Dawn Butler Portrait

Dawn Butler

Labour - Brent Central

Education Committee
11th May 2020 - 21st Sep 2020
Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities
31st Aug 2017 - 6th Apr 2020
Shadow Minister (Equalities Office) (Diverse Communities)
14th Jun 2017 - 31st Aug 2017
Shadow Minister (Equalities Office) (Diverse Communities)
6th Oct 2016 - 1st Feb 2017
Assistant Whip (HM Treasury)
12th Sep 2008 - 6th May 2010
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office) (Young Citizens and Youth Engagement)
30th Oct 2009 - 6th May 2010
Modernisation of the House of Commons
13th Jul 2005 - 6th May 2010
Children, Schools and Families
9th Nov 2007 - 26th Jan 2009


There are no upcoming events identified
Division Votes
Wednesday 9th June 2021
Investing in Children and Young People
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 193 Labour Aye votes vs 0 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 224 Noes - 0
Speeches
Thursday 22nd July 2021
Summer Adjournment

The last 18 months have been a tale of the good, the bad and the ugly.

The good is that …

Written Answers
Wednesday 28th July 2021
Coronavirus: Vaccination
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to support the …
Early Day Motions
Wednesday 23rd June 2021
General Practice Data for Planning Research
That this House is concerned with the current plans for the General Practice Data for Planning Research, while although noting …
Bills
Wednesday 24th March 2021
Coronavirus (No. 2) Bill 2019-21
A Bill to make provision in connection with coronavirus; and for connected purposes.
Tweets
Tuesday 27th July 2021
11:09
MP Financial Interests
Monday 17th May 2021
2. (b) Any other support not included in Category 2(a)
Name of donor: Anthony Watson
Address of donor: private
Amount of donation or nature and value if donation in kind: …
EDM signed
Monday 5th July 2021
Rise of anti-Indian racism
That this House welcomes the contributions of Indians to British society; condemns the racism they face on a daily basis; …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Dawn Butler has voted in 224 divisions, and 1 time against the majority of their Party.

25 Mar 2021 - Coronavirus - View Vote Context
Dawn Butler voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 21 Labour No votes vs 176 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 484 Noes - 76
View All Dawn Butler 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
Chi Onwurah (Labour)
Shadow Minister (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
(10 debate interactions)
Kemi Badenoch (Conservative)
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
(7 debate interactions)
Jacob Rees-Mogg (Conservative)
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
(7 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
View all Dawn Butler's debates

Brent Central 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 Brent Central signature proportion
Petitions with most Brent Central signatures
Dawn Butler has not participated in any petition debates

Latest EDMs signed by Dawn Butler

22nd June 2021
Dawn Butler signed this EDM on Monday 5th July 2021

Rise of anti-Indian racism

Tabled by: Navendu Mishra (Labour - Stockport)
That this House welcomes the contributions of Indians to British society; condemns the racism they face on a daily basis; calls on key institutions to urgently address this type of prejudice; recognises the 1.3 million Indians who fought for Britain during WWI and have contributed greatly to all levels of …
45 signatures
(Most recent: 22 Jul 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 27
Scottish National Party: 7
Plaid Cymru: 3
Alba Party: 2
Independent: 2
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Conservative: 1
Green Party: 1
Liberal Democrat: 1
30th June 2021
Dawn Butler signed this EDM as a sponsor on Wednesday 30th June 2021

Baroness Harding of Winscombe and the role of Chief Executive of NHS England

Tabled by: Richard Burgon (Labour - Leeds East)
That this House notes reports that Baroness Dido Harding has applied to become Chief Executive of NHS England; notes that the NHS Act 2006 requires the consent of the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to the appointment of the Chief Executive of NHS England; and calls on …
23 signatures
(Most recent: 12 Jul 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 19
Independent: 2
Green Party: 1
Scottish National Party: 1
View All Dawn Butler's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Dawn Butler, 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.


Dawn Butler has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Dawn Butler has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

3 Bills introduced by Dawn Butler


A Bill to require the Leader of the House of Commons to move a Motion asserting the equal right of all Members of the House of Commons to participate in proceedings and establishing mechanisms for MPs unable to attend Westminster to vote remotely and to participate remotely in proceedings, including debates and general committees.


Last Event - 1st Reading (Commons)
Wednesday 16th September 2020
(Read Debate)

A Bill to make provision in connection with coronavirus; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading (Commons)
Wednesday 24th March 2021

A Bill to require the Leader of the House of Commons to move a Motion asserting the equal right of all Members of the House of Commons to participate in proceedings and establishing mechanisms for MPs unable to attend Westminster to vote remotely and to participate remotely in proceedings, including debates and general committees.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Wednesday 16th September 2020
(Read Debate)
Next Event - 2nd Reading: House Of Commons
Friday 23rd October 2020

Dawn Butler has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


157 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
3 Other Department Questions
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, with reference to Canada’s House of Commons passing a bill criminalizing LGBTQ+ conversion therapy and the passage of a similar ban by the Australian state of Victoria, what steps his Department is taking to work with national and state legislators in those nations to ensure a ban on conversion therapy reflects international best practice.

Officials in the Equality Hub are in discussion with international policy counterparts, to fully understand the detail and impact of other jurisdictions’ measures and to inform the Government’s next steps. However, we must ensure a ban on conversion therapy works here and that is why we have committed to launching a consultation in September. We want to hear from a wide range of voices on how best to protect people from conversion therapy while ensuring the medical profession can continue to work in line with best practice, defending freedom of speech, and upholding religious freedom. This will be vital for ensuring the action we take is informed, effective and proportionate.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th Jun 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what steps the Government is taking to give full recognition to people in the UK who identify as non-binary.

This Government is committed to supporting all LGBT people, tackling discrimination and improving the lives of all citizens.

We have been clear in the response to the Gender Recognition Act consultation in September 2020 that there are no plans to make changes to the 2004 Act.

Following a considerable amount of consultation with the public, the Government decided that the current provisions within the GRA allow for those that wish to legally change their sex to do so safely and fairly. The consultation did not bring forward any proposals to extend the GRA to provide legal recognition to a third, or non-binary, gender.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
24th May 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of the Australian State of Victoria’s Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Act 2021 as a model for legislation to ban conversion therapy in England and Wales.

As set out in the Queen’s Speech earlier this month, we will bring forward legislation to ban conversion therapy. We will also launch a consultation before details of the ban are finalised to hear from a wide range of voices on how best to protect people from conversion therapy while protecting the medical profession, defending freedom of speech, and upholding religious freedom. We are considering all options for the scope of a ban and will be engaging the appropriate stakeholders, including organisations who support survivors of conversion therapy, to gather views. We have also already met with conversion therapy survivors, to hear about their experiences.

We have also undertaken research to understand practices, experiences and impacts associated with conversion therapy and will publish this in due course. Officials are also in discussion with international policy counterparts, to fully understand the detail and impact of other jurisdictions’ measures, in order to inform the UK’s next steps.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 19 March 2020 to Question 32254, how many working CoVent ventilation devices have been provided by Dyson to the NHS; how much has been spent from the public purse on the production of those devices; and what proportion of that spending has been returned to the Government by Dyson.

The Ventilator Challenge has manufactured safe, easy-to-use and effective devices to meet the UK’s need for mechanical ventilators to fight COVID-19. The Challenge is a key part of the UK’s overall strategy to rapidly increase the number of mechanical ventilators for the NHS. This includes buying more ventilators from abroad, stepping up UK production and calling on the best of British manufacturing to build new devices. We have exceeded our target of building up ventilator stocks to 18,000 and everyone who has needed a ventilator has been able to access one.

Dyson were the manufacturing partner for The Technology Partnership (TTP), a specialist medical consultancy, who were funded to develop a new ventilator design. As we announced on 8 May, the Government ceased support for the product. No monies have been paid to Dyson.

Julia Lopez
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, when he plans to answer Questions (a) 62329, (b) 62330, (c) 62331, (d) 62332 and (e) 62333 tabled on 22 June 2020 by the hon. Member for Brent Central.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to PQs 62329, 62330, 62331, 62332, 62333, 69482, 69483 on 16 July 2020.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the news release entitled, Authored article, Prime Minister's article in the Telegraph: 15 June 2020, what the territorial scope of the commission is planned to be; and what discussions he has had with Ministers in the Devolved Administrations on the remit of the commission in relation to (a) Northern Ireland, (b) Scotland and (c) Wales.

I refer the Hon. Member to the written ministerial statement made by the Prime Minister on 16 July 2020, which outlines the plans for a new cross-government Commission to review inequality in the UK. This Commission has superseded the proposals from the last Administration to create an Office for Tackling Injustice.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 7 April 2020 to Question 1870 on Office for Tackling Injustices and with reference to the Prime Minister’s statement of 15 June 2020, how the cross-governmental commission to look at all aspects of inequality will contribute to the work of the Office for Tackling Injustices.

I refer the Hon. Member to the written ministerial statement made by the Prime Minister on 16 July 2020, which outlines the plans for a new cross-government Commission to review inequality in the UK. This Commission has superseded the proposals from the last Administration to create an Office for Tackling Injustice.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answers of 8 June 2020 to Questions 55892, 55893 and 55894 on Office for Tackling Injustices, what the process is for the announcements referred to in the answer; and if he will make it his policy to make a statement to the House in respect of each decision made by Ministers relating to the establishment of the Office for Tackling Injustices.

I refer the Hon. Member to the written ministerial statement made by the Prime Minister on 16 July 2020, which outlines the plans for a new cross-government Commission to review inequality in the UK. This Commission has superseded the proposals from the last Administration to create an Office for Tackling Injustice.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many meetings he has held with (a) his Cabinet colleagues and (b) Ministers of other Government departments on the establishment of the Office for Tackling Injustices in each month since July 2019.

I refer the Hon. Member to the written ministerial statement made by the Prime Minister on 16 July 2020, which outlines the plans for a new cross-government Commission to review inequality in the UK. This Commission has superseded the proposals from the last Administration to create an Office for Tackling Injustice.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what provision for funding the Office for Tackling Injustices (a) was made in his Department’s Supplementary Estimate for 2019-20 and (b) is planned to be made in his Department’s Main Estimate for 2020-21.

I refer the Hon. Member to the written ministerial statement made by the Prime Minister on 16 July 2020, which outlines the plans for a new cross-government Commission to review inequality in the UK. This Commission has superseded the proposals from the last Administration to create an Office for Tackling Injustice.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the cost to the public purse has been of establishing the Office for Tackling Injustices under the Administrations of the (a) previous and (b) current Prime Minister.

I refer the Hon. Member to the written ministerial statement made by the Prime Minister on 16 July 2020, which outlines the plans for a new cross-government Commission to review inequality in the UK. This Commission has superseded the proposals from the last Administration to create an Office for Tackling Injustice.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
10th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of merging the four cross-departmental BAME staff networks in the Civil Service to improve efficiency.

These networks are led by civil servants on a voluntary basis, and the network leaders themselves felt that maintaining separate networks was important.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, when the Office for Tackling Injustices is planned to be established.

Further to the answer given to PQ 1870 on 7 April 2020, announcements will be made in the usual way.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the remit will be of the Office for Tackling Injustices.

Further to the answer given to PQ 1870 on 7 April 2020, announcements will be made in the usual way.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what budget has been allocated to the Office for Tackling Injustices.

Further to the answer given to PQ 1870 on 7 April 2020, announcements will be made in the usual way.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
25th Mar 2020
To ask the Minister of State for the Cabinet Office, whether he has made an assessment of the potential effect on the spread of covid-19 in public spaces of listing cleaners as key workers.

Our message to the British public is clear: stay at home, in order to protect the NHS and save lives. The position remains, as outlined on gov.uk, that everyone who can work from home should do so.

Where that is not possible, people should go into work where it is safe and they are not symptomatic, isolating or shielding. Relevant guidance including from Public Health England should be followed.

In terms of the provision of education for certain workers, it is already the case that cleaners working in, for example, hospitals and social care could be eligible as long as "their specific role is necessary for the continuation of this essential public service". This is set out here - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision.

The Government has placed restrictions on the operations of certain businesses as part of the strategy to ensure people stay at home and away from others. Separate guidance has been published on this and is also available on gov.uk. Scientific evidence supporting the government’s response is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/scientific-advisory-group-for-emergencies-sage-coronavirus-covid-19-response.

Penny Mordaunt
Paymaster General
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether the effect of covid-19 on women's (a) financial security, (b) ability to work and (c) mental health has been discussed at recent COBRA meetings.

It is a long established precedent that detailed information about internal discussions are not shared publicly.

Penny Mordaunt
Paymaster General
5th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he plans to take to improve reporting on LGBT+ inclusion in the civil service.

The Civil Service is committed to being an LGBT+ inclusive employer. Information about the composition of the Civil Service workforce, including representation by sexual orientation, is published on gov.uk. Results of the annual Civil Service People Survey, including a breakdown by sexual orientation, are also published.

The Civil Service Diversity & Inclusion Strategy (2017) committed to increasing the number of civil servants who record their sexual orientation data on HR systems. Reporting rates are steadily increasing, and have risen to 57% in 2019. In addition, the Civil Service People Survey has since 2018 included questions to allow analysis of the experiences of transgender civil servants.

The Civil Service is also working with the Office for National Statistics and the Government Equalities Office to develop standardised questions to collect data on sexual orientation and gender identity, ensuring that data on LGBT inclusion is collected by all departments, and can be reported centrally, in a consistent way.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
29th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, when he plans to lay the statutory instrument to make provision for Census 2021.

The draft Census (England and Wales) Order 2020 will be presented to both Houses in due course.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
28th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will bring forward legislative proposals to include a non-gendered option on the Census 2021.

The Office for National Statistics recommendations for the next Census are set out in the White Paper 'Help Shape our Future: The 2021 Census of Population and Housing in England and Wales' published in December 2018. This includes the recommendation that the 2021 Census includes for the first time a voluntary gender identity question, in addition to retaining a binary female/male sex question. The relevant considerations are set out at paragraphs 3.34 to 3.45 of the White Paper.

The content of the 2021 Census for England and Wales will be set in secondary legislation, beginning with the Census Order, which will be laid before Parliament in due course.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
18th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to protect the UK copyright system to support (a) author incomes, (b) publishing companies and (c) the wider book trade.

While the Government is not presently taking any specific steps in relation to these matters, it keeps the copyright framework under constant review to ensure it remains fit for purpose and that changes are driven by the evidence.

For example, the Government is currently consulting on potential changes to the intellectual property framework in relation to the trade of parallel goods into the UK. It welcomes evidence and submissions from all those who might be affected, including authors, publishers, and the book trade.

The UK’s IP framework is consistently rated as one of the best in the world. A good copyright framework alongside an effective enforcement regime provides the best environment for creators, including authors and publishers, to thrive.

Amanda Solloway
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
13th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps the Government is taking to support low income families that are unable to afford green energy improvements to make their homes energy efficient and contribute to the Government's net zero target.

The Government has recently published a strategy, Sustainable Warmth – supporting vulnerable households in England, which sets out our plans to support fuel poor households in more detail.

As of 2019, there are 1.2 million fewer low-income households living in the least energy efficient homes (Band E, F or G) compared to 2010. There are a number of Government schemes which make funding available to support low-income families make their homes energy efficient.

The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) is a GB-wide scheme currently worth around £640m per year, which provides energy efficiency and heating measures to low income and vulnerable households. We have committed to expanding ECO from 2022 to 2026 to a value of £1bn per year.

The Government is investing £1.3 billion in energy efficiency, up from the £1 billion announced in my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan. The Green Homes Grant (Voucher) low-income scheme had issued 26,281 vouchers by the end of March, worth over £156 million. We have also provided support for Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery and for Social Housing – £500 million worth of works is already being delivered and additional funding will be disbursed this summer.

The Home Upgrade Grant has been allocated an initial £150 million to specifically support low-income households with energy efficiency and low carbon heating upgrades to the worst-performing off-gas-grid homes in England. The Home Upgrade Grant is due to commence delivery in early 2022.

We recently consulted on strengthening the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards for private landlords. These new standards would require landlords to invest up to £10,000 towards improving their property to energy efficiency Band C, or register an exemption. For social housing, the Government has also invited experts to review whether the Decent Homes Standard should be refreshed.

In addition to help with energy efficiency measures, over 2 million households get direct assistance with their energy bills through the Warm Home Discount. We have committed to expanding that scheme from 2022 to 2026 so that it will reach around 3 million households across Great Britain.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
13th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to prevent directors paying themselves dividends and forcing companies into administration to avoid consumer redress.

Under UK company law, directors may pay dividends only where a company has sufficient distributable reserves, based on the company’s realised profits minus any realised losses.

In the event of insolvency, it is part of the administrator’s role to scrutinise payments made to shareholders in the period before the insolvency to identify any payments which may have been illegal. In such cases, the courts have wide powers to apply a variety of sanctions and remedies, including ordering the recovery of amounts from recipients and compensation orders against directors enforceable against their personal assets.

The Government is currently consulting on proposals to increase transparency in how companies demonstrate that dividends are affordable, as part of the White Paper on Restoring Trust in Audit and Corporate Governance. This includes a proposed requirement that directors of large companies should disclose at a minimum the company’s known distributable reserve before paying any dividend, and state that it is their reasonable expectation that the proposed dividend would not threaten the company’s insolvency over the following two years.

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, whether any of the covid-19 vaccines purchased by the Government for use in the UK have been tested on people with sickle cell and thalassemia blood disorders.

We expect safety data from all trials to set out how the COVID-19 vaccines work in different types of people.


The NHS COVID-19 vaccine research registry, developed in partnership with NHS Digital, will help facilitate the rapid recruitment of large numbers of people into trials. The government has been encouraging a diverse pool of people to volunteer to help researchers better understand the effectiveness of each vaccine candidate


Specific questions on individual vaccines are for vaccine developers.

Amanda Solloway
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions officials of his Department have had with representatives from employer organisations on recent changes in advice to clinically extremely vulnerable people who are shielding with (a) arthritis and (b) other conditions.

Officials regularly meet with representatives from employer bodies and discussions have included recent changes in the advice to the Clinically Extremely Vulnerable.

More generally, BEIS leads for Government on the Safer Working Guidance. This sets out the steps employers can take to ensure that the workplace is secure for everyone. This guidance is updated as necessary following changes in public health advice. Individuals and organisations, including those with interest in specific conditions such as arthritis, are able to comment on the guidance through safer.workplaces@beis.gov.uk.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
5th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions she has had with representatives of FTSE 100 companies on diversity.

BEIS Ministers have regular discussions with FTSE 100 company chairs and CEOs and with business representative organisations and stress the Government’s priority of improving diversity at board and leadership levels, especially in support of the Hampton-Alexander and Parker Reviews. We do all we can to promote business leadership diversity and inclusion.

In that wider context, LGBT+ people should be able to be themselves in the workplace, so that they can do their best work and achieve their full potential. Many British businesses, charities and voluntary organisations are leading the way on LGBT+ equality at work; this is regularly highlighted by activities such as the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index, which showcases the UK’s top 100 LGBT employers.

At the Government’s request, the Financial Reporting Council revised the UK Corporate Governance Code in 2018 which requires companies to report fully on their diversity and inclusion policies, and how the objectives of these policies relate to wider company strategy.

The Government Equalities Office LGBT Action Plan published in July 2018 has over 75 commitments regarding the representation of LGBT people in the workplace. This action plan was informed by the National LGBT Survey of 108,000 respondents and sets out commitments to improve the lives of LGBT people in the workplace.

5th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps she plans to take to improve reporting on LGBT+ inclusion in the workplace.

BEIS Ministers have regular discussions with FTSE 100 company chairs and CEOs and with business representative organisations and stress the Government’s priority of improving diversity at board and leadership levels, especially in support of the Hampton-Alexander and Parker Reviews. We do all we can to promote business leadership diversity and inclusion.

In that wider context, LGBT+ people should be able to be themselves in the workplace, so that they can do their best work and achieve their full potential. Many British businesses, charities and voluntary organisations are leading the way on LGBT+ equality at work; this is regularly highlighted by activities such as the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index, which showcases the UK’s top 100 LGBT employers.

At the Government’s request, the Financial Reporting Council revised the UK Corporate Governance Code in 2018 which requires companies to report fully on their diversity and inclusion policies, and how the objectives of these policies relate to wider company strategy.

The Government Equalities Office LGBT Action Plan published in July 2018 has over 75 commitments regarding the representation of LGBT people in the workplace. This action plan was informed by the National LGBT Survey of 108,000 respondents and sets out commitments to improve the lives of LGBT people in the workplace.

5th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps she is taking to tackle the LGBT+ pay gap.

This is a matter for the Government’s Equalities Office and they will be responding shortly to the same question.

5th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps she will take to improve LGBT+ workers representation on the boards of FTSE 100 companies.

One of our top priorities is to make the UK the best place in the world to work and grow a business. New provisions in the UK Corporate Governance Code give employees a stronger voice in the boardroom. They require companies to have an employee director, a designated non-executive director or a formal employee advisory council, or to explain why another employee engagement mechanism has been adopted.

The Government has legislated to require annual reporting on how boardrooms are engaging with their employees and taking their interests into account – this applies to public and private companies with more than 250 employees. The UK Corporate Governance Code also sets out that a company’s culture should value diversity and should promote diversity in appointments and succession planning.

LGBT+ people should be able to be themselves in the workplace, so that they can do their best work and achieve their full potential. The Government Equalities Office (GEO) LGBT Action Plan published in July 2018 has over 75 commitments regarding the representation of LGBT people in the workplace. This action plan was informed by the National LGBT Survey of 108,000 respondents and sets out commitments to improve the lives of LGBT people in the workplace. GEO will create a comprehensive training package on tackling LGBT workplace discrimination that will be available to all employers, developing targeted interventions to improve the experiences of LGBT people at work.

17th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to allow outdoor group running activities to return safely during the covid-19 outbreak; and what guidance his Department has published for the organisations involved in running such activities.

The importance of sport and physical activity for the nation’s physical and mental health has never been more apparent. They are powerful defences against Covid-19, and as we prepare to return to our normal lives, we will need to do all we can to improve people’s fitness and wellbeing.

The government has prioritised the safe return of sport, including team sports, contact combat sports and organised sports participation events. Organised outdoor sport is exempt from legal gathering limits and can take place with any number of participants, as long as undertaken in line with published Covid-secure guidance. This includes organised sport participation events which includes outdoor running group activities. These events were allowed from 29 March as part of step 1 of the roadmap.

Guidance on Organised Sports Participation Events is available here - https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-grassroots-sports-guidance-for-safe-provision-including-team-sport-contact-combat-sport-and-organised-sport-events

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
13th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether the Government plans to launch an investigation into (a) the collapse of Football Index and (b) the Gambling Commission's regulation of Football Index.

DCMS will appoint an independent expert to conduct a review of the regulation of the Football Index gambling product and to make recommendations to government and the regulators. The review will take an objective look at the decisions and actions of the Gambling Commission and any other relevant regulatory bodies to provide a clear account of how the activities of its operator, BetIndex Ltd, were regulated, identify if there are potential areas for improvement, and inform our Review of the Gambling Act 2005. More information can be found in a Written Ministerial Statement on Regulation of Football Index, available at:

https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-statements/detail/2021-04-20/hcws929

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what support the Government is providing to local authorities to help ensure libraries are accessible for (a) click and collect services and (b) information technology services for the most vulnerable and digitally excluded communities.

The COVID regulations allow public libraries in England during the current national restrictions to continue to provide physical library services including an “order and collect” provision, as well as access to public PCs for people to use essential services.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has worked closely with Libraries Connected to develop their toolkit which provides practical guidelines for heads of service and library staff to support the delivery of library services. The toolkit has helped the library sector navigate this difficult period and has been updated to reflect national and local restrictions.

The government exemptions enable public libraries to provide certain services, but do not compel them to do so. Whether library services can or will be provided in each area is for each local council to determine after undertaking appropriate risk assessments, involving staff and unions, looking at the safety of both users and people working in libraries.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, which 5 countries did not air the restart of the Premier League this month.

We understand from the Premier League that broadcast rights to their matches have been sold around the world, with only five countries not covered as of 17 June - Afghanistan, Cuba, North Korea, the Philippines and Turkmenistan.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of support for BAME charities that are helping people disproportionately affected by covid-19.

My department is committed to ongoing, regular and in depth engagement with the charity and social enterprise sectors during the COVID-19 pandemic. DCMS will continue to work closely to assess how we can support BAME charities and social enterprises in doing their important work. The Minister for Civil Society holds a fortnightly roundtable to hear directly from BAME civil society organisations to highlight concerns and responses to covid-19.

The Government's £750m targeted funding package and a further £150 million from dormant bank accounts will help charities, social enterprises and vulnerable individuals. We are proactively engaging across government and directly with the sector to maintain a complete picture of the impact and to better understand unmet needs at a national and local level that are not already addressed by existing plans.

My department and the National Lottery Community Fund (NLCF - our distribution partners for the Coronavirus Community Support Fund) have been - and continue to - engage extensively with BAME organisations during the development of the response and are working with a number of organisations to improve the reach of the Coronavirus Community Support Fund. A diverse advisory panel has been set up to support the distribution process for the fund.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he has taken to protect BAME charities from closure during the covid-19 outbreak.

My department is committed to ongoing, regular and in depth engagement with the charity and social enterprise sectors during the COVID-19 pandemic. DCMS will continue to work closely to assess how we can support BAME charities and social enterprises in doing their important work. The Minister for Civil Society holds a fortnightly roundtable to hear directly from BAME civil society organisations to highlight concerns and responses to covid-19.

The Government's £750m targeted funding package and a further £150 million from dormant bank accounts will help charities, social enterprises and vulnerable individuals. We are proactively engaging across government and directly with the sector to maintain a complete picture of the impact and to better understand unmet needs at a national and local level that are not already addressed by existing plans.

My department and the National Lottery Community Fund (NLCF - our distribution partners for the Coronavirus Community Support Fund) have been - and continue to - engage extensively with BAME organisations during the development of the response and are working with a number of organisations to improve the reach of the Coronavirus Community Support Fund. A diverse advisory panel has been set up to support the distribution process for the fund.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will ring-fence part of the charity relief package, announced in April 2020, for BAME charities.

My department is committed to ongoing, regular and in depth engagement with the charity and social enterprise sectors during the COVID-19 pandemic. DCMS will continue to work closely to assess how we can support BAME charities and social enterprises in doing their important work. The Minister for Civil Society holds a fortnightly roundtable to hear directly from BAME civil society organisations to highlight concerns and responses to covid-19.

The Government's £750m targeted funding package and a further £150 million from dormant bank accounts will help charities, social enterprises and vulnerable individuals. We are proactively engaging across government and directly with the sector to maintain a complete picture of the impact and to better understand unmet needs at a national and local level that are not already addressed by existing plans.

My department and the National Lottery Community Fund (NLCF - our distribution partners for the Coronavirus Community Support Fund) have been - and continue to - engage extensively with BAME organisations during the development of the response and are working with a number of organisations to improve the reach of the Coronavirus Community Support Fund. A diverse advisory panel has been set up to support the distribution process for the fund.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
13th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether the Government plans to retrofit all education buildings to help achieve the Net Zero target by 2030.

The Department supports sustainability through our capital funding and programmes, both to reduce carbon and save schools money on energy.

Since 2015, the Department has allocated £11.3 billion to maintain and improve school buildings, including improving energy efficiency. This includes £1.8 billion in the current financial year 2021/22.

In addition, the ten year school rebuilding programme has launched with a commitment to 500 rebuilding projects over the next decade. This will replace poor condition and ageing school buildings with modern, energy efficient designs, transforming education for thousands of pupils.

The Further Education (FE) Capital Transformation Fund delivers the Government’s £1.5 billion commitment to upgrade the estate of both FE colleges and designated institutions in England. This will target colleges in the worst condition whilst supporting the Government's objectives on achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions.

In 2020, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy set up the £1 billion Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme which provided grants for eligible public sector bodies, including schools, to fund energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation measures. Higher education institutions were also eligible for these grants. Phase 2 of this scheme has recently been announced and will allocate £75 million of funding.

More broadly, the Department is working with colleagues across government on carbon reduction and energy efficiency and developing thinking on how future capital programmes can contribute further.

Further details on capital funding for the period beyond this financial year will be set out at the next Spending Review.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what support his Department is providing to the families of home schooled children during the covid-19 outbreak; and what steps he is taking to help home schooled children receive predicted grades for examinations.

It is the Government’s aim to ensure all young people receive a world-class education which allows them to reach their potential and live a fulfilled life. In turn, we support the right of parents to educate children at home when they wish to do so and can provide a suitable education.

On 25 February, the Department announced proposals to fairly award all pupils a grade that supports them to progress to the next stage of their lives. These proposals include a clear and accessible route for private candidates to work with a centre to receive a grade this year, at the same time as other candidates. Exam boards will provide centres with clear guidance on the evidence they can use to assess a private candidate. A list of available centres will be published shortly, and we are working with the sector to ensure there are sufficient centres available and at a similar cost to a normal year.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that the Government protects (a) higher education in London (b) Teaching Grant in London and (c) London weighting for London’s Universities.

The Strategic Priorities Grant, formerly referred to as the Teaching Grant, plays an important role in supporting providers and students to develop the skills and knowledge needed locally, regionally, and nationally to support the economy.

The Strategic Priorities Grant will be reformed for the 2021/22 financial year to ensure that more of taxpayers’ money is spent on supporting higher education (HE) provision which aligns with national priorities, such as healthcare, science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and subjects meeting specific labour market needs.

The London weighting accounts for a small proportion of London-providers’ income. Providers in London received around £64 million London Weighting in the 2020/21 academic year, which is less than 1% of their total income.

Excellent provision can be delivered across the country. London universities will be able to benefit from the significant uplifts we are making to elements of the Strategic Priorities Grant, including the first real terms increase in years in per capita funding for high-cost subjects in Grant funding, as well as being able to bid for capital investment to support the delivery of strategic subjects.

We have also asked the Office for Students (OfS) for a £10 million increase to the specialist provider allocation, to support these institutions which are particularly reliant on Strategic Priorities Grant funding, many of whom are London-based. We want to ensure that our small and specialist providers, including some of our top music and arts providers, receive additional support, and that grant funding is used to effectively support students.

The OfS will consult on these changes shortly before final allocations for the 2021/22 financial year are confirmed and will carefully consider the impact of any changes on providers.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
15th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what additional mental health support the Government is providing to pupils during the January 2021 covid-19 lockdown.

The government has made children’s wellbeing and mental health a central part of our response to the COVID-19 outbreak, and the support we have already put in place for children and young people will be critical during this time. The department has issued guidance for schools which includes information and sources of further advice on supporting mental health and wellbeing, available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak.

We have ensured that schools have the flexibility to offer a place in school as a vulnerable child to any pupils for whom being in school will help them manage their wellbeing and mental health, or to access support more easily. Decisions will be informed by the school’s experience of how pupils have been affected so far.

Schools will continue to offer pastoral support to pupils working remotely at home, informed and supported by training and expert advice that we have made available, including through the £8 million Wellbeing for Education Return scheme and through local links with mental health providers. This information and support is relevant to remote provision as well as to those attending school. Schools should make sure that parents and pupils know who to contact if they have new concerns about mental health and wellbeing.

A £1 billion COVID “catch-up” package with £650 million shared across early years, schools and 16-19 providers over the 2020/21 academic year is also supporting education settings to put the right catch-up and pastoral support in place. The Education Endowment Foundation have published a COVID-19 support guide to support schools to direct this funding, which includes further information about interventions to support pupils’ mental health and wellbeing.

The department will also be convening a task force to look at the effects on children, young people and staff in the education system and we will confirm the next steps as soon as possible.

Public Health England has produced guidance for parents and carers on supporting children and young people's mental health and wellbeing. For those who need specialist support or help, all NHS Mental Health Trusts are providing 24/7 open access telephone lines to support people of all ages and continue to deliver mental health support to children and young people.

The government continues to invest in and prioritise mental health. The NHS will receive around an additional £500 million this year, to address waiting times for mental health services, give more people the mental health support they need, and invest in the NHS workforce.

In the long term, we remain committed to our joint green paper delivery programme with the Department for Health and Social Care and NHS England, including introducing new mental health support teams for all schools and colleges, providing training for senior mental health leads in schools and colleges, and testing approaches to faster access to NHS specialist support.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to help deaf students access remote learning during the covid-19 lockdown that began in January 2021.

All primary schools, secondary schools and colleges in England are now expected to provide remote education for the majority of their pupils and students, with the exception of vulnerable children and young people (including those with an Education, Health and Care Plan) and the children of critical workers, who can attend school or college in person. Where vulnerable children and young people and children of critical workers do not attend school or college, the Department expects schools and colleges to provide them with remote education.

For pupils with SEND, their teachers are best placed to know how the pupil’s needs can be most effectively met to ensure they continue to make progress even if they are not able to be in school due to COVID-19. The requirement for schools to use their best endeavours to secure the special educational provision called for by the pupils’ special educational needs remains in place.

Schools should follow the age-related guidance for primary schools and secondary schools: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/952443/210114_School_national_restrictions_guidance_FINAL_14012021.pdf. For example, for Key Stage 1 children in a special school, a minimum of 3 hours should be the aim on average across the cohort, with less for younger pupils. However, we expect schools to consider these expectations in relation to the pupils’ stage of development and special educational needs, for example, where this would place significant demands on parents’ help or support.

Schools should work collaboratively with families, putting in place reasonable adjustments as necessary, so that pupils with SEND can successfully access remote education and an ambitious curriculum appropriate for their level of need alongside their peers. All further education colleges should give particular consideration on how best to support vulnerable and disadvantaged students and students with SEND who may not be able to access remote education without support.

To ensure pupils with SEND are supported effectively, the Department has provided additional funding to one of our demonstrators, National Star College, to provide specialist training in assistive technologies to teachers, leaders and SENCOs in all state funded schools in England.  This training will help to secure remote education arrangements for pupils with special educational needs. Advice and guidance is also available to support the development of an inclusive curriculum.

In addition, the Department has made £4.84 million available for Oak National Academy to provide video lessons in a broad range of subjects for Reception up to Year 11. Specialist content for pupils with SEND is also available. To support pupils with hearing loss, lessons supplied by Oak are captioned. For younger age groups (year 1 to 3 English and Maths), where their reading ability might make captions harder to understand, lessons are also signed in British Sign Language. All lessons are pre-recorded and can be accessed at any time on any internet-connected device. Depending on the lesson picked, faces of teachers can be seen which may assist pupils with lip reading (please note that this is dependent on video quality). Some of these lessons are also supported with slides, quizzes and worksheets that are text based.

There is a wide range of further resources available to support schools and further education colleges to meet the remote expectations we have set. The Get Help With Remote Education page on gov.uk provides a one-stop-shop for teachers and leaders, signposting the support package available: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/get-help-with-remote-education.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to ensure the safety and protection of seal populations along British coastlines.

Both native grey seal and harbour seal species are protected in the UK under relevant wildlife legislation. Please refer to the following link for details:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/protected-marine-species/seals

In addition, recent Government amendments to the Fisheries Act 2020 offer stronger protection for seals. The amendments prevent the intentional or reckless killing of seals in English, Welsh and Northern Irish waters as a result of commercial fishing.

Together with the Seal Alliance, we launched a new Government-backed campaign ‘Give Seals Space’ earlier this year to reduce the impact that human disturbance can have on these vulnerable marine mammals.

Defra is also providing funding to understand better the specific threats that seals are facing along the UK coast. This includes additional surveys to strengthen our understanding of fluctuations in harbour seal populations and trialling non-lethal deterrents to reduce interactions between seals and fishing vessels.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the report of the Environmental Audit Committee, Toxic Chemicals in Everyday Life, published in July 2019, what steps his Department is taking to tackle the regulation of toxic chemicals used in furniture.

Flame retardants which were used in soft furnishings that fulfil the persistent organic pollutants (POPs) criteria are banned from use or restricted globally under the UN Stockholm Convention. Other known harmful flame retardants have been identified as Substances of Very High Concern (SVHCs) and are on the candidate list for authorisation. This is the first step for a harmful chemical to be banned subject to stringent controls under the UK REACH authorisation process.

The UK supports global action on harmful chemicals. The Environment Agency is a leader in understanding these chemicals and the UK has recently proposed another flame retardant, medium chain chlorinated paraffins (MCCPs), to the Stockholm Convention for consideration as a POP, which could lead to a ban on its use in the future.

The Government has announced that it will develop a new approach to the Furniture and Furnishing (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 which will focus on safety outcomes and will be underpinned by a set of essential safety requirements, which all upholstered furniture placed on the market must meet.

The current regulations do not specify the use of chemical flame retardants as a means of making furniture fire safe and the Government continues to welcome innovative approaches that deliver safe outcomes for consumers.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the Government plans to ease restrictions on (a) allowing the growing of genetically modified crops and (b) the use of other genetic technologies in food and farming.

Defra is committed to following a science-based approach to GM crop approval for marketing as food and feed. Under current rules, GM crops and the products derived from them must be authorised before they can be used. This authorisation is dependent on a favourable risk assessment from our independent scientific experts. Defra's policy is to maintain high standards that protect people, animals and the environment.

Defra is currently reviewing the responses to the Government's recent consultation on the regulation of genetic technologies, which also sought views on wider GM reform. The consultation ended on 17 March and a Government response will be published in due course.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to monitor the level of (a) lead and (b) other chemicals in the water supply.

Drinking water is a devolved matter and the information provided therefore relates to England only.

Water companies are responsible for monitoring the level of lead and other chemicals in public supplies and local authorities are responsible in private supplies. The drinking water regulations for public and private supplies set sampling frequencies and standards to be achieved. Water companies and local authorities are responsible for identifying risks to the quality of the water and are required to sample the supply for any element, organism or substance that may be at a level which would constitute a potential danger to human health.

The Drinking Water Inspectorate is the regulator for drinking water quality. They hold water companies to account and take action to ensure any failures are addressed. They also provide technical and scientific advice to local authorities.

In 2019, public water supply compliance with the drinking water regulations was 99.96% and private water supply was 96.6%.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to protect dolphins, porpoises and whales in the UK from fishing gear; and whether he is planning to implement bycatch solutions to protect endangered species.

The UK Government funds a comprehensive and well-respected bycatch monitoring programme which helps to protect sensitive marine species and to monitor and reduce any potential fisheries impacts on these species. The UK has an additional observer programme which collects data on fisheries catch and bycatch for scientific advice and management.

The Government also funds Clean Catch UK which is a collaborative research programme dedicated to better monitoring, reducing, and, where possible, eliminating bycatch of sensitive species in UK fisheries. We are taking a risk-based approach to implementing this, focussing on fisheries which experience the highest rates of bycatch in the first instance. As a known hotspot for bycatch, work is already underway in the South West of England. We are currently undertaking trials for a range of mitigation measures in different fisheries along Cornwall’s south coast and will be looking to include more fisheries in this over the next 12 months.

In addition, we also fund the Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme (CSIP), which annually reports upon threats facing cetaceans through carrying out post-mortems on stranded animals. As of 1 April 2021, we let a new 10-year contract for this programme, which demonstrates our long-term commitment to monitoring and mitigating such threats, including bycatch.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what steps she is taking to tackle the LGBT+ pay gap.

The Government does not collect data differentiating the pay between LGBT people and non-LGBT people and this data is not widely collected by employers.

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will allow driving tests to take place for key workers during the covid-19 lockdown announced in January 2021.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) will respond to requests for practical driving tests in England and Wales from organisations on behalf of frontline mobile emergency workers, who require a driving licence to carry out duties in their employment role.

This is a limited service subject to examiner resource and is restricted to candidates working in health and social care, and other public bodies involved in work responding to ‘threats to life’ such as the Environment Agency’s flood rescue staff, or local authority gritter truck drivers. The DVSA is contacting relevant bodies to explain how to nominate candidates; candidates cannot apply themselves. Applications from other organisations will be considered if the mobile emergency worker criteria is met.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions she has had with the British Transport Police on the availability of CCTV footage relevant to the investigation of the assault of Belly Mujinga on 21 March 2020.

The Secretary of State has not had any discussions with the British Transport Police on the availability of CCTV footage relevant to the assault of Belly Mujinga at Victoria Station on 21 March 2020. The investigation is an operational matter for BTP.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will collate statistics on the number of employees in the rail industry by rail franchise who have died of covid-19.

The industry collates the number of railway workers who have died with COVID-19. The latest figures indicate a total of 10 workers employed by Network Rail and Train Operating Companies have regrettably passed away.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will collate statistics on the number of London Underground workers by station at which those workers were based who have died of covid-19.

My thoughts are with those who have sadly died with Covid-19 and their families and friends at this difficult time. As transport in London is devolved to the Mayor of London and delivered by Transport for London (TfL), it is TfL that is best placed to provide information regarding the number of London Underground workers who have died of Covid-19.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many and what proportion of employees of the Govia Thameslink Railway franchise that have contracted covid-19 are from a BAME background.

GTR confirm that of the 18 employee cases, 6 employees self-reported as being from a BAME background.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what guidance he has issued to rail franchises on the use of PPE in the workplace.

Keeping transport workers and passengers safe is of paramount importance as we continue to scale up services across the transport network as part of the restart. The Department has held roundtables and meetings at all levels with operators across the transport sector in the response to COVID-19, including to support with the implementation of the Government’s PPE plan published in April.

Public Health England guidance has been clear that there is very little scientific evidence of widespread benefit from personal protective equipment outside of health and social care settings. Guidance on cleaning of non-healthcare settings and shipping and sea ports and how PPE may be used in these contexts has been published in February and March respectively. The Department has worked with and continues to work with operators to ensure they can meet the PPE needs as set out in this guidance.

Throughout the response, the Department has worked with the sector to support with effective implementation of key measures of social distancing and good hand and respiratory hygiene in transport settings.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, on what date the Govia Thameslink Railway franchise provide protective visors for staff in each station on that franchise.

GTR is currently trialling the use of visors. Before it can issue visors to employees, GTR must first of all ensure that the use of a visor will not affect or inhibit the ability of employees to complete their duties safely.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what health surveillance procedures are in place at Govia Thameslink Railway franchise, to identify (a) sick, (b) asymptomatic and (c) vulnerable employees.

GTR is one of a small number of train operators with an in-house Occupational Health team, and the only operator with its own Chief Medical Officer. Under normal circumstances GTR would identify these through pre-employment medicals, statutory periodic medicals, any employee referrals to the team from line managers and more ad-hoc health surveillance.

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, the Occupational Health team has offered a direct nurse telephone advisory service for employees and a dedicated ‘Covid referral system’ for managers to request specialist advice in regards to employees they manage.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many employees the Govia Thameslink Railway franchise have contracted covid-19.

There are 7,389 GTR employees, of these GTR has been notified of 18 cases where staff have received a positive test result for Covid 19. In addition, there are another 4 cases where employees have suspected Covid-19, however this has not yet been confirmed through testing.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
18th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to provide support for families who are struggling with the cost of childcare.

The Department is fully committed to supporting parents with moving into work and improving their earnings once employed. Universal Credit (UC) childcare costs provides more generous childcare support than was available under Tax Credits, reimbursing up to 85% of eligible childcare costs up to a monthly cap as opposed to 70% under tax credits.

UC childcare aligns with the wider government childcare offer. This includes the free childcare offer which provides 15 hours a week of free childcare in England for all 3 and 4 year olds and disadvantaged 2 year olds, doubling for working parents of 3 and 4 year olds to 30 hours a week. The UC childcare cost element can be used to top up a claimant’s eligible free childcare hours if more hours are worked and childcare is required. This means that reasonable childcare costs should not form a barrier to work.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether people that are self-isolating (a) before and (b) after elective surgery in line with NHS England guidance will be eligible to claim Statutory Sick Pay if they are unable to work.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is available to employees who are too ill to work. Where an employee is unable to work after elective surgery because of sickness or because they are recovering they may be eligible to receive SSP. Where an employee cannot work for 7 or more days’ employers can request medical evidence of their employee’s sickness. This can be in the form of a fit note from their GP or hospital doctor.

If an employee cannot work because they have been advised to self-isolate before and/or after elective surgery they should speak to their employer about suitable policies they may have in place such as, the ability to work from home, or the provision of special leave. Where employees have previously been furloughed for a full three-week period prior to 30 June they should speak to their employer about being furloughed for the period they are unable to work if they do not have other suitable policies in place.

We are currently discussing with health colleagues whether it is appropriate to extend SSP to those who are required to self-isolate before elective surgery.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to promote the Access to Work scheme to clinically extremely vulnerable people who are shielding with (a) arthritis and (b) other conditions.

Disabled people in the clinically extremely vulnerable group who are currently in work can apply to Access to Work for support to overcome barriers they face in the workplace and while working from home, including those resulting from Covid-19.

As part of the Access to Work home working support offer, we have introduced various easements to further support those who are shielding and in the clinically extremely vulnerable group, allowing flexibilities while working from home. We are transporting assistive technology from the workplace to the home environment to support home working and, where this is not possible, Access to Work will work with the disabled person and their employer to consider new adjustments to support adaptations to standard equipment. We have also extended timeframes for receiving claims for payments, and started accepting email claim forms and employer/support signatures via email so customers can shield. Access to Work assessments are being carried out through virtual means to further protect customers.

To promote the scheme and support offered, we have updated GOV.UK to make clear the latest guidance on the Access to Work programme, including advising of the help available to people during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. This has been promoted through Touchbase, DWP’s stakeholder newsletter which goes to around 8000 stakeholders. The department has also produced several animated explainer videos and social media posts on Access to Work which have been posted across a range of social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter.

We continue to promote the latest Access to Work guidance through communications to employers, with stakeholders, jobcentres and providers, as well as through content promoted via our existing benefits and labour market campaigns which make use of both paid and no-cost social media channels.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to Section 2.20 of Budget 2020, Extending Shared Accommodation Rate (SAR) exemptions, what his Department's definition is of (a) a rough sleeper and (b) victims of domestic abuse and human trafficking with regard to their exemption from the Shared Accommodation Rate.

Currently those aged 25-34 who have spent 3 months in a homeless hostel for the purposes of rehabilitation/re-settlement are exempt from the shared accommodation rate. Following the announcement at the Spring Budget, Government will amend legislation to extend that exemption to those under 25.

The definitions for survivors of domestic abuse and human trafficking, with regard to their exemption from the Shared Accommodation Rate, will be set out in future legislation. In developing these exemptions, we will be working with key stakeholders, charities and other Government Departments to ensure they are fit for purpose.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what steps the Government is taking to tackle the adverse effect of covid-19 on members of BAME communities.

Guided by medical and scientific expertise, the Government has implemented significant measures to reduce the spread of the virus in all communities, especially those who may be at higher risk. This includes targeted testing of occupations and groups at higher risk; guidance for NHS organisations on how to enhance their existing risk assessments particularly for potentially at-risk groups within their workforce; and translating the latest information into multiple languages and forms to meet accessibility needs.

In April, the Department for Health and Social Care commissioned Public Health England (PHE) to undertake a rapid review to understand how different factors have affected COVID-19 risk and outcomes. The report has some limitations - the ethnicity analyses did not, for example, adjust for factors such as co-morbidities. As Minister for Equalities, I am working with the Race Disparity Unit and the Department for Health and Social Care to carry forward work to identify and fill the gaps in PHE’s review; and work across government to take appropriate steps to mitigate disparities identified. The terms of reference for this work, which include quarterly updates to the Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on progress, were published on gov.uk on 4 June.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps he is taking to ensure people are not unduly sanctioned following the cancellation of job centre appointments as a result of covid-19.

As both the Prime Minister and Chancellor have made clear, the Government will do whatever it takes to support people affected by COVID 19 and we have been clear in our intention that everyone should be supported to do the right thing.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment the Government has made of the merits of providing a British Sign Language interpreter to accompany televised announcements to ensure the deaf community has access to information.

The Government is committed to ensuring deaf people can fully participate and play a full role in society. We support initiatives aimed at improving understanding of the needs of deaf people and how the barriers they face can be removed, as well as giving deaf people more say in how they access services.

We worked with the BBC to introduce a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter on Monday 16 March to accompany the Prime Minister’s daily coronavirus press conference. The BSL interpreter is available on the BBC News Channel and BBC iPlayer. We intend to continue to work with the BBC to ensure there is a BSL interpreter in our daily updates on coronavirus and are prioritising the exploration of additional methods to ensure that all disabled people have access to pertinent communication in accessible formats.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment the Government has made of the potential merits of all Government announcements of public importance being accompanied by a BSL interpreter.

The Government is committed to ensuring deaf people can fully participate and play a full role in society. We support initiatives aimed at improving understanding of the needs of deaf people and how the barriers they face can be removed, as well as giving deaf people more say in how they access services.

We are currently in discussions on the best way to ensure that any pertinent announcements are delivered in BSL to ensure that deaf people receive information at the same time as others.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to support the health and wellbeing needs of people who are currently participating in trials of unapproved covid-19 vaccines.

Participants in all clinical trials are provided with contact details at the local site should they have any health and wellbeing concerns which may be related to the trial.

The trial’s principle investigator advise the participant based on their knowledge of whether the participant received an active COVID-19 vaccine trial product or a placebo.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what (a) steps his Department is taking to encourage take up of the covid-19 vaccinations amongst health workers and (b) guidance and support his Department is offering to staff who may be hesitant about receiving a covid-19 vaccine.

The Department of Health and Social Care has indicated that it will not be possible to answer this question within the usual time period. An answer is being prepared and will be provided as soon as it is available.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will take urgent steps with representatives of Clinical Commission Groups across England to tackle the discrimination faced by same-sex women couples when accessing fertility treatment on the NHS.

In England, decisions about local NHS fertility services are determined by clinical commissioning groups, taking account of National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) fertility guidelines. We expect local National Health Service bodies to commission fertility services in line with the NICE guidelines, so that there is equal access across England.

NICE fertility guidelines include provision for same sex female couples who have demonstrated their clinical infertility through six failed cycles of artificial insemination. These provisions are a way of achieving equivalence between opposite sex and same sex couples in establishing clinical infertility. NICE has begun a scoping process for the review of these guidelines.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to (a) ensure that all trans people have access to necessary healthcare and (b) reduce waiting times for gender affirming services and gender identity clinics.

Four new gender identity clinics have been established in London, Manchester, Cheshire and Merseyside and the East of England. These were opened in June 2020, December 2020, January 2021 and June 2021 respectively. A further clinic is expected to open in the South East of England in summer 2022. The four established clinics are expected to reduce the waiting list by a quarter by 2024.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ban sexual orientation and gender identity conversion practices that take place in healthcare settings as part of legislative proposals on banning conversion therapy.

The Government is committed to ending conversion therapy and has announced an upcoming ban. The Department for Health and Social Care is working with the Government Equalities Office as their consultation is developed.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will (a) publish the criteria used to determine whether to place countries on the red list of travel ban countries; and (b) provide financial support to low-income families returning from newly added red list countries to cover costs incurred whilst self-isolating in Government-approved hotel quarantine facilities.

Decisions to place countries on the ‘red list’ are taken by Ministers informed by evidence including the Joint Biosecurity Centre’s analysis as well as other relevant information about the risk of the spread of variants. The methodology for risk assessments that inform ministerial decisions is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-risk-assessment-methodology-to-inform-international-travel-traffic-light-system.

For those facing significant financial hardship as a result of the managed quarantine charge, there is an opportunity to apply for a deferred repayment plan when booking.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to support the rollout of covid-19 vaccines to people who are not registered with a GP surgery.

The Department has introduced the General Practice COVID-19 vaccination programme 2020/21 Enhanced Service Specification, which enables practices to vaccinate unregistered patients within their eligible priority cohort, therefore increasing accessibility.

National Health Service regional teams, working with various partners, will contact those individuals not registered with a general practitioner to ensure that they are offered appropriate support to receive the vaccine and avoid inequalities in access.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, will the Minister confirm, with reference to the Answer of 29 April 2021 to Question 188073, for what reasons his Department's guidance, Testing for coronavirus: privacy information confirms that personal details are passed to a company not in charge of delivery of polymerase chain reaction tests for home testing.

The reference to names and addresses being shared with Amazon is now out of date. Royal Mail Group have held the contract for the delivery of COVID-19 home test kits since 14 December 2020.

We follow best practice to help protect personal information and comply with the law on the use of data, including the Data Protection Act 2018 and also require our suppliers to do so.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
27th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what delivery supplier is being used for the delivery of covid-19 PCR tests; and whether that contract was put out to tender.

The delivery supplier of polymerase chain reaction tests for home testing is Royal Mail Group. This contract was put out to tender.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
27th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether covid-19 lateral flow testing swabs are coated in any chemical or other substance; and what assessment his Department has made of the safety of those testing swabs.

It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before prorogation.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to (a) support trans people and (b) reduce the waiting time for trans people to access treatment provided by the NHS.

To address waiting times and support trans people, a new service specification has been developed to deliver services in local health settings. Three new clinics, operating under this specification, have been established in London, Manchester and Cheshire and Merseyside. These clinics are subject to ongoing evaluation with the ambition of further clinics being established.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to support (a) women's health issues and (b) women with womb related health concerns including fibroids and endometriosis.

The Government has embarked on the first Government-led Women’s Health Strategy for England. To ensure the strategy reflects what women identify as priorities, we launched a call for evidence on International Women’s Day which will run for twelve weeks.

The call for evidence seeks to examine women’s experiences of the whole health and care system, including conditions that affect women, female-specific issues such as pregnancy and postnatal support and gynaecological conditions such as endometriosis and fibroids.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the two-monthly report on the status of the provisions of the Coronavirus Act 2020 published on 28 January 2021, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of maintaining powers under (a) s 52 and (b) Schedule 22 of the Coronavirus Act 2020.

As part of the one-year review of the Act, the Government has conducted a thorough review of the non-devolved provisions to check they are necessary and proportionate and has considered whether there is a robust justification for keeping those powers we propose to retain.

Section 52 and Schedule 22 confer powers to issue directions in relation to events, gatherings and premises. These will be important powers to maintain when the current lockdown regulations expire as they will continue to provide the mechanism for a targeted approach to potential local outbreaks.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that (a) emergency support and (b) specialised guidance on (i) covid-19 and (ii) covid-19 vaccines are provided to (A) disabled people and (B) people with a learning disability during the covid-19 outbreak.

We have provided over £1 million funding to learning disability and autism charities to support their COVID-19 response. We have advised people with specific health conditions, who are deemed to be clinically extremely vulnerable to COVID-19, to shield and providing direct support to the shielded population by enabling access to the NHS Volunteer Responders programme, which is available to anyone self-isolating.

We are implementing the national Adult Social Care Winter Plan to ensure that high-quality, safe and timely care is provided, whilst protecting people from COVID-19 and increasing access to testing in care homes, launching regular retesting in high risk supported living settings and publishing new guidance on regular testing for domiciliary care staff.  We published a range of tailored guidance to help protect people with a learning disability and autistic people during the pandemic.  We have also ensured that important health communications are available in alternative, accessible formats.

We have also ensured that support and guidance about getting a COVID-19 vaccine have been made available to disabled people, including people with a learning disability. We have prioritised people with a learning disability who are on a general practitioner learning disability register in priority group six for vaccination, in line with guidance from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation and made available a wide range of accessible and easy read resources on the COVID-19 vaccine.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to support and offer the covid-19 vaccine to people with (a) blood cancer and (b) and other blood disorders such as sickle cell and thalassemia.

Priority group six includes all those who are defined as clinically vulnerable and at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19. People with blood cancer and other blood disorders such as sickle cell and thalassemia are included in this definition. Many people with these disorders may be defined as clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV). Those who are CEV are included in priority group four. Those in priority group four should already have been offered the vaccine.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has made an assessment of the effect on women working at the Royal Free hospital of that hospital's decision to close its staff nursery; and if he will ensure that an equalities impact assessment of that decision is conducted under the Equalities Act 2010.

The hospital has advised that they are consulting with staff and parents to gather feedback and no decision has yet been taken. National Health Service trusts are subject to the Public Sector Equality Duty and any final decision must have regard to the need to eliminate discrimination, advance equal opportunities and foster good relations between groups.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to support patients without digital devices to access GP services during the covid-19 outbreak.

General practice is offering more triage and remote consultations to see as many patients as possible while protecting staff and patients from avoidable risk of infection. Digital services do not replace face-to-face care but are an essential additional tool that primary care can use alongside other access routes to help ensure patients are receiving the right care as quickly and easily as possible. In addition, we have developed alternative ways for people to access digital services, such as booking appointments by proxy where a family member or carer has access to the internet.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how covid-19 vaccination roll-outs are being prioritised by (a) region, (b) local authority area and (c) constituency area; and how many covid-19 vaccines have been successfully administered by (a) region, (b) local authority area and (c) constituency area.

Targeted deliveries are being made to areas where there are more people left to vaccinate in the priority cohorts, proportionate to the at-risk population they have registered.

Since 24 December 2020, we have published weekly data on the total number of vaccinations in the over 80 year olds and under in England. From 11 January 2021, daily data for England has been published showing the total number vaccinated to date, including first and second doses. Since 14 January and on a weekly basis, NHS England and NHS Improvement has published more detailed data on vaccinations in England, including by region. The latest data is available at the following links:

https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/details/healthcare

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

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department plans to issue guidance on parental visits to child and adolescent mental health facilities during the November 2020 covid-19 lockdown.

We recognise just how important it is that parents are able to visit their children in children and young people’s mental health inpatient settings in a very careful and COVID-19-secure way. The National Health Service has taken precautions to ensure that patients and staff in inpatient settings are suitably protected from the outbreak and to reduce the risk of decreased capacity due to staff needing to self-isolate.

Recent guidance on ‘Visiting healthcare inpatient settings during the COVID-19 pandemic: principles’, updated on 13 October 2020, focuses on both ensuring infection control and making sure that patients can access the therapeutic support and visits they need during the pandemic across healthcare inpatient settings, including for children and young people’s mental health facilities. This also includes specific guidance on appropriate application of the legal frameworks around isolation and testing during the pandemic.

The guidance is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-content/uploads/sites/52/2020/03/C0751-visiting-healthcare-inpatient-settings-principles-131020_.pdf

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that minor and major operations take place within his Department's target times for those operations; and how many (a) minor and (b) major operations have missed those target times since 16 March 2020.

Data is not available in the format requested.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the sign-off process for awarding contracts for personal protective equipment procurement.

Guidance on how contracting authorities should respond to COVID-19 was published on 18 March at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/procurement-policy-note-0120-responding-to-covid-19

Authorities are allowed to procure goods, services and works with extreme urgency in exceptional circumstances, which includes supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE), using regulation 32(2)(c) under the Public Contract Regulations 2015. These include a direct contract award due to extreme urgency or the absence of competition.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many items of personal protective equipment were procured through his Department's contract with Elite Creations UK.

A contract was awarded to Elite Creations for the supply of personal protective equipment (PPE). Information on the PPE contracted for will be published on Contracts Finder in due course and can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/contracts-finder

All the items of PPE have now been delivered.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many items of personal protective equipment were procured through his Department's contract with Trade Markets Direct.

The contract awarded to Trade Markets Direct on 5 April for the supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) was cancelled on 22 May. No PPE was delivered under this contract.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the minutes of meetings held between officials in his Department with representatives from (a) Apple and (b) Google on the development of a covid-19 app.

We have worked closely with Apple and Google and will continue to do so as we continue to develop an app which uses their exposure notification framework. Departmental officials have had meetings with Apple and Google from late March 2020. These discussions relate to the development of current Government policy and therefore we have no plans to publish the minutes.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the dates of meetings he has had with representatives from (a) Apple and (b) Google in (i) 2019 and (ii) 2020 in relation to the development of a covid-19 app.

We have worked closely with Apple and Google and will continue to do so as we focus our efforts on taking forward a solution that brings together our app, and their framework. The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has had no meetings with Google or Apple to discuss the app. Departmental officials have met with Apple and Google to discuss the app, including but not limited to the following dates:

26 March;

10 April;

15 April;

19 April;

22 April;

27 April;

29 April;

4 May;

21 May;

4 June;

17 June;

22 June;

and 24 June.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the terms of reference were for the report published by Public Health England on 2 June 2020 entitled Covid-19: Review of disparities and risks in outcomes.

The terms of reference for Public Health England’s review into disparities in the risk and outcomes of COVID-19 are attached.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, on what date he plans to published the unpublished recommendations from the report by Public Health England entitled Covid-19: Review of disparities and risks in outcomes.

The Government commissioned Public Health England (PHE) to analyse how different factors can impact on people’s health outcomes from COVID-19. The resulting report was published last week.

PHE has also been engaging with a significant number of individuals and organisations within black, Asian and minority ethnic communities over the past couple of months to hear their views, concerns and ideas about the impact of COVID-19 on their communities. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Equalities (Kemi Badenoch MP) will be building on and expanding that engagement as she takes work forward to better understand the drivers behind the ethnicity analyses in the PHE report.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to publish the third party submissions that supported the report entitled, Covid-19: Review of disparities and risks in outcomes.

The Government commissioned Public Health England (PHE) to analyse how different factors can impact on people’s health outcomes from COVID-19. The resulting report was published last week.

PHE has also been engaging with a significant number of individuals and organisations within black, Asian and minority ethnic communities over the past couple of months to hear their views, concerns and ideas about the impact of COVID-19 on their communities. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Equalities (Kemi Badenoch MP) will be building on and expanding that engagement as she takes work forward to better understand the drivers behind the ethnicity analyses in the PHE report.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people by (a) age, (b) disability, (c) race and (d) sex are being interviewed or surveyed on the Isle of Wight to understand their experience of using the NHS covid-19 contract tracing app; whether his Department has made an assessment of whether those people being so interviewed or surveyed are representative of the diversity of the UK; if he will place a copy of the methodology for those interviews or surveys in the Library; and whether that methodology was reviewed by the NHS COVID-19 App Data Ethics Advisory Board.

In order to support the evaluation of the Isle of Wight rollout of the Test and Trace programme, the Department commissioned the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) to conduct a survey of Isle of Wight residents. The objective was to deliver a representative survey exploring experiences of using the National Health Service COVID-19 app, virology testing and public health contact tracing. The details and results of this survey will be published on the GOV.UK website in mid-June together with a report on the Isle of Wight phase evaluation.

This push-to-web survey of Isle of Wight residents aged 16+ included NatCen’s standard demographics questions including age, sex and ethnicity but not disability. In addition, many rounds of user research and testing have been conducted throughout the development of the app, with people of different ages, genders, ethnicities, socio-economic status, and digital skills, to ensure it meets the needs of different groups.

We will always comply with the Public Sector Equality Duty, which considers the impact of a policy or decision on groups with protected characteristics, and we have carried out an Equality and Health Impact Assessment.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of bringing forward legislative proposals similar to those proposed by the Australian Government through its Exposure Draft Privacy Amendment (Public Health Contact Information Bill) to safeguard the privacy of users of the NHS covid-19 contact tracing app.

The National Health Service COVID-19 app’s function and purpose have been developed in accordance with strong existing legislation. The Secretary of State wrote to the Chair of the Joint Committee on Human Rights, on 21 May, stating that he does not consider that new legislation is necessary for contact tracing.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will (a) publish and (b) place in the Library the modelling that the Government used to project covid-19 death rates of up to 500,000.

The Government relies on modelling work undertaken by several academic groups, who report to the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies through its various subgroups. A collection of modelling information which has informed decision-making on COVID-19 has now been published on the GOV.UK website at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/scientific-advisory-group-for-emergencies-sage-coronavirus-covid-19-response

The modelling used to project COVID-19 death rates has been published by the Imperial College COVID-19 Response Team under the title ‘Report 9: Impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) to reduce COVID-19 mortality and healthcare demand’. A copy is attached.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to expedite the supply of personal protective equipment to healthcare workers at (a) Northwick Park Hospital and (b) other health facilities in Brent.

As of 14 April, since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak we have delivered over 923 million pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE) to 58,000 different health and care settings including National Health Service trusts, general practitioners, pharmacies and community providers. We have provided PPE equipment to over 26,000 care homes including home care and hospices across the country. Over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend, over 48 million PPE items have been delivered.

We are working around the clock to give the NHS and the wider social care sector the equipment and support they need to tackle this outbreak. We have brought together the NHS, industry and the Armed Forces to create a new nationwide PPE distribution network, delivering critical PPE supplies to those who need it.

We have a 24 hours a day, seven days a week helpline for those experiencing supply disruption with business as usual ordering channels. Where there may be any shortages, we act on this immediately. Local Resilience Forums are also supporting care homes, hospices, home care and primary care in getting hold of PPE equipment.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to tackle the effect of covid-19 on (a) women (b) Black, Asian and minority ethnic people and (c) disabled people.

The COVID-19 outbreak is the biggest public health emergency in a generation. We are doing everything we can to tackle the pandemic and mitigate its impact on everyone, including women, black, Asian and minority ethnic people and disabled people.

On Wednesday 25 March, the Coronavirus Act 2020 was given Royal Assent. An impact assessment and Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) assessment was conducted in relation to the provisions contained in the Coronavirus Bill. The PSED requires public bodies to have due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between different people when carrying out their activities, including those with protected characteristics such as sex, ethnicity and disabilities. We will continue to consider the impacts on people with protected characteristics when considering how to implement policies using powers contained in the Act.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of covid-19 on people with sickle cell disease.

Those with sickle cell disease have been identified as being at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19, and we are strongly advising them to rigorously follow shielding measures in order to keep themselves safe.

Shielding is a measure to protect people who are clinically extremely vulnerable by minimising all social interaction with others. Those who are extremely vulnerable are strongly advised to stay at home at all times and avoid any face-to-face contact for at least 12 weeks. Please note that this period of time could change.

NHS England will be in direct contact with those who are at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus to provide further advice. More information on shielding is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19#how-do-these-measures-differ-from-the-social-distancing-guidance-for-vulnerable-people-issued

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking ensure that official announcements on covid-19 are (a) accessible to all and (b) available in British Sign Language.

All guidance, statements and public information released by the Government are readily available to read online.

In light of COVID-19, the Government has developed a national campaign to provide information, guidance and reassurance to the public. The campaign spans owned, earned and paid-for channels to maximise reach and engagement for people both with and without internet. For example, the press activity includes over 600 national, regional and local titles to reach communities throughout England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. People will be able to see and hear the campaign advice in newspapers and magazines, on drive-time radio, online and through social media and on billboards and large digital displays, including at bus stops.

Information on COVID-19 from Public Health England and the Department is translated into British Sign Language. Videos can be found at the following link:

https://www.signhealth.org.uk/

NHS England operates an Accessible information Standard which sets out a specific, consistent approach to identifying, recording, flagging, sharing and meeting the information and communication support needs of patients, service users, carers and parents with a disability, impairment or sensory loss. More information can be found at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/ourwork/accessibleinfo/

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has made an assessment of the effect of covid-19 on people with sickle cell trait; and if he will make a statement.

Those with sickle cell disease have been identified as being at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19, and we are strongly advising them to rigorously follow shielding measures in order to keep themselves safe.

Shielding is a measure to protect people who are clinically extremely vulnerable by minimising all social interaction with others. Those who are extremely vulnerable are strongly advised to stay at home at all times and avoid any face-to-face contact for at least 12 weeks. Please note that this period of time could change.

NHS England will be in direct contact with those who are at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus to provide further advice. More information on shielding is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19#how-do-these-measures-differ-from-the-social-distancing-guidance-for-vulnerable-people-issued

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to support covid-19 vaccination of civilians in the West Bank and Gaza.

The British Embassy Tel Aviv and the British Consulate-General Jerusalem are in regular contact with the relevant parties and continue to raise the issue of timely access to vaccines. The Foreign Secretary most recently raised this during his visit to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories on 26 May. The UK is committed to global equitable access to effective vaccines as demonstrated by our £548 million contribution to the COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC) - the international initiative to support global equitable access to vaccines. We are pleased that the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs) were among the first to benefit from the COVAX scheme with its first delivery on 17 March 2021. Since that initial shipment, we are pleased that several further deliveries have arrived in the OPTs, including most recently on 1 June 2021.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessments his Department has made of the developing situation in Sudan; and what support the Government is providing to support civilians caught in conflict in that country.

The UK welcomes the commitment of the Sudanese Government to secure a lasting end to conflict as part of the country's transition to democracy. This includes thorough implementation of the Juba Peace Agreement, signed with a number of opposition groups in October 2020. We also welcome the Sudanese Government's commitment that it will assume full responsibility for the protection of civilians, and their recent announcement of the formation of a joint security force to help provide such protection. We are however concerned by continued incidents of intercommunal violence in Sudan, including in Darfur. We continue to urge all parties to implement the Juba Peace Agreement in full and urge non-signatory groups to engage in dialogue. On 8 June, representatives of the UK, Norway and the US (the Troika) signed the Juba Peace Agreement as Witnesses, as a sign of support to the peace process.

The UK is taking a leading role in working with Sudan to help ensure the democratic transition and peace process is a success. On 21 January, the Foreign Secretary visited Sudan and reaffirmed this commitment. Most recently, on 21 June I spoke with Sudanese Foreign Minister Dr al-Sadiq al-Mahdi to discuss UK work with the Sudanese Government on their transitional priorities. Our support includes £80m to assist the Sudanese Government's economic reforms, which are vital to stability. It also includes a £148m bridging loan to clear arrears at the African Development Bank, to help Sudan achieve comprehensive debt relief. We have also worked to build international support for Sudan through the establishment of the United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS) which is mandated to assist the Sudanese Government with peace agreement implementation and protection of civilians.

James Duddridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to prevent the spread of covid-19 internationally; and for what reason owners of second homes abroad are permitted to travel to their overseas properties during the pandemic while restrictions are in place on international travel for other purposes.

The UK is at the forefront of the international response to the COVID-19 pandemic, committing up to £1.3 billion of Overseas Development Assistance to counter the health, economic, and humanitarian impacts of the pandemic, and to support the global effort to distribute vaccines equitably. We have committed £548 million to the COVAX Advance Market Commitment, contributing to the supply of at least 1.8 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines in 2021 for up to 92 developing countries, with our overall support to COVAX reaching over 120 countries and economies. We have also committed £23 million to support the research and development of easily manufactured testing devices to allow for self-testing at home as well as community testing. We will use our G7 Presidency this year to take forward the Prime Minister's five-point plan for a new approach to global health security, announced at the United Nations General Assembly last year.

The Government has confirmed that international travel can resume from 17 May with the new traffic light system, and passengers will no longer need to prove they have a valid reason to leave England, thus permitting people to travel to different locations. The Government's priority remains to protect public health from COVID-19 through these new travel measures and regulations. Given that the virus is still spreading in many parts of the world, people should not be travelling to amber and red countries.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to (a) help end the conflict and humanitarian crisis in Tigray and (b) ensure that the Ethiopian Government re-opens the humanitarian corridor to allow support for Tigrayans.

The UK has been consistent in calling for the protection of civilians in Ethiopia, unfettered humanitarian access, and respect for human rights. UK-funded aid agencies in Tigray are delivering support in challenging circumstances, including food, shelter, water and healthcare. A joint humanitarian and political team from the British Embassy in Addis Ababa visited Tigray 4-5 March and 4-7 April. They met with the provisional administration of Tigray, the Mayor of Mekelle, the Interim Head of Administration in Shire and with humanitarian agencies working in the region. They spoke directly to people displaced by violence and heard harrowing accounts of human rights violations. The team also saw UK Aid work in action and learned of the challenges across Tigray.

The G7, under the UK Presidency, issued a statement on 2 April urging parties to the conflict to provide immediate, unhindered humanitarian access. The statement also highlighted our concern for worsening food insecurity, with emergency conditions prevailing across extensive areas of central and eastern Tigray.

Currently 4.5 million are in need of food aid. I [Minister Duddridge] shared the UK's concerns on food security with the International Development Committee on 18 March. To date the UK has provided £19 million of badly needed support to people in Tigray - to deliver critical food aid, safe drinking water, sanitation and nutritional supplies and medical care. The British Ambassador continues to make clear our concerns, most recently with the Ethiopian Deputy Prime Minister in March.

James Duddridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what plans the Government has to mark the remainder of the United Nations International Decade for People of African Descent 2015-2024.

The United Kingdom is committed to combatting all forms of racism, both and home and abroad. The United Kingdom ratified the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination in 1969, and we believe that one of the most effective ways to tackle injustices and advocate respect among different religious and racial groups is to encourage states to uphold their human rights obligations, particularly through international institutions such as the United Nations. We have participated in and joined consensus on the key 21st century UN events and instruments on racism. We have not yet made any specific plans for marking the UN International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in 2021.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that UK (a) bilateral and (b) multilateral aid is disbursed (i) directly to local organisations in developing countries and (ii) to UK firms that score very highly in respect of their diversity.

The FCDO is committed to working in partnership with a diverse range of civil society organisations and recognises the unique role of in-country local organisations. A key aim of our funding for civil society is to support the capacity of local civil society organisations in developing countries so they can become strong, self-reliant and powerful development actors.

All FCDO's contracts are tendered in accordance with the Public Contract Regulations, which ensures open, transparent and fair competition between bidders. This means our contracts are competitively tendered following a set of standard processes. The Public Contracts Regulations provide a legal framework of procurement rules which ensure application of best practice including transparency, non-discrimination, equal treatment and proportionality and reasonableness.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to improve support and protection for human rights defenders throughout the world.

The UK supports Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) through bilateral engagement via our global network of Embassies and High Commissions and through multilateral organisations. Colleagues in our diplomatic network monitor cases, observe trials, and raise issues with host governments relating to HRDs. In 2019, we launched the document 'UK support for Human Rights Defenders', drawn up with significant and important input from relevant stakeholders, including Amnesty International. It set out in detail how we would work and engage with HRDs to promote and protect human rights throughout the world. Just over a year ago, the Minister of State responsible for Human Rights, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, issued a statement at the Human Rights Council in Geneva, voicing concern about the harassment and all too often imprisonment of HRDs. On International Human Rights Defenders Day on 9 December 2020, he also issued a message to all HRDs thanking them for their courageous work and their unwavering determination in fighting for human rights. When he visits countries in his capacity as Minister for Human Rights, he makes a point of talking directly to HRDs. Listening to them helps inform the decisions we make and inspires us to do more. In the context of the establishment of the new Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, and of the Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy, we shall consider what more the UK can do to support HRDs.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions he has had with representatives of the Financial Conduct Authority on ensuring that adjudicator rulings are included in consideration for compensation when payday lending companies go into administration.

Where a high-cost credit firm enters administration, customers with outstanding compensation claims, including those which result from an adjudication by the Financial Ombudsman Service, become unsecured creditors in the administration, and so will be paid after secured creditors and preferential creditors.

Treasury ministers and officials meet regularly with the FCA, and the Government will continue to work closely with the FCA to ensure consumers of financial services are treated fairly.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
13th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions he has had with the Financial Conduct Authority on extending the Financial Services Compensation Scheme to payday lending companies.

The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) is the compensation scheme of last resort for customers of failed UK-authorised financial services firms and is funded by a levy on the financial services industry. The FSCS is an independent non-governmental body and carries out its compensation function within rules set by the Prudential Regulation Authority and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and they have the power to decide which activities are given FSCS protection. In 2016, the FCA decided not to extend FSCS protection to most consumer credit activities because it believed other regulatory requirements were sufficient.

The FCA’s reasoning for not extending FSCS protection was set out in a letter on 15 February 2019 from its Chief Executive to the Chair of the Treasury Select Committee. This reasoning was that consumer credit firms did not generally hold client assets; losses to consumers had reduced since the FCA had taken over regulation of consumer credit; and, because the cost of providing FSCS cover for high-cost short-term credit would likely need to be subsidised by levies on other regulated firms. A copy of that letter can be found here: https://www.parliament.uk/globalassets/documents/commons-committees/treasury/correspondence/2017-19/fca-chief-executive-to-chair-re-wonga-150219.pdf.

Treasury ministers and officials meet regularly with the FCA, and the Government will continue to work closely with the FCA to ensure consumers of financial services are treated fairly.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
16th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps the Government is taking to support people struggling with mortgage payments as a direct result of the covid-19 pandemic.

Working with the FCA, the Government introduced mortgage payment deferrals to provide certainty to homeowners who needed it during the initial stage of the Covid-19 pandemic, and approximately 2.75 million mortgage payment deferrals have been provided to UK borrowers, benefiting people across the country with the period of respite this offered.

While the application deadline for mortgage payment deferrals ended on the 31 March, any existing payment deferrals can remain in force until 31 July, or until an individual borrower reaches their six month maximum entitlement. All credit file reporting will return to normal once payment deferrals have ended.

Following the closure of the application period for mortgage payment deferrals, the FCA have set out detailed guidance which stipulates that firms should continue to provide tailored support and forbearance options for borrowers facing new or ongoing financial difficulties. Borrowers struggling with mortgage repayments should reach out to their lender at the earliest opportunity to discuss the options available to them.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
7th Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what the cost to the public purse was of (a) policies and (b) other work started by the previous Administration between 2016 and 2019 which were cancelled by the Government when it was formed in December 2019.

The Government is delivering the Manifesto on which it was elected in December 2019.

This set out the costs of the government’s policy agenda, including the implementation of the 2019 Spending Round.

Subsequently, the government published Spring Budget 2020 and its Plan For Jobs which set out the costs of subsequent policy announcements.

We will set out plans for future years at a Budget and Spending Review in the Autumn.

Steve Barclay
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he make an assessment of the potential merits of extending business rate relief to (a) estate and (b) letting agencies during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has set out a package of measures to support businesses through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19.

The Chancellor previously announced a 100% rates holiday for eligible retail, hospitality and leisure properties in 2020-21. On 25 March the Government went further and removed some of the exclusions for this relief, so that eligible retail, leisure, and hospitality properties that will have to close as a result of the measures announced by the Prime Minister in his statement of 23 March, will now be eligible for the relief. This change will ensure that estate and lettings agents will now pay no business rates in 2020-21.

Support is also available to those not eligible for business rates relief; this includes the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan scheme for small and medium-sized businesses, a statutory sick pay relief package, the HMRC Time To Pay Scheme, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to help firms continue to keep people in employment, and a new lending facility from the Bank of England for larger firms.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
29th Jan 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what plans he has for the future of the Tampon Tax Fund.

The Government has committed to continuing the Tampon Tax Fund until the UK is legally able to apply a zero rate of VAT to women’s sanitary products. During the transition period, the UK’s VAT regime will continue to exist within a framework set by EU legislation.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will list the private sector companies which have delivered forensic science services to police forces in England and Wales since 1 April 2012.

The Home Office does not hold this information. Procurement of forensic science services is a matter for forces and PCCs.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what proportion of forensic science services for police forces have been carried out by private sector companies in England and Wales, in each year since 2012.

The Home Office does not hold this information. Procurement of forensic science services is a matter for forces and PCCs.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will ensure that all protected characteristics are treated equally under hate crime legislation in advance of the Law Commission’s final report in respect of its Hate Crime review.

In 2018, the Government asked the Law Commission to undertake a review of current hate crime legislation, including whether additional protected characteristics, such as sex, gender and age, should be included.

The Law Commission is due to publish its recommendations later this year, following which the Government will formally respond.

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking in advance of the publication of the Law Commission's final report in respect of its Hate Crime review, due to be published in 2021.

In 2018, the Government asked the Law Commission to undertake a review of current hate crime legislation, including whether additional protected characteristics, such as sex, gender and age, should be included.

The Law Commission is due to publish its recommendations later this year, following which the Government will formally respond.

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to proposals in the 2021 Queen’s Speech on reforms to the immigration system, what steps her Department is taking to (a) meet the specific experiences and needs of LGBTQ+ asylum seekers and (b) ensure that LGBTQ+ asylum seekers are not penalised in their asylum applications in the event that they do not reveal their sexual orientation or gender identity immediately upon arrival in the UK.

The Home Office has and continues to work closely with a diverse range of organisations specialising in asylum and human rights protection to lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex people (LGBTQ+) communities, not only to facilitate the development of bespoke guidance and training products but also to further our work for LGBTQ+ within our asylum system.

We ensure LGBTQ+ asylum seekers are signposted to relevant NGOs specialising in the support of these individuals. This is done through an information leaflet given to all asylum claimants at the point of claim which includes sections on legal advice, additional help and assistance with links to relevant legal bodies and support organisations. LGBTQ+ asylum seekers can also access support from Rainbow Migration (formerly the UK Lesbian & Gay Immigration Group), who provide both practical and emotional support for LGBTQ+ people including how to help improve their confidence and self-esteem and to reduce isolation.

The Home Office recognises discussing persecution may often be distressing and those seeking asylum are given every opportunity to disclose information relevant to their claim before a decision is taken. Our caseworkers are very mindful many asylum seekers come from cultures which shun any open expression or discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity. We recognise the intimate nature of disclosure set against the individual’s cultural background may have made it difficult for some to disclose and discuss their sexuality or gender identity with officials at a port of entry.

Where it appears a claimant has been in the UK for a prolonged period of time before either coming to immigration attention or voluntarily seeking protection, this will be explored with the claimant. Consideration will be given to any explanation offered for not seeking protection at the first available opportunity, or for not disclosing the issue of sexuality or gender identity as a claim basis at the first available opportunity. Adverse inference however will not solely be drawn from someone not having immediately identified their sexual or gender identity as a basis to their claim.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the Answer of 22 April 2021 to Question 83092, who in her Department is responsible for distributing clothing to incoming migrants; and what the process is for that matter.

Home Office department, the Clandestine Channel Threat Command are responsible for the provision of basic clothing to migrants who are disembarked at the Tug Haven (having been intercepted crossing the channel in small boats). Migrants often cross the channel in poor weather conditions and without adequate clothing. In such circumstances they are invariably very wet and cold and at risk of hypothermia if dry clothing is not provided. This provision of dry clothing forms part of our duty of care in these circumstances, wherever possible we use recycled clothing from charitable organisations rather than buying new.

The following items were purchased, 225 pairs of lace up canvas shoes, 26 pairs of flip flops, 440 T-shirts, 333 sweatshirts and 337 jogging bottoms.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
23rd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 22 April 2021 to Question 183092, on Asylum: Clothing, if he will publish in full the receipts for the expenditure of £5,415.90.

This expenditure refers to articles purchased for immediate relief of asylum seekers arriving in small boats, by providing warm and dry clothing which reduces the risk of hypothermia.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to her Department's expenditure of £5,415.90 at Primark in September 2020 for the purpose of clothing people seeking asylum, which company her Department procured to distribute that clothing.

Dangerous and unnecessary crossings of the Channel are made by migrants in small boats, which are often overloaded. Many of those arriving in this way are soaking wet and at significant risk of hypothermia if not changed into dry clothes quickly. The Home Office has a duty of care to those migrants and ordinarily has sufficient stocks of dry clothing on hand for arriving migrants. However, last September saw an unprecedented number of migrant arrivals in small boats and supplies ran low, requiring emergency replenishment from a local retail outlet. This is the basis of the expenditure at Primark quoted here. As the clothing was distributed directly to arriving migrants by HO officials, no third party company was employed in the distribution.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, on how many occasions she has written to the Speaker to explain why legislation has come info force before it has been laid before Parliament since 1 September 2020.

I can confirm the Home Office has not written to Mr Speaker since 1 September 2020 to explain legislation being brought into force before it is laid in both Houses.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what estimate she has made of the number of fines issued in error under the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020; and if she will establish a review of all fines issued under those regulations since those regulations came into force.

We are grateful to the police for enforcing unprecedented restrictions, and in doing so saving lives.

Evidential reviews are carried out by the police before fixed penalty notices (FPNs) are issued on their behalf by the ACRO Criminal Records Office. Individuals can choose not to pay an FPN and defend any prosecution for a relevant offence in court. The Home Office will continue to work closely with policing colleagues on the fair and effective enforcement of Covid regulations.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of existing police powers to manage protest; and what further powers she plans to give the police to manage protests under new legislation.

The Home Office liaised with the police and others to understand the efficacy of existing public order legislation and to identify what more can be done to make a practical difference, and we will legislate shortly. This follows concerns raised by the police about current legislation in the context of non-violent protests that have a significant impact on the community.

As part of this, the Home Secretary asked the independent police inspectorate, HMICFRS, to carry out a thematic inspection of how police manage protests. My officials engaged with the inspectorate in the formulation of the new legislative proposals.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether the Government plans to publish its response to the Strengthening police powers to tackle unauthorised encampments consultation, before bringing forward legislative proposals on new police powers to tackle unauthorised encampments.

It remains our firm intention to bring forward legislation this session as we set out in the briefing which accompanied the Queen’s Speech in December 2019. We will publish our response to the consultation before that.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
11th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether the Government plans to take into account the outcome of Her Majesty’s Inspectorate for Constabulary and Fire Services (HMICFRS) report into how the police manage protest before bringing forward legislative proposals on protest.

In October 2020, the Home Secretary commissioned HMICFRS to inspect how effectively the police manage protests. Home Office officials have been in touch with the inspectorate to understand their initial findings, these have supported our work to ensure that the police have the powers they need to manage highly disruptive protests.

The inspection is ongoing, and we look forward to receiving their final report.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what organisations have been allocated funding as part of the £500,000 allocation of the Windrush Schemes Community Fund; and what the future allocations will be made through that fund.

The Home Office has been working with the Windrush Cross-Government Working Group to co-design and deliver the £500,000 Windrush Community Fund. Further details, including eligibility criteria and when the Fund will be open for bids will be released shortly.

The Community Fund will provide community and grassroots organisations with funding to run promotional and outreach activity to raise awareness of the Windrush Compensation Scheme and the Windrush Scheme.

Priti Patel
Home Secretary
1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will take steps to require police services to collect and publish data on the ethnicity of vehicle drivers stopped under the Road Traffic Act 1988 as part of the Home Office Annual Data Requirement.

There are currently no plans to extend the Codes of Practice that support the Police & Criminal Evidence Act 1984 to include road traffic stops.

For motoring offences, there are currently no plans to require police forces to collect data for vehicle stops under section 163 of the Road Traffic Act 1988. For non-motoring offences, the Home Office already collates data on vehicle stops as part of the stop and search data collection, available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/police-powers-and-procedures-england-and-wales-year-ending-31-march-2020

The statutory basis for data collection, the Annual Data Requirement (ADR) process, is set by the Police Act 1996. This process works closely with policy and operational colleagues, other government departments, National Policing Leads and other key police stakeholders to ensure that routine statistical data required on police forces remains proportionate and justified and eliminates unnecessary burdens. This ensures a proper balance between the accountability and efficiency of police operation and is reviewed on an annual basis.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will extend the Codes of Practice supporting the Police & Criminal Evidence Act 1984 to include road traffic stops.

There are currently no plans to extend the Codes of Practice that support the Police & Criminal Evidence Act 1984 to include road traffic stops.

For motoring offences, there are currently no plans to require police forces to collect data for vehicle stops under section 163 of the Road Traffic Act 1988. For non-motoring offences, the Home Office already collates data on vehicle stops as part of the stop and search data collection, available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/police-powers-and-procedures-england-and-wales-year-ending-31-march-2020

The statutory basis for data collection, the Annual Data Requirement (ADR) process, is set by the Police Act 1996. This process works closely with policy and operational colleagues, other government departments, National Policing Leads and other key police stakeholders to ensure that routine statistical data required on police forces remains proportionate and justified and eliminates unnecessary burdens. This ensures a proper balance between the accountability and efficiency of police operation and is reviewed on an annual basis.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will bring forward legislative proposals for police officer recruitment to maximise the number of black recruits.

Police forces that reflect the communities they serve are crucial to tackling crime and maintaining public trust and confidence in a modern diverse society. While the police workforce is more representative in terms of gender and ethnicity than it has ever been, there is still much more to be done.

We have been clear that the uplift in officers is a once in generation opportunity to improve diversity. The Equality Act 2010 includes positive action provisions to enable employers to address identified under-representation of protected groups in the workplace, such as black officers in the police, as well as Asian and other minority ethnic officers. There is much greater scope than has been used so far for the police to use the positive action provisions of equalities legislation to improve recruitment and progression of officers from under-represented groups.

Some forces have made significant improvements in the rate of black, Asian and minority ethnic joiners through successful positive action measures. The relative rates of representation vary from force to force. However, we are clear that every force should be striving to become representative of the communities it serves. Information is available on police.uk that shows the ethnicity and gender representation for each police force compared to local force area populations. This allows the public to hold forces to account.

There is already work in train across the sector to support forces in doing this. The College of Policing has delivered a major programme of work to support forces in their efforts to address under-representation in the recruitment, retention and progression of officers and has published advice on the lawful use of positive action to address under-representation in policing at all levels. The National Police Chiefs’ Council has also published a workforce representation toolkit which includes practical actions forces can take to increase the recruitment, retention and progression of officers from under-represented groups in policing

The Government has also supported innovative schemes, such as Police Now, which are making the police workforce more diverse than ever before; showing that we can attract the brightest and best into policing, whilst introducing new perspectives from some of the country’s most challenging neighbourhoods.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to tackle (a) financial fraud committed by rogue traders and (b) doorstep crimes committed during the covid-19 lockdown.

We are aware that criminals are attempting to exploit opportunities around the coronavirus. The Government and law enforcement colleagues are working tirelessly to identify and disrupt those seeking to commit these crimes.

We have worked closely with National Trading Standards, the Financial Conduct Authority and other key partners to raise public awareness. For example, we launched a gov.uk page on coronavirus related fraud and cybercrime, including easy-to-follow steps for people to better protect themselves, as well as signposting all relevant advice and tips.

This page can currently be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-fraud-and-cyber-crime

National Trading Standards, using their 500,000 strong network of “Friends Against Scams” launched a targeted campaign during lockdown to encourage people to protect their friends and neighbours from COVID doorsteps scams.

8th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to tackle (a) domestic abuse and (b) parental abuse experienced by LGBTQ+ youth during the covid-19 outbreak.

We are acutely aware of the need to put victims at the heart of our approach to tackling domestic abuse at this time. We are working closely with domestic abuse charities to monitor and assess impacts and needs.

The Government has posted advice regarding national helplines, including specialist helplines, on gov.uk to guide victims to the most appropriate support for their individual needs (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/domestic-abuse-how-to-get-help ). This has been extensively promoted through our awareness raising campaign #YouAreNotAlone.

The Home Office has announced £2m of funding to help bolster helplines at this time; £1.2m of this has already been allocated to provide Covid-19 support. This includes an additional £71,000 to Galop, which runs the National LGBT Domestic Abuse helpline, to ensure that the service continues to be available to LGBT+ victims during this period.

This is in addition to the £750 million funding package announced by the Chancellor, £76 million of which will support survivors of?domestic abuse, sexual violence and modern slavery?as well as ensure that vulnerable children and young people continue to get the help they need. From this funding the HO launched a £2m fund for national and regionally based domestic abuse organisations. £793,000 of this has already been allocated to 13 organisations and additional bids are currently being assessed.

As part of its ongoing support for victims of domestic abuse, the Home Office has, in addition, provided £120,000 of funding each year since 2016 for the LBGT Domestic Abuse helpline, which provides emotional and practical support for LGBT+ people who are experiencing or have experienced domestic abuse.

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment her Department has made of the feasibility of releasing detainees from immigration detention centres to (a) prevent and (b) contain the transmission of covid-19 in those centres.

The safety and health of those in immigration removal centres is of the utmost importance but we remain committed to removing foreign national offenders or those who violate our immigration rules. Detention plays a key role in securing our borders and maintaining effective immigration control.

Decisions to detain an individual are made on a case by case basis and are based on all of the information known at the time of the review. As circumstances of the case change, detention is reviewed in light of these changes and release may then become appropriate.

The Home Office is following all Public Health England guidance and have robust contingency plans in place including measures such as protective isolation to minimise the risk of COVID-19 spreading in the immigration detention estate. Further measures including shielding, single occupancy rooms and the cessation of social visits have been introduced in line with the Government direction on social distancing.

There are currently no cases of Covid-19 in the immigration detention estate.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she plans to take to ensure that people with no recourse to public funds are (a) safeguarded and (b) able to self-isolate during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Home Office is working closely with other government departments to support people, including migrants with no recourse to public funds, through this crisis. We are taking a compassionate and pragmatic approach and will continue to review the situation to consider if more can be done.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will help firms continue to keep people, including workers with no recourse to public funds, in employment with the government paying 80% of furloughed workers wages up to a cap of £2,500.

There are a number of measures in relation to rent and mortgage protections, food vouchers, and protections for the homeless, all of which are not considered public funds. Local Authorities may also provide basic safety net support if it is established that there is a genuine care need that does not arise solely from destitution, for example, where there are community care needs, migrants with serious health problems or family cases.

Covid-19 has been added to the list of infectious diseases so anyone experiencing symptoms, regardless of their immigration status, will be treated for free.

People granted leave under the family and human rights routes can apply to have a condition lifted or for access to benefits if their financial circumstances change.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
5th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she plans to take to improve LGBT+ representation in senior positions in her Department.

The Home Office Diversity & Inclusion Strategy sets a target of 6% representation for Lesbian, Gay and Bi staff in senior positions by 2025. We will assess a target for Trans staff when we are able to capture this data soon.

We have a comprehensive programme of activity underway led by a senior LGBTI+ Champion including an inclusive language pack to improve understanding of the importance of appropriate language in the workplace, a new recruitment model for LGBTI+ apprentices and Career Watch pilots for LGBTI+ staff, focused on active sponsorship of staff to build the talent pipeline to senior levels.

27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of the police introducing affirmative action to tackle failures on diversity in police forces.

Trust and legitimacy are vital elements of British policing by consent. The police have worked hard to improve equality and diversity in policing. The workforce is more representative than ever before and there is a Code of Ethics in place. While recognising these significant improvements, we are not complacent.

Our drive to recruit 20,000 officers over three years gives us a significant opportunity to attract a wide range of people into a career in policing and support the police to become even more representative of the communities they serve. Work is already underway by forces and key partners to ensure they can attract a more representative workforce as part of the uplift in officer numbers.

The College of Policing has delivered a major programme of work to support forces in their efforts to address under-representation in the recruitment, retention and progression of officers, including those from BAME backgrounds, and has published advice on the lawful use of positive action to address under-representation in policing. This work includes measures to improve diversity at the most senior levels in policing, where there is the greatest disparity.

The Government has also supported innovative schemes such as Police Now which are making the police workforce more diverse than ever before; showing that we can attract the brightest and best into policing, whilst introducing new perspectives into policing from some of the country’s most challenging neighbourhoods.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council published its first Diversity, Equality and Inclusion strategy in October 2018. This is complemented by a workforce representation toolkit which includes practical actions forces can take to increase the recruitment, retention and progression of officers from under-represented groups in policing. This is a welcome demonstration of policing taking the lead in implementing action to increase diversity and In addition, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) has agreed to focus more closely on how forces are performing on diversity and inclusion as part of its next round of Integrated Peel Assessments this year.

The Equality Act 2010 includes positive action provisions to enable employers to address identified under-representation of protected groups in the workplace, as is the case for BAME officers in the police. There is much greater scope than has been the case so far for the police to use the positive action provisions of equalities legislation to improve BAME recruitment and progression.

Some forces (such as the Metropolitan Police Service, Bedfordshire Police, West Midlands Police and Greater Manchester Police) have made significant improvements in the rate of BAME joiners through successful positive action measures. Other forces should be learning the lessons of the successful measures being used in these forces.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of whether institutional racism exists in the police force.

Trust and legitimacy are vital elements of British policing by consent. The police have worked hard to improve equality and diversity in policing. The workforce is more representative than ever before and there is a Code of Ethics in place. While recognising these significant improvements, we are not complacent.

Our drive to recruit 20,000 officers over three years gives us a significant opportunity to attract a wide range of people into a career in policing and support the police to become even more representative of the communities they serve. Work is already underway by forces and key partners to ensure they can attract a more representative workforce as part of the uplift in officer numbers.

The College of Policing has delivered a major programme of work to support forces in their efforts to address under-representation in the recruitment, retention and progression of officers, including those from BAME backgrounds, and has published advice on the lawful use of positive action to address under-representation in policing. This work includes measures to improve diversity at the most senior levels in policing, where there is the greatest disparity.

The Government has also supported innovative schemes such as Police Now which are making the police workforce more diverse than ever before; showing that we can attract the brightest and best into policing, whilst introducing new perspectives into policing from some of the country’s most challenging neighbourhoods.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council published its first Diversity, Equality and Inclusion strategy in October 2018. This is complemented by a workforce representation toolkit which includes practical actions forces can take to increase the recruitment, retention and progression of officers from under-represented groups in policing. This is a welcome demonstration of policing taking the lead in implementing action to increase diversity and In addition, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) has agreed to focus more closely on how forces are performing on diversity and inclusion as part of its next round of Integrated Peel Assessments this year.

The Equality Act 2010 includes positive action provisions to enable employers to address identified under-representation of protected groups in the workplace, as is the case for BAME officers in the police. There is much greater scope than has been the case so far for the police to use the positive action provisions of equalities legislation to improve BAME recruitment and progression.

Some forces (such as the Metropolitan Police Service, Bedfordshire Police, West Midlands Police and Greater Manchester Police) have made significant improvements in the rate of BAME joiners through successful positive action measures. Other forces should be learning the lessons of the successful measures being used in these forces.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to increase diversity in the police force.

Trust and legitimacy are vital elements of British policing by consent. The police have worked hard to improve equality and diversity in policing. The workforce is more representative than ever before and there is a Code of Ethics in place. While recognising these significant improvements, we are not complacent.

Our drive to recruit 20,000 officers over three years gives us a significant opportunity to attract a wide range of people into a career in policing and support the police to become even more representative of the communities they serve. Work is already underway by forces and key partners to ensure they can attract a more representative workforce as part of the uplift in officer numbers.

The College of Policing has delivered a major programme of work to support forces in their efforts to address under-representation in the recruitment, retention and progression of officers, including those from BAME backgrounds, and has published advice on the lawful use of positive action to address under-representation in policing. This work includes measures to improve diversity at the most senior levels in policing, where there is the greatest disparity.

The Government has also supported innovative schemes such as Police Now which are making the police workforce more diverse than ever before; showing that we can attract the brightest and best into policing, whilst introducing new perspectives into policing from some of the country’s most challenging neighbourhoods.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council published its first Diversity, Equality and Inclusion strategy in October 2018. This is complemented by a workforce representation toolkit which includes practical actions forces can take to increase the recruitment, retention and progression of officers from under-represented groups in policing. This is a welcome demonstration of policing taking the lead in implementing action to increase diversity and In addition, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) has agreed to focus more closely on how forces are performing on diversity and inclusion as part of its next round of Integrated Peel Assessments this year.

The Equality Act 2010 includes positive action provisions to enable employers to address identified under-representation of protected groups in the workplace, as is the case for BAME officers in the police. There is much greater scope than has been the case so far for the police to use the positive action provisions of equalities legislation to improve BAME recruitment and progression.

Some forces (such as the Metropolitan Police Service, Bedfordshire Police, West Midlands Police and Greater Manchester Police) have made significant improvements in the rate of BAME joiners through successful positive action measures. Other forces should be learning the lessons of the successful measures being used in these forces.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
18th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, with reference to the Answer of 9 March 2021 to Question 163164, what steps his Department plans to take to prevent applications being granted for coal mines which would affect goals of achieving net zero carbon by 2050.

The Government is committed to clean growth and we are taking action to reduce our reliance on coal. We have set out our aim to end electricity generation from unabated coal by 2025 and we are also taking action to reduce coal use in industry and heating.

In terms of planning policy, the National Planning Policy Framework is already clear that planning permission should not be granted for the extraction of coal unless the proposal is environmentally acceptable or the national, local or community benefits outweigh its likely effects. The National Planning Policy Framework is capable of being a material consideration in the determination of all applications for coal extraction in England. Given the Secretary of State's role in the planning system, it would not be appropriate to comment on the merits or relevant considerations of current or future applications for coal extraction.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that planning applications granted by local authorities are not having a detrimental effect on efforts to achieve net zero carbon by 2050.

The National Planning Policy Framework sets out the Government’s expectations for how planning can contribute to a low carbon future in England. We intend to go further, which is why the Planning for the Future White Paper proposed reform of the Framework so that the planning system can most effectively play a role in mitigating and adapting to the effects of climate change at a local and national level. The reforms to the planning system will help local authorities to improve the delivery and quality of homes and neighbourhoods, set within the drive towards net zero carbon emissions by 2050. We are currently collating, reviewing and analysing the responses to the consultation.

From 2025, the Future Homes Standard will ensure that new homes produce at least 75% lower CO2 emissions compared to current standards. These homes will be zero-carbon ready with low carbon heating and high levels of energy efficiency. We will also not amend the Planning and Energy Act, allowing local authorities to continue to set energy efficiency standards that go beyond the Building Regulations.

All levels of Government have a role to play in meeting our net zero goal. Local authorities are rising to the challenge and 98% of local authorities are already voluntarily taking action to reduce emissions from their areas, or from their own estate

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
10th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what support his Department plans to provide to LGBTQ+ youth with no recourse to public funds who are at risk of homelessness during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government is aware of concerns about those with no recourse to public funds experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 crisis.

We are ensuring local authorities are supported, with £3.2 million in targeted funding to help support individuals who are sleeping rough off the streets, and an additional £3.7 billion provided to local authorities as part of the wider Government response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Funding has been provided to help local authorities to reduce risks to public health and to support individuals on the basis of need. This may include people identifying as LGBTQ+.

The legal position on those with no recourse to public funds has not been amended.

The Government recognises that these are unprecedented times, and expects local authorities to support people who are sleeping rough, and also to minimise unnecessary risks to public health, acting within the law.

We also recognise that?LGBTQ+?homelessness is an important issue, particularly among young people, and that?LGBTQ+?people who find themselves homeless may have a different experience of homelessness. This Department has provided funds to both charities and local authorities which will enable to them to support their communities, including LGBTQ+ people, whether they are at risk of, or are experiencing, homelessness or rough sleeping.

In particular, my Department has provided £6 million of emergency funding to frontline homelessness charitable organisations who were directly affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. Following a successful bidding process, over 130 charities across England are set to benefit from the fund. Successful bids included Stonewall Housing which provides housing advice and support for LGBTQ+ people at risk of, or experiencing, homelessness or rough sleeping.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
8th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps his Department will take to prevent rough sleeping amongst LGBTQ+ youth after the ban on tenant evictions is lifted on 23 August 2020.

Working across the public sector in order to continue tackling homelessness and rough sleeping throughout the crisis, this Government has provided funding to?assist local authorities to?provide accommodation and support to?vulnerable?people who are at risk of, or who have been diagnosed with, coronavirus.

At the beginning of the pandemic, our priority was to bring vulnerable people inside so they could self-isolate and stop the virus spreading. We backed this with £3.2 million in emergency funding for local authorities to support vulnerable rough sleepers, and a further £3.7 billion to help councils to manage the impacts of COVID-19, including supporting homeless people. This?may include?people identifying as LGBTQ+,?as well as?those who identify as having?other?protected characteristics.

Since the COVID-19 outbreak, charities across the country, including LGBTQ+ charities, were able to bid for funding through the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) Fund, which provided £6 million of emergency funding as part of a £750 million package of government support for UK charities who may have been impacted by the pandemic. Following a successful bidding process, over?130 charities?across England?benefitted?from?the £6 million?emergency?fund.

We have also put in place bespoke support for local authorities through our Homelessness Advice and Support Team, which includes dedicated youth homelessness advisor roles that have a commitment to work with local authorities to proactively promote positive joint working across housing authorities and children’s services, offering training, advice and support to all local authorities.

The Government has taken unprecedented action to support renters during the pandemic to ensure no one can be forced from their home.?On?5 June we announced that the suspension of?evictions from social or private rented accommodation had been extended by a further two months. This means that no action to evict a tenant will proceed before 24 August 2020. The emergency measures in the Coronavirus Act, which require landlords to give at least three months' notice to evict tenants, are unaffected by this and remain in place until 30 September 2020.? We will also continue work with the judiciary, legal representatives and the advice sector on arrangements, including new rules, to ensure that when the moratorium on?evictions ends, the courts are better able to address the need for appropriate protection of all parties, including those shielding from coronavirus.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
18th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps his Department takes to support people with minor offenses on their record received when they were a minor; and whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of changing the system of automatic revelation of past convictions.

We are committed to supporting children in turning their lives around and recognise that having a criminal record can have a significant impact on children, and adults that offended as a child. Youth criminal records are treated differently to adult criminal records in terms of disclosure, as those with convictions received when under 18 are generally disclosed for a shorter period than those of adults.

There have recently been significant reforms in this area:

In November 2020, the Government implemented legislation to change the rules governing disclosure for sensitive roles (those working with children, vulnerable adults or in a position of public trust). This removed the disclosure of youth cautions, reprimands and warnings and the multiple conviction rule. Previously, if an individual had more than one conviction, each conviction had to be disclosed on standard or enhanced certificates irrespective of the nature of the offences or the time separating them. This legislation removed that requirement and will particularly benefit those with childhood cautions who have moved away from their past.

We are also proposing further changes to help those who committed minor offences as children to move on with their lives. The Police Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, currently in Commons committee stage, proposes significant reductions to rehabilitation periods (the length of time that someone needs to disclose their criminal record for general purposes) for custodial sentences of under four years and community sentences, including for childhood convictions.

These significant changes to the criminal records disclosure regime will support those who have not committed serious offences and have ceased offending, bettering their chance of accessing employment and reducing their likelihood of reoffending.

Regarding the rules surrounding automatic disclosure of past convictions, we have considered whether a sealing/review mechanism for youth criminal records disclosure would be desirable. However, the Justice Committee (report into Youth Justice) in 2017 recognised that introducing a mechanism whereby records could become ‘sealed’ would create unsustainable pressures on the decision-making body and found that an automatic filtering system should be retained, albeit with substantial revisions. This aligns with the 2019 Supreme Court ruling on aspects of the disclosure regime, in which the Court was clear that such a mechanism was not necessary for a proportionate system. We are therefore not pursuing proposals on sealing criminal records by application, rather focusing on the rules which determine criminal records and their disclosure.

Alex Chalk
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
16th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps the Government is taking to support victims and survivors of domestic violence; and what plans the Government has to amend the six month time limit to report those offences.

The Government is committed to supporting victims and survivors of domestic abuse. The landmark Domestic Abuse Bill, due to gain Royal Assent this spring, is key to this, as it will raise awareness of different forms of abuse and transform the response of frontline professionals. In support of the Bill, £125m will be provided to fund the new statutory duty for local authorities to provide safe accommodation for women and their children. This will ensure that women continue to access vital support such as therapy, advocacy and counselling in safe accommodation

In addition, for 2021/22, we are providing more funding to combat domestic abuse, including a £40m package to support survivors of domestic abuse and sexual violence. We are recruiting 700 more independent sexual violence and domestic abuse advisers (ISVAs/IDVAs) to help support these victims, with a further £11m announced in March.

On time limits for prosecution, we have considered extending the six-month time limit for starting a prosecution for domestic abuse offences, as recommended by the Domestic Abuse Commissioner and supported by the Home Affairs Select Committee. We concluded that there would be limited benefit as there is no time limit for the more serious offences that can be tried in the Crown Court, and where prosecution for less serious offences that can only be tried in a magistrates’ court is time-barred, the range of potential alternative charges made available by the government are in place to ensure that justice can be done.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
16th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps his Department is taking to (a) tackle overcrowding in prisons and (b) adopt alternative methods to incarceration for low level offenders.

Overcrowding in prisons

In November 2020, this Government announced that it would commit over £4 billion capital funding to make significant progress in delivering 18,000 additional prison places across England and Wales by the mid-2020s. This includes creating four new prisons over the next six years and expanding another four prisons over the next three years. Construction is well underway on HMP Five Wells, the new prison at Wellingborough in Northamptonshire, and works have started at Glen Parva, Leicestershire. These additional prison places will have a positive impact on lowering the proportion of crowding within the prison estate by providing accommodation that is safe, decent and uncrowded.

The total prison population has also reduced by over 6,000 since the start of the pandemic and, as a result, the total number of prisoners currently held in crowded conditions has reduced. We closely monitor prison population forecasts and the extent to which crowding has reduced in 20/21 will be reflected in the publication of the HMPPS Annual Digest.

Alternative Methods to Custody

In September 2020 this Government published the Sentencing White Paper, which set out an agenda of reform for punishing and rehabilitating low level offenders, including where those offenders can be effectively managed in the community rather than in prison.

Where these reforms require legislation, relevant measures are contained within the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill which is currently before Parliament. Reforms include piloting a problem-solving court approach for certain community and suspended sentence orders, extending the use of electronic monitoring, and increasing the usage and availability of Community Sentence Treatment Requirements.

Alex Chalk
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of mechanisms to appeal against fines issued under the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020.

There are adequate mechanisms to appeal fines imposed by magistrates’ courts under the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) England) Regulations 2020. The rights to appeal sentences imposed in relation to these offences are the same as the rights to appeal in relation to any other criminal offence. Any defendant may appeal to the Crown Court and have a full rehearing before a judge and two magistrates. In addition, if the defendant was not aware of the proceedings, they may make a statutory declaration before a magistrate or justices’ legal adviser which has the effect of revoking the conviction. Finally, magistrates’ courts can revoke convictions and amend sentences under section 142 of the Magistrates Court Act 1980 if later satisfied that they were made in error.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)