Douglas Chapman Portrait

Douglas Chapman

Scottish National Party - Dunfermline and West Fife

First elected: 7th May 2015


Treasury Sub-Committee on Financial Services Regulations
16th Jan 2023 - 12th Sep 2023
Treasury Committee
16th Jan 2023 - 12th Sep 2023
Finance (No. 2) Bill
10th May 2023 - 18th May 2023
Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Small Business, Enterprise and Innovation)
7th Jan 2020 - 12th Dec 2022
Public Accounts Commission
9th Jul 2018 - 18th Mar 2020
Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Defence Procurement & Nuclear Disarmament)
1st Jul 2018 - 7th Jan 2020
Public Accounts Committee
9th Jul 2018 - 6th Nov 2019
Regulatory Reform
6th Nov 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Committee on Privileges
26th Oct 2017 - 14th Jan 2019
Committee on Standards
26th Oct 2017 - 14th Jan 2019
Committee of Privileges
26th Oct 2017 - 14th Jan 2019
European Scrutiny Committee
30th Oct 2017 - 9th Jul 2018
Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Defence Procurement)
20th Jun 2017 - 1st Jul 2018
Committees on Arms Export Controls
10th Feb 2016 - 3rd May 2017
Defence Committee
6th Jul 2015 - 3rd May 2017
Defence Sub-Committee
8th Sep 2015 - 3rd May 2017
Committees on Arms Export Controls (formerly Quadripartite Committee)
10th Feb 2016 - 3rd May 2017


Department Event
Tuesday 27th February 2024
09:25
Department for Business and Trade
Third Delegated Legislation Committee - Debate - General Committee
27 Feb 2024, 9:25 a.m.
The draft Paternity Leave (Amendment) Regulations 2024
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Department Event
Tuesday 27th February 2024
09:25
Department for Business and Trade
Third Delegated Legislation Committee - Debate - Select & Joint Committees
27 Feb 2024, 9:25 a.m.
The draft Paternity Leave (Amendment) Regulations 2024
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Department Event
Thursday 7th March 2024
09:30
Department for Business and Trade
Oral questions - Main Chamber
7 Mar 2024, 9:30 a.m.
Business and Trade (including Topical Questions)
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Department Event
Thursday 2nd May 2024
09:30
Department for Business and Trade
Oral questions - Main Chamber
2 May 2024, 9:30 a.m.
Business and Trade (including Topical Questions)
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Division Votes
Tuesday 20th February 2024
Offshore Petroleum Licensing Bill
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 41 Scottish National Party Aye votes vs 0 Scottish National Party No votes
Tally: Ayes - 226 Noes - 287
Speeches
Wednesday 24th January 2024
Oral Answers to Questions
The Brexit pain continues, with £140 billion wiped off the UK economy and more regulation making it tough for exporters. …
Written Answers
Monday 23rd October 2023
Scottish Government: Visits Abroad
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, whether he has had recent discussions with the Secretary of State for …
Early Day Motions
Monday 19th February 2024
VAT and the hospitality sector
That this House recognises the continuing challenges facing the hospitality sector during the cost of living crisis; notes that the …
Bills
Wednesday 24th March 2021
Gaming Hardware (Automated Purchase and Resale) (No. 2) Bill 2019-21
A Bill to prohibit the automated purchase and resale of games consoles and computer components; and for connected purposes.
MP Financial Interests
Monday 30th October 2023
4. Visits outside the UK
Name of donor: Open European Dialogue (policy makers network co-ordinated by Apropos)
Address of donor: Karl Marx Allee 98, 10243, …
EDM signed
Monday 26th February 2024
Jim Carswell, Scotland cap
That this House congratulates Jim Carswell, formerly of Paisley, Grammarians, Rugby Club, Jordanhill RFC and Glasgow on receiving his Scotland …
Supported Legislation
Tuesday 20th February 2024
Broadcasting (Listed Sporting Events) (Scotland) Bill 2023-24
A Bill to expand the list of sporting events that must be made available for broadcast by free-to-air television channels …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliament, Douglas Chapman has voted in 552 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Douglas Chapman 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
Jacob Rees-Mogg (Conservative)
(13 debate interactions)
Graham Stuart (Conservative)
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
(10 debate interactions)
Alister Jack (Conservative)
Secretary of State for Scotland
(9 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
HM Treasury
(21 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(11 debate contributions)
Scotland Office
(11 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Douglas Chapman's debates

Dunfermline and West Fife 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 Dunfermline and West Fife signature proportion
Petitions with most Dunfermline and West Fife signatures
Douglas Chapman has not participated in any petition debates

Latest EDMs signed by Douglas Chapman

22nd February 2024
Douglas Chapman signed this EDM as a sponsor on Monday 26th February 2024

Jim Carswell, Scotland cap

Tabled by: Gavin Newlands (Scottish National Party - Paisley and Renfrewshire North)
That this House congratulates Jim Carswell, formerly of Paisley, Grammarians, Rugby Club, Jordanhill RFC and Glasgow on receiving his Scotland rugby cap 47 years after playing for his country against Japan in 1974; acknowledges this award makes him Paisley Rugby Club’s first player to go on and win full international …
8 signatures
(Most recent: 27 Feb 2024)
Signatures by party:
Scottish National Party: 7
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
21st February 2024
Douglas Chapman signed this EDM on Monday 26th February 2024

75th anniversary of Troon Art Club

Tabled by: Philippa Whitford (Scottish National Party - Central Ayrshire)
This House congratulates Troon Art Club on their 75th anniversary and celebrates that the club, founded shortly after the second world war, has gone from strength to strength over the years, working to advance the arts in Ayrshire through their set programme of art demonstrations, professional appraisals, exhibitions and competitions, …
14 signatures
(Most recent: 27 Feb 2024)
Signatures by party:
Scottish National Party: 13
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
View All Douglas Chapman's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Douglas Chapman, 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.


Douglas Chapman has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Douglas Chapman has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

2 Bills introduced by Douglas Chapman


A Bill to prohibit the automated purchase and resale of games consoles and computer components; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

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

A Bill to prohibit the automated purchase and resale of games consoles and computer components; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Wednesday 3rd February 2021

143 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
15th Jul 2022
To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the House of Commons Commission, how many statues and busts of (a) former hon. Members and (b) other people of note were on display in the Palace of Westminster as at July 2022.

There are 184 statues and busts from the Parliamentary Art Collection on display within the Commons areas of the Palace of Westminster. Of this number, 62 portray former Members, and 122 portray other people of note.

Within the Lords areas, there are 216 statues and busts on display. 42 of those portray former Members, 174 other people of note.

15th Jul 2022
To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the House of Commons Commission, what the cost was of (a) maintaining, (b) repairing and (c) cleaning statues and busts of (a) former hon. Members and (b) other people of note on display in the Palace of Westminster in each of the last five years.

Maintenance, repair and cleaning work has continued consistently across the last five years. Collections care and maintenance is a bicameral function and the Commons share across all statues and busts in the Palace is as follows. A small proportion of these costs relates to work not in the Palace or on other objects.

2017
Maintenance and cleaning: £5240
Repair: £1066

2018
Maintenance and cleaning: £6497
Repair: £2120

2019
Maintenance and cleaning: £5604
Repair: £689

2020
Maintenance and cleaning: £3240
Repair: £555

2021
Maintenance and cleaning: £6966
Repair: £2308

2022
Maintenance and cleaning: £1080
Repair: £225

15th Jun 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what steps the Government is taking to ensure its COP26 presidency helps protect the rights of persons with disabilities.

Climate action must be inclusive of people with disabilities and support their rights. We know that people with disabilities are disproportionately affected by climate change. The UK is committed to championing inclusivity throughout our COP presidency. Our dedicated civil society engagement team ensures we amplify and learn from the voices of those most affected by climate change to inspire governments to increase their ambition.

We are actively engaging the disability community to ensure that people with disabilities and their representative organisations can fully participate in the summit in November. We have set up an official-led COP26 disability-inclusive working group to guide our preparations for delivering an inclusive summit. This group comprises disabled persons’ organisations and disability representatives organisations from around the world. The COP26 civil society engagement team also runs regular open-invite calls with civil society to ensure that the UK presidency is consulting the broadest range of groups in the run-up to COP26. These calls are attended by persons with disabilities and representative organisations.

Finally, the UK also ensured in the recent Climate and Development Ministerial Chair’s Summary that the links between climate finance and advancing the inclusivity of persons with disabilities were highlighted.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
20th May 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether he plans to send the report by Sir Robert Francis on compensation for those affected by contaminated blood products to his counterparts in the devolved Administrations.

Yes. I intend to share a copy of Sir Robert’s study with the health Ministers in the devolved administrations prior to publication of the study.

31st Mar 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will confirm that liabilities in respect of the UK Contaminated Blood Scandal will be covered directly and exclusively by the Government.

It is important that we wait for the conclusion of the independent Infected Blood Inquiry, chaired by Sir Brian Langstaff. The Government will consider Sir Brian’s findings and recommendations once the Inquiry has reported.

18th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether a Suitability and Sustainability Study will be undertaken following the closure of the Civil Service Club in Rosyth, Fife.

Decisions on the Civil Service Club in Rosyth, Fife have been made by the Civil Service Sports Council (CSSC). The Cabinet Office has no current plans to conduct a study as described.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
13th May 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the annual salary is of each of his Department's Non-Executive Board Members.

Details of remuneration for Cabinet Office’s Non-Executive Board Members is available in the Annual Report and Accounts, the latest edition of which can be found here. The register of interests for the new Board Members will be published shortly. The roles were advertised publicly with the job description posted on the HM Government Public Appointments and on GOV.UK. 163 candidates applied for these positions.

13th May 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many people applied for the four new Non-Executive Board positions and what the criteria was for selecting the successful candidates.

Details of remuneration for Cabinet Office’s Non-Executive Board Members is available in the Annual Report and Accounts, the latest edition of which can be found here. The register of interests for the new Board Members will be published shortly. The roles were advertised publicly with the job description posted on the HM Government Public Appointments and on GOV.UK. 163 candidates applied for these positions.

13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, when she plans to bring forward legislation to limit the length of post-termination non-compete clauses in (i) contracts of employment and (ii) limb (b) worker contracts to three months.

On 10 May the Government announced that it will be introducing a statutory limit on the length of non-compete clauses of 3 months. This formed part of a wider policy paper, ‘Smarter regulation to grow the economy’, which focused on how we can improve regulation across the board to reduce burdens, push down the cost of living and drive economic growth.

Introducing the statutory limit on the length of non-compete clauses of 3 months will require primary legislation and the Government will introduce this legislation when parliamentary time allows.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
20th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent steps his Department has taken to help support (a) venues in the events industry and (b) small business who contribute to the events industry supply chain.

The Government has taken action to support UK SMEs in the events sector, including support with business rates; increasing the employment allowance; and exempting small and micro businesses from regulations where possible. The Government has also acted to reverse the National Insurance rise, which will save small businesses £4,200 on average and brought in the Energy Bill Relief Scheme, which will protect small businesses from high energy bills over the winter.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
20th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has had recent discussions with representatives of the events industry on the potential merits of establishing a strategic approach to winning more international events.

Events showcase the UK's industrial strengths to the world while also attracting international visitors to all corners of the UK. The Government is working closely with the Department for International Trade and Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to improve the UK’s already strong offer so that we can attract more high profile events and champion UK sectors on the global stage.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
19th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will launch a public consultation on the issuing of new licenses for oil and gas in the North Sea to the north of 55.81 degrees north.

The Government completed an Offshore Energy Strategic Environmental Assessment (OESEA4) of a draft plan/programme for licensing and leasing areas for future offshore energy developments including offshore oil and gas, offshore gas and carbon dioxide storage, offshore renewables, and offshore hydrogen, in relevant waters of the UK Continental Shelf.

Public consultation on the OESEA4 Environmental Report took place between 17 March and 27 May 2022. The Government response to the OESEA4 consultation was published in September 2022 and the plan/programme was adopted in September 2022.

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/uk-offshore-energy-strategic-environmental-assessment-4-oesea4.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
17th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will have discussions within Cabinet colleagues on the potential merits of (a) establishing a separate energy market for Scotland including for stewardship and licencing of Scotland based energy resources and (b) fully devolving energy policy for Scotland to the Scottish Government.

There are no plans to hold such discussions. The UK Government continues to work closely with the Scottish Government on energy matters. This includes engagement through the Net Zero, Energy and Climate Change Intermenstrual Group which facilitates collaboration and coordination across devolved and reserved competence, ensuring we are delivering effectively for all parts of the UK.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
17th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has had recent discussions with Cabinet colleagues on the potential merits of abolishing Ofgem.

The law requires Ofgem, as the expert independent regulator to enforce Supply Licence Conditions and ensure consumers are treated fairly. My Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister announced a review of energy regulation on 8 September and more details will be published shortly.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
11th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he will announce further details on the financial support allocated to those living in park homes facing increasing energy bills.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer I gave the Hon. Member for St Albans on 22nd September to Question 48498.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
22nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps plans to take to support businesses with increased energy costs in 2023.

The details of the Energy Bill Relief Scheme were announced on 21 September 2022. The scheme will initially run for 6 months covering energy use from 1st October 2022 until 31st March 2023.

The Government will publish a review of the scheme in 3 months, which will consider how best to offer further support to customers who are the most vulnerable to energy price increases. These are likely to be those who are least able to adjust, for example by reducing energy usage or increasing energy efficiency. Continuing support to those deemed eligible would begin at the end of the initial 6-month support scheme, without a gap.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
22nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what progress the Government has made on the introduction of a Home Shipbuilding Credit Guarantee Scheme that was due to be launched in spring 2022.

The Home Shipbuilding Credit Guarantee is one of my key priorities for early delivery now that the new Government is in place. I will be bringing forward our specific proposals for the scheme to my Whitehall colleagues shortly with a view to launching a scheme this calendar year.

Nusrat Ghani
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade) (jointly with the Cabinet Office)
22nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will meet with representatives from the maritime sector to discuss the potential impact of rising energy costs on the sector and its ability to ensure that critical supply chains remain operational.

I will be meeting with representatives from the maritime sector for a general introduction in the coming few weeks.

The recently announced Energy Bill Relief Scheme (https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-outlines-plans-to-help-cut-energy-bills-for-businesses) ensures that all businesses and other non-domestic customers are protected from excessively high energy bills over the winter period. A review of the scheme, to be published in three months, will identify the most vulnerable non-domestic customers and how the government will continue assisting them with energy costs after the initial six months.

Nusrat Ghani
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade) (jointly with the Cabinet Office)
25th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the recent announcement of Government plans to reduce the number of civil servants by 91,000, what estimate he has made of the likely reduction in the number of staff in his Department located in Dunfermline and West Fife constituency as a result of those plans.

The Department does not have any civil servants with a contractual work location within the Dunfermline and West Fife constituency.

20th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he expects the First-tier Tribunals for Green Deal scheme complaints to be concluded.

The Government is unable to anticipate when the appeals currently with the First Tier Tribunal will be completed, as the Tribunal is outside the control of the Secretary of State.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Secretary of State for Transport on the decarbonisation of the maritime industry.

The Government recognises the importance of bringing together co-ordinated policy action across all departments, to achieve net zero. Two cabinet committees have been established, chaired by my Rt. Hon. Friends the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. These Committees are turbo-charging the net zero transition and co-ordinating action across government.

In 2019 we published our Clean Maritime Plan, the UK’s pathway to zero emissions shipping. It identifies ways to tackle air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions while securing growth and placing the UK at the forefront of the global transition to clean shipping. Implementation of the plan is underway. We have funded two competitions for early stage innovation projects in clean maritime, run a study to identify and support potential UK zero emission shipping clusters and supported the establishment of Marine Emissions Regulations advisory Service and the Maritime Research and Innovation UK (MarRI-UK) initative.

26th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to support research at universities across the UK.

On 27 June, the Government announced a package of support for UK universities to ensure that the university research base can fully contribute to the UK recovery and our economy in the longer-term. The University Research Stabilisation package will give greater job protection to thousands of researchers, scientists and technicians working at UK universities, and will enable universities facing potential decline in income for research as a result of COVID-19 to continue their research and innovation activities.

Around £280 million of UK government investment will be made immediately available to support researchers’ salaries and other costs such as laboratory equipment and fieldwork. This includes £200m of new funding, together with upto £80 million of existing funding from UK Research & Innovation (which is being freed-up from likely grant underspends for redistribution to support R&D in our universities). From the Autumn, UK Government will provide a package for universities across the UK consisting of low-interest loans with long pay-back periods, supplemented by a small amount of government grants, to cover up to 80% of a university’s income losses from international students for the academic year 2020/21, up to the value of their non-publicly funded research activity. Universities will need to demonstrate how these funds are being utilised to sustain research in areas typically funded by charities and business.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
25th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when a permanent Small Business Commissioner will be appointed.

Officials expect to launch an open recruitment campaign in due course to appoint a permanent Small Business Commissioner.

25th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many late payment cases the Small Business Commissioner has successfully tackled in each year since the office was created; and what the value of recovered payments has been in each year since its creation.

Since its creation in December 2017, the Small Business Commissioner has handled a total of 101 cases and recovered a total of £7,353,234.70, broken down as follows:

  • January 2018 – December 2018: £443,023.80 (10 cases);
  • January 2019 – December 2019: £5,993,178.99 (52 cases); and
  • January 2020 – 25 June 2020: £917,031.91 (39 cases).
16th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he last met the Secretary of State for Scotland to discuss the safeguarding and promotion of Scottish business.

My ministerial colleagues and I are in regular contact with the Office for the Secretary of State for Scotland to discuss the safeguarding and promotion of Scottish business.

In April, my Hon. Friends the Minister for Business and Industry and the then Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Scotland Office jointly held a webinar with Scottish Council for Development and Industry to discuss the Government’s Covid response to safeguard and support busines in Scotland.

In May, the Minister for Business and Industry also attended the joint Scottish Government and UK Government Ministerial-led Scottish Business Growth Group to discuss support for businesses during Covid and future economic recovery.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many households in (a) Dunfermline and West Fife constituency, (b) Scotland and (c) the UK have prepayment meters; and what assessment he has made of the change in the number of those meters in each of those areas in each of the last five years.

The latest Ofgem data on Prepayment Meters (PPM) shows that there are 4.3 million customers using PPM meters, which represents around 15% of all customers in Great Britain.

Neither Ofgem nor the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy routinely collect regional PPM customer numbers However, in 2017 BIES collected a one off local authority area breakdown, which showed there were 460,529 PPM customers in Scotland and 27,413 PPM customers in the Fife Council local authority area. This data does not include customers who pay for their gas using a PPM as this data has not been compiled, however there are fewer gas PPMs as a whole in the market.

The number of Prepayment Meter accounts in the GB energy market over the last five years has remained around 4.5 million. There has, however been an increase in competition in the PPM market over the past five years with PPM specialists providing greater choice for consumers beyond the six large suppliers. A cap on PPM prices was introduced in April 2017 and remains in force.

13th May 2020
To ask the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire, representing the House of Commons Commission, what plans the Commission has to safeguard (a) hon. Members, (b) hon. Members' staff, (c) House staff and (d) children attending the Parliament’s nursery facilities during the covid-19 outbreak should the House of Commons agree to returning to a physical Parliament after the Whit recess.

The House Service is currently working in conjunction with Public Health England to ensure we meet the government guidelines to become a ‘Covid-19 secure’ workplace, and to build on our existing measures to ensure Members, Members’ staff and House staff working on the estate can do so safely. These include carrying out a Covid-19 risk assessment, which will also be carried out by the nursery provider. Where Members’ staff and those of the House can continue their work at home they are being encouraged to do so, with appropriate support provided. The Commission will be meeting to ensure that the appropriate level of services and safety measures are in place, should there be a return to physical-only proceedings after the Whitsun recess.

16th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions she has had with terrestrial TV stations to raise the issue of their inability to deliver free to air, live broadcasts of international football matches involving each of the four constituent nations of the UK.

The Department has discussions regularly with broadcasters on a range of matters including those related to the broadcasting of Sport.

The Listed Events regime is designed to ensure that sporting events of national significance are accessible to as wide an audience as possible by ensuring that coverage of certain sports are offered to free-to-air broadcasters. Currently, international football matches for the FIFA World Cup Finals Tournament and the European Football Championships Finals Tournament are designated on the listed events regime under Group A - where full live coverage must be offered for free-to-air broadcast. This includes the matches of the home countries that have qualified for the event.

We believe that the current Listed Events regime works well and strikes an appropriate balance between retaining free-to-air sports events for the public while allowing rights holders to negotiate agreements in the best interests of their sport.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if the Government will bring forward legislative proposals to prevent the use of automated bots to bulk purchase new releases of gaming consoles and computer components and to prevent their resale at inflated prices.

Officials are discussing this issue with the trade association for the video games industry, Ukie. We know that bulk purchasing through automated bots is a concern for some of their members who we understand are currently looking at any further actions they can take to prevent these behaviours, and are working with their retailers to improve experiences for customers.

14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will bring forward legislative proposals to prevent the (a) use of automated bots to bulk purchase new releases of gaming consoles and computer components and (b) resale of such products at inflated prices.

Officials are discussing this issue with the trade association for the video games industry, Ukie. We know that bulk purchasing through automated bots is a concern for some of their members who we understand are currently looking at any further actions they can take to prevent these behaviours, and are working with their retailers to improve experiences for customers.

26th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what support his Department has provided to community radio stations during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Community Radio Fund was set up in 2005 and has an annual budget of £400,000, which is used to help support community radio stations across the UK. It is administered by Ofcom, and applications are assessed by an independent panel.

For the financial year 2020-21, we have worked with Ofcom to use this Fund to provide emergency cash grants to help community radio stations to meet urgent liabilities and to keep themselves in business. Ofcom announced details of 81 awards on 4 June - allocating a significant proportion of the Fund’s budget for the year - and will be inviting applications for a further emergency funding round shortly to ensure that the full amount goes to those stations most in need of support at this time.

We are continuing to liaise with stakeholders across the sector regarding ways in which the Government can support community radio through Covid-19 and beyond.

25th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to ensure a sustainable future for independent, commercial radio stations.

We recognise there has been a significant negative impact on radio advertising revenues as a result of the COVID-19 crisis and have worked closely with commercial radio broadcasters and trade bodies to support the industry through this exceptionally challenging period.

In addition to the wider economic support available to UK businesses, the government has brokered sector-specific support for commercial radio. Discussions with Arqiva, the UK’s transmission network operator, have resulted in a package of assistance on transmission costs with six months free transmission for Arqiva’s small station customers.

25th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent progress he has made on the roll out of small-scale DAB radio; and if he will make a statement.

Ofcom, the UK’s independent regulator, is responsible for licensing small-scale DAB radio services. Following a consultation with the radio industry in 2019, Ofcom published a policy statement in April 2020 on the approach to licensing small scale DAB services, using powers given to them in The Small-scale Radio Multiplex and Community Digital Radio Order 2019. In June 2020 Ofcom confirmed that they plan to advertise Round One of the small-scale radio multiplex licences in September 2020.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many businesses have enrolled on the Cyber Essentials Scheme in Dunfermline and West Fife constituency.

From 2016 until the end of April 2020, 48 Cyber Essentials certificates have been awarded to organisations in the Dunfermline and West Fife constituency. This is an estimate, as there is incomplete location data for some historical certificate entries.

A total of 44,443 certificates have been awarded to organisations across the UK.


A search function to find organisations with Cyber Essentials certificates is available at www.ncsc.gov.uk/cyberessentials/search.

11th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether she has had recent discussions with her counterparts in the devolved Administrations on the potential merits of providing additional financial support for (a) school and (b) higher education students in the context of increases in the cost of living.

Last month, I met representatives from across the UK where we discussed this very topic. In England, we have put in place a significant amount of support to help students and families alike with the cost of living. This year alone, this government will spend around £37bn on cost of living support.

I take my role of giving children the very best start in life incredibly seriously. This Government spends more than £1 billion annually delivering free school meals to pupils in schools. More than one third of pupils in schools in England now receive a free meal. We have expanded the Holiday Activities and Food programme so that disadvantaged children in England will be offered free healthy meals and enriching activities over the Easter, summer and Christmas holidays. This expansion was built on previous programmes, including last summer’s, which supported around 600,000 children across 152 local authorities.

I also recognise the cost-of-living pressures that have impacted students. That is why we have earmarked £276 million of student premium funding this year to support disadvantaged students who need additional help. We have continued to increase living costs support each year for English-domiciled students with a 2.3% increase to maximum loans and grants for living and other costs for this academic year, and a 2.8% increase for the 2023/24 academic year.

In addition, we have frozen maximum tuition fees for the current academic year and also for the 2023/24 and 2024/25 academic years. By 2024/25, maximum fees will have been frozen for seven years. We believe that a continued fee freeze achieves the best balance between ensuring the system remains sustainable, offering good value for the taxpayer, and reducing debt levels for students.

As well as keeping tuition fees flat, we have introduced and boosted degree apprenticeships, where, if people want to earn and learn, they can get their degrees paid for by their apprenticeship.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
23rd Nov 2020
What assessment he has made of the potential effect of the end of the transition period on (a) further and (b) higher education.

We are working with both the higher and further education sectors on what steps they need to take as we come to the end of the Transition Period.

This includes questions around participation in EU-funded programmes and future migration arrangements for example.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
26th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to support graduates looking for employment (a) during and (b) after the covid-19 outbreak.

Our economic priority is to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on our economy as far as possible. This is an incredibly difficult period for everyone, and we understand that graduates are likely to feel concerned as they enter a far tougher job market than those before them.

Some universities are going above and beyond to support those graduating this summer, providing extensive online careers advice, including webinars offering interview and CV-writing tips and skills and follow-up one-to-one calls. However, we need all universities to step up and play a key role to help graduates take the next step, whether into work or further study.

The recently announced National Tutoring Programme creates an opportunity for graduates to apply for tutoring roles providing support for pupils and schools in the most disadvantaged areas. More details of the programme will be available shortly.

We know that post-graduates often secure employment in higher skilled and higher paid employment than graduates and non-graduates. The government can support with the financial burden of accessing a master’s degree with a loan of up to £11,222. Where graduates are considering a career in teaching, tax-free postgraduate bursaries of up to £26,000 are available for trainee teachers starting initial teacher training in 2020/21, depending on the subject in which they train to teach.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
26th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that overseas students can continue to study in the UK during the covid-19 outbreak in the 2020-21 academic year; and what steps his Department is taking to ensure that funding for universities is maintained.

The UK’s world-leading universities remain open to international students and we are working as a priority to make processes as flexible and easy as possible to allow students to study at UK institutions in the 2020-21 academic year.

On 22 June, with my counterparts in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, I wrote to prospective international students to outline the support and guidance that is available to students who are considering studying in the UK from the autumn. In the letter, I reiterate the temporary and targeted flexibilities that the government has announced for international students including, amongst other mitigations, confirmation that distance learning or blended learning will be permitted for the 2020/21 academic year provided that international students’ sponsors intend to transition to face-to-face learning as soon as circumstances allow.

We are also in discussions with Universities UK and other sector representatives on a regular basis to ensure that we are united in welcoming international students to the UK. We expect international students - particularly those who will be subject to the 14-day self-isolation period - to be appropriately supported upon arrival by their chosen university during these unprecedented times. International students who are considering studying at a UK higher education (HE) provider from September 2020 should contact their chosen university to find out how they are adapting to the COVID-19 outbreak.

On Monday 4 May, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, announced the package of measures to stabilise university admissions this autumn and ensure sustainability in HE at a time of unprecedented uncertainty. Full details of the package have been published on GOV.UK: www.gov.uk/government/news/government-support-package-for-universities-and-students.

The government has also confirmed that HE providers in England are eligible to apply for its support packages, including business loan support schemes. The Office for Students (OfS), the regulator in England, estimates that these schemes could be worth at least £700 million to the sector.

We will only intervene further where we believe there is a case to do so and where we believe intervention is possible and appropriate and as a last resort. In such instances, we will work with providers to review their circumstances and assess the need for restructuring and any attached conditions. The department will be working with HM Treasury and other government departments, as well as with the devolved administrations, to develop this restructuring regime.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
19th May 2020
To ask the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire, representing the House of Commons Commission, what recent estimate the Commission has made of how many hon Members (a) may be shielding (b) may be in the same household as someone who is shielding or who are in a high risk category and (c) have caring responsibilities for a member of their family who may be shielding in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

Due to its sensitive personal nature, this information is not held by the House of Commons Commission. Guidance and support has been made available by the House service for Members in this position.

13th May 2020
To ask the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire, representing the House of Commons Commission, what plans the Commission has to ensure that safe social distancing due to the covid-19 outbreak takes place on the Parliamentary Estate should the House return to a purely physical Parliament after the Whit recess.

The House Service is enforcing social distancing rules in and out of the Chamber. The updated government guidance sets out the steps employers must take to become ‘COVID-19 secure’ workplaces. For Parliament, this includes publishing risk assessments and outlining the measures in place to protect those working on the estate. Measures have been introduced to promote social distancing on the estate, including installing physical barriers and signage, and staggering shift and break times. The parliamentary authorities are continuing to work through the government advice to ensure a comprehensive set of measures are in place to enable a wider return to work on the estate after the Whitsun recess.

The House Service is currently working in conjunction with Public Health England to ensure we meet the government guidelines to become a ‘COVID-19 secure’ workplace, and to build on our existing measures to ensure all those working on the estate can do so safely. The Commission will be meeting to ensure that the appropriate level of services and safety measures are in place, should there be a return to physical-only proceedings after the Whitsun recess.

16th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking with Cabinet colleagues to help (a) limit the average global temperature rise to 1.5 celsius, (b) address biodiversity decline by 2030, (c) protect nature and (d) decarbonise.

At COP26, 197 Parties agreed to the Glasgow Climate Pact to urgently keep 1.5°C alive. We brought nature to the heart of the climate COP for the very first time, with more than 140 world leaders, representing 91 per cent of the world's forests, committing to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030. At COP27, the UK Government continued to demonstrate leadership on nature and climate through new investments: the Secretary of State committed to £30 million of seed finance into the Big Nature Impact Fund, a new public-private fund for nature in the UK which will unlock significant private investment into nature projects. She (not he) also announced an additional £12 million investment in the Ocean Risk and Resilience Action Alliance to make marine biodiversity and vulnerable coastal communities more resilient, and a further £6 million in the UN’s Climate Promise programme to help developing countries achieve their climate commitments.

These steps build on a strong foundation of action and leadership by the UK, reducing our emissions by over 40% since 1990 while growing the economy by three quarters. Defra has a vital role to play in delivering the Government's Net Zero Strategy and ensuring nature-based solutions are a vital part of the climate agenda.

The UK will continue to lead globally on the road to the Convention on Biological Diversity COP15.2, hosted in Montreal, where we must secure agreement to halt and reverse biodiversity loss globally by 2030.The UK is committed to securing an ambitious outcome. We will continue to champion the protection of at least 30% of land and ocean globally, as the chair of the Global Ocean Alliance.

Responsibility for the domestic environment is devolved. However, in England, we are taking unprecedented steps to address biodiversity decline and protect nature, not least through our world leading Environment Act, which requires a new, legally binding target to be set in England to halt the decline in species abundance by 2030, and introduces Biodiversity Net Gain, Local Nature Recovery Strategies and a strengthened biodiversity duty on public authorities to work together to protect our native species.

14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will take steps to support research and development into alternative materials to peat in growing media that meets the requirements of consumer and professional horticulturists.

The Government has always been clear about the need to end the use of peat and peat-containing products in horticulture in England.

We have worked with the horticulture industry to develop a Responsible Sourcing Scheme for Growing Media, which allows manufacturers and retailers to make informed choices of growing media inputs to peat free products, based on environmental and social impacts.

We continue to support industry in their efforts to go peat free, this has included over £1 million on a project to provide the necessary applied science to help underpin the development and management of alternative growing media. We are co-funding monitoring with the horticultural industry on the composition of growing media (including peat) supplied for amateur and professional use in the horticultural market.

While there has been some progress, the voluntary approach to phasing out the use of peat in horticulture has not succeeded. The Government therefore published a full consultation on banning the sale of peat and peat-containing products in the amateur sector by the end of this Parliament in England and Wales. The Government also asked for any evidence stakeholders can provide on the impacts of ending the use of peat and peat-containing products, we will publish our response to this consultation in due course.

We will continue to work across Government, and the private sector, to find solutions that will enable the use of peat and products containing peat to end. This includes the ground-breaking work being conducted by Forestry England to reduce peat use within tree nurseries; and identifying regulatory barriers in respect of potential peat replacement products.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking with the horticulture and gardening industry to tackle regulatory and fiscal barriers to peat alternatives in growing media composts.

The Government has always been clear about the need to end the use of peat and peat-containing products in horticulture in England.

We have worked with the horticulture industry to develop a Responsible Sourcing Scheme for Growing Media, which allows manufacturers and retailers to make informed choices of growing media inputs to peat free products, based on environmental and social impacts.

We continue to support industry in their efforts to go peat free, this has included over £1 million on a project to provide the necessary applied science to help underpin the development and management of alternative growing media. We are co-funding monitoring with the horticultural industry on the composition of growing media (including peat) supplied for amateur and professional use in the horticultural market.

While there has been some progress, the voluntary approach to phasing out the use of peat in horticulture has not succeeded. The Government therefore published a full consultation on banning the sale of peat and peat-containing products in the amateur sector by the end of this Parliament in England and Wales. The Government also asked for any evidence stakeholders can provide on the impacts of ending the use of peat and peat-containing products, we will publish our response to this consultation in due course.

We will continue to work across Government, and the private sector, to find solutions that will enable the use of peat and products containing peat to end. This includes the ground-breaking work being conducted by Forestry England to reduce peat use within tree nurseries; and identifying regulatory barriers in respect of potential peat replacement products.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will set a revised date for the publication of the National Food Strategy.

The forthcoming Food Strategy White Paper is a once in a generation opportunity to create a food system that feeds our nation today and protects it for tomorrow.

It will build on existing work across Government and identify new opportunities to make the food system healthier, more sustainable, more resilient, and more accessible for those across the UK. Given ongoing wider circumstances, we expect to publish the food strategy after the pre-election period for the local elections.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
1st Jun 2020
To ask the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire, representing the House of Commons Commission, what discussions the Commission has had with representatives from (a) trade unions and (b) other staff organisations on the health and safety implications of the House returning on 2 June 2020 without hybrid proceedings.

The House authorities on behalf of the Commission have met with representatives of the Trade Unions for staff in the House of Commons and PDS formally at least three times per week since the beginning of March, and with representatives of Members’ and Peers’ Staff Association (MAPSA) and Unite as representatives of Members’ staff. These discussions have covered all aspects of how the House is responding to Covid-19, including preparations for the return of the House on 2 June.

The Commission has also invited submissions from the groups mentioned above.

20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 13 May 2020 to Question 43677, what the total amount of funding available through the Zoo Support Fund is for England; and whether this fund qualifies for Barnett consequentials.

The Zoos Support Fund (ZSF) is £14 million in total for England. The ZSF qualifies for Barnett consequentials. As a result of this package, the Devolved Administrations will receive £2.1 million in additional funding.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
16th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, how much the UK pavilion at the EXPO 2020 in Dubai cost to (a) design, (b) build and (c) maintain; and whether that pavilion is still being utilised to promote UK exports and trade.

The UK pavilion recorded 1.1 million visits. To note ‘visits’ does not necessarily equate to separate individuals, who may have visited more than once. The number of individual visitors is not known.

Although not directly comparable, for planning purposes, the UK at Expo 2020 anticipated 10% of overall visits to the wider Expo event which was based on visitor attendance at the previous Expo. The organisers of Expo in Dubai announced 24.1m actual visits, whilst the UK registered 1.1m, equating to 4.6%. Our assessment is that this was due to the much larger scale of the Dubai Expo, and the site configuration which resulted in less overall footfall past the UK Pavilion.

The number of business contacts was not set or captured as a key success metric.

The cost to design the pavilion was £2.83m. The cost to build and maintain was covered under one contract and therefore these costs are being finalised as decommissioning (including dismantling) of the pavilion has only recently been completed.

Andrew Bowie
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
16th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, if she will make an estimate of the number of business contacts that were made at the UK pavilion during the EXPO 2020 in Dubai in each month of that event; and whether her Department adjusted its forecast of the number of business contacts that would be made during that event.

The UK pavilion recorded 1.1 million visits. To note ‘visits’ does not necessarily equate to separate individuals, who may have visited more than once. The number of individual visitors is not known.

Although not directly comparable, for planning purposes, the UK at Expo 2020 anticipated 10% of overall visits to the wider Expo event which was based on visitor attendance at the previous Expo. The organisers of Expo in Dubai announced 24.1m actual visits, whilst the UK registered 1.1m, equating to 4.6%. Our assessment is that this was due to the much larger scale of the Dubai Expo, and the site configuration which resulted in less overall footfall past the UK Pavilion.

The number of business contacts was not set or captured as a key success metric.

The cost to design the pavilion was £2.83m. The cost to build and maintain was covered under one contract and therefore these costs are being finalised as decommissioning (including dismantling) of the pavilion has only recently been completed.

Andrew Bowie
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
16th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, if she will make an estimate of whether the number of people who attended the UK pavilion during the EXPO 2020 in Dubai was higher than her Department had anticipated in advance of that event.

The UK pavilion recorded 1.1 million visits. To note ‘visits’ does not necessarily equate to separate individuals, who may have visited more than once. The number of individual visitors is not known.

Although not directly comparable, for planning purposes, the UK at Expo 2020 anticipated 10% of overall visits to the wider Expo event which was based on visitor attendance at the previous Expo. The organisers of Expo in Dubai announced 24.1m actual visits, whilst the UK registered 1.1m, equating to 4.6%. Our assessment is that this was due to the much larger scale of the Dubai Expo, and the site configuration which resulted in less overall footfall past the UK Pavilion.

The number of business contacts was not set or captured as a key success metric.

The cost to design the pavilion was £2.83m. The cost to build and maintain was covered under one contract and therefore these costs are being finalised as decommissioning (including dismantling) of the pavilion has only recently been completed.

Andrew Bowie
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
16th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, if he will make an estimate of the number of people who attended the UK pavilion during the EXPO 2020 in Dubai.

The UK pavilion recorded 1.1 million visits. To note ‘visits’ does not necessarily equate to separate individuals, who may have visited more than once. The number of individual visitors is not known.

Although not directly comparable, for planning purposes, the UK at Expo 2020 anticipated 10% of overall visits to the wider Expo event which was based on visitor attendance at the previous Expo. The organisers of Expo in Dubai announced 24.1m actual visits, whilst the UK registered 1.1m, equating to 4.6%. Our assessment is that this was due to the much larger scale of the Dubai Expo, and the site configuration which resulted in less overall footfall past the UK Pavilion.

The number of business contacts was not set or captured as a key success metric.

The cost to design the pavilion was £2.83m. The cost to build and maintain was covered under one contract and therefore these costs are being finalised as decommissioning (including dismantling) of the pavilion has only recently been completed.

Andrew Bowie
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent discussions her Department has held with relevant business stakeholders on the Tradeshow Access Programme.

I refer the hon. Member for Dunfermline and West Fife to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for North Durham on 15 July 2021, UIN: 28980.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
17th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many driving test examiner posts are vacant in (a) Dunfermline and (b) Kirkcaldy; how many applications the DVSA received for advertised driving test examiner vacancies in each of those areas in each of the last 12 months; and ( how many vacancies were successfully filled in each of those areas in each of those months.

Driving examiners (DE), based at Kirkcaldy driving test centre (DTC), are deployed between Dunfermline DTC and Kirkcaldy DTC to service demand.

There are test slots available to book at Dunfermline and Kirkcaldy within the booking window. There is sufficient resource to service demand at both test centres; therefore, there are no DE vacancies.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
16th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many cities do not have a full time DVSA driving test centre.

Based on demand, Dunfermline driving test centre operates 3 days per week, and Kirkcaldy operates 5 days per week.

On average, there are 78 driving test slots available per week at Dunfermline test centre, and 138 at Kirkcaldy. Driving examiners are deployed between the two test centres to balance out driving test waiting times.

The average waiting time for a practical car test at Dunfermline, and Kirkcaldy is 12 weeks, which is less than the current national average. As of 20 March 2023, there were 153 and 425 driving tests available at Dunfermline and Kirkaldy respectively.

Based on customer demand, 60 cities, out of 70, have permanent driving test centres. The ten that do not are listed below, alongside their nearest test centre. The only cities without a driving test centre within 15 miles are Wells and St Davids.

Name of city that does not have a permanent driving test centre (DTC)

Name of nearest DTC

Bath

Bristol Kingswood

Brighton and Hove

Lancing

Dunfermline

Kirkcaldy

Ely

Cambridge (Brookmount Court)

Ripon

Knaresborough

Salford

Cheetham Hill

St Asaph (Llanelwy)

Rhyl

St Davids

Pembroke Dock

Truro

Camborne

Wells

Weston-Super-Mare

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
16th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the average waiting time for a DVSA practical driving test was in (a) Dunfermline and (b) Kirkcaldy in each of the last 12 months.

Based on demand, Dunfermline driving test centre operates 3 days per week, and Kirkcaldy operates 5 days per week.

On average, there are 78 driving test slots available per week at Dunfermline test centre, and 138 at Kirkcaldy. Driving examiners are deployed between the two test centres to balance out driving test waiting times.

The average waiting time for a practical car test at Dunfermline, and Kirkcaldy is 12 weeks, which is less than the current national average. As of 20 March 2023, there were 153 and 425 driving tests available at Dunfermline and Kirkaldy respectively.

Based on customer demand, 60 cities, out of 70, have permanent driving test centres. The ten that do not are listed below, alongside their nearest test centre. The only cities without a driving test centre within 15 miles are Wells and St Davids.

Name of city that does not have a permanent driving test centre (DTC)

Name of nearest DTC

Bath

Bristol Kingswood

Brighton and Hove

Lancing

Dunfermline

Kirkcaldy

Ely

Cambridge (Brookmount Court)

Ripon

Knaresborough

Salford

Cheetham Hill

St Asaph (Llanelwy)

Rhyl

St Davids

Pembroke Dock

Truro

Camborne

Wells

Weston-Super-Mare

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
16th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many driving test appointment slots are available each week in (a) the Dunfermline and (b) the Kirkcaldy Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency test centre.

Based on demand, Dunfermline driving test centre operates 3 days per week, and Kirkcaldy operates 5 days per week.

On average, there are 78 driving test slots available per week at Dunfermline test centre, and 138 at Kirkcaldy. Driving examiners are deployed between the two test centres to balance out driving test waiting times.

The average waiting time for a practical car test at Dunfermline, and Kirkcaldy is 12 weeks, which is less than the current national average. As of 20 March 2023, there were 153 and 425 driving tests available at Dunfermline and Kirkaldy respectively.

Based on customer demand, 60 cities, out of 70, have permanent driving test centres. The ten that do not are listed below, alongside their nearest test centre. The only cities without a driving test centre within 15 miles are Wells and St Davids.

Name of city that does not have a permanent driving test centre (DTC)

Name of nearest DTC

Bath

Bristol Kingswood

Brighton and Hove

Lancing

Dunfermline

Kirkcaldy

Ely

Cambridge (Brookmount Court)

Ripon

Knaresborough

Salford

Cheetham Hill

St Asaph (Llanelwy)

Rhyl

St Davids

Pembroke Dock

Truro

Camborne

Wells

Weston-Super-Mare

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
15th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he is taking steps to agree a reciprocal arrangement for (a) pilot and (b) engineer licences with the European Union Aviation Safety Agency.

Whilst the UK/EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement provisions on aviation safety provide a framework under which arrangements for the reciprocal recognition of personnel licences could be agreed, the EU has indicated that it is not currently minded to enter into discussions on this issue.

7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate his Department has made of the number of potential new jobs that could be created through decarbonisation of the maritime sector.

In 2019, the Department published the Clean Maritime Plan, which notified the potential for clean economic growth in the UK as a result of the transition to zero emission shipping.

Alongside the Plan, the Department published an assessment of the potential economic opportunities from low and zero emission shipping. While this does not estimate the number of potential new jobs that could be created through the decarbonisation of the maritime sector, it identifies a large potential global market for the elements of alternative maritime fuel production technologies in which the UK has a particular competitive advantage (for example, upfront design), which could result in economic benefits to the UK of around £360–£510 million per year by the middle of the century.

Certain organisations within the maritime sector have publicly suggested that investment in maritime decarbonisation could create more than 15 thousand jobs as well as tens of thousands of jobs when considering the wider supply chain[1]. Industry research estimates that in 2017 the UK maritime sector as a whole directly supported more than 220 thousand jobs for UK employees[2].

[1] https://www.maritimeuk.org/spending-review/bid/

[2] https://www.maritimeuk.org/documents/429/Maritime_UK_-_state_of_the_maritime_nation_report_2019_D17mVSQ.pdf

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how much (a) Scotland, (b) Wales and (c) Northern Ireland will receive under Barnett consequentials to help provide for (i) pop-up cycle lanes and (ii) e-scooter trials as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Further details of the allocation of the funding for cycling and walking infrastructure and details of e-scooter trials will be announced shortly.

5th Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people in Dunfermline and West Fife did not receive the first cost-of-living benefit instalment due to them receiving a nil award during the relevant universal credit assessment period.

Between the 14 and 20 July, the department processed over 7.2m cost of living payments worth around £2.4 billion. In total, over eight million families will be eligible for this payment, with around one million eligible because they receive tax credits and no other eligible benefits. These families will receive their first instalment from HMRC in the autumn, and the second instalment in the winter. Further information is available at: 7.2 million Cost of Living payments made to low-income families - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) and at: Cost of Living Payment - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

Universal Credit households can receive a nil award for various reasons. The majority of nil awards are due to household earnings. Other reasons that can cause or contribute to a nil award include; capital, other income, other benefits, sanctions and fraud penalties.

There were 800 households containing 1,000 claimants in Dunfermline and West Fife who have not received the first Cost of Living Payment due to a nil award.

Notes:

1. Figures have been rounded to the nearest hundred.

2. Great Britain level figures have been provided.

3. Nil awards have been defined as households that received a £0 Universal Credit payment and had no deductions for advance repayments, third party debts or government debts and had no money paid directly to their landlord by Universal Credit.

4. Figures are provisional and are subject to retrospective change as later data becomes available.

5. The methodology used is different to those used to derive the Official Statistics Household series and therefore, figures may not be comparable.

6. The methodology and data source may be slightly different to those used to derive entitlement to the Cost-of-Living Payment.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, for what reason she has no current plans to include options for receiving the State Pension weekly or bi-weekly on the State Pension claim form.

There are no current plans to include options for receiving State Pension weekly/bi-weekly on the State Pension claim form.

The customer can, however, request a change to another payment frequency if they wish, at any point after the initial claim and award payment is made. A customer may telephone or write to request this change. State Pension systems do have the functionality to provide an alternative payment frequency, at any point after the initial claim and award is made. The easiest way to do this is for the customer to contact Pension Service by telephone and an operational agent can facilitate the change.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
21st Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether her Department expects to meet service delivery targets with regards to the processing of new claims to state pension by the end of October 2021.

Yes. As of 4 November, there were 3,220 claims where we awaited further information from the customer before we can finalise their claim.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
21st Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will ensure that the option of receiving the State Pension weekly or biweekly is made available on the claim form.

There are no current plans to include options for receiving State Pension weekly/bi-weekly on the State Pension claim form.

The customer can, however, request a change to another payment frequency if they wish, at any point after the initial claim and award payment is made. A customer may telephone or write to request this change. State Pension systems do have the functionality to provide an alternative payment frequency, at any point after the initial claim and award is made. The easiest way to do this is for the customer to contact Pension Service by telephone and an operational agent can facilitate the change.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
20th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she has taken to ensure that the correct addresses have been used in letters sent to winter fuel payment recipients by her Department.

For Winter Fuel Entitlement, and all customer notifications, DWP uses information from customer records across the Department to identify the most recent address provided by a citizen.

It is the responsibility of the citizen to inform DWP if they change their address and of any other changes that may affect their entitlement to Winter Fuel.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many recipients of the winter fuel payment were paid (a) prior to 31 December 2020 and (b) from 1 January to 1 February 2021; and how many payments remain outstanding.

We are not able to respond to your request as this information is only available at disproportionate cost to DWP.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to tackle delays in the payment of the winter fuel payment.

DWP paid ninety-nine per cent of payments on time, which equated to 11.4 Million payments.

DWP has deployed additional resources to ensure that the remaining Winter Fuel Payments are made as soon as possible, as well as boosting our capacity to handle an increase in telephone enquiries.

The remaining 1% of payments, and supplementary payments generated by a customer’s change of circumstances, will be made by 31 March 2021.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will commission a review on processes relating to winter fuel payments to ensure that all qualifying recipients are paid (a) accurately and (b) within agreed timescales.

As standard practice, DWP will review the Winter Fuel Payment exercise.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
26th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many advanced universal credit payments have been issued in Dunfermline and West Fife constituency since 1 March 2020; and what the cost was of those payments to the nearest thousand pounds.

Between 1 March 2020 and 16 June 2020 inclusive, 2,310 Universal Credit advance payments were issued to the Dunfermline and West Fife parliamentary constituency totalling a value of £1,013,000.

Notes:

1. Volumes are rounded to the nearest 10 and values to the nearest £1000.

2. Figures include all types of advances, including advances paid after the first assessment period.

3. Figures provided to 16 June 2020 in line with published management information relating to Universal Credit advances.

4. If a claimant has applied for more than one advance, each one is counted separately in these figures.

11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will ensure that clients who have overpaid their child maintenance payments due to departmental error will have those monies refunded within four weeks of the error being discovered.

Where overpayments of Child Maintenance occur, these are routinely adjusted from any future Child Maintenance payments due.

Where an overpayment occurs due to incorrect allocation to a case, action to rectify this usually takes place within 48 hours.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will investigate complaints of departmental errors made under the Child Maintenance Scheme; and if she will make a statement on the outcome of that investigation.

All complaints received by Child Maintenance Service are investigated. Customers who remain dissatisfied can then escalate their complaint and request a fully independent investigation to be completed by the Independent Case Examiner then the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.

Accuracy of Child Maintenance Service processes is also subject to scrutiny from Counter Fraud & Compliance Directorate, Government Internal Audit Agency and National Audit office.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of including confirmation of a third covid-19 booster vaccination on the NHS Covid-19 App for use by UK citizens when accessing venues and for travel overseas.

The NHS COVID-19 App is primarily a contact tracing app. App users are anonymous so it cannot be used as proof of vaccination status. The NHS App provides access to services including vaccination status and the NHS COVID pass. The NHS COVID Pass can now be used to demonstrate proof of a booster or third dose for outbound international travel and available through both the NHS App and on NHS.UK.

Booster vaccinations are currently not recorded in the domestic NHS COVID Pass as they are not required for domestic certification in England.

19th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to support veterans who are medically discharged from the armed forces.

As part of the Government’s continued commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant, veterans are able to access National Health Service provided mainstream and bespoke veteran services.

In England, this includes the Veterans Trauma Network. Located in 10 major trauma centres across England, with links to five specialist NHS trusts, the network works closely with Defence Medical Services, national centres of clinical expertise, veteran specific mental health services, as well as military charities to provide a complete package of care and treatment to those with service-attributable physical health conditions.

For mental health issues there is the Transition, Intervention and Liaison mental health service, which supports serving personnel who need additional mental health support as they are leaving the armed forces and for veterans who have mental health issues.

4th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he (a) has had and (b) plans to have discussions with the EU on lengthening the duration of Schengen Area visas for UK citizens travelling to the EU for longer than 90 days.

The UK's Trade and Cooperation Agreement with the EU confirms that both the UK and EU currently provide for visa-free travel for short-term visits for each other's nationals in accordance with their respective laws.

The UK's offer to EU citizens is the same as our offer to the nationals of all other countries. Similarly, the EU has legislated to grant British citizens the same visa-free travel permissions they offer as standard to all other third countries.

The Government's focus is on the smooth, robust and effective implementation of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
2nd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, how many full time equivalent staff (a) make up a full compliment of staff at the British Embassy in Japan and (b) occupy a role primarily focussed on business relationships and trade at that Embassy.

In March 2023 the headcount number of FCDO staff working at the British Embassy Tokyo was 20-29 FTE (Full-Time Equivalent) UK-based staff and 70-79 FTE country-based staff. These figures do not take into account staff working at the Embassy employed by the Department of Business and Trade, other government departments and devolved administrations.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
2nd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, how many full time equivalent staff (a) make up a full compliment of staff at the British Embassy in Brazil and (b) occupy a role primarily focussed on business relationships and trade at that Embassy.

In March 2023, the headcount number of FCDO staff working at the British Embassy Brasilia was 10-19 FTE (Full-Time Equivalent) UK-based staff and 100-119 FTE country-based staff. These figures do not include staff working at the Embassy employed by the Department of Business and Trade, other government departments or devolved administrations.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
2nd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, how many full time equivalent staff (a) make up a full compliment of staff at the British Embassy in Germany and (b) occupy a role primarily focussed on business relationships and trade at that Embassy.

In March 2023 the headcount number of FCDO staff working at the British Embassy Berlin was 20-29 FTE (Full-Time Equivalent) UK-based staff and 70-79 FTE country-based staff. These figures do not take into account staff working at the Embassy employed by the Department of Business and Trade, other government departments and devolved administrations.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, when he plans to respond to letters from the Hon member for Dunfermline and West Fife related to a constituent held in jail in Iraq.

The letter of 14 October was transferred from the Prime Minister's Office on 20 October. A response was issued on 14 November. A response will be issued to the correspondence of 7 November within 20 working days as per the Cabinet Office guidelines. Officials have been in touch with Mr Chapman and his office.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether the Government plans to review the UK's policy on arctic issues prior to COP26.

The UK revised its first Arctic Policy Framework, published in 2013, with the publication of "Beyond the Ice: UK policy towards the Arctic" in 2018. This recognised the accelerating rate of climate change in the Arctic and set out the UK's vision and priorities to underpin our commitment to an Arctic that is safe, secure and peaceful. The UK framework is based on three core principles of respect, cooperation and appropriate leadership. This reflects our respect for the sovereign rights of the eight Arctic States, the indigenous peoples and the environment of the region.

Whilst there are no immediate plans to revise the UK's Arctic Policy Framework before COP26, as the Arctic region is now warming at three times the global rate, the UK will maintain a significant contribution to Arctic science and research, focused on understanding the implications of climate change on the Arctic environment, and the livelihoods and economies of Arctic societies. We will highlight the consequences of rapid environmental change in both Polar Regions during COP26.

27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, for what reason the Government did not support the UN resolution A/RES/75/237 on action for the elimination of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.

The UK is fully committed to the total elimination of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, as well as to the promotion and protection of human rights for all without discrimination on any grounds. We will continue to be one of the strongest advocates for those United Nations mechanisms that help to combat racism.

However, as set out in our explanation of vote (https://undocs.org/A/C.3/75/SR.15 - last accessed 10 June 2021), the main sponsors of resolution A/RES/75/237 were unwilling to engage with UK suggestions on the text. States had an opportunity to shape the debate on racism at the United Nations in a way that brought countries together, forging a collaborative approach and working with civil society to uproot the evils of violence and discrimination. The UK hope that the main sponsors will seize those opportunities at the next session and take an approach that recognized the need for collaboration and consensus.

13th Oct 2023
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of Approved Mileage Allowance Payments in the context of trends in the level of oil prices.

Approved Mileage Allowance Payments (AMAPs) are used by employers to reimburse an employee’s expenses for business mileage in their private vehicle. AMAPs are intended to create administrative simplicity and certainty by using an average rate.

As with all taxes and allowances, the Government keeps the AMAP rate under review. In considering changes to the AMAP rate, the Government has to balance the responsible management of public finances, which fund our essential public services with support for individuals.

Gareth Davies
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what the grading structure applied to the Taxpayer Protection Taskforce is; and how many employees were in each grade as of 1 September 2022.

At the Spring Budget 2021, the Government announced a £100 million investment to form the Taxpayer Protection Taskforce. This enabled HMRC to significantly extend work to tackle fraud and error in the COVID-19 support schemes that HMRC administered (Self Employment Income Support Scheme, Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and Eat Out to Help Out). These payments were grants rather than loans. HMRC does not administer or undertake compliance of other COVID-19 financial support packages, such as Bounce Back Loans.

The taskforce was funded for 1,265 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) staff selected from those who have tax training and compliance experience. Once they joined, the taskforce staff were provided with additional training on the COVID-19 schemes.

As of 31 July 2022, there were 1,203 FTE in the taskforce made up of the below grades:

Grades

FTE

SCS

1.2

G6

8.04

G7

30.73

SO

121.46

HO

487.76

O

511.01

AO

42.64

CCG Total

1202.84

2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many suspected fraud cases have been investigated by the Taxpayer Protection Taskforce; how many of those cases (a) have since been dropped or (b) will not result in prosecution; and what the value is of loans unpaid which will not be recovered in relation to the cases which have been dropped.

At the Spring Budget 202,1 the Government announced a £100 million investment to form the Taxpayer Protection Taskforce. This enabled HMRC to significantly extend work to tackle fraud and error in the COVID-19 support schemes that HMRC administered (Self Employment Income Support Scheme, Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and Eat Out to Help Out). These payments are grants rather than loans. HMRC does not administer or undertake compliance of other COVID-19 financial support packages, such as Bounce Back Loans.

The £100 million funding covers backfilling the staff used to resource the taskforce.

In 2021-22 the taskforce had £41million allocated to the staffing budget and is forecasting £59 million in staffing for 2022-23.

During 2021-22, the Taxpayer Protection Taskforce consisted of 1,147 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) compliance officers, reassigned from other teams across HMRC. As of 31 July 2022, there are 1,203 FTE in the taskforce.

HMRC designed the Self Employment Income Support Scheme, Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and Eat Out to Help Out schemes to prevent fraud, both in the eligibility criteria and the claim process itself. HMRC also put in place a series of checks on claims before they were paid, blocking those that were highly indicative of criminal activity.

The Government and HMRC are taking tough action to tackle fraudulent behaviour. Anyone who keeps grant money despite knowing they were not entitled to it faces having to repay up to double the amount they received, plus interest, and potentially face criminal prosecution.

The Taxpayer Protection Taskforce undertakes one-to-one investigations where there is a suspected overpayment of an HMRC administered COVID-19 grant. These overpayments may be due to error or fraud, therefore the total number of investigations opened and concluded does not distinguish between error and fraud.

As of 31 July 2022, the total number of investigations opened since the start of the schemes is over 45,000, of which c.31,000 have been concluded. The taskforce opened over 32,000 one to one investigations in addition to the c.13,000 one to one investigations opened prior to the taskforce being formed. These investigations are carried out using HMRC’s civil powers and do not involve prosecution. By 31 March 2022, HMRC have recovered around £762 million of overclaimed grants. This is in addition to £425 million prevented from being paid out incorrectly and £970 million returned by claimants because they did not need the grant or they identified they had overclaimed without HMRC taking action.

In addition, HMRC carries out criminal investigations in the most serious cases of fraud. As of 31 July 2022, there has been 1 successful prosecution for fraud on the HMRC administered COVID-19 support schemes. HMRC also has 30 active criminal investigations that involve suspected COVID-19 scheme fraud and the final decision on whether to prosecute in these cases will be made by independent prosecution partners.

2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what the value of loans is that have been recovered by the Taxpayer Protection Taskforce through successful prosecutions in (a) 2021-22 and (b) 2022-23.

At the Spring Budget 202,1 the Government announced a £100 million investment to form the Taxpayer Protection Taskforce. This enabled HMRC to significantly extend work to tackle fraud and error in the COVID-19 support schemes that HMRC administered (Self Employment Income Support Scheme, Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and Eat Out to Help Out). These payments are grants rather than loans. HMRC does not administer or undertake compliance of other COVID-19 financial support packages, such as Bounce Back Loans.

The £100 million funding covers backfilling the staff used to resource the taskforce.

In 2021-22 the taskforce had £41million allocated to the staffing budget and is forecasting £59 million in staffing for 2022-23.

During 2021-22, the Taxpayer Protection Taskforce consisted of 1,147 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) compliance officers, reassigned from other teams across HMRC. As of 31 July 2022, there are 1,203 FTE in the taskforce.

HMRC designed the Self Employment Income Support Scheme, Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and Eat Out to Help Out schemes to prevent fraud, both in the eligibility criteria and the claim process itself. HMRC also put in place a series of checks on claims before they were paid, blocking those that were highly indicative of criminal activity.

The Government and HMRC are taking tough action to tackle fraudulent behaviour. Anyone who keeps grant money despite knowing they were not entitled to it faces having to repay up to double the amount they received, plus interest, and potentially face criminal prosecution.

The Taxpayer Protection Taskforce undertakes one-to-one investigations where there is a suspected overpayment of an HMRC administered COVID-19 grant. These overpayments may be due to error or fraud, therefore the total number of investigations opened and concluded does not distinguish between error and fraud.

As of 31 July 2022, the total number of investigations opened since the start of the schemes is over 45,000, of which c.31,000 have been concluded. The taskforce opened over 32,000 one to one investigations in addition to the c.13,000 one to one investigations opened prior to the taskforce being formed. These investigations are carried out using HMRC’s civil powers and do not involve prosecution. By 31 March 2022, HMRC have recovered around £762 million of overclaimed grants. This is in addition to £425 million prevented from being paid out incorrectly and £970 million returned by claimants because they did not need the grant or they identified they had overclaimed without HMRC taking action.

In addition, HMRC carries out criminal investigations in the most serious cases of fraud. As of 31 July 2022, there has been 1 successful prosecution for fraud on the HMRC administered COVID-19 support schemes. HMRC also has 30 active criminal investigations that involve suspected COVID-19 scheme fraud and the final decision on whether to prosecute in these cases will be made by independent prosecution partners.

2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what the overall budget for the Taxpayer Protection Taskforce was in financial year 2021-22 for (a) staffing, (b) operations and (c) legal and court proceedings; and what the budget projections are for financial year 2022-23 for each of those categories.

At the Spring Budget 202,1 the Government announced a £100 million investment to form the Taxpayer Protection Taskforce. This enabled HMRC to significantly extend work to tackle fraud and error in the COVID-19 support schemes that HMRC administered (Self Employment Income Support Scheme, Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and Eat Out to Help Out). These payments are grants rather than loans. HMRC does not administer or undertake compliance of other COVID-19 financial support packages, such as Bounce Back Loans.

The £100 million funding covers backfilling the staff used to resource the taskforce.

In 2021-22 the taskforce had £41million allocated to the staffing budget and is forecasting £59 million in staffing for 2022-23.

During 2021-22, the Taxpayer Protection Taskforce consisted of 1,147 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) compliance officers, reassigned from other teams across HMRC. As of 31 July 2022, there are 1,203 FTE in the taskforce.

HMRC designed the Self Employment Income Support Scheme, Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and Eat Out to Help Out schemes to prevent fraud, both in the eligibility criteria and the claim process itself. HMRC also put in place a series of checks on claims before they were paid, blocking those that were highly indicative of criminal activity.

The Government and HMRC are taking tough action to tackle fraudulent behaviour. Anyone who keeps grant money despite knowing they were not entitled to it faces having to repay up to double the amount they received, plus interest, and potentially face criminal prosecution.

The Taxpayer Protection Taskforce undertakes one-to-one investigations where there is a suspected overpayment of an HMRC administered COVID-19 grant. These overpayments may be due to error or fraud, therefore the total number of investigations opened and concluded does not distinguish between error and fraud.

As of 31 July 2022, the total number of investigations opened since the start of the schemes is over 45,000, of which c.31,000 have been concluded. The taskforce opened over 32,000 one to one investigations in addition to the c.13,000 one to one investigations opened prior to the taskforce being formed. These investigations are carried out using HMRC’s civil powers and do not involve prosecution. By 31 March 2022, HMRC have recovered around £762 million of overclaimed grants. This is in addition to £425 million prevented from being paid out incorrectly and £970 million returned by claimants because they did not need the grant or they identified they had overclaimed without HMRC taking action.

In addition, HMRC carries out criminal investigations in the most serious cases of fraud. As of 31 July 2022, there has been 1 successful prosecution for fraud on the HMRC administered COVID-19 support schemes. HMRC also has 30 active criminal investigations that involve suspected COVID-19 scheme fraud and the final decision on whether to prosecute in these cases will be made by independent prosecution partners.

2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many full time equivalent officials were deployed to the Taxpayer Protection Taskforce in the financial year 2021-22; and what the staff complement is for that taskforce as at 1 September 2022.

At the Spring Budget 202,1 the Government announced a £100 million investment to form the Taxpayer Protection Taskforce. This enabled HMRC to significantly extend work to tackle fraud and error in the COVID-19 support schemes that HMRC administered (Self Employment Income Support Scheme, Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and Eat Out to Help Out). These payments are grants rather than loans. HMRC does not administer or undertake compliance of other COVID-19 financial support packages, such as Bounce Back Loans.

The £100 million funding covers backfilling the staff used to resource the taskforce.

In 2021-22 the taskforce had £41million allocated to the staffing budget and is forecasting £59 million in staffing for 2022-23.

During 2021-22, the Taxpayer Protection Taskforce consisted of 1,147 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) compliance officers, reassigned from other teams across HMRC. As of 31 July 2022, there are 1,203 FTE in the taskforce.

HMRC designed the Self Employment Income Support Scheme, Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and Eat Out to Help Out schemes to prevent fraud, both in the eligibility criteria and the claim process itself. HMRC also put in place a series of checks on claims before they were paid, blocking those that were highly indicative of criminal activity.

The Government and HMRC are taking tough action to tackle fraudulent behaviour. Anyone who keeps grant money despite knowing they were not entitled to it faces having to repay up to double the amount they received, plus interest, and potentially face criminal prosecution.

The Taxpayer Protection Taskforce undertakes one-to-one investigations where there is a suspected overpayment of an HMRC administered COVID-19 grant. These overpayments may be due to error or fraud, therefore the total number of investigations opened and concluded does not distinguish between error and fraud.

As of 31 July 2022, the total number of investigations opened since the start of the schemes is over 45,000, of which c.31,000 have been concluded. The taskforce opened over 32,000 one to one investigations in addition to the c.13,000 one to one investigations opened prior to the taskforce being formed. These investigations are carried out using HMRC’s civil powers and do not involve prosecution. By 31 March 2022, HMRC have recovered around £762 million of overclaimed grants. This is in addition to £425 million prevented from being paid out incorrectly and £970 million returned by claimants because they did not need the grant or they identified they had overclaimed without HMRC taking action.

In addition, HMRC carries out criminal investigations in the most serious cases of fraud. As of 31 July 2022, there has been 1 successful prosecution for fraud on the HMRC administered COVID-19 support schemes. HMRC also has 30 active criminal investigations that involve suspected COVID-19 scheme fraud and the final decision on whether to prosecute in these cases will be made by independent prosecution partners.

9th Jun 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking to help convenience stores with (a) rising energy costs, and (b) rising food costs.

We understand that businesses including convenience stores are facing cost pressures such as high energy and commodity prices, which are impacted by global factors.

The Government engages in regular dialogue with a wide range of Business Representative Organisations (BROs) across the UK and will continue to do so. BRO feedback is valuable in understanding the wider economic landscape and to inform and evaluate ongoing policy making. BRO reportage has provided important insights in the context of the various business support measures the Government has announced.

For the retail sector this includes:

  • The Recovery Loan Scheme, which has been extended to 30 June 2022, providing businesses with up to £2 million of government guaranteed finance.
  • Cutting business rates by 50% for eligible retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in 2022-23, worth up to £110,00 per business.
  • Increasing the Employment Allowance from £4,000 to £5,000, cutting the cost of employment for 495,000 small businesses.
  • Businesses will also benefit from the cut to fuel duty announced by the Chancellor as part of his Spring Statement. The duty rate on petrol and diesel has been cut by 5p per litre until March 2023.

The Government is in regular contact with business groups about the challenges businesses are facing and we will continue to keep the situation under review. The Government is always open to hearing from businesses on the issues they are facing.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Jun 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions his Department has had with organisations representing convenience stores on (a) rising energy costs and (b) rising food costs.

We understand that businesses including convenience stores are facing cost pressures such as high energy and commodity prices, which are impacted by global factors.

The Government engages in regular dialogue with a wide range of Business Representative Organisations (BROs) across the UK and will continue to do so. BRO feedback is valuable in understanding the wider economic landscape and to inform and evaluate ongoing policy making. BRO reportage has provided important insights in the context of the various business support measures the Government has announced.

For the retail sector this includes:

  • The Recovery Loan Scheme, which has been extended to 30 June 2022, providing businesses with up to £2 million of government guaranteed finance.
  • Cutting business rates by 50% for eligible retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in 2022-23, worth up to £110,00 per business.
  • Increasing the Employment Allowance from £4,000 to £5,000, cutting the cost of employment for 495,000 small businesses.
  • Businesses will also benefit from the cut to fuel duty announced by the Chancellor as part of his Spring Statement. The duty rate on petrol and diesel has been cut by 5p per litre until March 2023.

The Government is in regular contact with business groups about the challenges businesses are facing and we will continue to keep the situation under review. The Government is always open to hearing from businesses on the issues they are facing.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions he has had with the Defence Secretary on the approval of the Shared Outcome Fund bid for the creation of a National Skills Academy for Maritime (Shipbuilding).

The Chancellor is in regular contact with Cabinet colleagues, including the Defence Secretary.

On 16 March 2021, the Defence Secretary outlined in his speech to the Society of Maritime Industries that HM Government is currently refreshing the National Shipbuilding Strategy, in order to deliver a more successful and sustainable UK shipbuilding enterprise.

Some of the most difficult social, environmental and economic challenges sit across the areas of responsibility of multiple public sector organisations.

Spending Round 2019 and Spending Review 2020 announced a combined £400 million for the Shared Outcomes Fund to fund pilot projects to test innovative ways of working across the public sector, with an emphasis on thorough plans for evaluation. The assessment process for the second round of funding is ongoing.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
4th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of making privately purchased hearing aids zero-rated for VAT.

The Government maintains a number of VAT reliefs for certain goods and services designed solely for use by disabled people to ensure the reliefs are appropriately targeted. Hearing aids that are not designed solely for use by disabled people do not qualify for VAT relief. However, VAT relief is available for induction loops and aids for the auditory training of deaf children.

The Government keeps all taxes under review, and any future decisions on tax policy will be made at future fiscal events.

4th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate his Department has made of the revenue raised through the application of VAT on hearing aids in each of the last five years for which figures are available.

The details that HM Revenue and Customs collect from taxpayers on their VAT returns are not specific enough to provide an estimate of VAT on hearing aids.

In order to minimise the administrative burden on businesses, they are only required to report the total VAT on all their taxable supplies of goods and services in the relevant period. It is therefore not possible to identify the types of supplies on which the VAT was charged.

15th Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many people have applied to the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme in Dunfermline and West Fife constituency.

As of 31 May 2020, 2,600 individuals had applied for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme in Dunfermline and West Fife constituency.

15th Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many businesses in Dunfermline and West Fife constituency have applied for VAT deferrals during the covid-19 outbreak.

Information in the form requested is not readily available and could only be compiled at disproportionate cost.

HMRC have published some data relating to the schemes that they are running to support the economy during the coronavirus pandemic at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/hmrc-coronavirus-covid-19-statistics.

10th Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many businesses based in the Dunfermline and West Fife constituency have applied for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

As of 11 June 2020, 1,110 claims have been made under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme by PAYE schemes registered at an address within the boundaries of the Dunfermline and West Fife constituency.

5th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what plans his Department has to support zoos and aquariums that are unable to furlough their employees.

The Government announced a package of support for licensed zoo or aquariums in England on May 4. These businesses can apply for a grant of up to £100,000. The amount received will be based on animals’ needs and can be used to cover animal-care costs such as:

  • keepers’ wages
  • animal feed and bedding
  • veterinary care and medicines
  • electricity and heating
  • waste removal

Applications are being handled by The Department for Environment and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). Further details are available here https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-apply-for-the-zoos-support-fund.

However, before applying for a grant these businesses must try to reduce costs or generate income in other ways, including applying for COVID-19 business support schemes and commercial and philanthropic funding.

The Business Support website provides further information about how businesses can access the support that has been made available, who is eligible, when the schemes open and how to apply - https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-support.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
5th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what plans his Department has to provide financial support to visitor attractions that rely on a high income during summer months but are ineligible for covid-19 business support during to the covid-19 pandemic.

The Government has announced unprecedented support for business and workers to protect them against the current economic emergency including an initial £330 billion of guarantees – equivalent to 15% of UK GDP.

Businesses in the leisure and tourism sector may benefit from the range of support measures made available, which includes:

  • A 12-month business rates holiday for all eligible retail, leisure and hospitality businesses in England
  • Small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief
  • A Discretionary Grant Fund for Local Authorities in England to make grants payments to businesses not eligible for the above schemes
  • The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)
  • The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)
  • The Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS)
  • The Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBL) for small and micro enterprises
  • VAT deferral for up to 12 months
  • The Time To Pay scheme, through which businesses in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, can receive support with their tax affairs
  • Protection for commercial leaseholders against automatic forfeiture for non-payment until June 30, 2020

The Business Support website provides further information about how businesses can access the support that has been made available, who is eligible, when the schemes open and how to apply - https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-support.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
5th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchquer, what the Barnett consequentials are for each of the devolved nations from the Zoo Support Fund.

The UK government is applying the Barnett formula in the normal way to the additional funding for charities announced by the Chancellor. In relation to the £750 million package, the Scottish Government are receiving at least £55 million, the Welsh Government are receiving at least £32 million, and the Northern Ireland Executive are receiving at least £19m.

Funding for charities is a devolved matter and it is for the devolved administrations to decide how to support charities in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Steve Barclay
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many people have arrived at Scottish airports from international destinations since 8 June 2020 to date.

Border Force does not release location specific statistics on the arrival of passengers to an individual airport.

However on 28 May 2020, the Home Office published additional statistics relating to Covid-19 and the immigration system here. This contains information on the impact of COVID-19 on passenger arrivals and includes data on the number of passengers arriving in the UK by air routes only.

The Home Office is due to publish the next quarterly Immigration Statistics on 27 August 2020.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
15th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, if will make an estimate of the number of (a) Royal Navy and (b) Babcock plc staff who have been assigned to the work to repair HMS Prince of Wales as of 15 November 2022.

Six Royal Navy staff have been specifically assigned to investigate the cause of, and manage work to rectify, the defect in HMS Prince of Wales. Further Royal Navy staff are working to rectify the defect as part of their wider duties, but the numbers of these staff cannot be ascertained in the time available. It is not for the Ministry of Defence to comment on the resourcing of external contractors.

Alex Chalk
Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice
15th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what discussions his Department has had Babcock plc on (a) the costs of the repair programme for HMS Prince of Wales and (b) agreement of an upper cost budget limit.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 7 November 2022 to Question 74554.

Alex Chalk
Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice
15th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what the cost has been of moving HMS Prince of Wales to Rosyth for repair.

HMS PRINCE OF WALES was assisted by the escort tug Njord Viking on her journey to Rosyth at a cost of £246,000. There were no other additional costs involved in the move.

Alex Chalk
Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice
15th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many members of the crew compliment of HMS Prince of Wales have been assigned to other vessels or duties during that ship’s current repair programme.

When fully crewed, HMS PRINCE OF WALES has 797 personnel. While repairs are undertaken, she has retained her fully trained crew in order to maintain the many systems onboard and to quickly deploy once repairs are complete.

Of that crew, 165 Service personnel are currently supporting Military Aid to Civil Authorities and a small number have been or are being provided on a short-term loan to other Platforms.

Alex Chalk
Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice
15th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many crew are on board HMS Prince of Wales.

When fully crewed, HMS PRINCE OF WALES has 797 personnel. While repairs are undertaken, she has retained her fully trained crew in order to maintain the many systems onboard and to quickly deploy once repairs are complete.

Of that crew, 165 Service personnel are currently supporting Military Aid to Civil Authorities and a small number have been or are being provided on a short-term loan to other Platforms.

Alex Chalk
Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice
6th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what recent assessment he has made of the probability that the disposal of SSN Swiftsure will be completed by its target date in 2026.

There are 21 decommissioned submarines awaiting disposal as of 6 June 2022. Good progress continues to be made with submarine dismantling in Rosyth as illustrated by the completion of removing all low-level radioactive waste from the third boat, REVENGE, in January 2022.

The Submarine Dismantling Project remains on track to deliver a safe, secure, cost-effective, and environmentally responsible solution for dismantling all our non-operational submarines. The first disposal, SWIFTSURE, is being used as a demonstrator submarine to define and refine the dismantling process now taking place at Rosyth dockyard and this remains on schedule for completion by the target date of 2026. As that work progresses, the outcomes will provide more certainty on the dates when the current programme of disposals will be completed.

6th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many decommissioned submarines are awaiting disposal as of 6 June 2022; and what his planned timetable is for the completion of the current programme of disposals.

There are 21 decommissioned submarines awaiting disposal as of 6 June 2022. Good progress continues to be made with submarine dismantling in Rosyth as illustrated by the completion of removing all low-level radioactive waste from the third boat, REVENGE, in January 2022.

The Submarine Dismantling Project remains on track to deliver a safe, secure, cost-effective, and environmentally responsible solution for dismantling all our non-operational submarines. The first disposal, SWIFTSURE, is being used as a demonstrator submarine to define and refine the dismantling process now taking place at Rosyth dockyard and this remains on schedule for completion by the target date of 2026. As that work progresses, the outcomes will provide more certainty on the dates when the current programme of disposals will be completed.

22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether HMS Prince of Wales will be ready for her planned return to operations by May 2021.

I can confirm that HMS PRINCE OF WALES will be ready for her planned return to operations by May 2021, when she will undertake activities in UK waters prior to her commencing NATO Command duties in 2022.

James Heappey
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Minister for the Armed Forces)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether three of the UK's 48 F-35B Lightning aircraft will remain in the US as test or training aircraft and not be available for operational commitments.

On current plans, the three 17 Squadron UK F-35B Lightning aircraft, based at Edwards Air Force Base in California, will remain in the USA to conduct Test and Evaluation (T&E) during the F-35 Follow-on Modernisation (FoM) phase. They continue to deliver the rapid design, integration and flight test of critical operational and safety technology modernisation.

As such, the 17 Squadron mission will continue to provide a critical contribution to the rapid development of Lightning capabilities, delivering significant operational benefits.

17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what (a) assessment he has made and (b) representations he has received on the potential constraints that would be placed on Carrier Strike in the event that the delivery of the full contingent of F-35B aircraft is delayed until 2025.

The current agreed F35-B Lightning procurement profile will see the UK reach 48 aircraft in Quarter four 2025. This delivery schedule has been developed to support the F35-B Lightning force generation build profile and the Carrier Enabled Power Projection (CEPP) milestone requirements. In December 2023, when Full Operational Capability (FOC) Carrier Strike is scheduled to be declared, the UK F35-B Lightning Force will have a total of 37 F35-B Lightning aircraft which will support two front line squadrons and the Operational Conversion Unit. The full complement, of 48 aircraft, will be available when the CEPP FOC milestone is reached in 2026. These figures include the three 17 Squadron UK F35-B Lightning aircraft base at Edwards Air Force Base in California, to conduct Test and Evaluation.

17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment he has made of the extent of the effect on operability of a delay in fitting the full suite of weaponry on the F-35B aircraft; and whether that delay is due to (a) technical or (b) budgetary matters.

The F35-B Lightning is already Operational with the full suite of weaponry comprising ASRAAM, AMRAAM and Paveway IV. The Lightning Programme Board continues to progress the spiral upgrade to further enhance the F35-B Lightning capability, including the integration of future weapon capabilities later in the decade.

10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 pandemic on the timescale of the Type 31e frigate project.

The Department is working with Babcock and its suppliers to de-risk and mitigate any potential for impact to the Type 31 programme due to COVID-19. Most of the current key outputs for the programme are focused on design, infrastructure development and supply chain mobilisation, and work continues within the Government's safe working requirements.

10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 pandemic on the timescale to decommission nuclear submarines in Rosyth.

We are working closely with our industry partners to minimise the impact of COVID-19 on our submarine programmes.

It is currently estimated that there is likely to be minimal impact on the overall timescale to dismantle the decommissioned nuclear submarines in Rosyth.

10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 pandemic on the bidding process for the Fleet Solid Support ships.

The bidding process for the Fleet Solid Support ships has not yet begun. The Ministry of Defence is currently reviewing the programme's requirements, procurement strategy and schedule, and it is not possible to provide any update until this work has been completed.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether all naval vessels could currently be put to sea safely and with a full complement of trained personnel on board for each class of vessel.

The Royal Navy has the workforce required to meet their commitments, and we remain committed to ensuring they have the ships and capabilities required to fulfil Defence commitments now and in the future.

All Royal Navy ships rotate through planned operating cycles involving routine maintenance, repair, training, deployment, leave, essential modification and upgrades and will, therefore, be at varying levels of readiness in accordance with Defence requirements.

James Heappey
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Minister for the Armed Forces)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, which Type 45 ships are (a) undergoing engine refits, (b) planning to undergo engine refits, (c) fully refitted and back in service with a fully trained complement of personnel on board.

All Type 45 Destroyers will receive new diesel generators under the Power Improvement Project conversion programme. Work is currently underway on HMS Dauntless, the first ship to enter the programme, and she will return to sea for trials in 2021. Following completion of these sea trials, she will return to the fleet.

It is planned that all six Type 45 ships will have received this upgrade by the mid-2020s. The programme is dependent on the availability of ships to undertake the upgrade, balanced against the Royal Navy’s standing and future operational commitments.

The Type 45 Destroyers are hugely capable ships and have been deployed successfully on a range of operations world-wide and they continue to make an enormous contribution to the defence of the UK and our international partners.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what the timeframe is for the (a) completion of the engine refit programme on Type 45 ships and (b) for those ships to be in service.

All Type 45 Destroyers will receive new diesel generators under the Power Improvement Project conversion programme. Work is currently underway on HMS Dauntless, the first ship to enter the programme, and she will return to sea for trials in 2021. Following completion of these sea trials, she will return to the fleet.

It is planned that all six Type 45 ships will have received this upgrade by the mid-2020s. The programme is dependent on the availability of ships to undertake the upgrade, balanced against the Royal Navy’s standing and future operational commitments.

The Type 45 Destroyers are hugely capable ships and have been deployed successfully on a range of operations world-wide and they continue to make an enormous contribution to the defence of the UK and our international partners.

19th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether he plans to establish in the 2020-21 financial year the final cost to the public purse of the Carrier Alliance project to build HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Queen Elizabeth.

We hope to conclude negotiations with our Aircraft Carrier Alliance industry partners on the final cost of the Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers before the end of the 2020-2021 Financial Year.

19th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps his Department is taking to reduce waiting times for veterans who are medically discharged from the armed forces to be informed of their compensation award.

Veterans UK is committed to an ongoing programme of digitisation and transformation which will reduce claims processing times and enhance the customer experience.

Johnny Mercer
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister for Veterans' Affairs)
19th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, if he will commission an independent review and audit of the medical discharge process within the armed forces.

Armed Forces medical employment policy, which governs the process of medical discharge, is kept under continual review by our clinical experts, who take account of UK best practice in occupational medical policy, latest research and clinical information. This ensures that appropriate medical standards and medical boarding practice are maintained and are responsive to wider advances in medical practice and technology.

Johnny Mercer
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister for Veterans' Affairs)
19th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, for what reasons veterans may be medically discharged from the armed forces before receiving a diagnosis for their condition.

Ordinarily, an individual would not be medically discharged from the Armed Forces prior to a diagnosis of their condition being made.

However, it is possible in a limited number of cases that an individual displays symptoms and reduced function that is incompatible with Service, where even specialist medical opinion has been unable to determine a diagnosis, and all appropriate investigation and management have failed to improve functional outcome to the level required. A medical discharge decision is based on functionality rather than the condition per se.

Johnny Mercer
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister for Veterans' Affairs)
16th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what his expected timetable is for the announcement of the successful bids for Green Freeports in Scotland.

The UK Government hopes to announce the outcome of the competition jointly with the Scottish Government shortly.

22nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will meet with Maritime UK to discuss proposals to unlock further economic growth in coastal communities.

The Government is committed to coastal communities and levelling-up across the UK. Our coastal economies and communities add unique value to the country and offer significant growth potential.

Seven out of the eight English Freeports are in coastal areas, 22 coastal towns are in receipt of Town Deals, and coastal areas will benefit from over £673 million of investment via the Towns Fund. The £2.6 billion UK Shared Prosperity Fund will unlock further economic growth in coastal communities with all areas of the UK receiving an allocation from the fund.

22nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what plans his Department has to support industrial maritime projects in coastal communities in the future.

The Government is committed to coastal communities and levelling-up across the UK. Our coastal economies and communities add unique value to the country and offer significant growth potential.

Seven out of the eight English Freeports are in coastal areas, 22 coastal towns are in receipt of Town Deals, and coastal areas will benefit from over £673 million of investment via the Towns Fund. The £2.6 billion UK Shared Prosperity Fund will unlock further economic growth in coastal communities with all areas of the UK receiving an allocation from the fund.

22nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what plans his Department has to support Maritime UK’s regional maritime clusters as part of the levelling up agenda.

The Government is committed to coastal communities and levelling-up across the UK. Our coastal economies and communities add unique value to the country and offer significant growth potential.

Seven out of the eight English Freeports are in coastal areas, 22 coastal towns are in receipt of Town Deals, and coastal areas will benefit from over £673 million of investment via the Towns Fund. The £2.6 billion UK Shared Prosperity Fund will unlock further economic growth in coastal communities with all areas of the UK receiving an allocation from the fund.

22nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, with reference to the briefing by Maritime UK and the Local Government Association Coastal Special Interest Group entitled Maritime UK: Coastal Powerhouse Manifesto, published in September 2021, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of that briefing's recommendations.

The Government is committed to coastal communities and levelling-up across the UK. Our coastal economies and communities add unique value to the country and offer significant growth potential.

Seven out of the eight English Freeports are in coastal areas, 22 coastal towns are in receipt of Town Deals, and coastal areas will benefit from over £673 million of investment via the Towns Fund. The £2.6 billion UK Shared Prosperity Fund will unlock further economic growth in coastal communities with all areas of the UK receiving an allocation from the fund.

22nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what plans his Department has for future funding calls targeted to coastal communities.

The Government is committed to coastal communities and levelling-up across the UK. Our coastal economies and communities add unique value to the country and offer significant growth potential.

Seven out of the eight English Freeports are in coastal areas, 22 coastal towns are in receipt of Town Deals, and coastal areas will benefit from over £673 million of investment via the Towns Fund. The £2.6 billion UK Shared Prosperity Fund will unlock further economic growth in coastal communities with all areas of the UK receiving an allocation from the fund.

16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what recent discussions he has had with elected members in the devolved Administrations on the effectiveness of intergovernmental relations.

I last met with the First Ministers of Scotland and Wales on 27 April. We discussed the superb intergovernmental collaboration which has underpinned the success of the Homes for Ukraine scheme and possible approaches to mitigate the rising cost of living.

This forms part of a regular rhythm of engagement with First Ministers in my role as Minister for Intergovernmental Relations.

Michael Gove
Minister for Intergovernmental Relations
6th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what recent discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on strengthening the Union.

The United Kingdom is the world’s most successful and enduring multi-national, multi-ethnic, and multi-cultural political union. Being part of the United Kingdom makes every one of us safer and more prosperous. To ensure all levels of government in the United Kingdom can work better together to deliver for the people we serve, the UK Government and the devolved governments have recently concluded our joint review of Intergovernmental Relations and agreed a new set of arrangements to promote closer and more effective joint working. I refer the Hon Member to the written Statement made by the Secretary of State on 13 January 2022 (HCWS536).

6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what discussions he has had with the devolved Administrations on the Community Ownership Fund.

The Government is determined that community groups who want to save assets at risk in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland can benefit from this Fund


To ensure this, my officials have engaged counterparts across the devolved administrations, as well as stakeholders from the voluntary and community sector across the UK to inform the design of the Fund.

6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether applications for the Community Ownership Fund which originate in Scotland will be processed by his Department.

The Community Ownership Fund is a UK Government initiative to support community groups across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland save assets at risk


All applications from eligible community groups will be processed by my Department.

6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, when his Department plans to issue a prospectus for the Community Ownership Fund.

My Department will issue the prospectus for the Community Ownership Fund shortly. In most cases, community groups will be able to make the case for up to £250,000 match funding which communities have raised themselves. The prospectus will set out detailed advice on how to structure a bid, what activity will support this, what information to include, and the criteria by which bids will be assessed.

6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, when his Department will begin to accept applications to the Community Ownership Fund.

My department will begin to accept applications to the Community Ownership Fund from this summer. We will shortly publish the prospectus which will set out the detailed dates for the first bidding round.

14th Jun 2021
What recent discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on his Department's role in delivering the Government's levelling up agenda.

My Department is playing a key role in levelling up, including supporting our towns and cities to recover and thrive post-Covid, to regenerate our high streets, and to ensure all places have the capacity and capability to level up.

We are working closely with colleagues across Government to deliver our shared priorities on levelling up.

18th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, whether he has had recent discussions with the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs on his Department's provision of support for Scottish Ministers on planned overseas visits to promote the Scottish (a) economy and (b) culture.

I have had frequent recent discussions with the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs on his Department's provision of support for Scottish Ministers on planned overseas visits. I fully agree with the FCDO's current guidance which states that, when ministers from the devolved administrations are holding meetings with ministers from overseas governments (or positions of equivalent seniority e.g. EU Commissioner), a senior UK Government official is expected to attend.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
18th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what the Government's position is on the outcome of the Smith Commission and its commitment that nothing in that report prevents Scotland becoming an independent country in the future should the people of Scotland so choose.

The Scotland Act 2016 has been recognised as delivering the recommendations of the Smith Commission Agreement in full. Rather than talking about another referendum, the UK Government is focused on working to address the collective challenges we face, such as tackling the cost of living and growing our economy.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland