prolonged periods of face-to-face contact and close proximity between staff and customers.

We intend to allow close contact services, such as massage therapists, beauty salons and tattoo parlours to re-open as soon as it is safe to do so.

Our approach is guided by the scientific and medical advice, and SAGE provides world-leading scientific advice to the government. Any changes in approach depend on us continuing to meet the five tests.

19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that businesses have a robust policy to safeguard (a) victims and (b) survivors of domestic abuse in the workplace.

On 9 June 2020, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy launched a review into support for victims of domestic abuse in the workplace. The review aims to ensure victims of domestic abuse are given the support they deserve within the workplace, whether that is an outlet for reporting abuse, financial assistance or as a source of emotional support. The review will also look specifically at employer policies and best practice when it comes to practically supporting victims. The review features a call for written evidence which is open until 9 September, and the Government will respond by the end of 2020.

The Government also continues to support the important work of the Employers’ Initiative on Domestic Abuse to mobilise employers to work together and improve the support available to employees affected by domestic abuse.

More widely, the Government’s Domestic Abuse Bill, which is going through Parliament, will provide significant and important changes in the law to ensure that victims of domestic abuse get the support they need.

18th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what additional steps his Department plans to take to support businesses that have been affected by both the covid-19 outbreak and the June 2020 floods.

The Government has announced an extensive package of support for businesses to help with their ongoing business costs in recognition of the disruption caused by Covid-19.

The?Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF) and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF)?have supported many thousands of small businesses?with their ongoing business costs in recognition of the disruption caused by Covid-19.

In addition, on?1 May,?my Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced that up to £617 million is being made available to Local Authorities?in England to allow them to provide discretionary grants. The?Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund (LADGF) is aimed at small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs but not liable for business rates or rates reliefs.

The SBGF, RHLGF and LADGF are just some of the measures the Department is working on to ensure there is immediate support for our local economies alongside our overall ambition to level up communities across the country.

For more information on the SBGF, the RHLGF and the LADGF please visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-business-support-grant-funding-guidance-for-businesses

In order to be eligible for Government’s Flood Recovery Framework, including funding to supported flooded domestic and business properties, individual Local Authority areas had to have in excess of 25 residential properties and should have reported this data to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department are taking to ensure areas designated OFCOM area 2 can access Government schemes to improve their broadband speeds.

The government’s ambition is to deliver nationwide gigabit-capable broadband as soon as possible. We are working with industry to target a minimum of 85% gigabit-capable coverage by 2025 but will seek to accelerate rollout further to get as close to 100% as possible. We expect that approximately 80% of UK premises will be delivered by industry commercially without the need for public subsidy. It will be more difficult to deliver gigabit connectivity to the hardest to reach 20% of the premises, which is why the government has announced £5 billion to deliver gigabit-capable connectivity to these premises as fast as possible.

For their proposed regulation for the 2021-26 period, Ofcom have defined two geographic markets: Area 2, accounting for roughly 70% of premises, where there is already some material commercial deployment by rival networks to BT Openreach or where this could be economic based on information provided to Ofcom by operators; and Area 3 - where Ofcom believes there is unlikely to be material commercial deployment by rivals to BT Openreach.

Ofcom has not yet officially confirmed the premises in these market areas as they are still under review following a consultation that closed on 8 December 2020. Ofcom expects to publish their final decisions by 31 March 2021.

DCMS’ £5 billion UK Gigabit programme will prioritise areas that are in the hardest to reach 20% premises in the country and, within that, the c.3% of premises that do not have access to superfast broadband. For this reason, our programme is unlikely to initially prioritise areas that are designated in Ofcom’s Area 2 as this will avoid the risk of crowding out commercial investment, and provide value for public money whilst delivering to those areas most in need.

However, DCMS will continue to conduct market surveys as part of the UK Gigabit programme, through which telecom operators provide detailed information on their commercial build plans. If it becomes clear that premises in Ofcom’s Area 2 are unlikely to benefit from a commercially delivered gigabit programme within a reasonable timeframe, then DCMS will take this into account when considering eligibility for government schemes.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that the over 75s TV licence fee is kept under review during the covid-19 outbreak.

Following discussion between the BBC and the Government, and recognising the exceptional circumstances of the national Coronavirus situation, the BBC Board decided to postpone the start of its new restricted policy on over 75 licence fees to 1 August this year. The BBC has promised to keep the issue under review as the situation continues to evolve. The Secretary of State said on 20 May 2020 during the government’s daily Coronavirus briefing: ‘I very much hope that if we are in a similar situation come the beginning of August the BBC will show similar flexibility again’. The BBC remains responsible for the administration of the concession and it will be responsible for setting out what those affected will need to do.

2nd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment his Department has made of the extent to which schools who have had students physically attending have been covid-secure during the covid-19 outbreak.

It continues to be the Department’s aim that all pupils, in all year groups, remain in school full time. Returning to school full time has been vital for children’s education and for their wellbeing. The risk to children themselves of becoming severely ill from COVID-19 is low and there are negative health impacts of being out of school. Senior clinicians, including the Chief Medical Officers of all four nations, still advise that school is the very best place for children to be.

The leaders and staff of nurseries, schools and colleges have been doing an extraordinary job to remain open, keep settings safe and provide education.

The Department published guidance to support schools to welcome back all children from the start of the autumn term. This guidance can be viewed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

Schools have implemented a range of protective measures to minimise risk of transmission. The measures set out in the Department’s guidance have been endorsed by Public Health England. These include regular handwashing, promoting good respiratory hygiene, keeping groups separate and maintaining distance and minimising contact between individuals. This can be achieved through keeping groups separate and through maintaining the distance between individuals.

Schools must comply with health and safety law and should continue to undertake risk assessments and implement the system of controls set out in this guidance.

Any concerns in respect of the protective measures in place should be raised initially with the school. If that does not resolve the issue, the concern can be raised with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). From the start of this term, the HSE has also carried out spot checks, via telephone, of schools to evaluate their understanding and awareness of the relevant guidance. Where calls raise concerns about a school’s approach, it will be referred for a further intervention which may include a visit to the school.

23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to support young people into apprenticeships and training during the covid-19 outbreak.

We recognise the particular impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak on the employment prospects of young people and the disproportionate effect that the economic impact of COVID-19 is likely to have on this group. We have introduced a number of interventions to support young people into employment and training.

Apprenticeships will be more important than ever in helping businesses to recruit the right people and develop the skills they need to recover and grow. In the 2020-21 and 2021-22 financial years, we are making available £2.5 billion for apprenticeships, double that spent in 2010-11. As my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced in the Spending Review, we are extending the incentive payments available to employers taking on new apprentices until the end of this financial year, boosting job creation and supporting employers to invest in skills as the economy recovers from the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak. Employers are now able to claim £2,000 for every new apprentice they hire under the age of 25, and £1,500 for new apprentices aged 25 and over, before 31 March 2021. We are working closely with the Department for Work and Pensions to enable Kickstart placements to turn into apprenticeships, where that is the right thing for the employer and the individual.

We are also tripling the scale of traineeships, providing an additional 30,000 places in the 2020/21 academic year, to ensure that more young people have access to high-quality training. To encourage employers to create new traineeship work placements, we have introduced incentive payments of £1,000 per learner for the 2020/21 academic year.

For the 2020/2021 academic year, we are investing £101 million in a brand-new offer to give 18 and 19-year-old school and college leavers the opportunity to study high-value level 2 and 3 courses when there are no employment opportunities available to them.

To help young people understand the options available to them, we have reformed and improved careers advice in schools. Schools are now under a duty to enable providers to speak to pupils about the apprenticeships and technical education qualifications they offer.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
12th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that home-educated students are taken account of when his Department is forming its policy on the sitting of GCSE, AS and A-level examinations due to take place in 2021.

Examinations are the best and fairest way of judging pupils’ performance, and it is the Department’s intention that next year’s GCSE, AS and A level exam series will go ahead.

The Department is working with Ofqual to engage with the sector, including those representing home-educated pupils, to develop contingencies if disruption as a result of COVID-19 affects pupils’ ability to sit examinations. Following a period of engagement, more details will be published later in the autumn.

29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department has taken to include Black British history in the national curriculum for primary and secondary school pupils.

The Department is committed to an inclusive education system which recognises and embraces diversity and supports all pupils and students to tackle racism and have the knowledge and tools to do so.

The national curriculum is a framework setting out the content of what the Department expects schools to cover in each subject. The curriculum does not set out how curriculum subjects, or topics within the subjects, should be taught. The Department believes teachers should be able to use their own knowledge and expertise to determine how they teach their pupils, and to make choices about what they teach.

As part of a broad and balanced curriculum, pupils should be taught about different societies, and how different groups have contributed to the development of Britain, and this can include the voices and experience of Black people. The flexibility within the history curriculum means that Black British history can already be included in the teaching of the curriculum. For example, at key stage 1, schools can teach about the lives of key Black historical figures such as Mary Seacole or others; at key stage 2, pupils can be taught about Black Romans, as part of teaching that era in history or Black history within the requirement for a study of an aspect or theme in British history that extends pupils’ chronological knowledge beyond 1066; and at key stage 3, we give an example for a more in-depth study on the topic of the impact through time of the migration of people to, from and within the British Isles, and this key stage can include the development and end of the British Empire and Britain’s transatlantic slave trade, its effects and its eventual abolition. Additionally, local history is an element across key stages. The teaching of Black history need not be limited to these examples.

22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that (a) further education colleges and (b) sixth forms are supported during the covid-19 outbreak.

I am very grateful for how sixth forms and FE colleges have responded to the unique challenge of COVID-19.

We have confirmed that the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) will continue to pay grant funded providers their scheduled monthly profiled payments for the remainder of the 2019/20 funding year. Allocations for 2020/21 have also now been confirmed and payments will be made as scheduled. Up to date details are contained in operational guidance available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-further-education-provision. For colleges in significant financial difficulties, the existing support arrangements remain in place, including short-term emergency funding.

My right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer has also announced a series of wider measures to support employers and employees, recognising the significant impacts caused by COVID-19. We have confirmed that FE providers can apply to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) for non grant-funded employees. The CJRS has been extended until August 2020. Up to date details of this support are available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses.

As announced last summer, we will next year be increasing investment in education and training of 16-19 year olds by £400 million, including an increased base rate, and more funding for high cost and high value subjects, which will help the sector to deliver in the difficult circumstances we are facing during the pandemic. In March, we also announced an investment of £1.5 billion over five years in capital spending for further education colleges.

For sixth forms, our priority is to ensure that Year 13 students can progress as planned, including starting university, moving into apprenticeships or securing a job, and to support Year 12 students to prepare for examinations next year.

We have published a planning guide for secondary schools (including those with sixth forms)?to help school leaders to prepare and decide arrangements:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/preparing-for-the-wider-opening-of-schools-from-1-june/planning-guide-for-secondary-schools

These are rapidly developing circumstances and we will continue to keep the situation under review and to keep Parliament updated accordingly.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
5th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to help support (a) businesses and (b) homeowners who were affected by the recent flooding in Nottinghamshire.

On Saturday 6th January the Government announced a significant package of support that will be available to areas in England that have experienced exceptional localised flooding as a result of Storm Henk.

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has activated the Flood Recovery Framework and its package of support measures include;

  • Community Recovery Grant: Eligible Local Authorities will receive funding equivalent to £500 per flooded household to support local recovery efforts.
  • Business Recovery Grant: DBT may provide eligible Local Authorities up to £2,500 per eligible small and medium-sized enterprise (SME), which has suffered severe impacts from flooding that cannot be recovered from insurance.
  • Council Tax Discount: The Government will reimburse eligible Local Authorities for the cost of a 100% council tax discount for a minimum of three months.

Following approval from Defra’s Secretary of State, Defra has now also activated the Property Floods Resilience (PFR) Grant scheme and the Farming Recovery Fund.

The PFR Scheme is a package of funding for property owners directly flooded by a specific weather event that grants them up to £5,000 per property to install PFR measures. The Farming Recovery Fund pays out to farmers with uninsurable damage for grants of up to £25,000 for repair and reinstatement costs.

The PFR Scheme will be administered through local authorities, who will confirm application process to eligible households and businesses in the coming weeks.

Nottinghamshire County Council are eligible for the scheme and households and businesses interested in funding may contact them directly.

Robbie Moore
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure the provisions in The National Pollinator Strategy: for bees and other pollinators in England are being upheld.

Pollinators are a priority for this Government, and we are taking action alongside many partners to implement the National Pollinator Strategy’s provisions. We are addressing the pressures on wild and managed pollinators, restoring and creating habitat for them to thrive, raising awareness across society and strengthening the evidence base.

To manage pressures on pollinators associated with the use of pesticides, we operate a strict system of regulation, including a thorough risk assessment by our expert regulator, the Health and Safety Executive. Pesticides that pose unacceptable risks – including to pollinators - are not authorised. With the Devolved Administrations, we are also consulting on the revised National Action Plan for Sustainable Use of Pesticides. This lays out how we intend to support the uptake of integrated pest management, including to reduce risks to pollinators.

Our Healthy Bees Plan 2030, published in November 2020, works to improve honeybee health through better husbandry and knowledge sharing. The National Bee Unit carries out around 6,500 risk-based apiary inspections per year in England and Wales.

On habitat restoration and creation, Natural England estimates that the area of land covered by agri-environment scheme options delivering pollen and nectar for pollinators increased by 30,000 hectares between 2014 and 2019. We are also supporting nature recovery through our Green Recovery Challenge Fund, with three of the projects awarded in round 1 focusing specifically on pollinators.

We are building on these measures and projects in the design of the new Environmental Land Management scheme, which will help improve biodiversity and species’ status, and enable many more farmers and land managers to take positive action for pollinators and other farm wildlife.

To strengthen the evidence base, we work closely with leading academics and have introduced a national pollinator monitoring scheme across the whole of the UK, with trend estimates published annually as official statistics. To raise awareness and highlight the action that people take across the country, Defra coordinates a ‘Bees’ Needs’ campaign including public events, best practice advice and awards.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to support farmers to adapt their business models during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government wants a profitable and resilient farming sector. We will always champion our farmers and growers by supporting them to produce more of our great British food and drink, providing a reliable and sustainable food supply to the British public.

At the outset of the pandemic, we introduced a number of measures to support our farming sectors through this difficult period. These included relaxing drivers’ hours, temporarily relaxing certain elements of competition law and a dairy response fund to help those dairy farmers most in need of support. We have also worked closely with the dairy and horticulture sectors to address supply chain and labour issues.

We have been in close discussion with banks to ensure the farming sector has access to financial support to ease cashflow problems during this period, including through the HMG backed Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan (CBIL), and the Bounce Back Loan scheme.

The Agriculture Bill provides the legislative basis for longer term transition to support investment in a more productive and sustainable farming sector.

It will allow us to introduce ambitious new land management schemes in England, based on the principle of "public money for public goods", so that we can reward farmers and land managers who protect our environment, improve animal welfare and produce high quality food in a more sustainable way. The Bill will also help farmers to stay competitive, with measures to increase productivity and invest in new technology.

Last week, Defra and the Department for International Trade launched a package of support that will offer immediate support to help agriculture, food and drink businesses grow their trade activity overseas. This will help producers, manufacturers and agri-tech companies across the food supply chain, from farm to fork.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on (a) reviewing and (b) mitigating the effects on communities of recent flooding in Nottinghamshire.

Nottinghamshire saw one of wettest Autumns on record and received almost three times the monthly average of rainfall from Storm Dennis. More recently, flooding from thunderstorms in June 2020 impacted similar locations, including Trowell and Beeston. The Environment Agency has been working closely with all concerned parties in Nottinghamshire’s local community, and particularly with local councillors from Broxtowe Borough Council in the Trowell area, to better understand flooding related issues.

In July 2018 the Government published the Surface Water Management Action Plan (SWMAP). This SWMAP sets out the steps the Government is taking, with the Environment Agency and others, to manage the risk of surface water flooding. As part of this, in July 2019, the Government commissioned an independent review of the arrangements for determining responsibility for surface water and drainage assets.

The Government is currently investing £2.6 billion to deliver more than 1,000 flood defence projects to better protect 300,000 homes by 2021. In Nottinghamshire, we have invested £38.8 million in flood defences between 2010 and 2019, providing better protection for around 14,400 homes. At the Budget in March, it was confirmed that Government will double the amount it invests in the flood and coastal defence programme in England to £5.2 billion over six years from 2021, better protecting a further 336,000 properties, including 290,000 homes.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps she is taking to ensure that UK food standards will not be lowered as part of future trade deals.

HM Government has made it clear that any future trade deals must work for British consumers, farmers and companies. We are proud of our high standards in food safety and these will not be weakened.?High standards and high quality are what our domestic and global customers demand, and that is what we?will?provide.

It is vital that we explore new trading opportunities, but these should not mean a dilution of the standards for which British food is world-renowned. The EU Withdrawal Act transfers all existing EU food safety provisions on to the statute book and we remain firmly committed to upholding our high food safety standards.

13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to page 77 of the Integrated Rail Plan for the North and Midlands, published by his Department in November 2021, what progress his Department has made on implementing a new station for local and regional services at Toton.

We have been working closely with local and regional stakeholders including Midlands Connect and the East Midlands Development Company to support the regeneration plans for the area. We will continue to do so in assessing the implications of Network North.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
4th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he plans to announce further rounds of funding for mini-Holland schemes.

The Government is investing at least £100m of capital funding in active travel infrastructure over the next two years, including for mini-Holland schemes.

Further funding to local authorities for active travel schemes in 2023/24 onwards will be announced later in the year.

7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps she is taking to ensure that the process of applying for a Blue Badge for people in receipt of Attendance Allowance is as easy as the process for applying for working age benefits, such as Personal Independence Payments and Disability Living Allowance.

The Blue Badge scheme is primarily about helping those with severe mobility issues. In order to qualify for a Blue Badge, a person needs to meet one of the eligibility criteria set out in the regulations that govern the scheme.

There are several automatic qualifying criteria, such as receipt of the Higher Rate Mobility Component of Disability Living Allowance or an award of Personal Independence Payment under specific mobility criteria. There is no mobility component in Attendance Allowance, difficulty in walking must therefore be established through further assessment.

24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that smart motorways maintain the same safety standards as conventional motorways.

The Secretary of State has committed £500 million to deliver smart motorway safety improvements across the strategic road network (SRN), delivered by Highways England through an 18-point Action Plan published in March 2020. The Action Plan includes the faster rollout of a radar-based, stopped vehicle detection (SVD) system across the all lane running motorway network, and a national and targeted communications campaigns to further increase awareness and understanding.

The Secretary of State has asked for a one-year on report from Highways England setting out progress in delivering the 18-point Action Plan and identifying actions that can be delivered early. He has asked for the report by 12 March 2021 so any accelerated works can be rapidly put in place.

19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what support his Department is providing to ensure tram services are able to operate in the (a) short, (b) medium and (c) long-term given the disruption caused by the covid-19 outbreak.

On 24 April, the Department announced nearly £30 million to keep services running during lockdown, and a further £29 million on 23 May to help increase trams and light rail services in England, as we begin to restart our economy.

The Department will continue to work with the sector to understand how it can adapt to any ‘new normal’ that emerges from the Covid-19 outbreak so that a sustainable long-term recovery can be made.

9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with the DVSA to ensure that guidance is provided to approved driving instructors to ensure they can resume providing their services safely following the covid-19 lockdown.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) recommends that, currently, approved driving instructors (ADI) should only provide lessons to candidates who have an essential need.

When providing driving lessons, all ADIs should put in place appropriate measures, in line with the latest Public Heath England and Cabinet Office guidance, to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. It is the responsibility of the ADI and the pupil to consider the risks to their health and to decide if the driving lesson is essential.

Using the latest Government guidance, the DVSA is working closely with the Approved Driving Instructors National Association Strategic Partnership (NASP) to develop appropriate plans and control measures that will enable the resumption of non-essential driving lessons.

The DVSA is working closely with the Department for Transport to prepare for a safe return to driver testing. Before practical driving tests are reintroduced, the DVSA will inform the driver training industry, which will help candidates to prepare and reach the standard of driving needed to pass their test.

The DVSA will provide further updates on providing non-essential driving lessons as soon as it can.

9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with DVSA on (a) providing access to refunds to those people whose driving theory test certificate has expired during the covid-19 outbreak and (b) resitting the driving theory test for free.

The two-year validity period of the theory test certificate is set in legislation. This is so the candidate’s theoretical knowledge and ability to identify developing hazards remains current. To extend the validity period would require legislative change.

There is no provision in legislation for refunds of test fees in the situation where the theory test certificate has expired, or resitting the theory test free of charge.

8th Nov 2021
What support her Department provides to older jobseekers to reskill or change careers.

The Department’s plan for jobs provides funding to ensure that more jobseekers of all ages get tailored support, including to reskill or pivot sectors. This includes programmes such as the Job Finding Support service, Job Entry Targeted Support (JETS) and the Restart scheme, to help them find work. The JETS scheme in particular helps jobseekers update their digital skills, job searching tools and to identify transferrable skills, which has been extended to September 2022.

Additionally, as part of the £500m Plan for Jobs expansion, we are funding a new enhanced support package for workers over the age of 50 to help them to stay in and return to work. This offer has two strands – Older workers will receive better information and guidance on later life planning, helping them make informed choices and supporting them to plan their career and remain in work. For those who have lost their jobs, this funding will ensure that older job seekers on Universal Credit receive more intensive, tailored support as they look to take the next step in their career. A network of 50 Plus Champions across all 37 Jobcentre Plus districts will enable and encourage work coaches to direct suitable Plan for Jobs and local support to claimants aged 50 and over

The UK government are also investing £2.5 billion in the National Skills Fund in England to aid The Lifetime Skills Guarantee. From April 2021, adults of any age over 24 who are looking to achieve their first full Level 3 will be able to access fully funded courses which will give them new skills and greater prospects in the labour market. The free online Skills Toolkit also provides online learning focused on digital, numeracy and employability skills.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th Jan 2021
What recent discussions she has had with Cabinet colleagues on supporting people who have lost their jobs as a result of the covid-19 outbreak back into employment.

I have regular discussions with my Cabinet colleagues to ensure that we provide appropriate support to individuals who have lost their jobs and are looking for employment.

The current package of measures includes Job Finding Support, Sector Based Work Academies, Job Entry Targeted Support and the Kickstart scheme.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to help people who are homeless to (a) claim benefits, (b) find work, (c) secure stable accommodation and (d) access additional support.

There are varied and complex reasons behind a person’s homelessness and that is why it is DWP’s priority to ensure homeless people get the appropriate support they need to move into work so they can succeed and move on with their lives. There is a range of support available for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, and this includes help for people to make a Universal Credit claim and access the Jobcentre Plus employment offer.

Work Coaches take into account the individual circumstances and capabilities of homeless claimants, with conditionality requirements tailored to their specific needs, as set out in their Claimant Commitment. Work Coaches can apply easements to work-related requirements if someone is homeless, or is at risk of homelessness, to allow them time to arrange alternative accommodation. Easements take the form of a specified period where the requirement to be available, looking for and able to take up work is “switched off” and linked to a review of any other requirements.

From October 2018, Jobcentres in England are legally required to offer a voluntary referral to claimants who may be homeless or threatened with homelessness to a local housing authority of the claimant’s choice. This earlier intervention is intended to give people the stability they need to move into, and remain in, work. The Shared Accommodation Rate (SAR) of the Local Housing Allowance applies to claimants who are under 35, living on their own, and renting privately, regardless of the size of property that they rent. However, there are exemptions from the SAR for the most vulnerable, including those aged 25 to 34, who have spent at least three months which do not need to have been continuous, in a homeless hostel/hostels specialising in rehabilitating and resettling within the community. We are making changes to this exemption from October 2023, removing the lower limit to include all those under the age of 35 who meet this criteria. Early policy and delivery work has begun to deliver these measures and the necessary legislation will be taken forward in due course. For individuals who may require more support and whose circumstances may make it difficult for them to share accommodation, Discretionary Housing Payments are available.

Homeless people have priority access to the Work and Health Programme, so people with experience of homelessness receive support at the earliest opportunity. At a local level, Jobcentres work in partnership with local authorities and homeless organisations to sign-post homeless claimants to housing services and other specialised support.

28th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that vulnerable and elderly people are protected while covid-19 continues to circulate.

On 1 April 2022, the Government issued updated public health advice for people whose immune system means they are at higher risk of serious outcomes from COVID-19. This set out measures for this patient group, including additional doses of COVID-19 vaccinations, eligibility for targeted antivirals and other therapeutics and guidance on protective behaviours. Those aged over 65 years old with symptoms who test positive for COVID-19 are eligible for pulse oximetry at home, which can enable timely hospital treatment if required. This is also available to people under 65 years old who are at higher risk or where clinical judgement applies.

Those aged over 75 years old have been eligible for an additional booster vaccination in spring 2022, including people in care homes for older people and also those aged 12 years old and over with a weakened immune system. On 19 May 2022, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) published interim advice on an autumn booster programme, which states that a COVID-19 vaccine should be offered in autumn 2022 to residents in a care home for older adults and staff; frontline health and social care workers; all those aged 65 years old and over; and adults aged 16 to 64 years old in a clinical risk group. The JCVI continues to review additional COVID-19 vaccinations for other groups and definitions of clinical risk groups. Its final advice on eligibility for the autumn programme will be available in due course. The Government continues to assess the current situation and the risks posed by COVID-19.

1st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has made a recent assessment of the effectiveness of measures to protect people who are most vulnerable from covid-19; and whether he plans to make an assessment of the potential merits of implementing such measures.

The UK Health Security Agency’s COVID-19 vaccine surveillance report shows that as of 21 April 2022, vaccine uptake among those identified as severely immunosuppressed was 95.7% for at least one dose, 94.5% for at least two doses and 88.1% for at least three doses. NHS England’s COVID Therapeutics data for the week ending 22 May 2022 shows that the number of non-hospitalised people in England who have received antivirals or neutralising monoclonal antibody treatments is 45,745. The Office for National Statistics’ survey ‘Coronavirus and clinically extremely vulnerable people in England’ published on 13 May shows that 81% of respondents were aware of guidance for people whose immune system means they are at higher risk. We have no plans to make a further assessment of the current measures which are in place.

21st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to (a) ensure that people can book NHS dental appointments and (b) remove covid-19 restrictions to ensure further appointments can take place.

We have sought to balance protecting staff and patients by setting minimum thresholds of National Health Service dental activity. The current threshold is 85%. Thresholds have reflected both attainment by the best performing practices and the impact of necessary infection prevention and control (IPC) procedures. The dentistry IPC guidance is based on national guidance for health and care settings, which is regularly updated to reflect the current evidence base. The latest version of the ‘COVID-19: infection prevention and control dental appendix’ was published in March 2022.

In addition, £50 million for NHS dentistry was made available in the last quarter of 2021/22 to provide access to dental appointments. NHS dentists have been asked to prioritise available capacity for urgent care, care for vulnerable groups and children followed by overdue appointments.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
16th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking help people in Ukraine who suffer from diabetes and are at risk of running out of insulin.

The United Kingdom has provided more than two million items of medical supplies to Ukraine as of 18 March 2022. We have delivered over 300,000 individual doses of medicines, as well as medical consumables such as syringes and needles. Further delivery of medicines to Ukraine is continuing, including several thousand doses of insulin.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to support the provision of non-covid-19 healthcare treatment during the covid-19 outbreak.

We have provided £63 billion of extra funding to the National Health Service in 2020-21 and £20.3 billion in 2021-22 to help manage ongoing COVID-19 pressures alongside non-COVID-19 activity levels. We are providing an additional £3 billion next year on top of the long-term settlement, to support recovery from COVID-19.

The Spending Review allocated £1 billion to help tackle the elective backlog and support hospitals to cut long waits for treatment by carrying up to one million extra checks, scans and additional operations or procedures. We have also provided funding for enhanced Infection Prevention and Control measures, including £450 million to expand and upgrade accident and emergency departments to reduce overcrowding and improve infection control so we can continue to treat all patients safely.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure there is an adequate number of NHS dentist appointments available throughout the covid-19 outbreak.

Dental practices closed in March 2020. Since June, a steady increase in dental activity has been made possible following updated Infection Prevention and Control guidance issued by Public Health England. Contractual arrangements for quarter four have been introduced by NHS England and NHS Improvement requiring dental practices to deliver 45% of contracted units of dental activity from 1 January to 31 March 2021 to be deemed to have delivered the full contractual volume. This is expected to increase available National Health Service dental care for patients.

The Department is working closely with NHS England and NHS Improvement and the Chief Dental Officer for England to increase levels of service, as fast as is safely possible. In circumstances where patients are unable to access an urgent dental appointment directly through an NHS dental practice, they should contact NHS 111 for assistance. Over 600 urgent dental care centres remain open to help patients access care.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to upgrade (a) A&E departments and (b) intensive care units prior to winter 2020-21.

We have announced £450 million of funding in 2020/21 for upgrades to accident and emergency (A&E) departments at over 120 trusts and covering over 190 sites. Funding was awarded on the condition that schemes bring substantial improvements to A&Es this winter. £600 million of investment has also been delivered to address critical infrastructure risk across the National Health Service estate. The majority of this funding has been provided to acute trusts to mitigate risks to healthcare delivery and patient safety.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
16th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department has taken to use (a) universities, (b) businesses and (c) other private laboratories to increase covid-19 testing and lab capacity; and whether he has fast-tracked private medical laboratory accreditation for that purpose.

Pillar 2 uses Lighthouse laboratories and has partnership arrangements with public, private and academic sector laboratories. The United Kingdom’s daily COVID-19 testing capacity passed the 500,000 mark on 31 October. Testing capacity in the UK across all pillars between 29 October and 4 November was at 4,367,049 tests, an increase of 21% compared to the previous week.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure individuals with (a) glaucoma and (b) other eye conditions are diagnosed and treated quickly as the covid-19 lockdown is eased.

National Health Service guidance was issued in April asking local systems to step up non-COVID-19 urgent services as soon as possible. This included the need to provide urgent outpatient and diagnostic appointments at pre-COVID-19 levels, including those urgently needed for eye-related conditions. The NHS is now working to increasingly resume the routine elective services that were paused in order help manage COVID-19.

The guidance can be found at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-content/uploads/sites/52/2020/04/second-phase-of-nhs-response-to-covid-19-letter-to-chief-execs-29-april-2020.pdf

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with the College of Optometrists on enabling opticians to safely resume their services as the covid-19 lockdown is eased.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have been in discussion with the College, over plans to restart NHS eye care services.

NHS England and NHS Improvement issued a letter and Standard Operating Procedure to the profession on 17 June setting out that practices are able to resume routine NHS eye care services, where practices have the relevant infection protection control and personal protection equipment in place. The letter also refers to guidance issued by the College of Optometrists, setting out ways in which practices could be adapted in the current circumstances. NHS England and NHS Improvement’s guidance can be found at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/primary-care/optical-setting/

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government has taken to review the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on delivery of the Childhood Obesity Action Plan.

Through the three chapters of our childhood obesity plan we are delivering a wide range of measures to help achieve our bold ambition to halve childhood obesity by 2030 and significantly reduce the gap in obesity between children from the most and least deprived areas by 2030.

Public Health England led a rapid review to better understand how different factors can impact on how people are affected by COVID-19. This includes analysis of age, deprivation and obesity, where data was available. The review’s findings were published on 2 June and are available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-review-of-disparities-in-risks-and-outcomes

Many of the measures in the three chapters of the childhood obesity plan will have an impact on tackling obesity across all age groups. These include the soft drinks industry levy, sugar reduction and wider calorie reformulation programme, restricting promotions and calorie labelling in restaurants which will improve our eating habits and reduce the amount of sugar we consume.

We remain committed to reviewing what more can be done and will continue to monitor progress and emerging evidence.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when opticians will be able to reopen for routine appointments as part of the easing of the covid-19 lockdown.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have been in discussion with the College, over plans to restart NHS eye care services.

NHS England and NHS Improvement issued a letter and Standard Operating Procedure to the profession on 17 June setting out that practices are able to resume routine NHS eye care services, where practices have the relevant infection protection control and personal protection equipment in place. The letter also refers to guidance issued by the College of Optometrists, setting out ways in which practices could be adapted in the current circumstances. NHS England and NHS Improvement’s guidance can be found at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/primary-care/optical-setting/

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure (a) his Department's staff and (b) expat communities abroad receive a covid-19 vaccine.

We are closely following other countries' plans to roll out vaccines. We are providing information through Travel Advice pages and 'Living In' guides on gov.uk to inform British nationals of healthcare options available to them and how they can receive a vaccine locally. The UK is playing a leading international role to ensure global access to COVID-19 vaccines. For example, we have contributed £548m to the COVAX Advance Market Commitment to ensure that the 92 most vulnerable economies have access to COVID-19 vaccines and I [Minister Adams] am delighted that this is starting to deliver.

In close alignment with the UK national programme, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and the Ministry Of Defence are working together to provide access to Covid-19 vaccines for overseas staff and dependants for whom HMG has duty of care.

19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to support the development of a covid-19 vaccine (a) in the UK and (b) throughout the world.

Finding a COVID-19 vaccine is a top priority for the UK Government. The Prime Minister has set up a Vaccine Taskforce and appointed Kate Bingham to lead it. Through the UK's Vaccine Taskforce, the Government is providing industry and research institutions with the resources and support they need, including over £130 million to global vaccine frontrunners being trialled at the University of Oxford and Imperial College London. However, it's not only about finding a successful vaccine. We need better treatments and testing too in order to treat people more effectively and slow the spread of the virus.

The UK has called for clear global commitments from international partners to tackle the pandemic, including through the G7 and G20. The Prime Minister hosted the Global Vaccine Summit on 4 June which brought together over 60 countries including 44 Heads of State and Government, and generated $8.8 billion to support immunisation of over 300 million children from Covid and other preventable diseases. The UK is the largest donor to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, to which we have committed £250 million and £1.65 billion respectively. Our Ministers and diplomatic network continue to galvanise international support and financial commitments to support research, development and equitable access to a vaccine.

17th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether his Department has plans to reconsider the taxation of historic cars so that the date the law is calculated from is the registration date on the V5 document rather than the date the car was manufactured.

In recognition of the important role that historic vehicles play in the country’s heritage, the Government announced at Budget 2014 that it would introduce a rolling 40-year Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) exemption. This means that from 1 April each year, vehicles constructed 40 years before the 1 January of that year are automatically exempt from paying VED.

The Government uses the construction date of the vehicle as the main eligibility criteria for this VED exemption as it is most suited for determining the age of the vehicle. However, where a vehicle’s construction date is not provided on the vehicle’s record, the date of first registration is used to determine the vehicle’s eligibility for the exemption. There are no current plans to amend the basis of this VED exemption from vehicle construction date to vehicle registration date, but as with all taxes, VED is kept under review.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of extending (a) business rates relief and (b) the temporary VAT reduction for businesses in the hospitality industry; and what his Department's long-term strategy is on support for people who work in that sector.

This year, due to the direct adverse effects of COVID-19, the Government has provided an unprecedented business rates holiday for eligible retail, hospitality and leisure properties worth over £10 billion. The Government has also frozen the business rates multiplier for all businesses for 2021-22.

The temporary VAT reduced rate came into effect on 15 July 2020 and was initially scheduled to end on 12 January 2021. The Government extended the reduced rate of VAT (5 per cent) until 31 March 2021.

The Budget will set out the next phase of the Government’s plans to tackle the virus, protect jobs and support business.

17th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the potential merits of reducing beer duty to help support pubs and breweries who face financial hardship as a result of covid-19 lockdown restrictions; and what further support he plans to make available to the hospitality industry to ensure its future viability.

The Government understands that this is a very challenging time for pubs and breweries. For that reason, the Government froze beer duty at the 2020 Budget. At the upcoming budget, the Government will outline the next stages of its plan to support businesses and families across the UK.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
2nd Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what support is available for businesses whose profits have been adversely affected by lower footfall as a result of the covid-19 lockdown restrictions who are ineligible for Government support since they are deemed to be essential businesses.

We have a substantial support package available for businesses regardless of whether they are open or closed. The Chancellor recently announced that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has been extended until the end of March 2021. This provides businesses with a grant to cover 80% of the wages of their employees. We have added additional flexibility so it can be used to cover reduced hours as well as for businesses that are closed. To date CJRS has support 9.6 million jobs at the cost of roughly £41.9bn

Likewise, for businesses that remain open but are severely affected by restrictions, the Local Restrictions Support Grant (open) provides up to £2,100 of support per month. They can also access one-off funding through the Additional Restrictions Grant, worth £1.1bn nationally and is distributed by local authorities.

In addition to this support, businesses have also benefited from the access to finance schemes, including the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme and the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS). Under the BBLS, the government provides lenders with a 100% guarantee to enable them to provide loans between £2,000 and £50,000 to the smallest businesses across the UK with a simple, streamlined application process.

Moreover, all eligible businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors will pay no business rates in England for 12 months from 1 April 2020. Businesses will also benefit from the reduced rate of VAT for tourist attractions and goods & services supplied by the hospitality sector.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
26th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking to support (a) newly and (b) other self-employed people who have been affected by the covid-19 outbreak and who are ineligible for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

The design of the SEISS, including the eligibility requirements that an individual’s trading profits must be no more than £50,000 and at least equal to their non-trading income, means it is targeted at those who most need it, and who are most reliant on their self-employment income.

The Government acknowledges that it has not been possible to support everyone as they might want. The practical issues that prevented the Government from being able to include the newly self-employed in 2019-20 in the original Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS), namely that HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will not have access to their self-assessment returns in order to verify their eligibility, still remain. The latest year for which HMRC have tax returns for all self-employed individuals is 2018/19. 2019/20 returns are not due until the end of January 2021.

Those ineligible for the SEISS may still be eligible for other elements of the support available. The Universal Credit standard allowance has been temporarily increased for 2020-21 and the Minimum Income Floor relaxed for the duration of the crisis, so that where self-employed claimants' earnings have fallen significantly, their Universal Credit award will have increased to reflect their lower earnings. In addition to this, they may also have access to other elements of the package, including Bounce Back loans, tax deferrals, rental support, mortgage holidays, self-isolation support payments and other business support grants.

18th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to help reduce the number of small boats crossing the channel.

We are more determined than ever to end the vile business model of people smugglers and are working with our international partners to stop people putting their lives at risk through dangerous and illegal journeys. The most recent arrangement between the UK and France means UK officers will be embedded with French counterparts, in French-led control rooms and on the ground with counterparts to stop crossings and dismantle the people smuggling gangs.

16th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what discussions she has had with representatives of the French Government on reducing the number of small boats crossing the Channel.

The UK continues to maintain close contact with the Government of France on our joint cooperation to tackle illegal migration.

Most recently, on 14 November the Home Secretary met her counterpart Minister Darmanin to agree to a new multi-year strategic and operational plan with Minister Darmanin, supported by investment of up to €72.2 million euros (approximately £62.2 million) this financial year.

7th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will take steps to tackle incidences of anti-social behaviour and intimidation by some of the migrants recently housed in two hotels in Erewash.

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

Asylum seekers granted accommodation and support whilst their applications are being considered are not detained and are free to come and go as they please. They are clearly advised of the expectations the Home Office and our accommodation providers have for them to behave responsibility while they reside in our properties and not to engage in any form of criminal or anti-social activity. All incidents are reported to the Home Office immediately by the providers; this is a contractual requirement. We then work with the provider to put additional measures in place, if required. This includes working with other statutory bodies including police to investigate any potential criminal activities. We do not comment publicly on operational arrangements at individual sites.

Community cohesion is an important aspect of using contingency sites successfully and we will continue to engage with all relevant stakeholders in multi-agency forums to understand and address any concerns appropriately as the site operates.

14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that Ukrainian children and young people can enter the UK in the event that their parent or guardian does not hold their passport or birth certificate without that child or young person having to re-enter Ukraine or attend a visa application centre in another country in Europe.

All Ukrainians, including children, who do not have a valid Ukrainian international passport must attend a Visa Application Centre in person and provide their biometric information, as they will need a secure Entry Clearance document which will convert to permission to enter upon arrival at the UK border.

This means we can properly identify a child brought into the UK and link them to their parents or carers and help to prevent child exploitation and trafficking, which is an essential safeguard for children crossing international borders.

29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the administrative efficiency of the Windrush Compensation Scheme in making payments to eligible people.

The Home Office is processing claims as quickly as possible, but all claims are different, and the time taken will depend on many factors, including the complexity of the case. Wherever possible, the Home Office makes interim payments on parts of the claim that are straightforward to determine, such as immigration fees.

However, it is worth noting that the Home Office works with claimants during the process to obtain as much information about the claim as possible. This approach ensures that claimants receive the maximum amount to which they are entitled under the scheme

The most recent published statistics on the payments made under the Windrush Compensation Scheme show a clear increasing trajectory of payments: £755,111 paid up to 30 June 2020, of which £392,114 was paid in the most recent three months of that period. I also announced on 15 July that over £1.5m has now been offered in compensation to claimants. Once the offers are accepted by the applicants, the payments will be made.

26th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when registry office wedding ceremonies will resume as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

The Government announced on 23 June that small weddings, with up to 30 people in attendance, could resume in England from 4 July. The Welsh Government permitted weddings to resume in Wales from 22 June.

It will be for individual local authorities to ensure that their register offices can undertake ceremonies safely in accordance with public health guidelines.

9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent assessment her Department has made of the effectiveness of (a) police resources and (b) powers to deal with people who ride motorcycles illegally.

This government is fully committed to giving the police the powers and resources they need to fight crime.

We will provide a total police funding settlement of up to £15.2 billion in 2020/21, which is an increase of up to £1.120 billion compared to 2019/20, including main grant, council precept and national priorities. The police have powers under the Road Traffic Act 1988 and Police Reform Act 2002 to seize vehicles being driven illegally without a valid driving licence or insurance or in an anti-social manner.

7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps his Department has taken to issue guidance on safely reopening public toilets to enable people with (a) inflammatory bowel disease and (b) other hidden disabilities to feel comfortable leaving home as the covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

Public hygiene is of the utmost importance, especially during the coronavirus pandemic, and enabling access to toilets safely is vital. Closed toilets may disproportionately impact certain groups who for health reasons rely on access to public toilets to leave their homes.

Government has made clear through COVID-19 guidance that public toilets, portable toilets and toilets inside premises should be kept open and carefully managed to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19.

The guidance outlines measures such as signs to promote good hygiene, providing suitable handwashing and hand drying facilities, and increasing frequency of cleaning facilities.

The Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government and the Minister for Environment recently wrote to local authorities urging them to reopen public toilets. The letter also highlighted the disproportionate impact closed toilets may have on certain groups who for health reasons rely on access to public toilets to be able to leave their homes.

19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what guidance his Department has provided for the (a) letting and (b) management of houses in multiple occupation in the private rented sector.

The Government has produced a raft of guidance on the letting and management of houses in multiple occupation (HMOs).

18th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what discussions his Department has had with (a) borough and (b) county councils on support for residents affected by the June 2020 floods.

Flooding, wherever it occurs, can very distressing for local communities and the Government has every sympathy for those affected. To date, my Department has not been approached by any local authority impacted by recent flash flooding incidents. Where such localised incidents do occur, local authorities are expected to have in place well established contingency arrangements to respond to them and to support any recovery efforts.

4th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what plans he has to bring forward legislative proposals to introduce a criminal offence of deliberately infecting a person with covid-19.

The Government has no plans to introduce a specific criminal offence as offences already exist which cover such circumstances.

Threatening to infect someone with covid-19 can be charged as an assault and where a direct causal link can be established between one person’s unlawful act and another person contracting the virus then other more serious offences can be charged.

Each case needs to be considered on its own specific facts.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, when he plans to enable marriages to take place as the covid-19 lockdown restrictions are lifted.

We understand the frustration couples planning a wedding must be feeling, and as with all coronavirus restrictions we will look to ease them as soon as it is safe to do so.

Alex Chalk
Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what plans the Government has to allow witnesses to marriages and civil partnerships to attend remotely as the covid-19 lockdown is eased.

We understand the frustration couples planning a wedding must be feeling, and as with all coronavirus restrictions we will look to ease them as soon as it is safe to do so.

Statute law provides that marriages must be solemnized, and civil partnerships formed, in certain types of location and in the presence of certain people, including witnesses. We continue to explore what potential changes to the requirements for marriage and civil partnership might assist couples – where restrictions remain in place or where infection control means that the requirements cannot be met – without undermining the safeguards in the system.

Alex Chalk
Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, whether legislative proposals are required to amend the law to enable weddings, including death-bed weddings, to take place during the covid-19 outbreak.

We understand the frustration couples planning a wedding must be feeling, and as with all coronavirus restrictions we will look to ease them as soon as it is safe to do so.

Statute law provides that marriages must be solemnized, and civil partnerships formed, in certain types of location and in the presence of certain people, including witnesses. We continue to explore what potential changes to the requirements for marriage and civil partnership might assist couples – where restrictions remain in place or where infection control means that the requirements cannot be met – without undermining the safeguards in the system.

Alex Chalk
Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice
19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what steps he is taking to strengthen the Union.

Strengthening the Union is my foremost priority and one which the Government is focussing on across the Board. As we have seen in our response to Covid-19, our collective ability to respond in times of crisis demonstrates the value of the Union. The UK Government has provided over £330 billion worth of government backed and guaranteed loans for the benefit of everyone across the UK. In addition, as a result of measures the UK Government is taking forward in England, the Scottish Government has received £3.8 billion in Barnett Consequentials to support businesses, charities, public services and citizens through the pandemic.

I welcome the fact that restrictions are now beginning to be eased in Scotland so that businesses can reopen to support economic recovery. In this key period, the UK Government will continue to focus its efforts on the economy to deliver a swift and forward-looking recovery. This Government is strongly committed to building partnership with industry and support improvements in productivity, employment, innovation and skills. I also see our City, Region and Growth Deals as a key part of our economic recovery and am working to ensure that we can progress implementation of these deals across Scotland to support local economic growth and create jobs.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland