Darren Henry Portrait

Darren Henry

Conservative - Broxtowe

5 APPG memberships (as of 21 Apr 2021)
Armed Forces Covenant, County, East Midlands, Midlands Engine, Premature and Sick Babies
1 Former APPG membership
Road Freight and Logistics
Armed Forces Bill Select Committee
22nd Feb 2021 - 22nd Feb 2021
Select Committee on the Armed Forces Bill
22nd Feb 2021 - 22nd Feb 2021


There are no upcoming events identified
Division Votes
Wednesday 28th April 2021
National Security and Investment Bill
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 357 Conservative Aye votes vs 1 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 358 Noes - 269
Speeches
Tuesday 20th April 2021
Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities

Covid-19 has highlighted the importance of family units and their critical role in our communities up and down the UK. …

Written Answers
Tuesday 20th April 2021
Coronavirus: Disease Control
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent discussions he has …
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
None available
Tweets
None available
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 Parliamentary Session, Darren Henry has voted in 278 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
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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
Boris Johnson (Conservative)
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
(6 debate interactions)
Jacob Rees-Mogg (Conservative)
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
(6 debate interactions)
Matt Hancock (Conservative)
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
(6 debate interactions)
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Department Debates
Cabinet Office
(10 debate contributions)
Department for Transport
(7 debate contributions)
Home Office
(5 debate contributions)
HM Treasury
(4 debate contributions)
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Legislation Debates
Darren Henry has not made any spoken contributions to legislative debate
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).

Petitions with highest Broxtowe signature proportion
Petitions with most Broxtowe signatures
Petition Debates Contributed

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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

Darren Henry has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

Darren Henry has not introduced any legislation before Parliament

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


64 Written Questions in the current parliament

(View all written questions)
Explanation of written questions
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.

Michael Ellis
Attorney General
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
Paymaster General
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
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
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
Paymaster General
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
Paymaster General
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
Paymaster General
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
Paymaster General
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.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans the Government has to ensure the equity of treatment of Chartered Trade Mark Attorneys across the UK and EU after the transition period; and whether he plans to ensure that attorneys from the EU do not have rights of representation before the UK Intellectual Property Office that are not reciprocated for UK attorneys before the EU Intellectual Property Office.

On legal services, the UK’s starting point for negotiations with the EU is precedent-based. We aim to secure market access commitments for lawyers and minimise barriers to the cross-border supply of services and investment, on the basis of commitments like those in the Canada FTA.

Rights of representation, whether before domestic courts in Member States or EU institutions, are the preserve of the Single Market and so do not form part of the UK approach to negotiations with the EU.

Officials at the Intellectual Property Office are currently exploring options in relation to the rules on address for service once the transition period ends.

Amanda Solloway
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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.

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department 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.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
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.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that primacy school pupils can take part in physical education safely when they return to school as covid-19 restrictions are eased.

The Department is working to ensure that schools are fully supported as pupils return now and are able to give pupils opportunities to be physically active during the school day. Schools are free to organise and deliver a PE curriculum that suits the needs of all their pupils whilst following COVID-19 government guidelines. The latest guidance for schools can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-schools-and-other-educational-settings. The Government’s intention is for all children to return to school from September and will publish guidance soon. The Department is considering what further advice to provide on PE and school sport in that guidance.

The Department has worked closely with nurseries, schools, physical activity experts and sport providers so that pupils who have not yet been able to return to school have advice and resources to participate in regular exercise. The Department has published online educational resources approved by subject experts for schools and parents, to help children to learn at home; these resources include those for PE.

The Government remains committed to supporting schools to make good use of their sports facilities and to promote physical literacy and competitive sport. We plan to update the School Sport Activity Action Plan with longer-term proposals to support schools and providers to work together to support children’s activity levels to continue to rise after they return to school.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
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
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 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.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
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.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
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.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to improve rail services in (a) Nottinghamshire, (b) the East Midlands, and (c) England.

East Midlands Railway will introduce additional trains in 2021 to bring more carriages on regional routes and a fully refurbished fleet is planned. The £1.5 billion investment to deliver the Midland Mail Line Upgrade will enable at least a 70 per cent increase in seats and quicker peak journeys to London for the Nottinghamshire and the East Midlands.

In England as a whole, we are currently delivering a significant programme of investment to upgrade both the infrastructure and the trains on our railway. The Government is committed to invest around £48 billion in maintaining and upgrading the rail network in the period from 2019 to 2024, focused on increasing reliability and punctuality for passengers.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
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.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
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.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
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.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
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 (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what further support he plans to make available to the health and social care workforce during the covid-19 outbreak.

We are maintaining high levels of support for staff, including ensuring they have access to the personal protective equipment and testing they need. Furthermore, all eligible frontline workers have now been offered the vaccine. We continue to expand the workforce, having committed to increasing the National Health Service nursing workforce by 50,000 by the end of this Parliament and promoting social care careers through a national media campaign. We have also put in place a package of mental health support for all staff.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
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 (Department of Health and Social Care)
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, 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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
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.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
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
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
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
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
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.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what grant support is available to one-person limited companies trading from the director's home that are affected by covid-19 restrictions.

The Winter Economy Plan set out a package of targeted measures in response to the current economic context that will enable businesses to protect jobs and manage their finances in the face of reduced or uncertain demand. These include extending the temporary VAT reduced rate for hospitality and tourism, extending the application window of the access to finance schemes, and providing further support for employees and the self-employed.

Following the extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), company directors who pay themselves a salary through a PAYE scheme are able to apply for CJRS support, subject to meeting the eligibility criteria of the scheme. In addition, company directors may be eligible for other elements of the package of financial support available. This includes Bounce Back loans, tax deferrals, rental support, mortgage holidays, increased levels of Universal Credit, self-isolation support payments and other business support grants.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
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.

Priti Patel
Home Secretary
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department has taken to review the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the efficiency of the Windrush Compensation Scheme in processing claims.

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.

The Home Office recently published statistics on the payments made under the Windrush Compensation Scheme (WCS) at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/windrush-compensation-scheme-data-july-2020.

These 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. which includes the initial period of the covid-19 lockdown.

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. The trajectory of compensation awards therefore continues to increase, despite the covid-19 lockdown.

Priti Patel
Home Secretary
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.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
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.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
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).

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
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.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
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
Assistant Whip
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
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
Assistant Whip
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
Assistant Whip
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