Duncan Baker Portrait

Duncan Baker

Conservative - North Norfolk

First elected: 12th December 2019


Pensions (Extension of Automatic Enrolment) (No. 2) Bill
8th Mar 2023 - 15th Mar 2023
Protection from Sex-based Harassment in Public Bill
21st Feb 2023 - 22nd Feb 2023
Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Bill
16th Nov 2022 - 23rd Nov 2022
Backbench Business Committee
2nd Nov 2021 - 15th Mar 2022
Pension Schemes (Conversion of Guaranteed Minimum Pensions) Bill
26th Jan 2022 - 2nd Feb 2022
Nuclear Energy (Financing) Bill
15th Nov 2021 - 25th Nov 2021
Nationality and Borders Bill
15th Sep 2021 - 4th Nov 2021
Rating (Coronavirus) and Directors Disqualification (Dissolved Companies) Bill
30th Jun 2021 - 8th Jul 2021


Oral Question
Monday 26th February 2024
14:30
Home Office
Oral Question No. 17
What his timetable is for announcing further dates on which the minimum income threshold for family visas will increase.
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Scheduled Event
Friday 19th April 2024
Private Members' Bills - Main Chamber
Autism (Early Identification) Bill: Second Reading
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Division Votes
Tuesday 20th February 2024
Offshore Petroleum Licensing Bill
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 277 Conservative No votes vs 0 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 44 Noes - 285
Speeches
Friday 23rd February 2024
Community and Suspended Sentences (Notification of Details) Bill
This is a very useful little Bill. It is hard to argue with any of it, and I am grateful …
Written Answers
Thursday 8th February 2024
Sector-based Work Academy Programme
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many sector-based work academies have taken place in total …
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
Tuesday 30th January 2024
Autism (early identification) Bill 2023-24
A Bill to make provision about the training of teachers in relation to the early identification of autism; and for …
MP Financial Interests
Monday 15th November 2021
1. Employment and earnings
Until 5 February 2021, Councillor, North Norfolk District Council, Holt Road, Cromer NR27 9EN. I received a monthly allowance of …
Supported Legislation
Wednesday 7th December 2022
Local Authority Boundaries Bill 2022-23
A Bill to make provision about changing local authority boundaries in cases where there is public support for such changes; …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliament, Duncan Baker has voted in 959 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
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Debates during the 2019 Parliament

Speeches made during Parliamentary debates are recorded in Hansard. For ease of browsing we have grouped debates into individual, departmental and legislative categories.

Sparring Partners
Boris Johnson (Conservative)
(20 debate interactions)
Elizabeth Truss (Conservative)
(12 debate interactions)
Matt Hancock (Independent)
(10 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Cabinet Office
(40 debate contributions)
HM Treasury
(39 debate contributions)
Department of Health and Social Care
(33 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Duncan Baker's debates

North Norfolk 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 North Norfolk signature proportion
Petition Debates Contributed

Swifts have declined by over 50% in the UK. Adult swifts, known for site-fidelity, return to the same nests. We want swift bricks to be required in all new housing, to provide homes for these birds. Surveys show these are used by red-listed swifts, house martins, starlings and house sparrows.

Make it illegal for retailers and services to decline cash payments.

All businesses (excepting internet-based ones) and public services in which monetary transactions take place should be required by law to accept cash as a method of payment

We want suicide spoken about in schools in a safe and age-appropriate way. Speaking about suicide saves lives
The Dept for Education are conducting a review of the RSHE curriculum; this petition calls on the DfE to include suicide prevention within the statutory guidelines of the new curriculum.

Mark Avery , Chris Packham and Ruth Tingay (Wild Justice) want the opening of the Woodcock shooting season to be pushed back to 1 December. 160,000 Woodcock are shot for fun across the UK whilst their population is declining. The Defra Secretary of State has powers to vary the shooting season.

Now the hedgehog has been listed as vulnerable to extinction in the UK, we are calling on the Government to move hedgehogs to schedule 5 of the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 to allow them greater protection.

The Government should class in-person interaction with family members and unmarried partners abroad as an essential reason to travel.

12 kids in the UK are diagnosed with cancer daily. 1 in 5 will die within 5 years, often of the deadliest types like DIPG (brainstem cancer) - fatal on diagnosis & other cancers on relapse. Yet there has been little, or no, funding for research into these cancers and little, or no, progress.

I would like the government to review and increase the pay for healthcare workers to recognise the work that they do.

To revoke the Immigration Health Surcharge increases for overseas NHS staff. The latest budget shows an increase of £220 a year for an overseas worker to live and work in the UK, at a time when the NHS, and UK economy, relies heavily on them.

We would like the government to support and regard social care: financially, publicly and systematically on an equal par as NHS. We would like parliament to debate how to support social care during COVID-19 and beyond so that it automatically has the same access to operational and financial support.

Give NHS workers who are EU and other Nationals automatic UK citizenship if they stay and risk their own lives looking after the British people during the COVID crisis.


Latest EDMs signed by Duncan Baker

Duncan Baker has not signed any Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Duncan Baker, 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.


Duncan Baker has not been granted any Urgent Questions

2 Adjournment Debates led by Duncan Baker

Monday 16th October 2023
Thursday 5th November 2020

3 Bills introduced by Duncan Baker


A Bill to make provision about the training of teachers in relation to the early identification of autism; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Tuesday 30th January 2024
(Read Debate)
Next Event - 2nd Reading
Friday 19th April 2024

A Bill to require the whole-life carbon emissions of buildings to be reported; to set limits on embodied carbon emissions in the construction of buildings; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Wednesday 2nd February 2022
(Read Debate)

A Bill to place a duty on major high street banks to provide banking services in post offices; to make associated provision about access to post office services, including for elderly and vulnerable people; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Tuesday 2nd March 2021
(Read Debate)

107 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
4 Other Department Questions
13th Jul 2022
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what steps she is taking with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to support women who have a miscarriage.

Every pregnancy loss is a tragedy, and ensuring grieving families have access to the support they need is one of my highest priorities. Mental health services around England are being expanded to include new mental health “hubs” for new, expectant or bereaved mothers. These will offer physical health checks and psychological therapy in one building. We have funded SANDs, the Stillbirth and Neonatal Death charity to work with other baby loss charities and Royal Colleges to produce and support the roll-out of a National Bereavement Care Pathway to reduce the variation in the quality of bereavement care provided by the NHS.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
12th Jan 2022
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what steps she is taking to improve equality for women through the UK’s recovery from the covid-19 outbreak.

We have provided unprecedented support to those most affected by the pandemic, including to major employers of women in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors.

We will continue to build on the progress women have made in the workplace so that everyone can benefit as the economy recovers from COVID-19.

Mike Freer
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
22nd Sep 2021
What steps the Government is taking to encourage covid-19 vaccination uptake among harder to reach groups.

We continue to focus our efforts on those groups with the lowest rates of vaccine uptake. Recent initiatives include co-producing a toolkit aimed at improving vaccine uptake among the Black African and Black Caribbean groups, among whom rates have been the lowest. We also produced two animations explaining the entitlement to vaccination for migrants, and held pop-up clinics for those without NHS numbers. Over time, both positive vaccine sentiment and vaccine uptake have increased among all ethnic groups.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
14th Apr 2021
What assessment he has made of carbon pricing mechanisms in the run-up to COP26.

Carbon pricing has been shown to incentivise investment in renewable energy in a cost-effective manner. The UK has long been a supporter of carbon pricing and continues to lead the way with the new UK Emissions Trading System.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will (a) update the guidance for significant life events including christenings and Bar/Bat Mitzvahs as part of Step 3 of the covid-19 roadmap and (b) clarify limits on the number of guests permitted to attend those events; and what assessment he has made of the potential merits of aligning that guidance with the removal of the cap on maximum guest limits for weddings, civil partnerships, receptions, wakes, funerals and other commemorative events.

Guidance on significant life events, such as baptisms and bar mitzvahs, is available on gov.uk as part of the guidance for the safe use of places of worship. This guidance is kept under continual review, and the government continues to work with its Places of Worship Taskforce and faith leaders to review and amend this guidance, as necessary.

If significant life events take place as part of communal worship, participation is limited by the capacity of the venue, in line with the wider rules on communal worship. If significant life events take place as standalone events, there is a limit of up to 30 people (indoors or outdoors, excluding inside private homes). Anyone working is not included in this limit.

From 21 June, there is no longer a maximum number cap for attendees at wedding or civil partnership ceremonies and receptions set out in law. Many people have planned for wedding or civil partnership ceremonies and receptions a long time in advance, and these types of events can be difficult to book and to cancel. They often require aligning multiple businesses, sometimes years in advance, and can have a significant social and economic cost. The exact number of attendees will be based on the COVID-19 risk assessment of each venue or outdoor space, and measures put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to Government Guidance: COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021, published on 22 February 2021, what the Government's definition is of minimising travel; what (a) distances and (b) frequencies are permitted in that travel guidance; how that guidance on minimising travel will be enforced given domestic overnight stays are permitted and self-contained accommodation re-opens; and whether the Government's stay local advice remains in place at that stage.

From the 29th of March the legal order to ‘Stay at home’ ceased and the government is asking people to minimise travel. This means that people should avoid making unnecessary journeys and combine their trips where possible. People should remember that other restrictions remain in place, for instance, if visiting friends and families they can only do so outside.

There are no permitted limits to the distance that may be travelled or frequency of journeys. People are permitted to stay away from their home overnight from 12th April, but only with members of their own household in self contained accommodation. People will not be allowed to enter another household to stay with friends and family until at least the 17th May. When travelling, people should remember to do so safely, planning ahead, travelling at quiet times, sanitise your hands, wear a face covering unless exempt and social distance.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
2nd Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether he has had recent discussions with energy suppliers on the regulation of standing charges.

Ministers and officials meet regularly with suppliers to discuss a range of issues including standing charges.

The setting of the standing charge is a commercial matter for individual suppliers. The standing charge reflects the on-going costs that fall on a supplier to provide and maintain a live supply to a customer. Standing charges are capped under the price cap, set by Ofgem, and ensure millions of households pay a fair price for their energy.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
2nd Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, if he will take steps to amend the methodology used in the standard assessment procedure on the use of non-storage heaters to ensure that it does not negatively impact the energy performance certificate of affected properties.

The Government is committed to making the Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) methodology more accurate, robust and fit for purpose to support our commitments to Net Zero. Government has commenced work on an update to the Reduced Data SAP (RdSAP) which underpins energy performance certificates in existing buildings. This will be introduced in due course.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
11th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, if he will make an assessment of the potential impact of the transition of the Bacton gas terminal to hydrogen energy on businesses.

As well as supporting UK energy independence, low carbon hydrogen will be critical to supporting vital British industries transition away from expensive oil and gas. Hydrogen can provide greener energy for power, transport and potentially home heating. The Government welcomes the development of all potential hydrogen projects, such as that proposed at Bacton. The Government is working closely with the oil and gas industry to achieve a managed energy transition, including through the North Sea Transition Deal, which could support up to 40,000 high-quality direct and indirect supply chain jobs.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
27th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, pursuant to the Answer of 24 February to Question 143891 on Energy, what the timeline is for publication of the Government's approach to delivering energy security.

The Government expects to publish soon, but is not able to confirm a more specific timeline.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
9th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether he plans to bring forward a revised energy strategy.

From the Ten Point Plan and Energy White Paper in 2020 through the Net Zero Strategy in 2021 and in last year’s British Energy Security Strategy, the Government has outlined its energy objectives. As my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced in his Autumn Statement, the Government will soon publish more detail about its approach to delivering energy security, consistent with achieving Net Zero by 2050.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
14th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, if she will have discussions with Cabinet colleagues on the potential merits of supporting care homes that are transitioning to ultra-fast fibre broadband and facing potentially expensive (a) subscriptions and (b) hardware purchases.

Fast, reliable broadband is key for all establishments, including care homes. The Department for Science, Innovation and Technology has launched a series of interventions to accelerate the speed of rollout of gigabit-capable broadband. We are also investing £5bn through Project Gigabit to provide improved connectivity for the hardest to reach parts of the UK.

The Department of Health and Social Care is undertaking work this autumn to understand challenges care homes may be facing in improving their connectivity, and what future support might be necessary. DSIT and DHSC are in frequent communication about the merits of improved digital connectivity.

14th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, whether her Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of maintaining a connection to (a) copper wires and (b) a suitable alternative in rural communities to allow residents to make emergency calls, what assessment she has made on the need to maintain a connection to either copper wires or a suitable alternative in rural communities during the installation of fibre cables to allow residents to still make emergency calls if required.

The PSTN is a privately-owned telecoms network and the decision to upgrade it has been taken by the telecoms industry. The industry’s decision to upgrade the PSTN is due to necessity, as the network is increasingly unreliable and prone to failure.

Ofcom, the independent telecoms regulator, has mandated guidance on backup solutions, including how telecoms companies can fulfil their regulatory obligation to ensure that their VoIP customers have uninterrupted access to the emergency services. The guidance was issued following a consultation with the general public as well as telecoms providers and Ofgem.

26th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an estimate of the proportion of UK electricity use in 2050 that will be derived from (a) UK-generated renewable energy, (b) UK-generated fossil fuels, (c) UK-generated nuclear and (d) net imports.

Annex O (sub-Annex L) of the Energy and Emission Projections[1]shows annual generation by technology (including imports) for four power sector scenarios (two with higher levels of electricity demand and two with lower levels of electricity demand).

[1]https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1058212/Annex-J-total-electricity-gen-by-source_NZSFeb22.ods

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
10th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he expects to announce the outcome of the Government's review of electricity market arrangements (REMA).

The first Review of Electricity Market Arrangements (REMA) consultation, which closed in October 2022, sought views gathered from across the energy sector on the UK's objectives and options for reform. A summary of the responses will be published early this year, with further consultation expected in 2023.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
28th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 17 October 2022 to Question 59831 on Fuel Oil: Prices, what mechanism will be used to provide the additional payment of £100; whether this will be paid as (a) a lump sum or (b) in instalments; what his planned timetable is for making the payment; whether his Department has up to date records of whether households are (i) on the gas grid and (ii) use gas and electricity companies; and what steps his Department is taking to ensure these eligible households will receive this support.

Households in Britain eligible for these payments will receive £100 as a credit on their electricity bill this winter. Households that are eligible for, but who do not receive, the Alternative Fuel Payment (AFP) or the £100 heat network payment, will receive the £100 via the AFP Alternative Fund, which will be provided by a designated body. The Government will confirm details shortly.

The Government is working with suppliers and stakeholders to establish how to identify households that are eligible for a payment. If for any reason people are not able to receive the payment automatically, an alternative approach will be established.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to protect and improve the UK's rare-earth supply chains.

The supply chain for critical minerals, including rare earth elements, has been, and will continue to be, supported through a number of Government initiatives. For example, the Prime Minister’s 10 Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution announced £500 million to support the electrification of vehicles and their supply chains, and other strategically important technologies including critical mineral processing, through the Automotive Transformation Fund.

Examples of UK rare earth companies attracting government support include Pensana, which is establishing capabilities to process rare earths for sustainable magnet metals at an offshore wind-powered freeport site at Saltend in the Humber, and Less Common Metals in Ellesmere Port, which is an established world-leader in rare earth alloy production.

The Government will publish a UK Critical Minerals Strategy in 2022, setting out its approach to securing technology-critical minerals and metals.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the trading difficulties leaseholders operating under the Wellington Pub chain are experiencing; and what support his Department is providing to Wellington pub tenants.

Over the course of the pandemic, the Government has worked closely with the pubs and hospitality sector to understand the impact of COVID-19 on their businesses and has responded with a substantial package of business support. We keep all restrictions under constant review.

1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions she has had with relevant stakeholders on the reselling of tickets for (a) music and (b) other events at prices above the face value of the ticket (i) online and (ii) by other means.

His Majesty’s Government is committed to supporting fair and transparent ticket pricing and tackling unacceptable behaviour in this market.

We have strengthened the law in relation to ticketing information requirements and have introduced a criminal offence of using automated software to buy more tickets online than is allowed. We also support the work of enforcement agencies in this area, such as the Competition and Markets Authority, National Trading Standards, and the advertising industry's own regulator, the Advertising Standards Authority.

We engage with a range of key organisations and individuals operating in the ticketing sector to ensure a fair and transparent system. This includes STAR (the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers, the self-regulatory body for the entertainment ticketing industry in the UK), the CMA, Fanfair Alliance (the campaigning body against industrial scale online ticket touting), and, where appropriate, primary and secondary ticketing businesses.

Ultimately, ticket pricing strategies are a matter for event organisers and ticketing platforms, providing they comply with relevant legislation, particularly regarding transparency to customers on how tickets are priced, in order to help consumers make a fair and informed decision.

8th Jun 2023
What recent discussions she has had with the Gambling Commission on the potential impact on prize draws and competitions of the provisions in the gambling white paper.

The Secretary of State announced in the white paper that the government would explore the potential for regulating the largest prize draws and competitions that sit outside of gambling regulation.

The Gambling Commission monitors products such as those which sit outside the boundary of regulated gambling.

We are working closely with Gambling Commission on implementing the white paper, including gathering evidence and considering options on prize draws.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
26th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if she will make an assessment with Cabinet colleagues of the contribution of heritage and arts sites to wellbeing and mental health.

Heritage and the arts have an important role to play in boosting people’s health and wellbeing – a point which has been underlined by our experience during, and since, the COVID-19 pandemic. DCMS and our arm’s-length bodies, including Arts Council England and Historic England, play an important role in the Government’s work to improve health and wellbeing.

Arts Council England’s ‘Creative Health and Wellbeing Plan’ sets out its ongoing commitment to help people live happier, healthier lives, while Historic England’s ‘Wellbeing and Heritage Strategy’ aims to ensure that everyone can experience the wellbeing benefits of heritage. Both organisations work with the NHS and partner with the National Academy of Social Prescribing.

The Government’s schools White Paper, published in March 2022, said that all children should be entitled to take part in sport, music and cultural opportunities, noting that “These opportunities are an essential part of a broad and ambitious curriculum, and support children’s health, wellbeing and wider development, particularly as we recover from the pandemic.” The Government published updated plans to support sport and music education in 2022, and will publish a cultural education plan in 2023, which DCMS is working with the Department for Education and our arm’s-length bodies in developing.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
30th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to improve mobile phone coverage in North Norfolk constituency; and what the timeframe is for improving that coverage.

The Government announced in-principle support in October 2019 for the Mobile Network Operators’ (MNOs) Shared Rural Network (SRN) proposal. The proposal would share investment costs between the mobile network operators and government and increase 4G mobile coverage throughout the United Kingdom to 95% by 2025. It will be underpinned by a legally binding coverage commitment from each operator.

The Government's in-principle support is subject to detailed negotiations. While this is not yet a done deal, the Prime Minister has made improvements to rural mobile coverage part of his first 100 days pledge. I will continue to work with the sector to make that happen.

The exact site deployment plans and timescales will be managed by the MNOs themselves in order for them to best deliver the agreed coverage outcomes. So until the operators’ final radio planning exercise is complete, neither the Government nor the operators will know the precise location or number of new or upgraded masts. However, the operators will be consulting with local communities as they do so. The MNOs’ intention is to deliver this programme by the end of 2025.

15th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, for teachers who have qualified in each of the last three years, (a) how many teachers received SEND training before becoming fully qualified and (b) how many teachers received SEND training after becoming fully qualified.

Information on the school workforce is collected as part of the annual School Workforce Census each November. Information on the number of newly qualified entrants and deferred newly qualified entrants to teaching is published in the ‘School Workforce in England’ statistical publication, available at: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/school-workforce-in-england.

The Department is committed to ensuring that all pupils, including those with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) can reach their potential and receive excellent support from their teachers.

Alongside excellent teachers, teaching assistants play an important role in supporting pupils with SEND to fulfil their potential in mainstream and special schools.

Information on the number of qualified teachers trained to support pupils with SEND is not collected centrally.

As at November 2021 (latest data available) there were 465,500 full time equivalent teachers working in state funded schools in England. This is an increase of 4,400 since the previous year.

Almost 9 in 10 (87.5%) teachers who qualified in 2020 were still teaching one year after qualification, and just over two thirds (68.8%) of teachers who started teaching five years ago are still teaching.

One of the Department’s priorities is to continue to attract, retain, and develop the highly skilled teachers needed to inspire the next generation.

27th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the announcement of £180 million to improve children’s development in the early years, 20 October 2022, whether the training of 5,000 early years teachers or co-ordinators will be to a level 3 SENCO qualification; how the 5,000 SENCO qualified early years staff will be allocated to schools; how their salaries will be funded; and whether schools will be given guidance on the job descriptions they should use to attract the new 5,000 early years SENCO qualified staff to their schools.

The Early Years Recovery Programme includes funding for the training of up to 5,000 early years special educational needs coordinators (SENCOs), leading to an accredited level 3 early years SENCO qualification. The training is for SENCOs currently working in early years group-based providers or working as childminders. Salaries will continue to be paid by providers themselves or from self-employment as applicable for childminders.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
31st Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment her Department has made of the potential merits of removing the age restriction of 60 for Student Finance England funding for Undergraduate and Masters Degrees in (a) all and (b) STEM subjects.

All eligible undergraduate students qualify for non-means tested tuition fee loans regardless of their age. In addition, eligible undergraduate students under the age of 60 on the first day of the first academic year of their course qualify for partially means-tested loans for living costs. This applies to all subjects.

The government has a duty to consider the value for money for the public purse of offering a loan product where there is a low expectation of repayment. The department recognises that some older students on lower incomes may need help with their living costs. That is why full-time undergraduate students aged 60 or over on the first day of the first academic year of their course can apply for a fully means-tested loan for living costs, known as a ‘special support loan’, of up to £4,106 in the 2022/23 academic year, increasing to £4,221 in 2023/24.

The upper age limit of 60 years old for postgraduate master’s loans was put in place to ensure that the overall scheme remains affordable to the taxpayer and offers value for money. The age limit is applicable to all subjects and is designed to restrict eligibility to those statistically most likely to continue in long-term employment and be able to repay the loan.

In settling on the current postgraduate master’s loan eligibility criteria, the department consulted widely on the proposed terms of the new loan and considered its duty under the Equality Act 2010. A copy of that analysis can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/526274/bis-16-289-postgraduate-masters-loans-equality-analysis.pdf.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
28th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment she has made of the adequacy of funding for music lessons in state schools.

The Government remains committed to continued support for music education. The Government published the National Plan for Music Education in June 2022 which sets out the vision for ‘all children and young people to learn to sing, play an instrument and create music together, and have the opportunity to progress their musical interests and talents, including professionally’. At the heart of the new plan is the Model Music Curriculum published in March 2021, which sets out how schools can deliver an excellent music education.

The Government recognises the vital importance of every child accessing instruments and equipment they need to make progress with music, including technology and adaptive instruments where needed for pupils with SEND. We therefore also announced £25 million of new funding for musical instruments alongside the Plan. This funding will increase the existing stock available to all children and young people. We will work with schools, hubs, Arts Council England and the wider sector to focus on best practice in managing access to instruments and equipment. We will publish further details in due course.

The Department committed £79 million per year for the Music Hubs programme over three years up to and including 2024-25, which was confirmed with the publication of the Plan. Music Hubs are groups of organisations, such as local authorities, schools, art organisations, community, or voluntary organisations, that work together to create joined-up music education provision and provide specialist music education services to around 90% of state-funded schools. This includes whole class and group ensemble teaching, and individual instrument tuition.

Hubs also ensure that progression routes are clear and affordable, and some hubs provide instrument loans to children and young people to achieve this.

21st Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether she has made an assessment of the adequacy of the steps taken to support children and young people from Ukraine adapt to UK schools; and whether her Department has any plans to review the requirement for Ukrainian pupils to take English and Maths’ GCSE exams if they cannot show physical proof of having passed previous similar exams.

The Department is clear that the best place for all children to be educated is in school and that attending school will help newly arrived Ukrainian children integrate into the communities in which they are living. It is the experience and skill of local authorities and schools that provides the support and care necessary for these children as they adjust to their new lives in the UK.

Schools and colleges are responsible for deciding which qualifications they enter pupils for, based on what is in their best interests. Schools will want to carefully consider the individual circumstances of the students before deciding the appropriateness of an exam entry. Exam centres should make these decisions carefully on a case-by-case basis.

8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made for staff at complex needs schools to be considered for vaccination alongside their pupils who are on the priority list; and what support is being offered to teachers and teaching assistants in those schools as they have close contact with their pupils who are at high risk and vulnerable to covid-19.

During national lockdown restrictions, special schools and special post-16 settings should continue to welcome and encourage pupils to attend full-time (or as per their usual timetable) where parents and carers wishes for their child to be able to attend (or for post-16s, where the young person wishes to attend). This is because we know that children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities, and their families, can be disproportionately impacted by being out of education. The Department for Education (DfE) has published new guidance on the period during the national lockdown, which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak#history.

It is important that staff in these schools continue to be supported. The rapid asymptomatic testing programme will include testing staff, vulnerable pupils and students, and children of key workers, including those within special schools and special post-16 settings. Further announcements on the roll out of testing to staff in primary schools will follow in due course, to help support the reopening of education settings.

As outlined in the department’s published guidance, additional use of personal protective equipment (PPE) for COVID-19 related purposes is only needed in a small number of cases, such as if a pupil or student becomes ill with COVID-19 symptoms and a distance of 2 metres cannot be maintained, or when undertaking aerosol generating procedures. If a pupil or student already has routine intimate care needs that involve the use of PPE, the same PPE should continue to be used. Public Health England have advised that the current guidance on the system of controls, including the use of PPE and face coverings, should continue to be followed.

The PPE portal can be used by residential special settings to access COVID-19 PPE. These providers will have received an email invitation to register with the portal. Depending on local arrangements, special schools and special post-16 settings may be able to access PPE for their COVID-19 needs via their local authority or local resilience forum.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) are independent experts advising the government on which vaccine(s) the UK should use and provide advice on who should be offered them. JCVI advises that the first priorities for the COVID-19 vaccination should be the prevention of mortality and the maintenance of the health and social care systems, and as the risk of mortality from COVID-19 increases with age, prioritisation is primarily based on age. This prioritisation captures almost all preventable deaths from COVID-19. In the next phase of the vaccine rollout, JCVI have asked that the Department of Health and Social Care consider occupational vaccination in collaboration with other government departments. The DfE will input into this cross-governmental exercise.

15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he plans to take to support independent field study centres until 2020 due to the cancellation of residential field trips during the covid-19 outbreak.

The government has issued guidance on the financial support for businesses during coronavirus (COVID-19). This can be viewed at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/financial-support-for-businesses-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

The Charity Commission has also issued coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance for the charity sector, including considerations and practical steps that charities can take when they are facing serious financial difficulties. This can be viewed at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-the-charity-sector.

The Department for Education continues to advise against both overnight and non-overnight domestic (UK) and overseas educational visits as outlined in the coronavirus travel guidance for educational settings.

In the autumn term, schools can resume non-overnight domestic educational visits. All such visits should be compliant with COVID-19 guidelines and subject to a thorough and ongoing assessment of the risks to ensure that they can be undertaken safely. Schools should consult the health and safety guidance on educational visits when considering any visit.

The above guidance will remain under review, including the position on overnight domestic visits, and will be updated in line with guidance from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Department for Transport and Public Health England.

The coronavirus: travel guidance for educational settings can be viewed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-travel-advice-for-educational-settings/coronavirus-travel-guidance-for-educational-settings.

Guidance for full opening: schools is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

Guidance on health and safety on educational visits can be viewed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/health-and-safety-on-educational-visits/health-and-safety-on-educational-visits.

15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to (a) support pupils in years (i) 10 and (ii) 12 that are not attending school due to the covid-19 outbreak but are due to take exams in 2021 and (b) ensure that the break in the schooling of those pupils is taken into account when assessing the results of their exams.

As both my right hon. Friends, the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer have made clear, the Government will do whatever it takes to support people affected by COVID-19.

Our latest guidance for schools and colleges is at:

www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-schools-and-other-educational-settings.

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

We have prioritised the return to school of children in reception, year 1 and year 6, and have asked secondary schools and colleges to offer some face to face support for young people in year 10 and year 12 to supplement their remote education. This is because they are preparing for key examinations next year and are most at risk of falling behind due to time out of school or college. From 1 June 2020, we expect that secondary schools and colleges will be able to offer some face to face contact with year 10 and year 12 students. This will not be a return to full timetables or students back in school or college full time, but rather support to supplement students’ remote education.

We have also committed over £100 million to boost remote education, including giving free laptops to year 10 students from disadvantaged backgrounds, alongside care leavers and those with a social worker, to help them learn from home during the lockdown. Additionally, if families of these students do not have good access to the internet, we will provide them with 4G routers so that they can learn online. Students aged 16 to 19 without a suitable device for education may be eligible for support through the 16 to 19 Bursary Fund. The Department will also ensure that every school and college that wants it has access to free, expert technical support to get set up on Google for Education or Microsoft’s Office 365 Education.

In light of the disruption experienced by students in Years 10 and 12 who are due to take exams in 2021, we are working with Ofqual and the exam boards to develop our approach to next year’s exams.

25th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to help improve recycling for households.

We are introducing Simpler Recycling in England to drive up recycling rates and reverse a trend of stagnation. From March 2025 for businesses and March 2026 for households, Simpler Recycling will ensure that the same materials can be recycled at home and at work, replacing the current wild west system where neighbouring local authorities can have completely different recycling systems.

Robbie Moore
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if she will introduce a comprehensive decarbonisation strategy for the agriculture sector which helps to support farmers and their supply chain partners to (a) restore nature, (b) cut greenhouse gas emissions and (c) (i) maintain and (ii) enhance food production.

Net Zero is a priority for the Government. The Net Zero Strategy, Net Zero Growth Plan, and Environmental Improvement Plan 2023 set out our commitments to reduce emissions from agriculture. Our farming policy aims to support farmers to protect nature and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture, alongside their core role as food producers. Food production is the primary purpose of farming and always will be, and we know that changes to farming practice will be required to limit emissions while maintaining profitability and increasing productivity.

To achieve our greenhouse gas emissions targets, we are taking a range of measures to support farmers. This includes Environmental Land Management (ELM). Good land management can help increase carbon storage and reduce emissions in agriculture, including integrating cover crops and nitrogen-fixing break crops in rotations. We are paying for a range of actions through farming schemes such as Sustainable Farming Incentive to support farm decarbonisation and Countryside Stewardship and Landscape Recovery to store more carbon in the landscape. At the same time, these schemes invest in the foundations of food security: healthy soil, abundant pollinators and clean water. The schemes will help farmers deliver environmental outcomes on the land they manage while helping their businesses become more productive and sustainable.

We will also pay farmers for improvements to animal health and welfare, as improvements in animal health in turn can support lower emissions and improve productivity. We will also support market-led approaches such as improved productivity and use of precision techniques.

That is not all: the Government recognises wide-spread application of innovation, science and technology can be transformational. That is why we are implementing these through innovation and productivity schemes such as the £270 million Farming Innovation Programme and the Farming Investment Fund. We are also exploring innovations at different stages of development including methane inhibiting feed additives for livestock and improving fuel and energy efficiency on farms.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many live (a) cattle, (b) sheep, (c) pigs and (d) goats have been exported for fattening and slaughter since 1 January 2021.

There have been no exports of livestock for slaughter or fattening since 2020.

Exports of cattle, sheep, pigs and goats by sea to mainland Europe have not been viable since 1st January 2021, due to the lack of Border Control Post facilities designated to accept this trade in receiving EU Member States.

Whilst exports of equines have continued, this has been for the purpose of leisure, competition or breeding only; none have been exported for slaughter.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to protect Marine Conservation Zones.

Marine Protected Areas are an integral part of how we will protect 30% of our land and sea by 2030. Our seas play a critical role in biodiversity and regulating the Earth’s climate. The ocean absorbs over 90% of all excess heat in the Earth’s system and also provides a home to up to 80% of all life on the planet.

12th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to support horse riding schools.

Defra remains in close contact with the industry and meets regularly with the British Horse Council as well as other equine stakeholders including the British Horse Society to understand issues that are affecting the sector, including for riding schools.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what the criteria is that employee relocation professionals should apply to determine how and when they may relocate employees into the UK from (a) EU countries, (b) outside the EU during the period of covid-19 travel restrictions; and if she will make a statement.

International travel to and from the United Kingdom is restricted to protect public health in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. HM Government is operating a ‘traffic light system’, which commenced on 17th May when the ‘Stay in the United Kingdom’ regulation ceased. The three categories – Red, Amber and Green – determine the health measures that are present at the border. You can see the full list of countries in each category on GOV.UK, where you can also find the steps to be taken before entering the country.

The risk posed by individual countries will be continuously monitored and ratings will be reviewed every three weeks. The traffic light system itself will be reviewed through a series of checkpoints in June, July and October, taking into account the latest domestic and international data. In addition, the visa application criteria is available on GOV.UK.

18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what the planned timetable is to restart unrestricted employee relocation activity into the UK from abroad, and if she will make a statement.

International travel to and from the United Kingdom is restricted to protect public health in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. HM Government is operating a ‘traffic light system’, which commenced on 17th May when the ‘Stay in the United Kingdom’ regulation ceased. The three categories – Red, Amber and Green – determine the health measures that are present at the border. You can see the full list of countries in each category on GOV.UK, where you can also find the steps to be taken before entering the country.

The risk posed by individual countries will be continuously monitored and ratings will be reviewed every three weeks. The traffic light system itself will be reviewed through a series of checkpoints in June, July and October, taking into account the latest domestic and international data. In addition, the visa application criteria is available on GOV.UK.

13th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has had discussions with car insurance regulators on helping ensure that rises in car insurance premiums do not disproportionately impact elderly drivers.

The Government is determined that insurers should treat customers fairly and firms are required to do so under Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) rules.

Department for Transport officials regularly liaise with representatives of the motor insurance industry and discuss issues as they arise. However, it is the responsibility of individual motor insurers to set their premiums and the terms and conditions of their policies, and the Government does not intervene or seek to control the market.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
21st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to encourage rail travel in the next 12 months.

The pandemic is changing travel habits, and we are starting to see some substantial changes in passenger demand for rail travel.

We are working with the rail industry to develop a number of recovery initiatives, focused on restoring passenger confidence and encouraging passengers to choose rail. Further announcements will be made in due course.

31st Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many sector-based work academies have taken place in total and in each (a) country and (b) region of the UK since the programme began.

Sector-based work academies were launched in August 2011 in England and January 2012 in Scotland. Regular statistical releases on sector-based work academies, covering participation by those on legacy unemployment benefits, began in 2011 and ended in 2017. These statistics can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/employment-schemes-work-experience-sector-based-work-academy-and-skills-conditionality-starts-to-november-2017

The scheme was relaunched as Sector-based Work Academy Programmes (SWAPs) in July 2020 as part of the Government’s Plan for Jobs. Due to data limitations, we are unable to provide a geographical breakdown for SWAPs that took place before the start of the 2021/22 financial year.

Data for the financial years 2021/22, 2022/23 and 2023/24 to date shows that, as of 28 January 2024, there were a total of 266,330 starts to a Sector-based Work Academy Programme. The breakdowns of these starts are provided in the attached tables. Final start figures for 2023/24 will be available early next financial year.

Notes on the data:

Attached are tables listing the number of SWAP starts to date by Country, Region, Local Authority, Sector and Age band. The figures used are correct as of 28 January 2024 and these figures have been rounded according to departmental standards.

These figures reflect the number of starts by claimants in receipt of Universal Credit (UC), Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or Income Support (IS).

It is important to note that the information provided shows the current home location of the person who has started a SWAP. For starts by those in receipt of JSA, ESA or IS, due to data limitations a location cannot be assigned to these starts and as such they are categorised as unknown within the figures. SWAPs are run in England and Scotland, where a person’s current home location is outside of this they have also been categorised as unknown.

Although care is taken when processing and recording SWAP starts, the data collected might be subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any clerical recording system, but is provided in the interests of transparency.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the total rate of employment was for people aged 16 and over in the period between February and April 2010; and what the total rate of unemployment was for people aged 16 to 64 in that period.

Employment, unemployment and economic inactivity data for various age groups is published and available at:

https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/employmentandemployeetypes/datasets/summaryoflabourmarketstatistics

  • The headline measure of the UK employment level is for people aged 16+ whereas the headline measure of the employment rate is for people aged 16-64.
  • The headline measure of the UK unemployment level and the unemployment rate is for people aged 16+.
  • The headline measure of the UK economic inactivity level is for people aged 16-64.
Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people aged 16 to 64 were economically inactive in the period between February and April 2010; and how many people aged 16 to 24 were (a) in employment and (b) unemployed in that period.

Employment, unemployment and economic inactivity data for various age groups is published and available at:

https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/employmentandemployeetypes/datasets/summaryoflabourmarketstatistics

  • The headline measure of the UK employment level is for people aged 16+ whereas the headline measure of the employment rate is for people aged 16-64.
  • The headline measure of the UK unemployment level and the unemployment rate is for people aged 16+.
  • The headline measure of the UK economic inactivity level is for people aged 16-64.
Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people aged (a) 16 and over and (b) 16 to 64 were (i) in employment and (ii) unemployed between February and April 2010.

Employment, unemployment and economic inactivity data for various age groups is published and available at:

https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/employmentandemployeetypes/datasets/summaryoflabourmarketstatistics

  • The headline measure of the UK employment level is for people aged 16+ whereas the headline measure of the employment rate is for people aged 16-64.
  • The headline measure of the UK unemployment level and the unemployment rate is for people aged 16+.
  • The headline measure of the UK economic inactivity level is for people aged 16-64.
Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when the mandatory offer of support to people in the light touch conditionality regime will begin.

We are committed to ensuring that people in work look for more and better work. That’s not only good for the country and the economy, it is good for someone to move off benefits– improving life prospects, mental and physical health, and providing new skills.

At Spring Budget we announced the AET rise to the equivalent of 18 hours at the National Living Wage. This will bring the lower earners who would have been impacted by the mandatory offer into a higher level of conditionality.

Claimants earning above the Administrative Earnings Threshold in the Light Touch Group currently have access to a voluntary In Work Progression offer. This will now become mandatory in 2024.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
7th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether his Department has made an estimate of the cost to the public purse of removing the two children limit for support provided through (a) the Child Tax Credit and (b) Universal Credit.

The latest available estimate was made in 2019, which can be found here Written questions and answers - Written questions, answers and statements - UK Parliament

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
5th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of his Department’s efforts to increase the number of pensioners claiming Pension Credit before 19 May 2023.

The Department issued a range of communications, including via social media, in the two weeks up to 19 May to highlight the latest date that eligible pensioners could still qualify for an additional cost of living payment if they made a successful backdated Pension Credit claim.

Internal management information shows that the DWP received around 21,000 claims in those two weeks, up 171% compared to the corresponding weeks in 2022. This data is based on internal management information which has not been subjected to the usual standard of quality assurance associated with official statistics. They are provided here in the interests of transparency.

There is a strong indication that our campaign is having a positive effect with the number of claims approximately 75% higher in the year May 2022-23 than over the same period the year before.

The campaign continues with the Pension Credit Week of Action taking place between 12 and 16 June where DWP will be joining forces with charities, broadcasters and a whole range of partners to raise awareness of Pension Credit and encourage eligible pensioners to make a claim.

Laura Trott
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
18th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of his Department’s steps to increase Pension Credit claims in December 2022.

We undertook a further burst of communications activity in December which included press, radio and social media. This highlighted that successful Pension Credit applications made by 18 December would mean qualification for a £324 Cost of Living Payment – thanks to Pension Credit backdating rules. To promote this activity, I held an event at Portcullis House on 7 December. Around 40 MPs attended to show their support and help promote the message in their constituencies.

Internal management information shows that during the week commencing 12 December, DWP received over 7,200 claims. This is 177% higher compared to the same week the year before.

Since the beginning of the Pension Credit awareness campaign in April 2022, weekly Pension Credit claims volumes increased by an average of 73% compared to the year average before the campaign began (April 2021 to March 2022).

A range of other factors are also likely to have impacted claim volumes and it is not therefore possible to attribute the increase to the campaign alone.

This data is based on internal management information which has not been subjected to the usual standard of quality assurance associated with official statistics. They are provided here in the interests of transparency.

Laura Trott
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
14th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what progress his Department has made on moving adult claimants on Disability Living Allowance to Personal Independence Payment.

We are committed to ensuring people can access financial support through Personal Independence Payment (PIP) in a timely manner.

We originally introduced a pause for most Disability Living Allowance (DLA) to Personal Independence Payment (PIP) reassessment activity as part of our response to the COVID-19 pandemic on 23 March 2020; the exception being for DLA claimants who reported a change in needs.

We are currently experiencing unprecedented levels of new claims to PIP. Reducing customer journey times for PIP claimants is a priority for the department and we are working constantly to make improvements to our service.

To ensure we have the capacity in place to prioritise new claims and changes in circumstances, we are continuing to pause activity to randomly invite eligible adult DLA claimants to claim PIP. However, we are still continuing to invite DLA claimants to make a claim if they fall into one of the following categories:

  • on reaching age 16;
  • are nearing the end of their DLA award; or
  • report a change of circumstances.

Additionally, current DLA claimants who wish to move to claim PIP can do so. DLA claimants who claim PIP in these circumstances continue to receive their DLA while their PIP claim is being assessed.

This action, combined with improvements we have made to the claimant journey, has meant we are seeing a gradual improvement in new claim clearance times and the latest statistics show that the average end-to-end journey has steadily reduced from 26 weeks in August 2021 to 18 weeks at the end of July 2022.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
1st Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what his policy is on Winter Fuel Payments to those who move to Australia; and whether the Government plans to review the list of eligible countries for that payment.

Winter fuel payments are not payable in Australia. There are no plans to review this policy.

Laura Trott
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
26th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 17 December 2021 to Question 92099 on Social Security Benefits: Terminal Illnesses, whether she plans to amend legislation to implement changes to (a) the Special Rules for Terminal Illness and (b) Attendance Allowance, Disability Living Allowance and Personal Independence Payment during the current session of Parliament; and what discussions she has had with the Northern Ireland Executive on ensuring parity between social security systems in the UK following the recent passing of the Social Security (Terminal Illness) Bill by the Northern Ireland Assembly.

The Department plans to amend legislation to implement changes to the Special Rules for Terminal Illness in Attendance Allowance, Disability Living Allowance and Personal Independence Payment as soon as possible, subject to Parliamentary processes.

The Department works closely with the Department for Communities in Northern Ireland within a legal and non-statutory framework for co-ordination and reciprocity in social security arrangements. In the case of changes to the Special Rules for Terminal Illness, engagement began during policy development and in an evaluation into how the benefits system supports people nearing the end of their lives. This close collaboration continues as the 12-month approach is being implemented to ensure that parity is maintained between the two benefits systems.

13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when her Department plans to bring forward legislative proposals to amend the Special Rules for Terminal Illness.

The Department is committed to supporting people nearing the end of their lives. We plan to amend legislation to implement changes to the Special Rules for Terminal Illness across five DWP benefits, beginning with Universal Credit alongside Employment and Support Allowance next year. This will be in advance of changes to Primary Legislation for Attendance Allowance, Disability Living Allowance and Personal Independence Payment which are dependent on Parliamentary time.

20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many jobs included within the Kickstart scheme have been (a) approved, (b) advertised and (c) started by (i) county, (ii) region and (iii) nation.

We are pleased to say that, as of the 31st August, over 63,000 young people have started Kickstart jobs. Over 181,000 jobs have been made available for young people to apply for through the Kickstart Scheme with over 280,000 jobs approved for funding by the Scheme.

We are unable at present to provide data on the number of approved jobs by location, as at that stage in the process we do not hold information about the exact location of a job, only the head office of the employer.

Below are tables listing the number of Kickstart jobs which have been made available and started by young people to date by geographical area of Great Britain and work sector. The figures used are correct as of the 31st August and these figures have been rounded according to departmental standards.

Although care is taken when processing and analysing Kickstart applications, referrals and starts, the data collected might be subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large-scale recording system, which has been developed quickly.

The management information presented here has not been subjected to the usual standard of quality assurance associated with official statistics, but is provided in the interests of transparency. Work is ongoing to improve the quality of information available for the programme.

Location

Jobs Made Available

Total Jobs Started

East Midlands

11,600

3,840

East of England

14,400

4,460

London

36,700

13,970

North East

7,300

2,930

North West

23,400

8,090

Scotland

13,400

5,670

South East

21,000

6,870

South West

13,500

4280

Wales

10,400

3,190

West Midlands

16,400

5,670

Yorkshire and The Humber

13,700

4,820

*These numbers are rounded and so may not match provided totals. Jobs Made Available include 1,000 non-grant funded vacancies and Total Starts include around 900 starts to non-grant funded jobs

Sector

Jobs Made Available

Total Jobs Started

Administration

45,500

16,190

Animal Care

900

510

Beauty & Wellbeing

1,300

500

Business & Finance

6,600

2,350

Computing, Technology & Digital

12,800

5,670

Construction & Trades

5,600

2,070

Creative & Media

13,900

6,450

Delivery & Storage

5,400

1,860

Emergency & Uniform Services

400

150

Engineering & Maintenance

6,000

1,930

Environment & Land

3,400

1360

Government Services

600

120

Healthcare

5,000

1,420

Home Services

1,300

340

Hospitality & Food

19,300

4,840

Law & Legal

400

190

Managerial

1100

330

Manufacturing

4,500

1,750

Retail & Sales

28,500

10,400

Science & Research

700

300

Social Care

4,500

1050

Sports & Leisure

4,300

1500

Teaching & Education

8,600

2,180

Transport

600

140

Travel & Tourism

600

190

*These numbers are rounded and so may not match provided totals. Jobs Made Available include 1,000 non-grant funded vacancies and Total Starts include around 900 starts to non-grant funded jobs

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether her Department's review of how the welfare system works for people with a terminal illness includes an assessment of (a) the ability of people with motor neurone disease to access the special rules for terminal illness and (b) the potential merits of applying reforms to (i) the disability element of universal credit and (ii) personal independence payment.

In July 2019, the Secretary of State announced an in-depth evaluation of how the benefits system supports people nearing the end of their life. The evaluation included 3 strands of research:

- hearing directly from claimants and charities about their first-hand experiences;

- considering international evidence to find out what works in other nations and the support they provide; and

- reviewing current DWP performance to better understand how our Special Rules for Terminal Illness process operates and performs.

13th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people were diagnosed with (a) autism, (b) ADHD and (c) dyslexia in the East of England in the last five years.

The information requested is not held centrally but may be held locally by individual National Health Service trusts or commissioners.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
19th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to support care home workers.

I would like to recognise the enormous contribution care home workers, and all the care workforce, make to this country.

In our People at the Heart of Care White Paper, we set out a landmark investment of £500 million to develop and support the workforce.

This a five-fold increase in public spending on workforce training, creating hundreds of thousands of training places with clear pathways for development and progression.

These measures will make a real difference to the support that care workers get to develop and progress their career.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
17th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 20 December 2021 to Question 92097 and following the Conditional Marketing Authorisation awarded by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency on 17 March 2022, what plans he has to ensure that severely immunocompromised patients have access to Evusheld; and what estimate he has made of when the first patients will start to receive that treatment.

We are unable to provide the information requested as it is commercially sensitive. Any public announcement on the procurement of treatments would be made after an agreement is reached with companies. The Department is scoping the potential introduction of pre-exposure prophylaxis. This includes identification of the most appropriate patient groups which could benefit and the potential deployment and administration process. However, treatments must be clinically cost-effective and demonstrate sufficient efficacy against Omicron and new variants.

4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason the Government does not recommend (a) FFP2 and (b) FFP3 face masks as offering additional protection to the wearer against covid-19.

The Health and Safety Executive does not recommend the routine use of FFP2 masks in clinical practice as these are of lower efficacy than FFP3 masks. FFP3 masks are recommended for use in some health and care settings. Infection prevention and control guidance for staff in all health and care settings states that FFP3 masks should be worn by staff caring for patients where a risk assessment indicates the need.

FFP3 masks and other higher specification personal protective equipment must be professionally fit tested to ensure that air flows through the filter rather than around the mask. If these masks are provided without fit testing, it is not clear that they will be effective. Additionally, it may be difficult for members of the public to safely and comfortably wear a fitted mask for extended periods of time. Face coverings are no longer mandated by law.

15th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 14 December 2021 to Question 89686 on Coronavirus: Vaccination, when 16-17 year olds with chronic asthma in group 6 will be (a) eligible and (b) prioritised for a covid-19 booster vaccination; and whether he will use the flu jab list as a basis for efficiently identifying those who need to be prioritised for any future covid-19 booster vaccinations.

The Government accepted advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) that those aged 16 to 49 years old with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of severe COVID-19 should be offered a booster vaccine. This included individuals with 'poorly controlled asthma', defined as:

- Receiving two or more courses of oral corticosteroids in the preceding 24 months;

- Being on maintenance oral corticosteroids; and

- Having one or more hospital admission(s) for asthma in the preceding 24 months.

The flu clinical risk groups were initially considered as a potential way to identify and prioritise individuals at risk of COVID-19. However, when evaluating the data, the JCVI found that, although there was some overlap between the influenza clinical risk groups and those at high risk of severe COVID-19, there were some differences. At this stage no decision has been made about who will be prioritised for any for any future booster vaccinations, and whether the flu clinical risk groups will be used as part of the considerations.

8th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to prioritise those under 40 who were vaccinated for covid-19 as part of group 6 previously part of the booster roll out programme; when he expects 16-17 years old in group 6 to be (a) eligible and (b) prioritised for a booster, including chronic asthmatics; what assurances his Department plans to provide those groups; and if his Department will use the flu jab list as a basis for identifying those who need to be prioritised for covid-19 booster vaccinations.

On 29 November 2021 the Government accepted advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) to accelerate the COVID-19 booster vaccination programme. All adults over 18 years old are now eligible for a booster dose, which will be given no sooner than three months after completion of the primary course.

The flu clinical risk groups were initially considered as a potential way to identify and prioritise individuals at risk of COVID-19. However, when evaluating the data, the JCVI found that, although there was some overlap between the influenza clinical risk groups and those at high risk of severe COVID-19, there were some differences.

3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the findings of (a) the ONS that chronic lower respiratory disease is the third most common underlying condition with death as a result of covid-19 in quarter 2 of 2021 and (b) of the British Lung Foundation, in its 2012 survey, that 81 per cent of chronic lower respiratory disease is asthma, if he will make it his policy that people with asthma who receive a free annual flu vaccination will be included in any covid-19 booster vaccination programme.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation’s (JCVI) interim advice is that COVID-19 booster vaccinations should first be offered to the most vulnerable. The JCVI advises a two stage approach, with individuals in stage one offered a booster vaccine and flu vaccine, as soon as possible from September. Individuals in stage two would be offered a booster vaccine as soon as practicable after stage one, with equal emphasis on deployment of the flu vaccine where eligible. The JCVI suggests those aged 16 to 49 years old who are in an influenza or COVID-19 at risk group, including some patients with chronic respiratory disease and asthma are currently included in stage two.

Final decisions on the timing and scope and cohort eligibility, booster programme will be confirmed once the JCVI has provided their final advice.

22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will (a) clarify the rationale and (b) make available the data that informed the decision for people returning from France regardless of vaccination status to quarantine for 10 days in the UK from 19 July 2021.

As of 19 July, GISAID data showed there have been to date 2,959 cases of the Beta variant in France or 5.2% of all cases, compared to 1,052 cases of the Beta variant in the United Kingdom or 0.2% of all cases, 44 cases or 0.5% of all cases in Greece and 621 cases or 1.4% of all cases in Spain since the start of the pandemic. As of 14 July, more sequences uploaded to the GISAID international database in the last three to four months were attributed to the Beta variant in France, than in Spain or Greece. The precautionary measure of the current quarantine rules and testing for travellers into the UK from France was meant to significantly reduce the risk of importing cases of the Beta variant, preventing community clusters or outbreaks.

From 8 August, arrivals from and those who have transited through France in the last ten days who have been fully vaccinated under the UK vaccination programme approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency do not need to quarantine. They are still expected to take a day two test.

23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of (a) using the existing 2020-21 flu vaccination list for all future covid-19 booster vaccines and (b) the potential merits of using that list to protect all vulnerable people, including those with asthma who take daily Inhaled steroids.

We are preparing for a potential booster vaccination programme from the autumn. Whilst we are planning for several potential scenarios, final decisions on the timing and scope of the booster programme will not be taken until later this year, in line with results from key clinical studies and independent advice from the Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). The JCVI will review the emerging scientific evidence from studies on co-administering the flu and COVID-19 vaccines safely, alongside data supplied by manufacturers, to inform the Government in the decision-making process.

18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Answer of 26 April 2021 to Question 181447 on Coronavirus: Vaccination, for what reason The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s guideline and Bloom et al were not used by the JCVI in determining the vaccination priority list.

The definitions used by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) were based on evidence of the risk from COVID-19 disease as set out by OpenSAFELY and QCOVID.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guideline on severe asthma was based on European Respiratory Society and American Thoracic Society definitions of severe asthma, which are not related to the risk of hospitalisation associated with COVID-19 disease. Similarly, the Bloom et al definition is not based on COVID-19 disease risk. Therefore, these definitions were not used. The JCVI has advised that all adults should be offered COVID-19 vaccination, unless it is contraindicated.

15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to (a) the definition of severe asthma set out in paragraph 1.2 of the NICE 2020 publication, COVID-19 rapid guideline: severe asthma and (b) the article by Bloom et al published in The Lancet on 4 March 2021, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of prioritising all asthmatics in (i) phase 2 and (ii) future phases including booster shots of the covid-19 vaccine rollout; and whether the JCVI considered the NICE guidelines on covid-19 and severe asthma when setting out the approach to covid-19 vaccination roll out in the UK.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) considered data from OpenSAFELY and QCOVID in determining the risk of COVID-19 in those with asthma and in determining which individuals with asthma were at significant risk of mortality from COVID-19 in phase one of the COVID-19 vaccination programme. The JCVI concluded that only a subset of those with asthma are at clinically higher risk from COVID-19. This group is defined by data from OpenSAFELY and QCOVID as adults with asthma who require continuous or repeated use of systemic steroids or with previous exacerbations requiring hospital admission. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s guideline Bloom et al were not used.

For phase two, the JCVI concluded that there is good evidence that the risks of hospitalisation and critical care admission from COVID-19 increase with age. The JCVI advised that the offer of vaccination during phase two is age-based starting with the oldest adults first. The JCVI has not advised prioritisation of any sub-groups and is currently considering the need for and timing of future phases and booster doses of COVID-19 vaccines. Their advice will be published in due course.

12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the (a) importance of the OCTAVE trial and the timescale for its preliminary and full results for people who are clinically extremely vulnerable immunosuppressed and (b) level of risk to those people during the period from the end of shielding to the completion of the covid-19 vaccination programme for all adults; and what steps he is taking to reduce the risk of infection and protect people who are immunosuppressed, who may not fully benefit from their own vaccination, in addition to prioritising the vaccination for the people who live with them.

This OCTAVE study will provide important insights into the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines in clinically at-risk groups. This includes COVID-19 vaccine responses in patients with certain immunosuppressed conditions, including those with inflammatory disorders, high risk cancer patient groups, and patients with severe kidney and liver disease. The research will use comprehensive immune tests performed on blood samples taken before and/or after COVID-19 vaccination. It will determine patients’ COVID-19 immune response and therefore the likelihood that vaccines will fully protect these groups from COVID-19 infection. Key sample timings include 28 days and 6 months post vaccine boost. Results will be available within three months of sampling date. It is estimated that initial results for 28 days post-vaccine will be available across the majority of the cohort by the middle of June.

The decision to pause shielding was based on the epidemiological data which showed that cases of COVID-19 had fallen considerably from when national restrictions were first introduced in January. In addition to the prioritisation for COVID-19 vaccines of households of immunosuppressed individuals, the Government continues to provide all clinically extremely vulnerable individuals with additional guidance that they are advised to take to help protect themselves.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of a one-off bonus-payment for NHS and social care workers in England; and what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the affordability of such a payment.

We are looking to the independent Pay Review Bodies (PRBs) for a recommendation on NHS pay, who consider a range of factors, including, motivation, morale and affordability. The Department and HM Treasury work together closely during the PRB process.

As the PRBs are independent of the Government, we cannot pre-judge their recommendations. Once received, we will take time to carefully consider their recommendations before responding.

The vast majority of care workers are employed by private sector providers who ultimately set their pay and remuneration, independent of central Government. Local authorities work with care providers to determine a fair rate of pay based on local market conditions

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether (a) dentists and (b) frontline health staff working in private dental practices will be prioritised for the covid-19 vaccine.

In line with the guidance and the recommendations of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, anyone defined as a frontline healthcare worker is prioritised in cohort two, whether they work for the National Health Service or a private healthcare provider. This includes dentists and dental staff.

30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what scientific evidence informed the recommendation of the level for vitamin D supplementations.

United Kingdom vitamin D recommendations are based on advice from the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN). The SACN is an advisory committee of independent experts that advises the Government on nutrition-related matters.

In its 2016 report on vitamin D and health, the SACN carried out an extensive and robust assessment of the evidence on vitamin D and a wide range of musculoskeletal and non-musculoskeletal health outcomes, including infection. The SACN report is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/sacn-vitamin-d-and-health-report

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether people with settled status need to prove their status before they can receive the covid-19 vaccine.

Entitlement to free National Health Service treatment is generally based on ordinary residence in the United Kingdom. A person who can show they have taken up ordinary residence in the UK can access all NHS services immediately, including COVID-19 vaccinations, based on clinical need. This will be on a free of charge basis. They can apply to register with a general practitioner practice near where they now live.

8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department has taken to prioritise people in care home settings with learning disabilities for covid-19 vaccination; and if he will take steps to ensure that those people are vaccinated with higher priority than priority level six in the context of the covid-19 mortality rate among adults with learning disabilities.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advise the Government on which vaccine(s) the United Kingdom should use and provide advice on prioritisation.

As the highest risk of mortality increases with age, the JCVI advise that care home residents, their staff and those over 80 years old should be the first group to receive the vaccine. Adults with Down's syndrome and people with a severe and profound learning disability are also prioritised to receive the vaccine; they are within the fourth and sixth vaccine prioritisation groups respectively.

With regards to prioritising vaccines for people in care home settings with learning disabilities higher than in their current group six category, we will continue to review the evidence and advice from the JCVI as it emerges to determine if this is required.

6th Oct 2020
What steps his Department is taking to increase the number of mental health hubs in the community.

The NHS Long Term Plan set out a vision for providing integrated mental health support across primary and community services to ensure people can access the care, treatment and support at the earliest point of need.

All local areas have received funding to develop and deliver these new models of integrated care by 2023-24. The Government has not prescribed the form these should take though they may take the form of community mental health hubs.

23rd Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment the Government has made of the implications for its policies of the Tunisian Government's conduct in respect of civil society organisations.

During his visit to Tunisia in June, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad, Minister of State for North Africa, met with civil society representatives. In his official meetings, including with President Saied, Lord Ahmad reiterated the UK's belief in the importance of civil society, strengthening human rights, and including all voices in building resilient and successful democracies.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
23rd Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if she will make it her policy not to sign Memorandums of Understanding with the Tunisian Government in the context of President Saied's recent dissolving of Parliament.

The UK closely monitors the economic and political situation in Tunisia and will continue to do so as the new constitution is published on 30 June and the referendum takes place, scheduled for 25 July. The UK stands ready to play a constructive role as Tunisia addresses significant political and economic challenges. The UK believes that increasing cooperation and unlocking opportunities is beneficial both for the UK and Tunisia. Sustainable energy, education, private sector trade and investment and other areas are important for mutual prosperity and the creation of jobs. We also regularly emphasise the importance of accountability and inclusive political participation in the democratic process, most recently during the visit of Lord (Tariq) Ahmad, Minister of State for North Africa, in June.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
13th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment she has made of (a) reported shortages of medical and basic need items, including first aid kits on the front-lines, amongst Ukrainian forces and (b) the further steps that the UK Government could take to assist in this matter.

The UK has not supplied medical equipment to the Ukrainian military during this conflict. We have focused our supply of military support on other areas, including heavier weapons, while other countries have supplied medical support. We have however made the offer that the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine and other UK military medical facilities will be made available to injured Ukrainian service personnel.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
15th Jun 2021
What steps he has taken to secure international co-operation on the Leaders Pledge for Nature to reverse biodiversity loss by 2030 for sustainable development.

We are working to build support for the Leaders’ Pledge for Nature, and 88 countries so far have signed up. I am pleased that in the last two weeks, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Guyana, and Suriname have also signed up. Just last weekend, the Prime Minister secured commitments from G7 Leaders to work together to tackle biodiversity loss, including to protect at least 30% of global land and ocean by 2030.

30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department has taken to encourage the Ethiopian Government to cease hostilities, especially in Tigray Province to prevent an escalation of the conflict and civil war and; what support his Department has offered to help guarantee unhindered humanitarian access and the restoration of basic services in Tigray.

The UK is concerned by the violence between federal and regional forces in the Tigray region. The Foreign Secretary called Prime Minister Abiy on 10 November to raise our concerns and stress the urgent need for de-escalation and for unfettered humanitarian access. He reiterated these messages when he met Ethiopian Deputy Prime Minister Demeke on 25 November. I also reiterated this in my tweets of 24 and 19 November and when I spoke with the Ethiopian Ambassador in London on 18 November. We will continue to track the situation and to raise with the Government of Ethiopia and regional leaders these concerns, our concerns about civilian deaths and casualties, and the importance of respect for human rights.

We are contributing to UN-led planning efforts for Tigray. It is important that agreement between the UN and the Ethiopian Government, which permits access to government controlled areas of Tigray, also quickly paves the way for unfettered access to those areas that remain contested. We are in close contact with UK-funded humanitarian agencies there to understand humanitarian needs and what programme adaptations are required, as well as monitoring the regional situation. In Ethiopia, the UK provides funds to the UN's World Food Programme (WFP), UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) Ethiopian Humanitarian Fund, to provide food assistance, shelter, water and sanitation, health, nutrition and protection support. In Sudan, flexible UK funding to WFP and the UNHCR is already helping new refugees from Ethiopia to receive emergency assistance, including shelter and food. These agencies have proven themselves capable of working in high risk contexts, in Ethiopia and elsewhere, and for managing UK funds adeptly.

12th Sep 2023
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of calculating national insurance contributions using the combined income from multiple employers.

National Insurance Contributions (NICs) are assessed on a pay-period basis per each employment. Requiring the aggregation of earnings for NICs of people doing more than one job with multiple employers would be administratively complex, increasing the burden on employers.

However, the Government keeps all taxes, including NICs, under review.

Victoria Atkins
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has had recent discussions with relevant stakeholders on providing increased financial support for pubs in the Autumn Statement 2023.

HM Treasury ministers and officials regularly engage with stakeholders as an important part of the policy development process.

The Government believes that pubs make an important contribution to our culture, fostering a sense of place and community, and the UK economy.

Our ‘Brexit Pubs Guarantee,’ confirms that the duty on a draught pint will always be lower than its equivalent in a supermarket. And the new alcohol duty system implemented in August of this year included a new Draught Relief that provides a significant duty discount on alcohol sold in containers of 20 litres or more in the on-trade.

In addition, pubs will benefit from business rates support worth £13.6bn over the next five years, including a more generous Retail, Hospitality and Leisure (RHL) relief scheme that has increased from 50% to 75% relief in 2023-24.

Gareth Davies
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
28th Mar 2023
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment for the implication for his policies of the changing charities' status on the list of goods and services set out in the EU Annex III of the Principal VAT Directive; and if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of reducing VAT rates for charities on their energy bills.

Subject to a transition period until April 2024 for existing qualifying charities, from 15 March 2023 the availability of UK tax reliefs for charities is restricted to UK charities only. The application of VAT reliefs for charities will not be affected.

As the UK is no longer part of the EU, it now enjoys greater freedom when setting rates of VAT than was allowed under the VAT Directive. Charities already benefit from the reduced rate of VAT where their fuel and power are used for non-business purposes.

James Cartlidge
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
29th Jun 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of removing fuel duty paid on red diesel.

At Spring Statement 2022 in response to fuel prices reaching record levels, the government announced a temporary 12-month cut to the full rate of duty on petrol and diesel of 5p per litre and an equivalent percentage cut on the rates for rebated fuels. Overall, this is the largest cash-terms cut across all fuel duty rates at once, ever, and is only the second time in 20 years that main rates of petrol and diesel have been cut. This cut represents savings for households and businesses, including those that use red diesel, worth around £2.4 billion in 2022-23.

All taxes, including fuel duty, remain under review and any changes are considered and announced by the Chancellor.

15th Oct 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of increasing the personal allowance in proportion to rises in the National Minimum Wage to ensure as much tax-free income as possible is earned by people on the lowest wages; and what steps he is taking increase the personal allowance to protect as many as people as possible on the lowest earnings from the effects of inflation.

The Government remains committed to protecting the living standards of the lowest earners and has taken action to do this. Increases to the real terms value of the Personal Allowance by nearly 50 per cent in the last decade mean that, compared to 2010-11, a typical basic rate taxpayer will pay over £800 less Income Tax in 2021-22.

The Government must also ensure the sustainability of the public finances to fund excellent public services and has done so in a fair and progressive way by maintaining the Income Tax Personal Allowance and Higher Rate Threshold at 2021-22 levels. The 20 per cent highest income households will contribute 15 times that of the 20 per cent lowest income households.

At £12,570, the Personal Allowance is the highest basic personal tax allowance of all countries in the G20, and it remains one of the most generous internationally.

On 1 April 2021, following the recommendations of the Low Pay Commission (LPC), workers on the National Living Wage saw a 2.2 per cent pay increase to £8.91 an hour. The Government remains committed to supporting low paid workers and looks forward to receiving the recommendations for the 2022 National Living and Minimum Wage rates from the independent LPC this Autumn.

Lucy Frazer
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make a root-and-branch assessment of the implications of the business models of large internet companies for his policies on state aid and tax avoidance.

Ensuring an effective solution to the challenges related to the taxation of the digital economy is a priority for the Government. In April 2020, the Government introduced a Digital Services Tax which ensures digital businesses pay UK tax that reflects the value they derive from UK users. The Government is also strongly supportive of OECD negotiations which seek to come to a global consensus agreement on the taxation of the digital economy.

Regarding subsidy control, following the end of the transition period, the UK also has the freedom to design a new domestic regime. The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy recently published a consultation seeking views on the approach the Government should take.

12th Feb 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of increasing the minimum income guarantee.

It is for Local Authorities to set Minimum Income Guarantee rates in their area, subject to nationally mandated floors. At the 2019 Spending Round we gave LAs access to up to an additional £1.5bn for social care, on top of existing grants. More widely, we will urgently seek a cross-government consensus to bring forward proposals and legislation for long-term care reform.
Steve Barclay
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
3rd Feb 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether sustainable farming activities under the Agriculture Bill will be deemed active practices and benefit farmers for the purposes of VAT and inheritance tax legislation; and if he will make a statement.

HMRC will consider the tax implications of any detailed proposals.

7th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether it remains her policy not to charge visa fees for Ukrainians visiting family members in the UK.

In response to Putin’s brutal invasion of Ukraine, the UK Government created three bespoke Ukraine Schemes offering 36 months’ temporary sanctuary in the UK. These schemes are free to apply for and have no restriction to rights, access to benefits or services and have a health surcharge waiver. The Standard Visitor route is for anyone wanting to visit the UK for a temporary period, usually up to 6 months, for purposes such as tourism and visiting family and friends, with a fee charged.

31st Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 14 December 2022 to Question 110878 on Speed Limits: Fines, if she will make it her policy to allow people receiving speeding penalty charges related (a) dashboard camera, (b) CCTV and (c) helmet camera footage to review that footage before making the choice about whether to plead guilty or go to court.

Decisions as to whether an offence may be being committed and the provision of any dashboard, CCTV and helmet camera footage in respect of a potential speeding offence is an operational matter for the police.

Before a possible prosecution the police will issue a conditional fixed penalty offer with evidence that can be relied upon at court. It is then a decision for the recipient to decide to accept this offer or to challenge this at court.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
14th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what her Department's policy is on the use of (a) dashboard camera, (b) CCTV and (c) helmet camera footage for speeding penalties; and whether a driver subject to a potential speeding penalty should be permitted to review the footage before making the choice about whether to plead guilty or go to court.

Unless it is unlawful for some other reason, the police can use any equipment they wish to help detect offences. How the police enforce road traffic law, including speeding offences, and the type of equipment they may use is an operational matter for the police.

However, equipment used by the police to capture evidence of speeding that can be prosecuted in court is type approved by government. This “Type Approval” process involves equipment being subject to rigorous field and laboratory testing to ensure the accuracy and reliability of their speed measurements and to prevent the possibility of spurious speed measurements being produced. This includes a requirement for primary and secondary speed measurement verification. Secondary legislation also prescribes how the camera will perform the speed measurement.

Type approval guarantees that a device is accurate, precise, reliable and consistent so that its evidence can be relied on. Evidence from a type approved device can therefore also reasonably be used to support the offer of a fixed penalty and will be available for use in a prosecution should the fixed penalty offer not be accepted. At this stage no devices described by the member have been submitted for Type Approval.

The provision of any dashboard, CCTV and helmet camera footage in respect of a potential speeding offence is an operational matter for the police.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether people who have not applied for the EU Settlement Scheme and have instead applied for British Citizenship and (a) have or (b) have not received their citizenship by 30 June retain the right to remain.

People who have not applied to the EU Settlement Scheme but have applied for and are granted British citizenship will have the right of abode in the UK. If they were lawfully resident in the UK under EU law as an EEA citizen at the end of the transition period, they will continue to enjoy relevant rights under the Citizens’ Rights Agreements even if they did not obtain EU Settlement Scheme status before they were granted British citizenship.

Those who have not been granted British citizenship and have not applied to the EU Settlement Scheme by 30 June 2021 will not have the right to remain in the UK after that date. If there are reasonable grounds for the person missing the deadline to apply to the scheme, they will be given a further opportunity to apply.

A person who has applied for and not yet received British citizenship can ensure they are in the UK lawfully after 30 June 2021 by making a free of charge application to the EU Settlement Scheme by that date.

3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether EU citizens with permanent residency status in the UK need to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme by June 2021.

Permanent residence is a status derived from EU law.

EU citizens with this status need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme for a UK immigration status by 30 June 2021 in order to continue living in the UK after that date.

10th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether he has had recent discussions with the RAF on the potential merits of varying low flying training to help limit disruption to local residents in (a) North Norfolk constituency and (b) other areas.

The RAF, along with the other Services, is keenly aware of its responsibilities to the public and would prefer not to cause any disturbance to those on the ground. Every effort is made to spread low flying training as widely and equitably as possible across the whole of the United Kingdom; however, areas with flying units nearby, such as North Norfolk, will inevitably see more military aircraft in the area, not least as they make their way to and from base to other training areas, including over the North Sea.

James Heappey
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Minister for the Armed Forces)
4th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, when he plans to announce funding levels for local planning authorities to help tackle planning backlogs.

Local councils are responsible for ensuring that they build skills pipelines in their area to discharge their responsibilities. We recognise, however, that there have been challenges in recent years in plan and so, on a temporary basis, the Government is providing additional funds.

The £24 million Planning Skills Delivery Fund will help local authorities to recruit, retain and upskill planners to build a more sustainable planning system for the benefit of communities by helping local planning authorities clear planning backlogs and get the skills in place that they need to respond to changes in the planning system. This has been supplemented at Autumn Statement by an additional £5 million to clear the planning applications backlog.

We will announce the successful local authorities who applied for funding as part of the year one application process shortly.

Lee Rowley
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
2nd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, when the extension of the right to buy for housing association tenants will be brought into effect.

The Government remains committed to the Right to Buy, which since 1980 has enabled over two million social housing tenants to become homeowners.

Any future announcements will be set out in the usual way.

3rd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether he plans to implement the recommendations of the report by the Law Commission entitled Leasehold home ownership: buying your freehold or extending your lease, published on 21 July 2020; and whether he plans to review the calculation relating to the lease extension premium

The Government has committed to making enfranchisement cheaper for leaseholders by reforming the process of valuation they must follow to calculate the cost of extending their lease or buying their freehold. We will abolish marriage value, cap ground rents in the calculation, prescribe the rates to be used and introduce an online calculator.

On 11 January 2022, the Government launched a consultation on a number of recommendations made by the Law Commission aimed at broadening the rights of leaseholders, and reinvigorating commonhold.

The consultation closed on 22 February 2022 and we received over 2000 responses. We are currently analysing the feedback and we will provide a response in due course.

21st Nov 2022
What progress he has made on enabling housing association tenants to purchase their homes.

Our overall priority as a government is to ensure that more people become home owners, and more people live in secure and safe accommodation whatever their tenancy.

Right to Buy has helped over 2 million tenants buy homes since 1980. We will be working closely with the Housing Associating sector on the approach to these schemes and will announce any developments in due course.

Lucy Frazer
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what the (a) cash and (b) percentage change was in the Band D precept for the Greater London Authority in (i) real and (ii) cash terms between (A) 2009-10 and 2016-17 and (B) 2017-18 and 2020-21.

The Greater London Authority precept charged in the 32 London boroughs decreased by £33.82 (10.9%) between 2009-10 and 2016-17; a real terms (CPI) decrease of £71.81 (23.2%). Between 2017-18 and 2020-21, it increased by £52.05 (18.6%); a real terms (CPI) increase of £31.10 (13.2%).

21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what recent steps his Department has taken to support renters; and what assessment he has made of the potential merits of a (a) compulsory and (b) permanent ban on rental increases in (i) private, (ii) public and (iii) shared ownership housing after the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has no plans to ban rent increases and we have put in place an unprecedented package of support to protect renters during this period.

We have legislated to increase notice periods to 6 months in all but the most serious circumstances and bailiffs have been asked not to enforce evictions across England whilst the new, toughened national restrictions apply from 5 November. The only exceptions to this will be the most egregious cases, including cases of illegal occupation, fraud, where tenants have demonstrated anti-social behaviour or are the perpetrator of domestic abuse in social housing and where a property is unoccupied following the death of a tenant. We also intend to introduce an exemption for extreme pre-Covid rent arrears and will provide more detail in due course.

Together with the pause on evictions starting in December, this means that evictions will not be enforced in England until 11 January at the earliest, except in the most serious circumstances.

These measures build on the Government’s major economic package of support to help renters continue to meet their housing costs, including the Chancellor’s recent announcement to extend the Job Retention Scheme to March 2021 .

We have also strengthened the welfare safety-net with an over £9 billion boost to the welfare system, which includes an extra £1 billion to increase Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates so that they cover the lowest 30 per cent of market rents. For renters who require additional support, there is also an existing £180 million of Government funding for Discretionary Housing Payments made available this year, an increase of £40 million from last year, which is for councils to distribute to support renters needing additional help.

3rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what plans he has to bring forward legislative proposals to limit second home ownership.

The Government has introduced a series of measures to help mitigate second home ownership. In 2013 the Government removed the requirement for local authorities to offer a discount on second homes enabling them to charge the full rate of council tax. Additionally, in April 2016, the Government introduced a 3 per cent higher rate of Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) for those purchasing additional properties.

15th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of support provided by the Government to people in Scotland affected by Storm Arwen.

One of the main impacts of both Storm Arwen and Storm Barra was disruption to electricity networks.

The UK Government worked closely with local network operators to provide support, particularly to the most vulnerable.

Our fantastic British armed forces responded rapidly to a request from Aberdeenshire Council, and service personnel were deployed door-to-door, providing a lifeline to many.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
18th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, what recent discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on new nuclear power sites in Wales.

Wales is home to two of the best sites for new nuclear developments which will provide high-quality jobs, contribute to net zero and secure our energy supply. There is clear cross-party support for new nuclear and I will continue to work with Cabinet colleagues who want to develop these opportunities in Wales as much as I do.

David T C Davies
Secretary of State for Wales