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Written Question
Trade Agreements: Australia
15 Jul 2021

Questioner: Dean Russell (CON - Watford)

Question

What recent assessment she has made of the potential benefits of the free trade deal with Australia for the East of England.

Answered by Greg Hands

More than 1,600 East of England firms exported to Australia in 2020. A removal of tariffs on the East of England’s key exports to Australia in life sciences, clothing and motor industry can create more opportunities for businesses in the region.

Cutting red tape and aligning standards could also support growth in exports of life sciences.


Written Question
NHS: Protective Clothing
13 Jul 2021

Questioner: Dean Russell (CON - Watford)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has made an assessment of the effectiveness of using transparent face masks to facilitate lip reading to assist people with hearing difficulties.

Answered by Jo Churchill

NHS England and NHS Improvement’s transparent face mask working group produced a new technical specification which gives testing, design and performance requirements for single-use transparent face masks, with comparable protection to a Type IIR mask. This specification is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/technical-specifications-for-personal-protective-equipment-ppe/transparent-face-mask-technical-specification

The Department is encouraging manufacturers to develop new, innovative products which meet the standard for transparent face masks and funding is available to run pilot schemes once they are available. Future procurement will be informed by this work.


Written Question
Anorexia
30 Jun 2021

Questioner: Dean Russell (CON - Watford)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to support people with anorexia.

Answered by Nadine Dorries

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Westmorland and Lonsdale (Tim Farron MP) on 1 June 2021 to Question 5175.


Written Question
Companies: Off-payroll Working
29 Jun 2021

Questioner: Dean Russell (CON - Watford)

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent steps his Department has taken to ensure that limited companies are not adversely affected by the changes to the off-payroll working rules.

Answered by Jesse Norman

HMRC have a dedicated off-payroll working education and support team to assist taxpayers. Their assistance includes webinars, one-to-one calls and workshops, to help those affected to apply the rules correctly.

The Government has set out its intention to commission independent research into the effects of the reform on the private and voluntary sectors, which will take place six months after the reform has taken effect. This will be presented to Parliament.


Written Question
Money
22 Jun 2021

Questioner: Dean Russell (CON - Watford)

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that cash continues to be accepted at businesses throughout the UK.

Answered by John Glen

The Government recognises that the ability to transact in cash remains important to millions of people across the UK and has committed to legislating to protect access to cash.

The Government made legislative changes to support the widespread offering of cashback without a purchase by shops and other businesses as part of the Financial Services Act 2021. Furthermore, the Government has announced that it will consult this summer on further legislative proposals for protecting cash for the long term.

However, firms should continue to be able to make decisions over which payments methods they offer their customers on a commercial basis, including cash, cards, and digital payments.


Written Question
Coronavirus: Vaccination
16 Jun 2021

Questioner: Dean Russell (CON - Watford)

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether his Department records data on the number of deaths within 28 days of receiving a covid-19 vaccine.

Answered by Julia Lopez

The information requested falls under the remit of the UK Statistics Authority. I have, therefore, asked the Authority to respond.


Written Question
Retail Trade: Harassment
15 Jun 2021

Questioner: Dean Russell (CON - Watford)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans she has to protect retail workers from verbal and physical abuse as covid-19 lockdown restrictions ease.

Answered by Kit Malthouse

The Government conducted a call for evidence on violence and abuse toward shop staff to understand the extent of the issue and how we can improve the response to these crimes. The Government’s formal response was published 7 July 2020 and is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/violence-and-abuse-toward-shop-staff-call-for-evidence

To address the actions raised in the call for evidence the Home Office has worked closely with retailers and trade organisations through the National Retail Crime Steering Group. We have developed resources to assist retailers to report crimes when they occur, resources for shop staff who are victims of violence and abuse, and the #Shopkind communications campaign. The downloadable resources are free to use and are available here: https://brc.org.uk/nrcsg-against-shop-worker-abuse-and-violence/


Written Question
Choirs: Coronavirus
3 Jun 2021

Questioner: Dean Russell (CON - Watford)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, for what reason the covid-19 guidance for amateur choirs issued by his Department was revised on 18 May 2021.

Answered by Caroline Dinenage

The Performing Arts guidance was updated on 18 May to reflect the arrangements for Step 3 of the roadmap.

Non-professional groups of up to six people can now sing indoors, in line with the rule of 6 applying to many other indoor activities and gatherings, and can perform or rehearse in groups of up to 30 outdoors. In addition, multiple groups of 30 can now sing outdoors, provided the groups are kept separate throughout the activity, in line with other large events that follow the organised events guidance for local authorities.

This is an important step forward in the return of non-professional performing arts activity from Step 2. We will continue to keep guidance and restrictions under review, in line with the changing situation. Further detail on step 4 will be set out as soon as possible.


Written Question
Buildings: Insulation
24 May 2021

Questioner: Dean Russell (CON - Watford)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how buildings are measured when deciding whether they are entitled to cladding remediation support.

Answered by Christopher Pincher

The method of determining a building’s height for the Building Safety Fund can be found in Prospectus Annex A: Technical Information of the Building Safety Fund Prospectus. It is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/remediation-of-non-acm-buildings#prospectus---outlining-eligibility-for-the-fund The same method is used for the Private Sector ACM Remediation Fund.


Written Question
Flats: Insulation
24 May 2021

Questioner: Dean Russell (CON - Watford)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will publish guidance for leaseholders in flats who obtained an EWS1 certificate when they were not required to; and whether those EWS1 certificates will continue to apply.

Answered by Christopher Pincher

The EWS1 is not a Government form nor a legal requirement. The industry form helps ascertain if a building has remediation requirements which may affect building value and therefore mortgage lending decisions.

The requirement for and use of the EWS1 form is determined by the lending policies of banks and building societies. Having access to an EWS1 form and the professional reports behind it should help flat owners reassure potential buyers, identify issues which may need addressing or indeed act as part evidence towards any future fire risk assessments, even if a lender no longer requires the EWS1 form. An EWS1 form remains as valid information for five years.


Written Question
Assessments: Standards
17 May 2021

Questioner: Dean Russell (CON - Watford)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the effect on exam standards of Ofqual’s decision to release optional exam board materials in advance to students.

Answered by Nick Gibb

The optional sets of questions provided by the exam boards are intended to be a helpful tool for teachers to use, if they choose, in gathering evidence to determine their pupils’ grades this year. They are one element of the overall approach to assessing pupils’ performance. These sets of questions are not exams and pupils across the country may complete them at different times or in different formats. They are openly published to ensure there is equality of access to the materials for all pupils at the same time – an approach supported by 66% of respondents to the Department’s and Ofqual’s joint consultation on how GCSE, AS and A level grades should be awarded in summer 2021.

As well as the sets of questions and other support materials, the exam boards have provided grade descriptors to exemplify the established performance standard that is to be applied in grading judgements this summer.

The materials derived from examinations are, thereby, part of a package of measures designed to deliver fairness for pupils given differential teaching experiences caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.


Written Question
Medical Equipment: Innovation
20 Apr 2021

Questioner: Dean Russell (CON - Watford)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has plans to support the (a) adoption and (b) spread of innovative medical technology across the NHS.

Answered by Nadine Dorries

NHSX’s NHS Artificial Intelligence (AI) Laboratory is supporting the testing, evaluation and scale of promising AI-driven technologies through the £140 million AI in Health and Care Award. This includes automating early lung cancer detection and developing deep learning software that could improve the NHS Breast Screening Programme.

Last year, we announced the Digital Aspirant Fund to support National Health Service providers. The Digital Aspirant programme with investment of £28 million aims to accelerate the procurement, deployment and uptake of the technology that is needed to underpin digital transformation.


Written Question
Endometriosis: Diagnosis
12 Mar 2021

Questioner: Dean Russell (CON - Watford)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to reduce diagnosis times for endometriosis.

Answered by Nadine Dorries

Research into the experience of women presenting in primary care with endometriosis-like symptoms is currently underway, hosted by the National Institute of Health Research. The results will be published later this year and will help us to understand delays in diagnosis.

On 8 March, we launched a 12-week call for evidence as part of the first Government-led Women’s Health Strategy for England. The online survey within the call for evidence seeks information on gynaecological conditions, including endometriosis.


Written Question
Coronavirus: Vaccination
12 Mar 2021

Questioner: Dean Russell (CON - Watford)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether (a) voluntary workers supporting vulnerable people and (b) other voluntary workers will be considered for priority in the next stage of the covid-19 vaccine roll-out.

Answered by Nadhim Zahawi

Volunteers working in frontline health or social care settings and at COVID-19 vaccination sites are eligible for vaccination in the first phase as frontline healthcare workers. Voluntary workers working across all other settings who are eligible for a vaccine, because of their age or other clinical factors, such as underlying health conditions, will have access to a vaccine in the first phase.


Written Question
Road Traffic Control
5 Mar 2021

Questioner: Dean Russell (CON - Watford)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the importance of advertising Traffic Regulation Orders in local newspapers to (a) the elderly and vulnerable, (b) other local residents and (b) local media organisations.

Answered by Rachel Maclean

The most recent assessments we have made about Traffic Regulation Orders are in two reports. The first discovery research report was published in 2019 and laid the foundations for the second report available here:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/traffic-regulation-orders-identifying-improvements-to-the-legislative-process-in-england.

Each of these reports considered the impacts on different groups of potential improvements to the legislative process.

The Department plans to consult on proposed reforms to Traffic Regulation Orders more generally later in 2021. An Impact Assessment will accompany this consultation.