Fiona Bruce Portrait

Fiona Bruce

Conservative - Congleton

Human Rights (Joint Committee)
2nd Mar 2020 - 16th Jun 2021
Backbench Business Committee
2nd Mar 2020 - 18th Jan 2021
Ecclesiastical Committee (Joint Committee)
31st Oct 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Human Rights (Joint Committee)
30th Oct 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Human Rights (Joint Committee)
28th Oct 2015 - 3rd May 2017
Ecclesiastical Committee (Joint Committee)
28th Oct 2015 - 3rd May 2017
International Development Sub-Committee on the Work of the Independent Commission for Aid Impact
14th Jul 2015 - 3rd May 2017
International Development Committee
8th Jul 2015 - 3rd May 2017
International Development Sub-Committee on the Work of the Independent Commission for Aid Impact
1st Oct 2015 - 3rd May 2017
International Development Committee
5th Nov 2012 - 30th Mar 2015
International Development Sub-Committee on the Work of the Independent Commission for Aid Impact
31st Oct 2012 - 30th Mar 2015
Draft Modern Slavery Bill
9th Jan 2014 - 3rd Apr 2014
Committees on Arms Export Controls
9th May 2013 - 20th Jun 2013
Committees on Arms Export Controls (formerly Quadripartite Committee)
9th May 2013 - 20th Jun 2013
Scottish Affairs Committee
12th Jul 2010 - 28th Jan 2013


Select Committee Meeting
Tuesday 20th July 2021
10:00
Division Votes
Wednesday 9th June 2021
Information Commissioner (Remuneration)
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 359 Conservative Aye votes vs 0 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 369 Noes - 2
Speeches
Thursday 17th June 2021
Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative

I want to touch on two concerns. The first is the reports of widespread sexual violence as a weapon of …

Written Answers
Tuesday 22nd June 2021
Eritrea: Sexual Offences
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what progress he has made in deploying UK …
Early Day Motions
Tuesday 24th November 2020
Red Wednesday and the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls
That this House marks 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls and Red …
Bills
Wednesday 3rd June 2020
Abortion (Cleft Lip, Cleft Palate and Clubfoot) Bill 2019-21
A Bill to amend the Abortion Act 1967 to exclude cleft lip, cleft palate and clubfoot as qualifying physical abnormalities …
Tweets
None available
MP Financial Interests
Tuesday 1st June 2021
1. Employment and earnings
30 April 2021, received £5,000. Hours: 7 hrs. (Registered 26 May 2021)
EDM signed
Tuesday 1st December 2020
Post offices and sub-postmasters
That this House believes that sub-postmasters and their staff provide financial services that ensure the physical and psychological wellbeing of …
Supported Legislation
Monday 6th July 2020
Tibet (Reciprocal Access) Bill 2019-21
A Bill to require the Secretary of State to report annually on restrictions on access by UK nationals to Tibet …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Fiona Bruce has voted in 288 divisions, and 6 times against the majority of their Party.

30 Jun 2020 - Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill - View Vote Context
Fiona Bruce voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 5 Conservative Aye votes vs 331 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 255 Noes - 332
24 Jun 2020 - Demonstrations (Abortion Clinics) - View Vote Context
Fiona Bruce voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 43 Conservative No votes vs 56 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 213 Noes - 47
17 Jun 2020 - Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill [Lords] - View Vote Context
Fiona Bruce voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 23 Conservative Aye votes vs 283 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 31 Noes - 400
8 Jun 2020 - Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill [Lords] - View Vote Context
Fiona Bruce voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 12 Conservative No votes vs 207 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 231 Noes - 16
10 Mar 2020 - Telecommunications Infrastructure (Leasehold Property) Bill - View Vote Context
Fiona Bruce voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 36 Conservative Aye votes vs 301 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 282 Noes - 306
27 Apr 2021 - Delegated Legislation - View Vote Context
Fiona Bruce voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 77 Conservative No votes vs 222 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 431 Noes - 89
View All Fiona Bruce Division Votes

Debates during the 2019 Parliament

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

Sparring Partners
Jacob Rees-Mogg (Conservative)
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
(26 debate interactions)
Nigel Adams (Conservative)
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
(10 debate interactions)
Jim Shannon (Democratic Unionist Party)
Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights)
(9 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Ministry of Justice
(17 debate contributions)
Department of Health and Social Care
(14 debate contributions)
Leader of the House
(14 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Fiona Bruce's debates

Congleton 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).

Fiona Bruce has not participated in any petition debates

Latest EDMs signed by Fiona Bruce

30th November 2020
Fiona Bruce signed this EDM as a sponsor on Tuesday 1st December 2020

Post offices and sub-postmasters

Tabled by: Virendra Sharma (Labour - Ealing, Southall)
That this House believes that sub-postmasters and their staff provide financial services that ensure the physical and psychological wellbeing of 300,000 vulnerable people; that the ongoing covid-19 pandemic has made this a very difficult time for post offices; thanks sub-postmasters for their hard work and commitment and strongly urges the …
24 signatures
(Most recent: 28 Apr 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 10
Scottish National Party: 5
Plaid Cymru: 3
Democratic Unionist Party: 2
Conservative: 2
Independent: 1
Green Party: 1
24th September 2020
Fiona Bruce signed this EDM on Monday 30th November 2020

County lines and child criminal exploitation

Tabled by: Grahame Morris (Labour - Easington)
That this House is alarmed at the expansion of county lines networks, recently exacerbated by covid-19; calls for clarification of laws to ensure that all young people who are groomed, coerced and controlled into committing crime are recognised as victims of trafficking and exploitation; advocates the adoption of a new …
23 signatures
(Most recent: 30 Nov 2020)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 10
Conservative: 4
Scottish National Party: 2
Plaid Cymru: 2
Independent: 2
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Green Party: 1
Liberal Democrat: 1
View All Fiona Bruce's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Fiona Bruce, 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.


Fiona Bruce has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Fiona Bruce has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

7 Bills introduced by Fiona Bruce


The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress. A Bill to require public bodies to accompany any proposal for a change in public expenditure, administration or policy with a family impact assessment; and to require the Secretary of State to report on the costs and benefits of extending family impact assessments to local authorities and to establish and evaluate progress towards objectives and targets for family stability.


Last Event - 2nd Reading: House Of Commons
Friday 23rd November 2018
(Read Debate)

A Bill to make further provision about arbitration and mediation services and the application of equality legislation to such services; to make provision about the protection of victims of domestic abuse; and for connected purposes


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Thursday 11th February 2016

The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress. A Bill to make provision about the minimum price at which alcohol may be sold from licensed premises in England; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 2nd Reading: House Of Commons
Friday 23rd November 2018
(Read Debate)

A Bill to amend the Abortion Act 1967 to exclude cleft lip, cleft palate and clubfoot as qualifying physical abnormalities for the purposes of medical termination of pregnancy under section 1(1)(d).


Last Event - 1st Reading (Commons)
Wednesday 3rd June 2020

The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress. A Bill to provide for the High Court of England and Wales to make a preliminary finding on cases of alleged genocide; and for the subsequent referral of such findings to the International Criminal Court or a special tribunal.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Tuesday 5th September 2017

A Bill to clarify the law relating to abortion on the basis of sex-selection; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Tuesday 4th November 2014

The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress. A Bill to require the Secretary of State to compile statistics on gender ratios of foetuses aborted in the United Kingdom, and where available overseas; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Tuesday 16th April 2013

219 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
2 Other Department Questions
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, when the Government Equalities Office research on online pornography will be published.

The Government Equalities Office has commissioned research to better understand the possible relationships between pornography use and negative attitudes and behaviours towards women and girls. The research will be published in due course.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, with reference to the Answer of 5 August 2020 to Question HL17518 on pornography: internet, when the Government plans to publish the research on legal pornography and its effect on harmful behaviours and attitudes towards women and girls.

The Government Equalities Office has commissioned research to better understand the possible relationships between pornography use and negative attitudes and behaviours towards women and girls. The research will be published in due course.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
19th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what discussions he has had with her European counterparts on delays to exports from the UK.

I would encourage any business which needs assistance to refer to the extensive guidance available on GOV.UK.

My officials are working closely with Member State officials, businesses and their representatives to understand the reason for any delays or refusal of goods so that issues can be resolved and goods can move freely.

Penny Mordaunt
Paymaster General
19th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he is taking to tackle the delays businesses are experiencing exporting goods to Europe.

I would encourage any business which needs assistance to refer to the extensive guidance available on GOV.UK.

My officials are working closely with Member State officials, businesses and their representatives to understand the reason for any delays or refusal of goods so that issues can be resolved and goods can move freely.

Penny Mordaunt
Paymaster General
2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans he has to provide (a) infrastructure and (b) grant funding to local businesses for the provision of on-site electric car charging points in (a) Congleton, (b) Sandbach and (c) England.

The Government is going further and faster to decarbonise transport by phasing out the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030, and, from 2035, all new cars and vans must be zero emissions at the tailpipe.

The Government will invest £1.3 billion in accelerating the roll out of charging infrastructure. Businesses, charities and the wider public sector can get grants of up to £350 per socket for installing up to 40 charging sockets for their employees and fleets through our Workplace Charging Scheme. The scheme is demand-led, with 11,000 sockets installed in England and over 13,000 across the UK to date.

The Government will continue to support industry and consumers to make the switch to cleaner vehicles. We will publish a clear delivery plan in 2021.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution published on 18 November 2020, what the process is for communities to express an interest in becoming a hydrogen town.

We will be looking to the gas industry together with local authorities and communities to put forward proposals for hydrogen heating trials, and a possible hydrogen town. We will be publishing details on this in due course.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to improve broadband provision for (a) isolated rural areas and (b) small business owners operating from their homes in (i) Congleton constituency and (ii) England.

The government is committed to gigabit capable broadband to everyone in the UK by stimulating investment, busting barriers and driving competition. The UK is on track for one of the fastest rollouts in Europe and for half of all households to have access to gigabit speeds by the end of the year. It is a huge leap forward from 2019, when it was just one in ten.

The government is investing £5 billion in Project Gigabit to ensure that gigabit capable broadband reaches all communities across the UK. Further detail on our approach is set out in our Project Gigabit - Phase One Delivery Plan published on 19 March 2021, including using subsidised procurements to extend gigabit broadband coverage and providing up to £210m to fund a new voucher from the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme and up to £110m to connect rural GP surgeries, libraries and schools.

We will begin a national Open Market Review by July 2021 for telecoms providers to give us a picture of where the market plans to invest in gigabit networks over the next three years and to confirm where we need to intervene so places are not left out.

4,000 premises in Cheshire will also benefit from access to gigabit capable broadband as a result of a £4.5million investment under the Superfast Broadband programme that was agreed in December 2020.

For those in the most isolated areas, where the costs of delivering broadband rise exponentially, the government has issued a Call for Evidence for users and suppliers to share their current experiences, needs and views. We are also asking suppliers to provide further information on technologies coming to market that may support delivery of improved broadband to these locations.

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether group exercise classes will be permitted to take place indoors from the end of the November 2020 lockdown period in Congleton constituency provided that social distancing is enforced.

As announced on Thursday 26 November, Cheshire will be placed into Tier 2 of coronavirus restrictions when the national lockdown ends on 2 December. Under Tier 2 you must not socialise with anyone you do not live with or who is not in your support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place.

Organised outdoor sport, and physical activity and exercise classes can continue. However, organised indoor sport, physical activity and exercise classes will only be permitted if it is possible for people to avoid mixing with people they do not live with (or share a support bubble with). There are exceptions for indoor disability sport, sport for educational purposes and supervised sport and physical activity for under-18s, which can take place with larger groups mixing.

Further guidance will be published shortly.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will ask the Information Commissioner's Office to investigate instances of pornographic websites using children's browsing history data to promote pornographic content to those users.

Providers of online services which are likely to be accessed by children are required by UK data protection legislation to ensure that children’s data is processed fairly, lawfully and transparently. They should not be sharing data with third parties unless there are compelling reasons to do so, taking account of the best interests of the child.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has issued a code of practice on Age Appropriate Design, which offers guidance for organisations on complying with the legislation, including the privacy standards that should be adopted where they are offering online services to children. The code can be viewed on the ICO’s website at:

https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-data-protection/key-data-protection-themes/age-appropriate-design-a-code-of-practice-for-online-services/

Online services that do not comply with the legislation, should be reported to the ICO which may, in turn, consider enforcement action.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
16th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether the Government will reconsider implementing Part 3 of the Digital Economy Act 2017 in response to the court case brought by several age verification companies, claim number CO/206/2020.

I am unable to discuss any ongoing cases against the department.

The Government is committed to ensuring that children are protected from accessing harmful content online.Details of how the online harms legislation will apply to pornography sites, will be published later this year in the Full Government Response to the Online Harms White Paper consultation.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, further to the Answer of 21 July 2020 to Question 75251, what assessment he has made of the level of risk that commercial pornographic websites will cease to allow user generated content if that would bring those websites within scope of a duty of care in potential future online harms legislation.

Details of how the online harms legislation will apply to pornography sites, will be published later this year in the Full Government Response to the Online Harms White Paper consultation.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
14th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 21 July 2020 to Question 75251 what proportion of commercial pornography sites (a) allow user-generated content and (b) place (i) all, (ii) some and (iii) none of their pornographic content behind a paywall.

Details of how the online harms legislation will apply to pornography sites, will be published later this year in the Full Government Response to the Online Harms White Paper consultation.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
14th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 21 July 2020 to Question 75251, if he will place in the Library a copy of his Department’s analysis of commercial pornographic websites that require payment.

Details of how the online harms legislation will apply to pornography sites, will be published later this year in the Full Government Response to the Online Harms White Paper consultation.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
11th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 21 July 2020 to Question 75251 on pornography, what plans he has to publish the Government's analysis of pornography sites.

Details of how the online harms legislation will apply to pornography sites, will be published later this year in the Full Government Response to the Online Harms White Paper consultation.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions the Government had with parents before reaching its decision to delay the introduction of statutory age verification for pornographic website by bringing forward new legislative proposals rather than by implementing Part 3 of the Digital Economy Act 2017.

The government is committed to ensuring children are protected from accessing inappropriate content online. As we announced on 16 October last year, the government has decided that the policy objective of protecting children online from age inappropriate content can be best delivered through our wider online harms proposals. Our Online Harms proposals will deliver a higher level of protection for children and we expect companies to use a proportionate range of tools, including age assurance and age verification technologies, to prevent children accessing age-inappropriate content such as online pornography. This approach will achieve a more consistent and comprehensive approach to harmful content across different sites and go further than the Digital Economy Act’s focus on online pornography on commercial adult sites.

We will publish a Full Government Response to the Online Harms White Paper consultation later this year. We will follow the full Government Response with legislation, which we are working on at pace, and will be introduced when parliamentary time allows.

The British Board of Film Classification, while designated as the age verification regulator under the Digital Economy Act, commissioned research on children’s access to pornographic content online. The research, published in early 2020, explored young people’s interactions with, and attitudes towards, online pornography and age verification. We will continue to develop our evidence base on online harms ahead of the implementation of the new online harms regulatory framework.

As a result of Covid-19 lockdown measures we expect more people, including children, to be spending more time online. Although it is too early to confidently analyse patterns from this period, there is universal concern about child online safety. We are working closely with technology companies, law enforcement and civil society to monitor trends, and to support users to understand and manage the risks and benefits of being online during this period.

Ministers and officials have regular meetings and discussions with a wide range of stakeholders, including children’s charities, on a variety of issues. We engaged with a number of children’s charities on our proposals to protect children through the new online harms regulatory framework, as part of our wider public consultation on the Online Harms White Paper last year. Details of Ministerial meetings are published quarterly on the Gov.uk website.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, on how many occasions the Government has received representations from people in other jurisdictions wanting to learn about the age verification model presented by Part 3 of the Digital Economy Act 2017 to date.

The government is committed to ensuring children are protected from accessing inappropriate content online. As we announced on 16 October last year, the government has decided that the policy objective of protecting children online from age inappropriate content can be best delivered through our wider online harms proposals. Our Online Harms proposals will deliver a higher level of protection for children and we expect companies to use a proportionate range of tools, including age assurance and age verification technologies, to prevent children accessing age-inappropriate content such as online pornography. This approach will achieve a more consistent and comprehensive approach to harmful content across different sites and go further than the Digital Economy Act’s focus on online pornography on commercial adult sites.

We will publish a Full Government Response to the Online Harms White Paper consultation later this year. We will follow the full Government Response with legislation, which we are working on at pace, and will be introduced when parliamentary time allows.

The British Board of Film Classification, while designated as the age verification regulator under the Digital Economy Act, commissioned research on children’s access to pornographic content online. The research, published in early 2020, explored young people’s interactions with, and attitudes towards, online pornography and age verification. We will continue to develop our evidence base on online harms ahead of the implementation of the new online harms regulatory framework.

As a result of Covid-19 lockdown measures we expect more people, including children, to be spending more time online. Although it is too early to confidently analyse patterns from this period, there is universal concern about child online safety. We are working closely with technology companies, law enforcement and civil society to monitor trends, and to support users to understand and manage the risks and benefits of being online during this period.

Ministers and officials have regular meetings and discussions with a wide range of stakeholders, including children’s charities, on a variety of issues. We engaged with a number of children’s charities on our proposals to protect children through the new online harms regulatory framework, as part of our wider public consultation on the Online Harms White Paper last year. Details of Ministerial meetings are published quarterly on the Gov.uk website.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether online pornography operators will fall within the requirement to provide a duty of care as proposed in the Online Harms White Paper Initial Consultation Response.

Our Online Harms proposals will go further than the Digital Economy Act’s focus on online pornography on commercial adult sites and provide a higher level of protection for children. Our new approach will include social media companies and all sites on which there is user-generated content, including major pornography sites.

We published the Online Harms Initial Consultation Response in February this year. It was clear that the duty of care would ‘apply to companies that provide services or use functionality on their websites which facilitate the sharing of user generated content or user interactions’. Where pornography sites have such functionalities (including video and image sharing, commenting and live streaming) they will be subject to the duty of care. Our analysis indicates that where commercial pornography sites do not enable user-generated functionalities, they instead usually require payment, providing a deterrent for children from accessing them.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment the Government has made of the effect on child safety in respect of exposure to pornographic websites of its decision to delay the introduction of statutory age verification for such websites by bringing forward further legislation rather than implementing Part 3 of the Digital Economy Act 2017.

The government is committed to ensuring children are protected from accessing inappropriate content online. As we announced on 16 October last year, the government has decided that the policy objective of protecting children online from age inappropriate content can be best delivered through our wider online harms proposals. Our Online Harms proposals will deliver a higher level of protection for children and we expect companies to use a proportionate range of tools, including age assurance and age verification technologies, to prevent children accessing age-inappropriate content such as online pornography. This approach will achieve a more consistent and comprehensive approach to harmful content across different sites and go further than the Digital Economy Act’s focus on online pornography on commercial adult sites.

We will publish a Full Government Response to the Online Harms White Paper consultation later this year. We will follow the full Government Response with legislation, which we are working on at pace, and will be introduced when parliamentary time allows.

The British Board of Film Classification, while designated as the age verification regulator under the Digital Economy Act, commissioned research on children’s access to pornographic content online. The research, published in early 2020, explored young people’s interactions with, and attitudes towards, online pornography and age verification. We will continue to develop our evidence base on online harms ahead of the implementation of the new online harms regulatory framework.

As a result of Covid-19 lockdown measures we expect more people, including children, to be spending more time online. Although it is too early to confidently analyse patterns from this period, there is universal concern about child online safety. We are working closely with technology companies, law enforcement and civil society to monitor trends, and to support users to understand and manage the risks and benefits of being online during this period.

Ministers and officials have regular meetings and discussions with a wide range of stakeholders, including children’s charities, on a variety of issues. We engaged with a number of children’s charities on our proposals to protect children through the new online harms regulatory framework, as part of our wider public consultation on the Online Harms White Paper last year. Details of Ministerial meetings are published quarterly on the Gov.uk website.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment the Government made of the (a) potential number of additional viewing incidences by children in of online pornography and (b) effect on child wellbeing of such viewing in its decision to delay the requirement for statutory age verification checks by bringing forward new legislative proposals rather than implementing Part 3 of the Digital Economy Act 2017.

The government is committed to ensuring children are protected from accessing inappropriate content online. As we announced on 16 October last year, the government has decided that the policy objective of protecting children online from age inappropriate content can be best delivered through our wider online harms proposals. Our Online Harms proposals will deliver a higher level of protection for children and we expect companies to use a proportionate range of tools, including age assurance and age verification technologies, to prevent children accessing age-inappropriate content such as online pornography. This approach will achieve a more consistent and comprehensive approach to harmful content across different sites and go further than the Digital Economy Act’s focus on online pornography on commercial adult sites.

We will publish a Full Government Response to the Online Harms White Paper consultation later this year. We will follow the full Government Response with legislation, which we are working on at pace, and will be introduced when parliamentary time allows.

The British Board of Film Classification, while designated as the age verification regulator under the Digital Economy Act, commissioned research on children’s access to pornographic content online. The research, published in early 2020, explored young people’s interactions with, and attitudes towards, online pornography and age verification. We will continue to develop our evidence base on online harms ahead of the implementation of the new online harms regulatory framework.

As a result of Covid-19 lockdown measures we expect more people, including children, to be spending more time online. Although it is too early to confidently analyse patterns from this period, there is universal concern about child online safety. We are working closely with technology companies, law enforcement and civil society to monitor trends, and to support users to understand and manage the risks and benefits of being online during this period.

Ministers and officials have regular meetings and discussions with a wide range of stakeholders, including children’s charities, on a variety of issues. We engaged with a number of children’s charities on our proposals to protect children through the new online harms regulatory framework, as part of our wider public consultation on the Online Harms White Paper last year. Details of Ministerial meetings are published quarterly on the Gov.uk website.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment the Government make of the child safety implications of delaying the provision of statutory age verification by bringing forward new legislative proposals rather than implementing Part 3 of the Digital Economy Act 2017.

The government is committed to ensuring children are protected from accessing inappropriate content online. As we announced on 16 October last year, the government has decided that the policy objective of protecting children online from age inappropriate content can be best delivered through our wider online harms proposals. Our Online Harms proposals will deliver a higher level of protection for children and we expect companies to use a proportionate range of tools, including age assurance and age verification technologies, to prevent children accessing age-inappropriate content such as online pornography. This approach will achieve a more consistent and comprehensive approach to harmful content across different sites and go further than the Digital Economy Act’s focus on online pornography on commercial adult sites.

We will publish a Full Government Response to the Online Harms White Paper consultation later this year. We will follow the full Government Response with legislation, which we are working on at pace, and will be introduced when parliamentary time allows.

The British Board of Film Classification, while designated as the age verification regulator under the Digital Economy Act, commissioned research on children’s access to pornographic content online. The research, published in early 2020, explored young people’s interactions with, and attitudes towards, online pornography and age verification. We will continue to develop our evidence base on online harms ahead of the implementation of the new online harms regulatory framework.

As a result of Covid-19 lockdown measures we expect more people, including children, to be spending more time online. Although it is too early to confidently analyse patterns from this period, there is universal concern about child online safety. We are working closely with technology companies, law enforcement and civil society to monitor trends, and to support users to understand and manage the risks and benefits of being online during this period.

Ministers and officials have regular meetings and discussions with a wide range of stakeholders, including children’s charities, on a variety of issues. We engaged with a number of children’s charities on our proposals to protect children through the new online harms regulatory framework, as part of our wider public consultation on the Online Harms White Paper last year. Details of Ministerial meetings are published quarterly on the Gov.uk website.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the length of time it will take to introduce age verification for pornographic websites through an alternative option instead of implementing Part 3 of the Digital Economy Act 2017.

The government is committed to ensuring children are protected from accessing inappropriate content online. As we announced on 16 October last year, the government has decided that the policy objective of protecting children online from age inappropriate content can be best delivered through our wider online harms proposals. Our Online Harms proposals will deliver a higher level of protection for children and we expect companies to use a proportionate range of tools, including age assurance and age verification technologies, to prevent children accessing age-inappropriate content such as online pornography. This approach will achieve a more consistent and comprehensive approach to harmful content across different sites and go further than the Digital Economy Act’s focus on online pornography on commercial adult sites.

We will publish a Full Government Response to the Online Harms White Paper consultation later this year. We will follow the full Government Response with legislation, which we are working on at pace, and will be introduced when parliamentary time allows.

The British Board of Film Classification, while designated as the age verification regulator under the Digital Economy Act, commissioned research on children’s access to pornographic content online. The research, published in early 2020, explored young people’s interactions with, and attitudes towards, online pornography and age verification. We will continue to develop our evidence base on online harms ahead of the implementation of the new online harms regulatory framework.

As a result of Covid-19 lockdown measures we expect more people, including children, to be spending more time online. Although it is too early to confidently analyse patterns from this period, there is universal concern about child online safety. We are working closely with technology companies, law enforcement and civil society to monitor trends, and to support users to understand and manage the risks and benefits of being online during this period.

Ministers and officials have regular meetings and discussions with a wide range of stakeholders, including children’s charities, on a variety of issues. We engaged with a number of children’s charities on our proposals to protect children through the new online harms regulatory framework, as part of our wider public consultation on the Online Harms White Paper last year. Details of Ministerial meetings are published quarterly on the Gov.uk website.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he had with children's charities ahead of the decision to delay the introduction of statutory age verification for pornographic websites by bringing forward new legislative proposals rather than implementing Part 3 of the Digital Economy Act 2017.

The government is committed to ensuring children are protected from accessing inappropriate content online. As we announced on 16 October last year, the government has decided that the policy objective of protecting children online from age inappropriate content can be best delivered through our wider online harms proposals. Our Online Harms proposals will deliver a higher level of protection for children and we expect companies to use a proportionate range of tools, including age assurance and age verification technologies, to prevent children accessing age-inappropriate content such as online pornography. This approach will achieve a more consistent and comprehensive approach to harmful content across different sites and go further than the Digital Economy Act’s focus on online pornography on commercial adult sites.

We will publish a Full Government Response to the Online Harms White Paper consultation later this year. We will follow the full Government Response with legislation, which we are working on at pace, and will be introduced when parliamentary time allows.

The British Board of Film Classification, while designated as the age verification regulator under the Digital Economy Act, commissioned research on children’s access to pornographic content online. The research, published in early 2020, explored young people’s interactions with, and attitudes towards, online pornography and age verification. We will continue to develop our evidence base on online harms ahead of the implementation of the new online harms regulatory framework.

As a result of Covid-19 lockdown measures we expect more people, including children, to be spending more time online. Although it is too early to confidently analyse patterns from this period, there is universal concern about child online safety. We are working closely with technology companies, law enforcement and civil society to monitor trends, and to support users to understand and manage the risks and benefits of being online during this period.

Ministers and officials have regular meetings and discussions with a wide range of stakeholders, including children’s charities, on a variety of issues. We engaged with a number of children’s charities on our proposals to protect children through the new online harms regulatory framework, as part of our wider public consultation on the Online Harms White Paper last year. Details of Ministerial meetings are published quarterly on the Gov.uk website.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what Government support is available for (a) Congleton Town FC and (b) other lower league football clubs to help sustain those clubs during the period of loss of income resulting from the covid-19 outbreak.

Football clubs form an integral part of this country and it is important they are given as much support as possible during these difficult times.

In light of this, the Government announced a comprehensive and sizable package of direct fiscal support for business through tax reliefs, cash grants and employee wage support. Clubs can apply to the Football Foundation’s “Club Preparation Fund” for a grant as well to make the necessary changes and modifications to allow them to reopen.

It is also vital that the football community comes together at this time, and I welcomed the Premier League announcement to advance funds of £125 million to the EFL and National League to help clubs throughout the football pyramid.

The Government will continue to liaise closely with all the football authorities to further understand the difficulties clubs are experiencing.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that OpenReach connect properties and businesses in the Hassall Parish Council area that are yet to have fibre connections installed.

The Connecting Cheshire programme, which covers Cheshire East, Cheshire West and Chester, Halton and Warrington Borough Councils, have launched a new procurement
exercise at the end of June, under the BDUK Superfast Programme banner. The available funding through this procurement is £4.5m targeting the remaining premises within the area that are currently without a superfast broadband connection. Until the procurement activity is concluded in the Autumn it isn't possible to confirm which supplier could be awarded a contract or which premises will benefit from this activity.

Hassall Parish Council and other rural areas can benefit from the Rural Gigabit Connectivity Programme. The Government wants to ensure nationwide coverage of gigabit capable broadband as soon as possible. Many addresses in the Hassall Parish Council may be eligible for the Rural Gigabit Voucher Scheme, which is delivered by many suppliers in the area, including Openreach.

The Government has also announced that it will invest a further £5 billion to provide gigabit-capable networks in the hardest to parts of the UK. This funding will focus on connecting more rural and remote areas but, alongside this, the Government is also taking action to reduce the barriers to deployment, and make it cheaper and easier for operators, including BT Openreach, to roll out broadband commercially.

Finally, some addresses may be eligible to request an improved connection under the Universal Service Obligation. BT is the designated Universal Service Provider for all areas
the UK, apart from Hull. The USO provides every UK household with the legal right to request a broadband connection that provides download speeds of at least 10Mbps and an upload speed of at least 1Mbps, where this is not already available or is not due to be made available within a year through a publicly funded intervention.

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what additional support his Department plans to provide to (a) theatres and (b) the performing arts sector in Cheshire East to help that sector recover from the effect of the covid-19 outbreak.

This Government recognises how severely regional theatres, and the wider Arts sector, have been hit by the COVID-19 crisis.

In order to support the Arts sector through the pandemic, DCMS has worked closely with Arts Council England (ACE) to provide a tailored package of financial support. In March, ACE announced a £160m emergency response package to complement the financial measures already announced by the Government and to ensure immediate resilience of this vital sector.

This package includes £140 million of support for artistic organisations including regional theatres, and £20 million for individuals, including self-employed theatre practitioners, so they can better sustain themselves, and their work, in the coming months. More than 9000 individuals and organisations have been successful in applying for this emergency funding.

The Secretary of State, myself and officials continue to consult the arts sectors extensively to ensure we fully understand the impacts of Covid-19 and remain well placed to respond as the landscape develops. On the basis of that engagement, DCMS and ACE are continuing to work closely to consider the additional measures that are needed to ensure the long-term recovery and growth of the cultural sector, including regional theatres and theatre practitioners.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
3rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether the Government plans to set up a gambling ombudsman independent of betting operators.

The government welcomes the National Audit Office’s report on Gambling Regulation: Problem Gambling and Protecting Vulnerable People and is considering its recommendations carefully, including the recommendation to review whether arrangements for consumers when things go wrong are working effectively.


The government has also committed to review the Gambling Act 2005 to make sure it is fit for the digital age. Further details will be announced in due course.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps she is taking to ensure that children are not exposed to alcohol advertisements online.

Advertising in the UK is overseen by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), the industry’s independent regulator, which for online advertising enforces the Code of Non-broadcast Advertising and Direct & Promotional Marketing (CAP Code) through a system of self-regulation. The CAP Code incorporates all relevant legislation and sets standards for accuracy and honesty to which advertisers must adhere, including specific conditions on advertising to children, causing offence and social responsibility. This system operates independently of government.

The Code recognises the social imperative of ensuring alcohol advertising is responsible, and requires that it not be targeted at people under 18 and should not imply, condone or encourage immoderate, irresponsible or anti-social drinking.

The government is reviewing how online advertising is regulated in the UK, looking at how well the current regime is equipped to tackle the challenges posed by developments in online advertising. Although this work will not directly address issues specific only to the advertising of alcohol, it will consider cross-cutting challenges - including exploring measures with potential to impact the wider sector. A call for evidence on online advertising was published last month.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what provision is being made for unaccompanied children who need to return to the UK and quarantine in order to return to school.

Unaccompanied children arriving in the UK to attend a day school must quarantine in accordance with the requirements for other people arriving in the UK. For those arriving from non ‘red list’ countries, this will normally require them to quarantine with their family or guardians. Unaccompanied children arriving from ‘red list’ countries who are not boarding school pupils will need to meet a family member who can quarantine with them in a managed quarantine facility on arrival.

Arrangements for the quarantine of international boarders attending schools in England should be in place before boarding school pupils’ travel.

Arrangements for boarders arriving from non ‘red list’ countries are laid out in ‘Schools coronavirus (COVID-19) operational guidance’ published by the Department. This guidance is available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/964351/Schools_coronavirus_operational_guidance.pdf.

Arrangements for boarders that meet the relevant UK entry requirements and will arrive from ‘red list’ countries, or having travelled through a ‘red list’ country in the 10 days prior to arrival, must be in line with the guidance available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/quarantine-arrangements-for-boarding-school-students-from-red-list-countries. In line with the guidance, boarding school pupils must quarantine within accommodation provided for or arranged by their boarding school.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
26th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to support and promote stable and secure family life to ensure that children have the best start.

Families play a critical role in caring for and educating their children; and the COVID-19 outbreak has highlighted the need for cross-government collaboration to provide support to families. My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education is driving forward this government’s focus on improving outcomes for families’ and has appointed a Departmental Policy Adviser on families.

On family hubs, the department is investing over £14 million and is taking steps to champion this approach. We expect to have completed the procurement of a National Centre for family hubs by March 2021 and for the centre to be up and running by spring 2021. We are also investing in an evaluation innovation fund, and work to develop data and digital products to help professionals collaborate and plan with families in the early years.

To support and strengthen families, and to ensure children have the best start, the department has:

  • launched an Independent Review of Children’s Social Care, on 15 January 2021;
  • announced that the Adoption Support Fund (ASF) will continue for a further year up to March 2022 (£185 million has been made available through the core ASF to help pay for essential therapeutic services for over 65,000 adoptive and eligible special guardianship families since 2015);
  • launched the cross government special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) review to strengthen the support available to children and young people, and their families;
  • continued to deliver 30 hours childcare places to nearly 350,000 children in January 2020, with over one million disadvantaged two-year-olds having benefitted from 15 hours free childcare since the entitlement began in 2013;
  • commenced reform of the early years foundation stage to improve outcomes for all children at age five, especially disadvantaged children, and to reduce the workload so practitioners and teachers can spend more time teaching children;
  • introduced the Nuffield Early Language Intervention to 40% of primary schools in the 2020-21 academic year to address the education recovery needs of reception-age children;
  • continued to work with voluntary and community sector partners and deliver online resources to help parents engage in home learning activities with under-fives to support early language, literacy and numeracy development, and parent and child mental health and wellbeing, and to support children with SEND;
  • worked in partnership with Public Health England, the Local Government Association and the Early Intervention Foundation to secure improved early language outcomes for disadvantaged children through effective integration of local services;
  • spent more than £18 billion since 2011 – and another £2.4 billion this year – through the pupil premium to tackle educational inequality;
  • supported families through free school meals (FSM) - under the benefits-related criteria there are currently around 1.4 million pupils eligible for and claiming FSM, saving families around £400 a year for each child. In addition, the Holiday Activity and Food programme will expand in 2021 so that disadvantaged children across England will be offered free healthy meals and enriching activities over the Easter, summer and Christmas holidays through a £220 million investment.
Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
26th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of strengthening families on promoting social mobility.

Families play a critical role in caring for and educating their children; and the COVID-19 outbreak has highlighted the need for cross-government collaboration to provide support to families. My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education is driving forward this government’s focus on improving outcomes for families’ and has appointed a Departmental Policy Adviser on families.

On family hubs, the department is investing over £14 million and is taking steps to champion this approach. We expect to have completed the procurement of a National Centre for family hubs by March 2021 and for the centre to be up and running by spring 2021. We are also investing in an evaluation innovation fund, and work to develop data and digital products to help professionals collaborate and plan with families in the early years.

To support and strengthen families, and to ensure children have the best start, the department has:

  • launched an Independent Review of Children’s Social Care, on 15 January 2021;
  • announced that the Adoption Support Fund (ASF) will continue for a further year up to March 2022 (£185 million has been made available through the core ASF to help pay for essential therapeutic services for over 65,000 adoptive and eligible special guardianship families since 2015);
  • launched the cross government special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) review to strengthen the support available to children and young people, and their families;
  • continued to deliver 30 hours childcare places to nearly 350,000 children in January 2020, with over one million disadvantaged two-year-olds having benefitted from 15 hours free childcare since the entitlement began in 2013;
  • commenced reform of the early years foundation stage to improve outcomes for all children at age five, especially disadvantaged children, and to reduce the workload so practitioners and teachers can spend more time teaching children;
  • introduced the Nuffield Early Language Intervention to 40% of primary schools in the 2020-21 academic year to address the education recovery needs of reception-age children;
  • continued to work with voluntary and community sector partners and deliver online resources to help parents engage in home learning activities with under-fives to support early language, literacy and numeracy development, and parent and child mental health and wellbeing, and to support children with SEND;
  • worked in partnership with Public Health England, the Local Government Association and the Early Intervention Foundation to secure improved early language outcomes for disadvantaged children through effective integration of local services;
  • spent more than £18 billion since 2011 – and another £2.4 billion this year – through the pupil premium to tackle educational inequality;
  • supported families through free school meals (FSM) - under the benefits-related criteria there are currently around 1.4 million pupils eligible for and claiming FSM, saving families around £400 a year for each child. In addition, the Holiday Activity and Food programme will expand in 2021 so that disadvantaged children across England will be offered free healthy meals and enriching activities over the Easter, summer and Christmas holidays through a £220 million investment.
Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
26th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to strengthen families.

Families play a critical role in caring for and educating their children; and the COVID-19 outbreak has highlighted the need for cross-government collaboration to provide support to families. My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education is driving forward this government’s focus on improving outcomes for families’ and has appointed a Departmental Policy Adviser on families.

On family hubs, the department is investing over £14 million and is taking steps to champion this approach. We expect to have completed the procurement of a National Centre for family hubs by March 2021 and for the centre to be up and running by spring 2021. We are also investing in an evaluation innovation fund, and work to develop data and digital products to help professionals collaborate and plan with families in the early years.

To support and strengthen families, and to ensure children have the best start, the department has:

  • launched an Independent Review of Children’s Social Care, on 15 January 2021;
  • announced that the Adoption Support Fund (ASF) will continue for a further year up to March 2022 (£185 million has been made available through the core ASF to help pay for essential therapeutic services for over 65,000 adoptive and eligible special guardianship families since 2015);
  • launched the cross government special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) review to strengthen the support available to children and young people, and their families;
  • continued to deliver 30 hours childcare places to nearly 350,000 children in January 2020, with over one million disadvantaged two-year-olds having benefitted from 15 hours free childcare since the entitlement began in 2013;
  • commenced reform of the early years foundation stage to improve outcomes for all children at age five, especially disadvantaged children, and to reduce the workload so practitioners and teachers can spend more time teaching children;
  • introduced the Nuffield Early Language Intervention to 40% of primary schools in the 2020-21 academic year to address the education recovery needs of reception-age children;
  • continued to work with voluntary and community sector partners and deliver online resources to help parents engage in home learning activities with under-fives to support early language, literacy and numeracy development, and parent and child mental health and wellbeing, and to support children with SEND;
  • worked in partnership with Public Health England, the Local Government Association and the Early Intervention Foundation to secure improved early language outcomes for disadvantaged children through effective integration of local services;
  • spent more than £18 billion since 2011 – and another £2.4 billion this year – through the pupil premium to tackle educational inequality;
  • supported families through free school meals (FSM) - under the benefits-related criteria there are currently around 1.4 million pupils eligible for and claiming FSM, saving families around £400 a year for each child. In addition, the Holiday Activity and Food programme will expand in 2021 so that disadvantaged children across England will be offered free healthy meals and enriching activities over the Easter, summer and Christmas holidays through a £220 million investment.
Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
26th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to rollout Family Hubs across the country; and what resources are being provided by his Department for that rollout.

Families play a critical role in caring for and educating their children; and the COVID-19 outbreak has highlighted the need for cross-government collaboration to provide support to families. My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education is driving forward this government’s focus on improving outcomes for families’ and has appointed a Departmental Policy Adviser on families.

On family hubs, the department is investing over £14 million and is taking steps to champion this approach. We expect to have completed the procurement of a National Centre for family hubs by March 2021 and for the centre to be up and running by spring 2021. We are also investing in an evaluation innovation fund, and work to develop data and digital products to help professionals collaborate and plan with families in the early years.

To support and strengthen families, and to ensure children have the best start, the department has:

  • launched an Independent Review of Children’s Social Care, on 15 January 2021;
  • announced that the Adoption Support Fund (ASF) will continue for a further year up to March 2022 (£185 million has been made available through the core ASF to help pay for essential therapeutic services for over 65,000 adoptive and eligible special guardianship families since 2015);
  • launched the cross government special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) review to strengthen the support available to children and young people, and their families;
  • continued to deliver 30 hours childcare places to nearly 350,000 children in January 2020, with over one million disadvantaged two-year-olds having benefitted from 15 hours free childcare since the entitlement began in 2013;
  • commenced reform of the early years foundation stage to improve outcomes for all children at age five, especially disadvantaged children, and to reduce the workload so practitioners and teachers can spend more time teaching children;
  • introduced the Nuffield Early Language Intervention to 40% of primary schools in the 2020-21 academic year to address the education recovery needs of reception-age children;
  • continued to work with voluntary and community sector partners and deliver online resources to help parents engage in home learning activities with under-fives to support early language, literacy and numeracy development, and parent and child mental health and wellbeing, and to support children with SEND;
  • worked in partnership with Public Health England, the Local Government Association and the Early Intervention Foundation to secure improved early language outcomes for disadvantaged children through effective integration of local services;
  • spent more than £18 billion since 2011 – and another £2.4 billion this year – through the pupil premium to tackle educational inequality;
  • supported families through free school meals (FSM) - under the benefits-related criteria there are currently around 1.4 million pupils eligible for and claiming FSM, saving families around £400 a year for each child. In addition, the Holiday Activity and Food programme will expand in 2021 so that disadvantaged children across England will be offered free healthy meals and enriching activities over the Easter, summer and Christmas holidays through a £220 million investment.
Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what additional support he is providing to families educating children in non-school settings as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department announced further remote education support on 1 October, which will be available over the coming months to schools or colleges seeking additional support. This can be found on the ‘Get help with remote education’ page: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/remote-education-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

This support was announced alongside the Temporary Continuity Direction, which makes it clear that schools have a duty to provide remote education for school-age children in state-funded education who are unable to attend school due to COVID-19: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/remote-education-temporary-continuity-direction-explanatory-note.

The purpose of the Temporary Continuity Direction is to ensure that there is no doubt about the roles and responsibilities within the system for providing remote education. This will come into effect from 22 October 2020. The Temporary Continuity Direction poses no additional expectations on the quality of remote education expected of schools beyond those set out in this guidance.

The support for schools includes 250,000 laptops and tablets for disadvantaged children and development resources for staff, including a good practice guide and school-led webinars. We are also investing £1.5 million of additional funding to expand the EdTech Demonstrator programme, which provides peer-to-peer support for schools and colleges.

This support package will include 80 grants of £1,000 to colleges across England, providing additional training and support for mentors and coaches specialising in assisting teachers with remote education.

The package is designed to help schools and colleges build on and deliver their existing plans in the event that individuals or groups of pupils are unable to attend school because of COVID-19 in line with guidance and the law. This adds to existing support, including resources available from Oak National Academy.

During the lockdown, most children were educated at home. This ‘home-schooling’ is not the same as elective home education (EHE), and children remained on their school roll and received a combination of support from schools, online learning resources such as Oak Academy, and other resources parents may have provided themselves. EHE is where a parent chooses not to send their child to school full-time but assumes responsibility for making sure their child otherwise receives a full-time education.

The Government supports the right of parents to educate children at home through EHE when they wish to do so and can provide a suitable education. EHE works well when it is a positive choice and carried out with a proper regard for the needs of the child.

For parents who wish to educate children at home by EHE, they must be prepared to assume full financial responsibility for their child’s education, including bearing the cost of any public examinations, which would have to be entered via an external examinations centre. Some local authorities may provide financial or other assistance to home-educating families for public examinations, but this is discretionary.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to paragraph 2.7 of Budget 2020 on the provision of £2.5 million for research and developing best practice around the integration of services for families, what that allocation has been spent on.

There are already many family hubs across the country up and running. We want to ensure that innovations such as family hubs are recognised and shared, and successful approaches can spread. Local areas are using their existing funding pots to move to a family hub model.

The Budget 2020 allocated £2.5 million for research and developing best practice around the integration of services for families, including family hubs. We will be launching the procurement process for this work shortly.
Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
2nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what his Department spent the funding allocated in the March 2020 Budget for family hubs on.

There are already many family hubs across the country up and running. We want to ensure that innovations such as family hubs are recognised and shared, and successful approaches can spread. Local areas are using their existing funding pots to move to a family hub model.

The 2020 Budget allocated £2.5 million for research and developing best practice around the integration of services for families, including family hubs. We will be launching the procurement process for this work shortly.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
7th Sep 2020
What steps he is taking to help schools improve their buildings and facilities to provide high-quality education.

The government has committed to invest more than £23 billon in the school estate between 2016-17 and 2020-21. This includes a combination of formula and bid-based allocations to schools, local authorities and academy trusts as well as centrally delivered programmes.

As part of this, the Priority School Building Programme is rebuilding or refurbishing buildings in the worst condition at over 500 schools.

The government has provided £560 million in additional condition funding this year for repairs and upgrades in schools - on top of £1.4 billion already committed in 2020-21.

The Prime Minister announced plans in June for a transformative ten-year school rebuilding programme. This will replace poor condition school buildings with modern, energy efficient designs, transforming education for thousands of pupils.

We will start with 50 schools in the most need of repair, supported by over £1 billion in capital funding, with full details of these projects and further funding for the programme to be set out later in the autumn at the Spending Review.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that students receive value for money for university courses during the covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

This is a difficult and uncertain time for students, but the government is working with the higher education sector to make sure that all reasonable efforts are being made to enable students to continue their studies. We have seen some fantastic and innovative examples of high-quality online learning being delivered by providers.

The government expects universities to continue delivering a high-quality academic experience and to help students to achieve qualifications that they and employers value. We expect that higher education providers will be open for the autumn term, with a blend of online teaching and in-person tuition that they consider to be appropriate and in line with public health advice. To help providers make informed decisions about their provision in ways which minimise the risk to staff and students, the government has issued guidance for providers on reopening campuses and buildings: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/higher-education-reopening-buildings-and-campuses/higher-education-reopening-buildings-and-campuses.

The government is working with the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education, professional bodies and the Office for Students (OfS), the higher education regulator in England, to ensure that students continue to leave university with qualifications that have real value. The OfS has produced guidance on practical ways in which students can complete their studies whilst ensuring that quality and standards are upheld. The guidance is available at the following link: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/publications/guidance-for-providers-about-quality-and-standards-during-coronavirus-pandemic/.

It is an OfS registration condition that providers must deliver well-designed courses that provide a high-quality academic experience for all students and that enable a student’s achievement to be reliably assessed. If providers are unable to facilitate good online tuition, they should seek to avoid charging students for any additional terms that they may need to undergo as a consequence, avoiding effectively charging them twice. Whether or not an individual student is entitled to a refund of fees will depend on the specific contractual arrangements between the provider and student.

If a student is concerned about their education, they should speak to their higher education provider in the first instance. The government expects student complaints and appeals processes to be operated flexibly, accessibly and sympathetically by higher education institutions to resolve any concerns. Students who are not satisfied with their provider’s final response can ask the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education to consider their complaint if their institution is based in England or Wales.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
18th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he will take to ensure that free school meal vouchers provided during the school holidays are not spent on (a) alcohol and (b) other non-food items.

Provision for free school meals is ordinarily term time only. However, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, the government understands that children and parents face an entirely unprecedented situation over the summer. To reflect this, we will be providing additional funding for a COVID-19 Summer Food Fund which will enable families with children who are eligible for free school meals to receive food vouchers covering the 6-week holiday period.

Families are free to select the most appropriate food for their child. When selecting products, we encourage families to consider health and nutrition. The School Food Standards and the NHS Eat Well website may act as a useful guide for families. These can be found at the following links:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/standards-for-school-food-in-england and;
https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/?tabname=recipes-and-tips.

The vouchers should be used for food and must not be redeemed for any age-restricted items, such as alcohol, cigarettes or lottery tickets. I have recently written to participating supermarkets to ensure their ongoing support in relation to these restrictions.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
12th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he plans to publish the research commissioned by Government from the Early Intervention Foundation on effective local practice with regard to supporting families.

The Early Intervention Foundation is due to report findings from its review of effective local practice in spring 2020. A publication date is yet to be agreed.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education of 20 January 2020, Official Report, column 3, on Looked-after Children: Out-of-area Placements, stating that we have spent £70 million on supporting families and £84 million on strengthening families, if she will provide the budget headings for that spending.

The response in Hansard has been updated to reflect the below information.

We will invest approximately £17 million in the Supporting Families Investing in Practice programme to roll out 3 innovation models that have evidence of successfully keeping families together in a further 46 local authorities. These programme models are Family Group Conferencing, Family Drug and Alcohol Courts and the Mockingbird Family Model.

Up to £84 million will be spent on the Strengthening Families Protecting Children programme to roll out a further 3 innovation programme models that have the most promising evidence of safely reducing the number of children being taken into care. Leeds Family Valued, Hertfordshire Family Safeguarding and North Yorkshire’s No Wrong Door models will be rolled out in 18 local authorities.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
21st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department has taken to support young people with special educational needs and disabilities to gain (a) internships, (b) apprenticeships and (c) employment opportunities.

Preparation for adulthood, including employment, is a key aspect of the special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) system. The SEND Code of Practice sets out that all children and young people with SEND should be prepared for adulthood, including employment, and that this preparation should start early. Schools and colleges should work with children, young people and their families to agree clear outcomes including sustainable paid work and should provide careers guidance and supported work experience.

Work-based learning, including traineeships, is available for all young people aged 16 to 19, and up to age 25 if the young person has an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan.

Supported internships are open to young people with EHC plans aged 16 to 25 who need more help to make the transition into employment.

In December 2017 the Department for Education provided £9.7 million to local authorities to train job coaches and establish supported internship forums. The number of young people undertaking a supported internship has been rising annually. The most recent report was in January 2019 and showed that 1,646 children and young people with EHC plans were undertaking supported internships, an increase from 1,214 from the same time in 2018, 715 in 2017 and 65 in 2016.

Our delivery partner, The National Development Team for Inclusion is funded to provide flexible support across regions, working with Local Authorities and learning providers to ensure quality preparation for adulthood provision, including preparation for employment. We have funded a range of materials which can be found at the following link: https://www.preparingforadulthood.org.uk/downloads/employment. We have also funded Mencap to help colleges arrange work experience placements for learners with SEND.

The government is also committed to ensuring that apprenticeships are available to all young people, including those with SEND. To increase accessibility, we have adjusted the minimum English and maths requirements for apprentices with SEND who have an EHC plan or legacy statement, but who are otherwise able to meet all the occupational standards of their apprenticeship. We are working with local partners to test new policies and deliver more apprenticeships for individuals with SEND. The Department for Education have already begun taking forward the recommendations from Mencap’s July 2019 report on ways to make apprenticeships more accessible for people with SEND.

When an apprentice does need additional support, our funding system helps training providers to put this in place. Currently £150 a month can be claimed to fund a range of support for apprentices with additional educational needs. Additional funding is available if the actual cost of support is greater, up to a maximum of £19,000 per year. Apprenticeship starts by apprentices with a SEND are now at their highest proportion for the last 9 years. In 2018/19 they accounted for 12% of apprenticeships starts, compared to 11.6% in 2017/18.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the deadline is for derogation applications for 2021 for farms in Nitrate Vulnerable Zones.

Due to pressures on government from the pandemic some decisions have had to be delayed. I am currently considering the appropriate way forward on the grassland derogation, but can guarantee that farmers will be given appropriate time and opportunity to make necessary arrangements.

As soon as a decision has been made, farmers will be informed of the application window and deadline.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to reduce littering in public places.

The Government published its Litter Strategy for England in April 2017, setting out our aim to deliver a substantial reduction in litter and littering within a generation. The Litter Strategy focuses on three key themes: education and awareness; improving enforcement; and better cleaning and access to bins. A copy of the Litter Strategy can be found at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/litter-strategy-for-england.

The "Keep it, Bin it" campaign, which is run by Defra with support from Keep Britain Tidy, encourages people to dispose of their waste responsibly and calls time on rubbish excuses for littering. In addition to this national campaign, and in response to recent reports of littering as people start to enjoy outdoor spaces once more, Defra has supported, and provided funding for, Keep Britain Tidy's Love Parks campaign, which encourages people to treat our parks with respect this summer. Further information about the campaign is available at:

www.keepbritaintidy.org/news/new-campaign-launched-face-littering-epidemic-parks.

Defra has also launched a 'Respect the Outdoors' campaign this summer. This has been promoted both online and in locations near to urban parks, beaches and national parks to further highlight the impacts of littering, among other things.

It remains an offence to drop litter, and councils have legal powers to take enforcement action against offenders. Following consultation, with effect from April 2018, we increased the maximum fixed penalty for littering from £80 to £150, and from April 2019, the minimum fixed penalty was also raised from £50 to £65. We have also given councils in England (outside London) new civil penalty powers to tackle littering from vehicles. Councils can issue the keeper of a vehicle from which litter is thrown with a civil penalty of between £65 and £150.

The Government has, in its 2019 manifesto, committed to introduce a deposit return scheme (DRS) for drinks containers to secure an increase in recycling and reuse of materials, and to reduce the incidence of littering. We plan to undertake a second consultation on a DRS in early 2021.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will take steps to tackle problems associated with noise and dirt emanating from industrial units located near to residential properties.

Owners of industrial, trade and business premises are expected to use the best practicable means available to reduce noise, dust and other potential sources of statutory nuisance emanating from their place of work in the first place. If this is not happening then local authorities have powers through the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to investigate and issue abatement notices to stop the problem from re-occurring if they determine a statutory nuisance exists.

The current legislation provides local authorities with the necessary powers to deal with these types of issues and there are no plans for legislative change at this moment.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that funding from the public purse is not allocated to programmes that support sex-selective abortion overseas.

The UK strongly opposes sex-selective abortion. We do not fund programmes which contribute directly or indirectly to sex-selective abortion. DFID has in place several measures to ensure the accountability of all UK aid, including our programmes that support access to safe abortion care. These include due diligence of all primary implementing partners, regular spot checks, a robust monitoring and evaluation system which includes beneficiary feedback and annual project reviews.

Sex-selective abortion is the result of deep-rooted discrimination against women and girls. The UK supports partner governments’ efforts to prevent this discrimination through our programmes to promote gender equality, girls’ and women’s empowerment and rights.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
10th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, if he will appoint a Government champion to bring about the end of leprosy.

A key aim of the UK’s global health work is to support countries to build and maintain strong health systems, achieve universal health coverage, and to tackle all causes of ill health - working in close partnership with national governments. In September 2019 the UK’s flagship £220 million neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) programme was launched, which will provide treatment and care for NTDs to 200 million people. We have no current plans to appoint government champions on specific NTDs such as leprosy.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
6th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how much funding has been allocated for the control and research of leprosy (a) since 2012 and (b) for the next five years.

DFID’s research funding is allocated competitively mostly on the basis of open calls for proposals focussing on the need in Developing Countries. Three of our research programmes are dedicated to Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), one of which, the Coalition for Operational Research on NTDs (COR-NTD), includes seven research projects that address leprosy with other diseases. Two of these proposals also include research on diagnostic approaches. With DFID funding, COR-NTD has also launched a specific call for proposals on leprosy research. We expect the evaluation of this call within the next four weeks. Current funding for COR-NTD is planned until 2021.

DFID does not have dedicated funding for leprosy control, but we support some programmes that include work on leprosy through UK Aid Direct. Additionally, some of our work on health system strengthening contributes to tackling leprosy. We do not disaggregate this funding by disease that would enable us to provide an actual figure. Details of all our funding is available on devtracker.dfid.gov.uk.

6th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, if he will allocate funding to support research to find a specific and sensitive rapid diagnostic test for leprosy.

A key aim of the UK’s global health work is to support countries build and maintain strong health systems, and universal health coverage, to tackle all causes of ill health, working in close partnership with national governments. We do not plan to have strategies on specific neglected tropical diseases like leprosy.

UK aid is invested in several major neglected tropical disease (NTD) programmes, which are focused on building systems to treat and prevent Guinea worm, schistosomiasis, onchocerciasis, visceral leishmaniasis, lymphatic filariasis, and trachoma. These diseases were identified based on a detailed analysis of the burden of the disease, the UK’s comparative advantage in the area, and the availability and cost effectiveness of treatment and prevention.

In September 2019 in Liverpool, Baroness Sugg launched the UK’s flagship £220 million NTDs programme. This programme will provide treatment and care for NTDs to 200 million people. We continue to assess the inclusion of leprosy for each country where we operate NTD programming, taking into consideration the disease burden, other financial support available, and whether leprosy activities can be delivered cost-effectively in conjunction with other activities.

6th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, if he will allocate funding to develop diagnostic tests for leprosy that are (a) simple and effective to use in the field and (b) diagnose peripheral nerve involvement early.

DFID’s research funding is allocated competitively mostly on the basis of open calls for proposals focussing on the need in Developing Countries. Three of our research programmes are dedicated to Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), one of which, the Coalition for Operational Research on NTDs (COR-NTD), includes seven research projects that address leprosy with other diseases. Two of these proposals also include research on diagnostic approaches. With DFID funding, COR-NTD has also launched a specific call for proposals on leprosy research. We expect the evaluation of this call within the next four weeks. Current funding for COR-NTD is planned until 2021.

DFID does not have dedicated funding for leprosy control, but we support some programmes that include work on leprosy through UK Aid Direct. Additionally, some of our work on health system strengthening contributes to tackling leprosy. We do not disaggregate this funding by disease that would enable us to provide an actual figure. Details of all our funding is available on devtracker.dfid.gov.uk.

6th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, if he will hold discussions with (a) the UK's Leprologist and (b) leprosy NGO's to create a UK strategy for tackling global leprosy.

A key aim of the UK’s global health work is to support countries build and maintain strong health systems, and universal health coverage, to tackle all causes of ill health, working in close partnership with national governments. We do not plan to have strategies on specific neglected tropical diseases like leprosy.

UK aid is invested in several major neglected tropical disease (NTD) programmes, which are focused on building systems to treat and prevent Guinea worm, schistosomiasis, onchocerciasis, visceral leishmaniasis, lymphatic filariasis, and trachoma. These diseases were identified based on a detailed analysis of the burden of the disease, the UK’s comparative advantage in the area, and the availability and cost effectiveness of treatment and prevention.

In September 2019 in Liverpool, Baroness Sugg launched the UK’s flagship £220 million NTDs programme. This programme will provide treatment and care for NTDs to 200 million people. We continue to assess the inclusion of leprosy for each country where we operate NTD programming, taking into consideration the disease burden, other financial support available, and whether leprosy activities can be delivered cost-effectively in conjunction with other activities.

5th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, if he will allocate additional funding to help eradicate leprosy throughout the developing world.

A key aim of the UK’s global health work is to support countries build and maintain strong health systems, and universal health coverage, to tackle all causes of ill health, working in close partnership with national governments. We do not plan to have strategies on specific neglected tropical diseases like leprosy.

UK aid is invested in several major neglected tropical disease (NTD) programmes, which are focused on building systems to treat and prevent Guinea worm, schistosomiasis, onchocerciasis, visceral leishmaniasis, lymphatic filariasis, and trachoma. These diseases were identified based on a detailed analysis of the burden of the disease, the UK’s comparative advantage in the area, and the availability and cost effectiveness of treatment and prevention.

In September 2019 in Liverpool, Baroness Sugg launched the UK’s flagship £220m NTDs programme. This programme will provide treatment and care for NTDs to 200 million people. We continue to assess the inclusion of leprosy for each country where we operate NTD programming, taking into consideration the disease burden, other financial support available, and whether leprosy activities can be delivered cost-effectively in conjunction with other activities.

5th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, if he will commit to funding leprosy as a discrete disease within the Neglected tropical diseases programme.

A key aim of the UK’s global health work is to support countries build and maintain strong health systems, and universal health coverage, to tackle all causes of ill health, working in close partnership with national governments. We do not plan to have strategies on specific neglected tropical diseases like leprosy.

UK aid is invested in several major neglected tropical disease (NTD) programmes, which are focused on building systems to treat and prevent Guinea worm, schistosomiasis, onchocerciasis, visceral leishmaniasis, lymphatic filariasis, and trachoma. These diseases were identified based on a detailed analysis of the burden of the disease, the UK’s comparative advantage in the area, and the availability and cost effectiveness of treatment and prevention.

In September 2019 in Liverpool, Baroness Sugg launched the UK’s flagship £220m NTDs programme. This programme will provide treatment and care for NTDs to 200 million people. We continue to assess the inclusion of leprosy for each country where we operate NTD programming, taking into consideration the disease burden, other financial support available, and whether leprosy activities can be delivered cost-effectively in conjunction with other activities.

5th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what plans he has to review the level of funding allocated from the public purse to programmes tackling neglected tropical diseases to ensure the control of leprosy.

A key aim of the UK’s global health work is to support countries build and maintain strong health systems, and universal health coverage, to tackle all causes of ill health, working in close partnership with national governments. We do not plan to have strategies on specific neglected tropical diseases like leprosy.

UK aid is invested in several major neglected tropical disease (NTD) programmes, which are focused on building systems to treat and prevent Guinea worm, schistosomiasis, onchocerciasis, visceral leishmaniasis, lymphatic filariasis, and trachoma. These diseases were identified based on a detailed analysis of the burden of the disease, the UK’s comparative advantage in the area, and the availability and cost effectiveness of treatment and prevention.

In September 2019 in Liverpool, Baroness Sugg launched the UK’s flagship £220m NTDs programme. This programme will provide treatment and care for NTDs to 200 million people. We continue to assess the inclusion of leprosy for each country where we operate NTD programming, taking into consideration the disease burden, other financial support available, and whether leprosy activities can be delivered cost-effectively in conjunction with other activities.

5th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps his Department is taking to support people in developing countries who have disabilities resulting from leprosy.

The Department is committed to ensuring people with disabilities, including people with leprosy, are routinely and systematically included in UK Aid. We know that we cannot eradicate poverty without reaching people with disabilities. DFID published its first Disability Inclusion Strategy in December 2018. The Strategy clearly sets out DFID’s approach to mainstream disability inclusion across the organisation, with time-bound commitments up until 2023. We also fund the World Health Organization to achieve progress towards their targets on leprosy, and we will continue to support developing countries so that they are better able to detect and treat all causes of ill health, including leprosy.

5th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, if he will make representations to his counterparts in developing countries where leprosy is still endemic on increasing (a) funding and (b) personnel for the control of leprosy in conjunction with UK aid.

A key aim of the UK’s global health work is to support countries build and maintain strong health systems, and universal health coverage, to tackle all causes of ill health, working in close partnership with national governments. We do not plan to have strategies on specific neglected tropical diseases like leprosy.

UK aid is invested in several major neglected tropical disease (NTD) programmes, which are focused on building systems to treat and prevent Guinea worm, schistosomiasis, onchocerciasis, visceral leishmaniasis, lymphatic filariasis, and trachoma. These diseases were identified based on a detailed analysis of the burden of the disease, the UK’s comparative advantage in the area, and the availability and cost effectiveness of treatment and prevention.

In September 2019 in Liverpool, Baroness Sugg launched the UK’s flagship £220m NTDs programme. This programme will provide treatment and care for NTDs to 200 million people. We continue to assess the inclusion of leprosy for each country where we operate NTD programming, taking into consideration the disease burden, other financial support available, and whether leprosy activities can be delivered cost-effectively in conjunction with other activities.

27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, whether he has plans to undertake a review of the funding allocated by his Department to Marie Stopes International.

Last year I made a new commitment to ending preventable deaths of mothers, new-born babies and children in the developing world by 2030. Prioritising access to healthcare for women and girls, including comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and rights, is fundamental to this agenda. In this work, we work closely with Marie Stopes International and they are a valued partner. I have no plans to review DFID funding at this point.

7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will publish the timetable for the next comprehensive review of countries under the covid-19 traffic light system for international travel.

The allocation of countries to the traffic light system will be reviewed every three weeks, unless concerning evidence means we need to act faster to protect public health.

The next review will take place in the week commencing 21st June 2021.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent steps his Department has taken to progress consideration of reopening of the Mid Cheshire rail line and Middlewich railway station.

Having provided detailed feedback on a draft of the document in April, officials received an updated version of the Mid-Cheshire and Middlewich Station Strategic Outline Business Case from the Cheshire and Warrington LEP in October 2020, along with a request for feedback on their consultant’s suggestions for further work on it. The goal is to strengthen the case for the scheme’s potential inclusion within the Department’s Rail Network Enhancement Pipeline (RNEP).

Due to funding constraints, the LEP wish to progress this work in the next financial year, supported by co-funding from the Department. My officials plan to discuss with the LEP how this can best be considered and progressed. The third round of the Restoring Your Railway Ideas Fund is also currently accepting applications.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what his Department plans to achieve under the Active Travel Scheme.

The Department is making up to £225 million available to local authorities through the Active Travel Fund in 2020/21. The Fund supports the Prime Minister’s long term vision for cycling and walking, “Gear Change”, published in July. This funding will support the delivery of high quality infrastructure that will encourage more people to walk and cycle for shorter journeys. Increasing cycling and walking can help tackle some of the most challenging issues we face as a society – improving air quality, combatting climate change, improving health and wellbeing, addressing inequalities and tackling congestion on our roads.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what guidance he has published for councils wanting to put in places measures under the Active Travel Scheme.

The Government has announced ambitious plans for cycling and walking and has committed an unprecedented £2 billion of funding for active travel over the next 5 years. The details are set out in the Prime Minister’s Gear Change plan, published in July and can be viewed here: www.gov.uk/government/publications/cycling-and-walking-plan-for-england.

The Department has also published design advice for cycling infrastructure which can be found in Local Transport Note 1/20 ‘Cycle Infrastructure Design’ which is at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/cycle-infrastructure-design-ltn-120.

To support the Active Travel Fund, the Department has also published additional Network Management Duty guidance on reallocating road space. This clearly sets out what the Department expects local authorities to do in making changes to their road layouts to encourage cycling and walking. This guidance is available at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/reallocating-road-space-in-response-to-covid-19-statutory-guidance-for-local-authorities.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what powers local residents have to influence plans introduced under the Active Travel Scheme.

The Department has set new conditions on local authorities receiving funding through the Active Travel Fund, requiring them to ensure schemes are properly consulted on and that the views of local residents and businesses have been taken into account. This includes requiring authorities to undertake appropriate surveys with local residents to inform the design and implementation of schemes. The updated Network Management Duty guidance published alongside the Tranche 2 allocations makes clear the importance of engaging with local communities to ensure schemes deliver for all. The guidance is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/reallocating-road-space-in-response-to-covid-19-statutory-guidance-for-local-authorities

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the budget is of (a) Phase 2b east and (b) Phase 2b west of High Speed Two.

The Full Business Case for Phase One sets out the central cost estimate for the whole of Phase 2b at £39bn (including contingency). The funding allocations for HS2 including phase 2b are being reviewed as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review 2020, which is due to conclude later this Autumn.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many HS2 Ltd employees have been furloughed during the covid-19 outbreak.

HS2 Ltd has not furloughed any employees.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how residents of Congleton constituency can access the £225 million fund allocated by the Government to the improvement of cycling facilities.

The Emergency Active Travel Fund is being released in two phases. The first tranche of £45 million will be released as soon as possible provided Local Authorities submit suitably ambitious plans to the Department. This is to enable work to begin at pace on emergency measures such as closing roads to through traffic, installing segregated cycle lanes and widening pavements. Cheshire East Unitary Authority has been indicatively allocated £155,000 for tranche one, and receipt of these funds is dependent on the completion of an application form outlining the authority’s plans. The application must be submitted by 5 June. The second tranche of £180m will be released later in the summer, again, subject to Local Authorities submitting plans that meet with the Department’s approval.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how much money has been spent under section 22 of the Family Law Act 1996 on (a) the provision of marriage support services, (b) research into the causes of marital breakdown and (c) research into ways of preventing marital breakdown in each financial year since the Act came into force.

As policy responsibility for relationship issues has moved between departments several times since 1996, the information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

The policy responsibility for relationship issues currently sits with DWP. DWP does not make grants under section 22 of the Family Law Act (1996), however we have funded a range of work to help couples (including those who are married) to improve the quality of their relationships.

Since responsibility for this area moved to DWP, we have spent the following in each financial year:

2014/15 - £7.5m

2015/16 - £11.2m

2016/17 - £6.3m

2017/18 - £5.24m

2018/19 - £15.85m

2019/20 current forecast - £10.2m

Currently, these services are focused on the specific issue of parental conflict, and are delivered through our Reducing Parental Conflict programme.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans she has to increase the financial support parents receive for raising children with disabilities.

Child Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is a benefit for children under the age of 16 who, due to a disability or health condition, have mobility issues and/or require substantially more care, attention and supervision than children their age normally would. Parents of disabled children may be also able to claim Carer’s Allowance.

The government is committed to protecting and supporting the most vulnerable in society. It is for that reason the government has continued to uprate disability and carer benefits by inflation, including the disability elements of tax credits.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans her Department has to increase employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

The Government is committed to reducing the disability employment gap and seeing a million more disabled people in work by 2027.

We help disabled people return to and stay in work through programmes including the Work and Health Programme, the new Intensive Personalised Employment Support Programme, Access to Work and Disability Confident.

There were 4.2 million working age disabled people in employment in the UK in Q3 2019. This was an increase of 354,000 since last year (Q3 2018), and an overall increase of 1.3 million since Q3 2013, the earliest comparable figure.

We will publish a National Strategy for Disabled People before the end of 2020. This will look at ways to improve the benefits system, opportunities and access for disabled people in terms of housing, education, transport and jobs

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Jun 2021
What recent progress he has made on implementing the recommendations of the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review.

All recommendations of the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review are being considered carefully. The Government will respond in full to the report later this year.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of research on abortion at home that has not been co-authored by people representing abortion providers; and what approach his Department takes in respect of research that is undertaken by people and organisations that have a financial and reputational interest in its results.

No specific assessment has been made. The Government committed to undertake a public consultation on whether to make permanent the temporary measure allowing for home use of both pills for early medical abortion up to 10 weeks gestation for all eligible women. The consultation has now closed and we will be considering all evidence submitted and plan to publish our response later this year. Any evidence or research submitted as part of this consultation will be reviewed and considered alongside any potential conflicts of interest.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 30 March 2021 to Question 164679 on Abortions: Drugs, what her Departments's timeframe is for examining the collection of abortion complications data with partner organisations; and what the (a) form and (b) content of that examination will be.

Scoping of the Department’s project to review the system of recording abortion complications data is currently underway. Abortion complications data is collected via the HSA4 abortion notification form. However, it is recognised that the data is limited as not all complications will be known to the practitioner at the time the form is submitted.

To improve the accuracy of data collected, the Department will work closely with a range of statutory bodies, professional organisations and abortion providers to identify additional sources of information that could be used to compliment complications data collected via HSA4 abortion notification forms and improve the flow of data on abortion complications between different organisations, such as independent and National Health Service abortion providers and wider NHS health and care services.

We anticipate this work will be completed later this year.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Answer of 30 March 2021 to Question 164679 on Abortion: Drugs, what limitations have been identified in respect of the collection of abortion complications data.

Scoping of the Department’s project to review the system of recording abortion complications data is currently underway. Abortion complications data is collected via the HSA4 abortion notification form. However, it is recognised that the data is limited as not all complications will be known to the practitioner at the time the form is submitted.

To improve the accuracy of data collected, the Department will work closely with a range of statutory bodies, professional organisations and abortion providers to identify additional sources of information that could be used to compliment complications data collected via HSA4 abortion notification forms and improve the flow of data on abortion complications between different organisations, such as independent and National Health Service abortion providers and wider NHS health and care services.

We anticipate this work will be completed later this year.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Answer of 30 March 2021 to Question 164679 on Abortion: Drugs, with which partner organisations his Department is planning to examine the system of reporting abortion complications; how many of those partner organisations are abortion providers or providers that support abortion; and what steps his Department plans to take to ensure that that examination is objective.

Scoping of the Department’s project to review the system of recording abortion complications data is currently underway. Abortion complications data is collected via the HSA4 abortion notification form. However, it is recognised that the data is limited as not all complications will be known to the practitioner at the time the form is submitted.

To improve the accuracy of data collected, the Department will work closely with a range of statutory bodies, professional organisations and abortion providers to identify additional sources of information that could be used to compliment complications data collected via HSA4 abortion notification forms and improve the flow of data on abortion complications between different organisations, such as independent and National Health Service abortion providers and wider NHS health and care services.

We anticipate this work will be completed later this year.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that the Addictions Strategy will help reduce alcohol harm.

The scope of the United Kingdom cross-Government addiction strategy is still being developed but will consider a range of issues including drugs, alcohol and problem gambling. The Department will consider the emerging evidence around increased alcohol harms during the COVID-19 pandemic and what further action is needed as we develop the strategy.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to protect funding for alcohol treatment in the Addictions Strategy.

The scope of the United Kingdom cross-Government addiction strategy is still being developed but will consider a range of issues including drugs, alcohol and problem gambling. The Department will consider the emerging evidence around increased alcohol harms during the COVID-19 pandemic and what further action is needed as we develop the strategy.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the Addictions Strategy will include measures to prevent as well as treat alcohol addiction.

The scope of the United Kingdom cross-Government addiction strategy is still being developed but will consider a range of issues including drugs, alcohol and problem gambling. The Department will consider the emerging evidence around increased alcohol harms during the COVID-19 pandemic and what further action is needed as we develop the strategy.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, where residents in Congleton constituency will be able to access a long covid clinic.

NHS England has provided £10 million for a network of clinics to support patients suffering with the long-term symptoms of COVID-19 and there are now 69 operating across England. Nine of these clinics are situated in the North West of England.

NHS England published details of the of current clinics locations on 18 December at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/2020/12/long-covid-patients-to-get-help-at-more-than-60-clinics/

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 1 July 2019 to Question 269708, what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists' steps to prevent foetal pain since July 2019.

The Department does not set clinical practice. To support clinical practice, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has considered the issue of fetal pain and awareness in its guidelines on ‘The Care of Women Requesting Induced Abortion’ and ‘Fetal Awareness: Review of Research and Recommendations for Practice’, which are available at the following links:

https://www.rcog.org.uk/globalassets/documents/guidelines/abortion-guideline_web_1.pdf

https://www.rcog.org.uk/globalassets/documents/guidelines/rcogfetalawarenesswpr0610.pdf

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when a decision is planned to be made on renewing the Thalidomide Health Grant.

The current multi-year settlement continues for a further three years running until the end of the 2022/23 financial year. Officials are continuing to meet with the Thalidomide Trust to discuss ongoing health needs after the end of the current Grant.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many meetings the Government has had with the Care Quality Commission to monitor the evidence on the safety of abortion pills taken at home since 30 March 2020

The Government has had nine meetings with abortion providers and four meetings with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to monitor the evidence on the safety of abortion pills taken at home since 30 March 2020.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 20 October 2020 to Question 98692 on Care Homes: Standards, what steps a person can take in the event that they are concerned that there are not sufficient numbers of suitably qualified, competent, skilled and experienced persons deployed to meet the needs of the people using the service.

Anyone with concerns about staffing, or other standards of care can contact the Care Quality Commission (CQC) about their concerns. The CQC encourages people to contact them by telephone, email or by using their online ‘Give Feedback on Care’ web form. This allows the CQC to respond to poor care, abuse and neglect immediately.

A crucial part of the CQC’s regulatory approach is the ability to hear the voices of relatives, people who use services, and staff. Inspectors routinely talk to Local Healthwatch and others who represent or act on behalf of people who use services.

The CQC also encourages staff to speak up by following their own service-specific internal whistleblowing policies, as well as directing them to relevant whistleblowing helplines which give free, independent and confidential guidance.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many meetings the Government has had with abortion providers to monitor the evidence on the safety of abortion pills taken at home since 30 March 2020.

The Government has had nine meetings with abortion providers and four meetings with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to monitor the evidence on the safety of abortion pills taken at home since 30 March 2020.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what reports his Department has received from NHS trusts on women attending a hospital for haemorrhaging after an early medical abortion in each of the last five years.

The attached table shows the number of reported haemorrhage complications after early medical abortions for residents of England and Wales. The information is based on abortion notification forms (HSA4) submitted by clinics and hospitals to the Chief Medical Officer at the Department. Data for 2020 are provisional and are subject to change.

Complications are reported up to the time of discharge from the place of termination, therefore complications that occur after discharge may not be recorded.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answers of 21 September 2020 to Questions 90109 and 90110 on Coronavirus: Congleton, when he plans to provide substantive answers to those questions.

We take parliamentary scrutiny incredibly seriously and it is fundamentally important that hon. Members are provided with accurate and timely information to enable them to hold Government to account. We are working rapidly to provide all hon. Members with accurate answers to their questions, as well as supporting the Government’s response to the unprecedented challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The hon. Member’s questions will be answered as soon as possible.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department plans to take to improve dependency ratios in care homes.

Care homes that carry out regulated activities must be registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and providers must comply with the Fundamental Standards, below which the standard of care must not fall. The Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014 require that sufficient numbers of suitably qualified, competent, skilled and experienced persons must be deployed to meet the needs of the people using the service in order to meet regulatory requirements.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many abortions have been carried out where the foetus was diagnosed with Down's Syndrome, since January 2020.

Between January and June 2020 there were 339 mentions of Down’s Syndrome on HSA4 Abortion Notification Forms. This figure includes all legal abortions performed in England and Wales. This data should be treated as provisional, meaning that it may be subject to revision if the Department receives further information from hospitals and clinics on missing information from HSA4 forms, or more forms are received.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of introducing independent counselling for women considering an abortion.

Guidance from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists sets out that healthcare staff caring for women requesting abortion should identify those who require more support in the decision-making process and pathways to additional support, including counselling and social services, should be available.

Abortions provided by independent sector abortion providers must meet the Required Standard Operating Procedures (RSOPs) set out in the Department’s Procedures for the Approval of Independent Sector Places for the Termination of Pregnancy (Abortion). The Department’s RSOPs set out that: women are not required to have compulsory counselling or compulsory time for reflection before the abortion; clinicians caring for women requesting abortion should be able to identify those who require more support than can be provided in the routine abortion service setting, for example young women, those with a pre-existing mental health condition, those who are subject to sexual violence or poor social support, or where there is evidence of coercion; and for the minority of women who require formal, therapeutic counselling, services should have referral pathways in place with access to trained counsellors with appropriate expertise.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of permitting NHS staff to nominate a child instead of a partner to receive pension benefits in the event of the death of the staff member.

The NHS Pension Scheme already provides a generous set of protections for dependants in the event of a scheme member’s death. Pension benefits include a life assurance lump sum, a surviving partner pension and a child pension. Scheme members are permitted to nominate a child to receive the lump sum death benefit. Dependent child pensions may be paid until age 23 or later if the child is unable to earn a living due to permanent physical or mental infirmity. The amount payable may be higher if no surviving adult pension is payable.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential spread of covid-19 through bags for life and other reusable plastic bags in supermarkets during the covid-19 outbreak.

No specific assessment has been undertaken.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the GP-to-patient ratio for female patients with epilepsy aged people 15 and 45 years in the Congleton constituency.

Data on the general practitioner to patient ratio for female patients between the ages of 15 to 45 years old with epilepsy is not available at national or regional levels.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to increase the availability of covid-19 tests for people in Congleton constituency.

The Department is working to increase the availability of COVID-19 testing in Congleton and the United Kingdom through the expansion of the testing network through home testing, regional and local testing sites and mobile testing units which travel the UK.

The nearest test centre to Congleton is the walk-through testing site at the Synetics Solutions Car Park in Stoke. The nearest drive through site is at the Bet365 Stadium in Stoke.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that the closure of a covid-19 testing centre is communicated to people travelling to attend a pre-booked test at that centre in (a) England and (b) Congleton constituency.

When we are alerted to a site closure /change we will send out a SMS message to all people who have a booked test via the portal. If a testing site reports that it must close due circumstances, we offer an alternative nearby testing centre if slots are available, or we will ask people to rebook their test.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to reduce the distance people in Congleton constituency have to travel to a covid-19 testing centre.

The nearest test centre to Congleton is the walk-through testing site at the Synetics Solutions car park in Stoke which is 7.8 miles away. The nearest drive-through site is the Bet365 Stadium in Stoke, 12.2 miles away.



Home testing enables anyone who cannot get to a testing site, such as those who are shielding, self-isolating, have mobility issues, live in very rural areas or are waiting for elective surgery, to take a test in their own home. We are continuously improving the testing service so that testing is accessible to all.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that women who take abortion pills at home have not been coerced.

During a consultation prior to treatment commencing, women are clearly informed that medical abortion is a two-stage process which requires the administration of Mifepristone followed by Misoprostol to successfully complete the procedure.

Safeguarding is an essential component of abortion services, and individual providers must ensure that all staff are trained in recognising signs of potential abuse and know how to respond in accordance with Required Standard Operating Procedure 7 and Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists guidance.

Abuse of the temporary measures by the passing on or selling of abortion pills remains unlawful and subject to criminal sanctions.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that abortion pills to be taken at home are taken by the intended recipient.

During a consultation prior to treatment commencing, women are clearly informed that medical abortion is a two-stage process which requires the administration of Mifepristone followed by Misoprostol to successfully complete the procedure.

Safeguarding is an essential component of abortion services, and individual providers must ensure that all staff are trained in recognising signs of potential abuse and know how to respond in accordance with Required Standard Operating Procedure 7 and Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists guidance.

Abuse of the temporary measures by the passing on or selling of abortion pills remains unlawful and subject to criminal sanctions.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that women who take abortion pills at home understand the risks of doing so.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has issued clinical guidelines for healthcare professionals on ‘Coronavirus infection and abortion care’. The guidance states that written information should be provided or available to women prior to the consultation. Prior to treatment commencing, women will be clearly informed that medical abortion is a two-stage process which requires the administration of Mifepristone followed by Misoprostol to successfully complete the procedure.

Abortion providers will also discuss possible complications with the woman in the consultation, and women will be provided with information about possible symptoms, including those which would necessitate urgent review.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many women have taken abortion pills at home after the 10-week gestation period limit; and what steps he has taken to ensure the pills are taken within the specified limit.

The Department is carefully monitoring the impact of and compliance with the temporary approval of home administration of both sets of abortion medication during the COVID-19 pandemic. Officials have regular meetings with the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, the Care Quality Commission and abortion service providers.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has issued clinical guidelines for healthcare professionals on ‘Coronavirus infection and abortion care’. The guidance sets out the circumstances where women should be asked to attend a clinic for an ultra-sound scan. However, it states that “most women can determine the gestational age of their pregnancy with reasonable accuracy by last menstrual period (LMP) alone”. The Royal College’s guidance has recently been updated and now includes a decision aid for clinicians to use to help determine if an ultra-sound scan is required. This includes detailed questions to identify gestational age. Women are given clear advice that they can only receive this treatment at home if they are under 10 weeks gestation.

As part of the consultation prior to treatment commencing, women will be clearly informed that medical abortion is a two-stage process which requires the administration of Mifepristone followed by Misoprostol to successfully complete the procedure.

The Code of Practice outlined in the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 prohibits the pre-release of official statistics before the due date of publication. The Department will be publishing an additional official statistics release of abortion data covering the COVID-19 period from January to June 2020 on 10 September.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that abortion pills taken at home are being taken under the 10-week gestation limit.

The Department is carefully monitoring the impact of and compliance with the temporary approval of home administration of both sets of abortion medication during the COVID-19 pandemic. Officials have regular meetings with the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, the Care Quality Commission and abortion service providers.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has issued clinical guidelines for healthcare professionals on ‘Coronavirus infection and abortion care’. The guidance sets out the circumstances where women should be asked to attend a clinic for an ultra-sound scan. However, it states that “most women can determine the gestational age of their pregnancy with reasonable accuracy by last menstrual period (LMP) alone”. The Royal College’s guidance has recently been updated and now includes a decision aid for clinicians to use to help determine if an ultra-sound scan is required. This includes detailed questions to identify gestational age. Women are given clear advice that they can only receive this treatment at home if they are under 10 weeks gestation.

As part of the consultation prior to treatment commencing, women will be clearly informed that medical abortion is a two-stage process which requires the administration of Mifepristone followed by Misoprostol to successfully complete the procedure.

The Code of Practice outlined in the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 prohibits the pre-release of official statistics before the due date of publication. The Department will be publishing an additional official statistics release of abortion data covering the COVID-19 period from January to June 2020 on 10 September.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to prevent a rise in alcohol use during the covid-19 outbreak.

Public Health England (PHE) published advice and information for the public on looking after their mental health and wellbeing during the COVID-19 outbreak, which recommends people avoid using alcohol. Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak alcohol treatment providers are continuing to support and treat people misusing alcohol. The guidance can be viewed at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-the-public-on-mental-health-and-wellbeing/guidance-for-the-public-on-the-mental-health-and-wellbeing-aspects-of-coronavirus-covid-19

PHE continues to maintain the FRANK website and helpline, which provides a service for people who are concerned about their own or others’ alcohol consumption. The website can be accessed at the following link:

https://www.talktofrank.com/

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of trends in the level of alcohol use during the covid-19 lockdown.

It is too early to make any assessment of the level of alcohol use during the COVID-19 outbreak. The Department is working with Public Health England and NHS England and NHS Improvement and stakeholders to monitor indicators to track any behaviour change.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the oral contribution of the Minister of Care of 17 March 2020, Official Report column 274-275WH, when the roundtable on low and no alcohol products will meet; and how many public health experts will be invited to take part; and which other organisations (a) have been and (b) will be invited.

Plans to hold a roundtable meeting on low and no alcohol products have been put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic taking Government priority. The Department, Public Health England and representatives from the alcohol industry will meet at a later date to discuss proposals outlined in the prevention Green Paper on how industry can deliver a significant increase in the availability of alcohol-free and low-alcohol products by 2025.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many non-residents received abortions in England and Wales in (a) 2017, (b) 2018, and (c) 2019.

Data on the number of legal abortions performed on non-residents of England and Wales in 2017 and 2018 is available in the attached table.

Abortion statistics for 2017 and 2018 are available at the following links:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/abortion-statistics-for-england-and-wales-2018

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/abortion-statistics-for-england-and-wales-2017

The vast majority of non-resident abortions are paid for privately.

The Code of Practice outlined in the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 prohibits the pre-release of official statistics before the due date of publication. Data on the number of legal abortions performed on non-residents of England and Wales in 2019 is still being collected and requires full quality assurance prior to release. Data for 2019 will be published on 11 June at 9:30am.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many abortions were performed after 24 weeks in (a) 2017, (b) 2018, and (c) 2019.

Abortion statistics for 2017 and 2018 are available at the following links:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/abortion-statistics-for-england-and-wales-2018

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/abortion-statistics-for-england-and-wales-2017

The number of legal abortions performed after 24 weeks in 2017 and 2018 is available in the attached table.

The Code of Practice outlined in the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 prohibits the pre-release of official statistics before the due date of publication. Data on the number of legal abortions performed after 24 weeks in 2019 is still being collected and requires full quality assurance prior to release. Data for 2019 will be published on 11 June at 9:30am.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many live births there were before the evacuation stage of an abortion in each of the last five years.

This data is not held by the Department.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate his Department has made of the rate of abortion per 1,000 pregnancies among women aged 30 to 34 in (a) 2017, (b) 2018 and (c) 2019.

The rate of abortion per 1,000 pregnancies amongst women aged 30-34 is not held by the Department.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the abortion rate was per 1,000 women aged 25 to 29 years old in (a) 2017, (b) 2018 and (c) 2019.

The abortion rate per 1,000 women aged 25 to 29 years in 2017 and 2018 is available in the attached table.

Abortion statistics for 2017 and 2018 are available at the following links:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/abortion-statistics-for-england-and-wales-2018

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/abortion-statistics-for-england-and-wales-2017

The Code of Practice outlined in the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 prohibits the pre-release of official statistics before the due date of publication. Data on the abortion rate per 1,000 women aged 25 to 29 years in 2019 is still being collected and requires full quality assurance prior to release. Data for 2019 will be published on the 11th June at 9:30am.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much has been spent from the public purse on supporting women travelling from Northern Ireland to England and Wales for the purposes of abortion since 2018 .

The cost of supporting women travelling from Northern Ireland to England to access abortion services in 2018/19 was around £1.08 million. This includes the cost of the procedure and travel and accommodation. The cost of this scheme is met by the Government Equalities Office through funding provided by HM Treasury. The cost of the scheme for 2019/20 is not yet known.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many babies survived an abortion procedure in (a) 2015, (b) 2016, (c) 2017, (d) 2018 and (e) 2019.

This data is not held by the Department.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department collected data on the frequency of each number of repeat abortions performed in England and Wales in 2018.

Data on the number of repeat abortions performed in England and Wales in 2018 is available in the attached table.

Abortion statistics for 2018 are available at the following links:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/abortion-statistics-for-england-and-wales-2018

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many abortions were carried post 12 weeks gestation in (a) 2016, (b) 2017, (e) 2018 and (d) 2019, and in how many of those procedures painkillers were provided for the unborn child before the abortion.

The number of legal abortions performed after 12 weeks gestation in 2016, 2017 and 2018 is available in the attached table.

Abortion statistics for 2016, 2017 and 2018 are available at the following links:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/abortion-statistics-for-england-and-wales-2018

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/abortion-statistics-for-england-and-wales-2017

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/report-on-abortion-statistics-in-england-and-wales-for-2016

The Code of Practice outlined in the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 prohibits the pre-release of official statistics before the due date of publication. Data on the number of legal abortions performed after 12 weeks gestation in 2019 is still being collected and requires full quality assurance prior to release. Data for 2019 will be published on 11 June at 9:30am.

Data on how many of those procedures used painkillers is not held by the Department.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many women per 1,000 resident women have had an abortion. in each of the last five years.

The abortion rate per 1,000 women for 2015 to 2018 is available in the attached table.

Abortion statistics can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/abortion-statistics-for-england-and-wales

The Code of Practice outlined in the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 prohibits the pre-release of official statistics before the due date of publication. Data on the abortion rate per 1,000 women in 2019 is still being collected and requires full quality assurance prior to release. Data for 2019 is due to be published on 11 June.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many complications were reported after (a) medical abortions and (b) surgical abortions in (i) 2017, (ii) 2018 and (iii) 2019.

The number of complications reported after medical and surgical abortions in 2017 and 2018 is available in the attached table.

Data on complications should be treated with caution as it is not possible to fully verify complications recorded on HSA4 forms. In addition, complications that occur after discharge may not be recorded.

Abortion statistics for 2017 and 2018 are available at the following links:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/abortion-statistics-for-england-and-wales-2018

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/abortion-statistics-for-england-and-wales-2017

The Code of Practice outlined in the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 prohibits the pre-release of official statistics before the due date of publication. Data on complications in 2019 is still being collected and requires full quality assurance prior to release. Data for 2019 is due to be published on 11 June.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of opinion polls which indicate the majority of UK citizens oppose disability-selective abortion.

No specific assessment has been made of the implications for policies of opinion polls which indicate the majority of UK citizens oppose disability-selective abortion.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has plans to review their guidelines on foetal pain.

There is currently no plan for the Department to review the guidelines on foetal pain.

The Department does not set clinical practice. It is for clinicians to determine whether it is appropriate to provide fetal pain relief. To support clinical practice, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has considered the issue of fetal pain and awareness in its guidelines on ‘The Care of Women Requesting Induced Abortion and Fetal Awareness: Review of Research and Recommendations for Practice’, which can be viewed online at the following link:

https://www.rcog.org.uk/globalassets/documents/guidelines/abortion-guideline_web_1.pdf

https://www.rcog.org.uk/globalassets/documents/guidelines/rcogfetalawarenesswpr0610.pdf

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that the counselling women receive whilst considering an abortion is independent.

Guidance from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists sets out that healthcare staff caring for women requesting abortion should identify those who require more support in the decision-making process and pathways to additional support, including counselling and social services, should be available. For abortions provided by independent sector providers must meet the Required Standard Operating Procedures (RSOPs) set out in the Department’s Procedures for the Approval of Independent Sector Places for the Termination of Pregnancy (Abortion).

The RSOPs require that all women requesting an abortion should be offered the opportunity to discuss their options and choices with a trained counsellor and this offer should be regularly repeated. A trained pregnancy counsellor is someone trained to Diploma level or equivalent. Counselling must be non-directive and non-judgemental and should not create barriers or delays. Counsellors should undergo continuous professional development and training similar to other professionals.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of women with complications following an abortion at a (a) British Pregnancy Advisory Service and (b) Marie Stopes International clinic between July (i) 2017 and (ii) 2019.

Data on the number of women with complications following an abortion at a British Pregnancy Advisory Service and Marie Stopes International clinic between 1 July 2017 and 31 December 2018 is attached. The Code of Practice outlined in the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 prohibits the pre-release of official statistics before the due date of publication. Data on the number of complications following an abortion in 2019 is still being collected and requires full quality assurance prior to release. Data for 2019 will be published on 11 June at 9:30am.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the abortion rate was for 18-19 year old women per 1,000 in (a) 2017, (b) 2018 and (c) 2019.

The abortion rate per 1,000 women aged 18 to 19 years in 2017 and 2018 is available in the attached table.

Abortion statistics for 2017 and 2018 are available at the following links:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/abortion-statistics-for-england-and-wales-2018

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/abortion-statistics-for-england-and-wales-2017

The Code of Practice outlined in the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 prohibits the pre-release of official statistics before the due date of publication. Data on the abortion rate per 1,000 women aged 18 to 19 years in 2019 is still being collected and requires full quality assurance prior to release. Data for 2019 is due to be published on 11 June.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many complications were reported by women who underwent a medical abortion after ingesting (a) mifepristone as the first step of a medical abortion and (b) misoprostol as the second step of a medical abortion in (i) 2017, (ii) 2018 and (iii) 2019.

The number of medical abortions for 2017 and 2018 with complications recorded on the abortion notification form where antiprogesterone and prostaglandin were recorded as prescribed is in the attached table. Mifepristone is a type of antiprogesterone and misoprostal is a type of prostaglandin.

The Code of Practice outlined in the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 prohibits the pre-release of official statistics before the due date of publication. Data on complications in 2019 is still being collected and requires full quality assurance prior to release. Data for 2019 is due to be published on 11 June.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many women who had an abortion in 2019 had one or more previous abortions.

Data on how many women who had an abortion in 2019 had one or more previous abortions is still being collected and requires full quality assurance prior to release. Data for 2019 will be published on 11 June at 9:30am. The Code of Practice outlined in the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 prohibits the pre-release of official statistics before the due date of publication.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much compensation was paid from the public purse in (a) 2015, (b) 2016, (e) 2017, (d) 2018 and (e) 2019 for wrongful births.

NHS Resolution manages clinical negligence and other claims against the National Health Service in England.

NHS Resolution have provided the following information:

NHS Resolution define “wrongful birth’’ as a clinical negligence claim brought by the parents of a child born with birth defects, alleging that negligent treatment or advice deprived them of the opportunity to avoid conception or terminate the pregnancy.

Number of Claims Closed/Settled with damages paid related to ‘Wrongful Birth’ per financial year

Year of closure (Settlement year for Periodical Payment Orders)

Number of Claims

Damages Paid £

2014/15

6

8,158,352

2015/16

13

17,313,513

2016/17

13

12,520,949

2017/18

16

13,363,110

2018/19

10

17,296,750

Note: The figures supplied are for each financial year rather than calendar year. The figures for the 2019/20 financial year are not yet available.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
27th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that doctors do not falsify abortion consent forms.

The principle of consent is an important part of medical ethics and international human rights law. Consent from a patient is required for all medical procedures, including abortion. In line with National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines on Abortion Care, informed consent should be obtained and documented. Healthcare professionals should ensure that women have the information they need to make decisions and to give consent in line with General Medical Council guidance and the 2015 Montgomery ruling which made clear that any intervention must be based on a shared decision-making process, ensuring the patient is aware of all options and supported to make an informed choice by their healthcare professional. Any doctor suspected or found to have falsified a consent form should expect to be subject to disciplinary and regulatory action. The guidance is available at the following link:

https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng140/chapter/Recommendations

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
27th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that abortions carried out after a diagnosis of Down's Syndrome are recorded.

It is a legal requirement set by the Abortion Act 1967 that all abortions performed in England must be notified to the Chief Medical Officer. Doctors use the HSA4 abortion notification form for this purpose and must record the reason, including where the termination was due to a diagnosis of Down's Syndrome.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
27th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many and what proportion of abortion clinics are rated as (a) inadequate or (b) requires improvement by the Care Quality Commission for safety standards.

The Care Quality Commission registers services based on the regulated activities that they carry out.

The number of active locations with the regulated activity of ‘Termination of Pregnancies’ rated Inadequate for safety is 9 (3.75%). The number rated as Requires Improvement for safety is 121 (59.3%).

Locations registered to carry on this regulated activity may not provide this activity exclusively.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 13 February 2020 to Question 14720, on Abortion: Tarsal Coalition, in what format her Department collects data on abortions as a result of a diagnosis of tarsal coalition; and if she will place a copy of that data in the Library.

Data on the number of abortions as result of a diagnosis of tarsal coalition or club foot for the years 2009 to 2018 is not held in the format requested, and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost. ICD-10 code 66.8 ‘Other Congenital deformities of feet’ is used to code incidences of tarsal coalition or club foot and other deformities of feet listed on the HSA4 forms for the purposes of providing usable data for monitoring and analysis. However, individual conditions could be identified by visually checking the underlying ANS forms to see whether the terms ‘Tarsal Coalition’ or ‘Club Foot’ are listed on the form. HSA4 forms are available from 2013 to 2018 but extraction of this information could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 13 February 2020 to Question 14719, on Abortion: Club Foot, in what format her Department collects data on abortions as a result of a diagnosis of club foot; and if she will place a copy of that data in the Library.

Data on the number of abortions as result of a diagnosis of tarsal coalition or club foot for the years 2009 to 2018 is not held in the format requested, and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost. ICD-10 code 66.8 ‘Other Congenital deformities of feet’ is used to code incidences of tarsal coalition or club foot and other deformities of feet listed on the HSA4 forms for the purposes of providing usable data for monitoring and analysis. However, individual conditions could be identified by visually checking the underlying ANS forms to see whether the terms ‘Tarsal Coalition’ or ‘Club Foot’ are listed on the form. HSA4 forms are available from 2013 to 2018 but extraction of this information could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many abortions took place after the diagnosis of vertical talus in each of the last 10 years; and at what weeks gestation those abortions took place.

The number of legal abortions where cleft lip and cleft palate were mentioned as a medical condition on the HSA4 abortion form which took place in England and Wales in each of the last 10 years by week of gestation is attached. This data covers any mention of cleft lip and cleft palate on the HSA4 abortion form, as more than one medical condition may be specified. Information on abortions for vertical talus is not held in the format requested.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many abortions took place after the diagnosis of (a) cleft lip and (b) cleft palate in each of the last 10 years; and at what weeks gestation those abortions took place.

The number of legal abortions where cleft lip and cleft palate were mentioned as a medical condition on the HSA4 abortion form which took place in England and Wales in each of the last 10 years by week of gestation is attached. This data covers any mention of cleft lip and cleft palate on the HSA4 abortion form, as more than one medical condition may be specified. Information on abortions for vertical talus is not held in the format requested.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will bring forward legislative proposals to introduce a requirement for pregnancy warning labels on alcohol products.

In March 2017, the Department issued guidance to industry setting out how the United Kingdom Chief Medical Officers’ low risk drinking guidelines could best be communicated on the labels of alcoholic drinks. This included specific advice on the communication of warnings not to drink alcohol during pregnancy. The Department agreed, with industry, a transitional period until 1 September 2019 after which all labels should reflect the new guidelines. There are no current plans to legislate for pregnancy warning labels on alcohol products.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many abortions took place after the diagnosis of Down's Syndrome in each of the last 10 years; and at what weeks gestation those abortions took place.

The number of legal abortions which took place in England and Wales where Down’s Syndrome was mentioned as a medical condition on the HSA4 abortion form in each of the last 10 years by week of gestation is attached. Information on abortions for club foot, hammer toe or tarsal coalition is not held in the format requested.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
10th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many abortions took place after the diagnosis of clubfoot in each the last 10 years; and at what weeks gestation those abortions took place.

The number of legal abortions which took place in England and Wales where Down’s Syndrome was mentioned as a medical condition on the HSA4 abortion form in each of the last 10 years by week of gestation is attached. Information on abortions for club foot, hammer toe or tarsal coalition is not held in the format requested.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
10th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many abortions took place after the diagnosis of Tarsal coalition in each of the last 10 years; and at what weeks gestation those abortions took place.

The number of legal abortions which took place in England and Wales where Down’s Syndrome was mentioned as a medical condition on the HSA4 abortion form in each of the last 10 years by week of gestation is attached. Information on abortions for club foot, hammer toe or tarsal coalition is not held in the format requested.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
10th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many abortions took place after the diagnosis of hammer toe in each of the last 10 years; and at what weeks gestation those abortions took place.

The number of legal abortions which took place in England and Wales where Down’s Syndrome was mentioned as a medical condition on the HSA4 abortion form in each of the last 10 years by week of gestation is attached. Information on abortions for club foot, hammer toe or tarsal coalition is not held in the format requested.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to tackle alcohol harm.

The Government is committed to tackling health harms from alcohol and supporting the most vulnerable at risk from alcohol misuse. We continue to support and deliver programmes at both national and local levels to address harms including establishing Alcohol Care Teams in the hospitals with the highest rates of alcohol related admissions, a commitment in the Prevention Green paper to encourage drinking habits towards low and no alcohol products, a £6 million investment to support children with alcohol dependent parents and the provision of capital Grant funding awarded to 23 projects enabling local authorities to invest in better meeting the needs of people that require alcohol treatment, including parents who are dependent drinkers.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans the Government has to regulate the provision of (a) the injection of Botox and cosmetic dermal fillers and (b) other non-surgical treatments by people operating in the aesthetic medical sector.

The Government is committed to improving the safety of cosmetic procedures through better training for practitioners, and clear information so that people can make informed decisions about their care.

The Department is consulting with stakeholders on industry standards of practice and the health risks posed by current access arrangements to non-surgical cosmetic procedures. On the basis of the evidence gathered to date, the Government supports the principle of increased protections for children and young people for some injectable cosmetic procedures. The Department is exploring the legal implications and potential impacts of an age restriction that would bring these procedures in line with other body modifications such as tattoos and sunbed use.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has plans undertake a review of the abortion time-limit.

The Government has no plans to undertake a review of the abortion time-limit. Parliament decided the circumstances under which abortion can legally be undertaken, including time limits.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to help improve the (a) quality and (b) access to counselling services provided to women considering an abortion.

Abortion counselling should also be available for those women who request it. Abortions provided by independent sector abortion providers must meet the Required Standard Operating Procedures (RSOPs) set out in the Department’s Procedures for the Approval of Independent Sector Places for the Termination of Pregnancy (Abortion). The RSOPs require that all women requesting an abortion should be offered the opportunity to discuss their options and choices with a trained counsellor and this offer should be regularly repeated. Post abortion counselling should also be available for those women who require it.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department has taken to facilitate the sharing of data between different health and social care services.

High quality data needs to be securely available to inform decisions about care. The Government has supported five Local Health and Care Record Exemplars which are a partnership of health and social care organisations that come together to create a shared care record, allowing clinicians and professionals real-time access to their patients’ records. These five areas are leading the way but it is our aim that local shared records will be the norm across the country.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many and what proportion of hospices are rated as outstanding.

There are currently 61 of 200 hospices rated outstanding (30.5%) registered in England with the Care Quality Commission.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much additional funding he plans to allocate to palliative care in the next financial year.

As with the vast majority of National Health Service services, the funding and commissioning of palliative and end of life care is a local matter, over which individual clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) have responsibility. CCGs are best placed to understand the needs of local populations and allocate funding for services to meet those needs from the overall resource allocations they receive.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much funding his Department allocated to local authorities to facilitate the integration of health and social care services in (a) 2015, (b) 2016, (c) 2017, (d) 2018 and (e) 2019.

The Better Care Fund (BCF) is the Government’s national policy to drive forward integration by enabling greater cooperation between health and social care partners at a local level. It brings together ring-fenced budgets from National Health Service clinical commissioning group (CCG) allocations, and funding paid directly to local government, including the Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG), and the improved Better Care Fund (iBCF) into a single pooled budget for health and social care services in local areas to work more closely together, based on a plan agreed between the NHS and local government.

The breakdown of funding in the BCF since 2015 is set out in the following table.

The 2019 Spending Round announced that the BCF (NHS CCG minimum allocations) would continue into 2020-21 with a real-terms increase of 3.4%, and that the iBCF would be maintained at flat cash.

BCF Breakdown 2015-16 to 2019-20

Source

2015/16 (£ billion)

2016/17 (£ billion)

2017/18 (£ billion)

2018/19 (£ billion)

2019/20 (£ billion)

NHS funding (Minimum CCG Contribution)

£3.46

£3.519

£3.582

£3.650

£3.840

DFG

£0.22

£0.394

£0.431

£0.468

£0.505

iBCF

-

-

£1.115

£1.499

£1.837

Social care capital grant

£0.134

-

-

-

-

Winter pressure grant funding

-

£0.240

Total minimum contribution

£3.8

£3.9

£5.128

£5.617

£6.422

Local voluntary contribution from CCGs

£0.7

£1.0

£1.1

£1.108

Tbc

Local voluntary contribution from local authorities

£0.8

£1.0

£1.1

£1.009

Tbc

Total voluntary contribution

£1.5

£2.0

£2.2

£2.117

Tbc

Total

£5.3

£5.9

£7.3

£7.7341

Tbc

DFG top-up2

-

-

£0.042

£0.055

-

Notes:

1From BCF Planning Data 2018-19: https://www.england.nhs.uk/publication/better-care-fund-2018-19-planning-data/

2 Autumn Budget 2017 has provided an additional £42 million for the rest of the 2017-18 financial year. This additional funding was not subject to the BCF requirements, for example, the need for local authorities and CCGs to jointly agree how to spend the funding as part of their local BCF plan.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
21st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to help reduce the number of women having more than one abortion.

We want to make sure that everyone – both men and women – can make responsible and informed sexual health decisions. Contraception is free for everyone on the National Health Service and with 15 different methods available, there is a method to suit all health and lifestyle needs. Before discharge from abortion services future contraception should be discussed with all women and contraceptive supplies offered.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
21st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department is taking steps to ensure that gender-selective abortions are not carried out in UK.

Sex selection is not one of the lawful grounds for termination of pregnancy. It is illegal for a practitioner to carry out an abortion for that reason alone, unless the certifying practitioners consider that an abortion was justified in relation to at least one of the grounds in the Abortion Act 1967 such as a sex-linked inherited medical condition.

We have no evidence that sex related abortions are taking place in Great Britain. The latest analysis by the Department found that the United Kingdom gender ratio over the period 2013 to 2017 was 105.4 male to 100 female births, which is within the normal boundary. The Department continues to keep this under review.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
17th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what support his Department is giving to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to help ensure that that agency's joint investigations with the Ethiopian High Commission into atrocities in Eritrea are (a) independent, (b) transparent and (c) impartial, and whether those investigations address specifically the situation of ethnic and religious groups.

We are appalled by systematic killing of civilians, widespread rape, including of children, indiscriminate shelling and the forcible displacement of ethnic Tigrayans. Those responsible for such abuses and violations need to be held to account.

We welcome the joint Enquiry of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNOHCHR) and the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) into human rights violations and abuses in Tigray, and continue to press for unfettered access to the region and victims. Investigators must be given unhindered access to Tigray, be able to speak to the victims of the religious and ethnic groups most affected, and allowed to report their findings in full. We have lobbied in Asmara for Eritrean cooperation with the UNOHCHR Joint Investigation. The EHRC has previously shown its willingness to act independently and must continue to do so through the joint investigation, which we judge is the most credible prospect available for holding the perpetrators of atrocities in Tigray to account. The UK will therefore support the UNOHCHR to ensure that their joint investigation into atrocities in Tigray with the EHRC is independent, transparent and impartial. We will also continue to press the Eritrean government to cooperate with the Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Eritrea to enable him to fully carry out his mandate.

The UK further welcomes the proposed African Union Commission for Human and Peoples' Rights, calls for the Government of Ethiopia to allow access to this inquiry and is in touch with the African Union on how we might support this effort.

James Duddridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps the UK is taking in Eritrea to help ensure that UN investigators have the necessary access to conduct an assessment of atrocities.

We are appalled by systematic killing of civilians, widespread rape, including of children, indiscriminate shelling and the forcible displacement of ethnic Tigrayans. Those responsible for such abuses and violations need to be held to account.

We welcome the joint Enquiry of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNOHCHR) and the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) into human rights violations and abuses in Tigray, and continue to press for unfettered access to the region and victims. Investigators must be given unhindered access to Tigray, be able to speak to the victims of the religious and ethnic groups most affected, and allowed to report their findings in full. We have lobbied in Asmara for Eritrean cooperation with the UNOHCHR Joint Investigation. The EHRC has previously shown its willingness to act independently and must continue to do so through the joint investigation, which we judge is the most credible prospect available for holding the perpetrators of atrocities in Tigray to account. The UK will therefore support the UNOHCHR to ensure that their joint investigation into atrocities in Tigray with the EHRC is independent, transparent and impartial. We will also continue to press the Eritrean government to cooperate with the Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Eritrea to enable him to fully carry out his mandate.

The UK further welcomes the proposed African Union Commission for Human and Peoples' Rights, calls for the Government of Ethiopia to allow access to this inquiry and is in touch with the African Union on how we might support this effort.

James Duddridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking in Eritrea to help ensure that (a) perpetrators of sexual violence are brought to justice and (b) to ensure that evidence of sexual violence is (i) collected and (ii) preserved.

We are appalled at the prevalence of sexual violence in Tigray. We have raised this issue in a variety of multilateral fora, including the G7.

To strengthen justice for survivors of conflict-related sexual violence, we are finalising the deployment of personnel from the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative UK Team of Experts. We are signing contracts and hope to deploy within the next few weeks. Recommendations from an initial scoping mission will outline options for supporting the Government of Ethiopia, the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and other key stakeholders to safely collect and preserve evidence, and bring the perpetrators of sexual violence to justice. We continue to explore options for addressing the immediate needs of survivors, preventing further sexual violence and delivering justice and accountability. The UK is also supporting the International Committee of the Red Cross, UN agencies, specialised NGOs and civil society partners to provide adequate essential services to survivors as well as supporting refugee survivors through the UN High Commission for Refugees.

James Duddridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what progress he has made in deploying UK Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict experts to Eritrea.

We are appalled at the prevalence of sexual violence in Tigray. We have raised this issue in a variety of multilateral fora, including the G7.

To strengthen justice for survivors of conflict-related sexual violence, we are finalising the deployment of personnel from the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative UK Team of Experts. We are signing contracts and hope to deploy within the next few weeks. Recommendations from an initial scoping mission will outline options for supporting the Government of Ethiopia, the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and other key stakeholders to safely collect and preserve evidence, and bring the perpetrators of sexual violence to justice. We continue to explore options for addressing the immediate needs of survivors, preventing further sexual violence and delivering justice and accountability. The UK is also supporting the International Committee of the Red Cross, UN agencies, specialised NGOs and civil society partners to provide adequate essential services to survivors as well as supporting refugee survivors through the UN High Commission for Refugees.

James Duddridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his Iranian counterpart on the asset freeze affecting BBC Persian staff based in London.

We condemn the persecution of current and former BBC Persian employees and their family members, and the many individuals who have had their assets frozen or are banned from leaving Iran. We continue to regularly raise these issues directly with the Iranian government, as well as in multilateral fora, including the Human Rights Council.

At the UN Third Committee in October 2020, we urged Iran to cease their harassment of journalists and media organisations; and in March 2021, at the Human Rights Council, we made clear to Iran that their repeated violations of human rights are unacceptable.

The British Government is committed to the promotion of media freedom which is vital to functioning societies and that journalists must be able to investigate and report as they see fit. We regularly raise human rights with the Iranian authorities at all levels and we continue to take action with the international community to press Iran to improve its poor record on all human rights issues, including restrictions on media freedom.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent representations he has made to his Iranian counterpart on the reported targeting and harassment of BBC Persian staff in that country.

We condemn the persecution of current and former BBC Persian employees and their family members, and the many individuals who have had their assets frozen or are banned from leaving Iran. We continue to regularly raise these issues directly with the Iranian government, as well as in multilateral fora, including the Human Rights Council.

At the UN Third Committee in October 2020, we urged Iran to cease their harassment of journalists and media organisations; and in March 2021, at the Human Rights Council, we made clear to Iran that their repeated violations of human rights are unacceptable.

The British Government is committed to the promotion of media freedom which is vital to functioning societies and that journalists must be able to investigate and report as they see fit. We regularly raise human rights with the Iranian authorities at all levels and we continue to take action with the international community to press Iran to improve its poor record on all human rights issues, including restrictions on media freedom.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he has made an assessment of the implications for his policies of the declaration by Genocide Watch that all 10 stages of genocide have been fulfilled against the Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh in the recent conflict.

The UK takes its moral and legal obligations seriously, and is fully committed to focusing on conflict prevention as the best means to prevent most mass atrocities. The UK Government adopts a consolidated, whole-of-government effort, using our diplomatic, development, defence and law enforcement capabilities, to help find pathways to global peace and stability. The policy of the UK is that any determination on whether genocide has occurred is a matter for competent judicial bodies, rather than for governments. The UK is fully committed to the principle that there must be no impunity for the most serious international crimes. The UK welcomes the news that the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan have agreed to end the fighting in and around Nagorno-Karabakh.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department has taken to help tackle the humanitarian situation in Nagorno-Karabakh; and what the results of that support have been to date.

In line with the Foreign Secretary's announcement of 30 October, the UK Government has provided the International Committee of the Red Cross with £1 million in support of its humanitarian efforts in the region. This financial support is being used to provide urgent medical supplies, food and shelter to thousands of people affected by the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. We continue to work with international partners and NGOs to understand the needs in the region and what further support we can provide. The UK Government is supporting the wider international response by providing funding for additional monitoring and analysis of the humanitarian situation through organisations such as the Humanitarian 2 Humanitarian network and supporting additional posts within the UN offices in-country. The UK Government is keeping the situation under close review, coordinating with local and international partners and will continue to explore opportunities to support partners to deliver an effective international response.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps have been taken to allocate funding to tackle the humanitarian situation in Nagorno-Karabakh from the £1 million he announced in October 2020 for the International Committee of the Red Cross.

In line with the Foreign Secretary's announcement of 30 October, the UK Government has provided the International Committee of the Red Cross with £1 million in support of its humanitarian efforts in the region. This financial support is being used to provide urgent medical supplies, food and shelter to thousands of people affected by the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. We continue to work with international partners and NGOs to understand the needs in the region and what further support we can provide. The UK Government is supporting the wider international response by providing funding for additional monitoring and analysis of the humanitarian situation through organisations such as the Humanitarian 2 Humanitarian network and supporting additional posts within the UN offices in-country. The UK Government is keeping the situation under close review, coordinating with local and international partners and will continue to explore opportunities to support partners to deliver an effective international response.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what practical steps his Department has taken to secure the release of Armenians held as prisoners of war after the ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh.

I spoke to the Azerbaijani Foreign Minister on 13 November and the Armenian Foreign Minister on 30 November where I welcomed the cessation of hostilities. I urged both Foreign Ministers to ensure the International Committee of the Red Cross were able to access the conflict zone to allow for the facilitation of the return of prisoners of war and the remains of the deceased. Our Embassies in Yerevan and Baku continue to engage their hosts in support of these efforts.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to help hold perpetrators to account for atrocities committed by Azerbaijanis (a) during and (b) after the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh.

We are deeply concerned of accusations from both sides that atrocities are being committed and continue to urge de-escalation. On 13 November I urged the Azerbaijani FM to ensure any such accusations were the subject of thorough investigation. An investigation is currently underway and we continue to monitor the situation.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
27th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to promote a plan for enduring peace, stability and economic development in Nagorno-Karabakh; and with which international partners he is taking those steps.

A peaceful and negotiated settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict will be essential to ensure the stability and economic development of the region. The UK Government supports the efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs France, the United States and Russia in this regard. The Foreign Secretary and I remain in regular contact with international partners, including Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkey and the Co-Chairs.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 23 November 2020 to Question HL10034 on North Korea: Coronavirus, if his Department will make available the assessment of the humanitarian situation in North Korea, completed in September 2020.

The FCDO assesses the DPRK's humanitarian situation is most likely getting worse. Abnormally high cumulative rainfall in the monsoon period earlier this year caused widespread crop and infrastructure damage. This increases the risk of higher domestic food production deficits, greater food insecurity and failure to meet basic needs in parts of the country. Significant economic deterioration due to COVID-19 control measures and increased access limitations will make it more difficult to provide assistance to the most vulnerable communities.

FCDO staff will continue to monitor the situation.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to help Armenians made homeless as a result of the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh.

On 30 October the Foreign Secretary announced £1 million in funding to the ICRC to support their humanitarian efforts in the region. The UK Government is providing funding towards additional monitoring and analysis of the humanitarian situation via organisations such as the Humanitarian 2 Humanitarian network and supporting additional posts within the UN offices in-country. We continue to urge both sides to ensure the safety and security of all displaced persons, including through my recent calls with the Azerbaijani Foreign Minister and the Armenian Foreign Minister. The UK Government is keeping the situation under close review, coordinating with local and international partners and will continue to explore opportunities to support partners to deliver an effective international response.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations his Department has received on the practice of breast ironing in countries which receive UK Official Development Assistance.

Addressing all forms of violence against women and girls (VAWG), including harmful practices like breast ironing and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), is a priority for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

UK funded initiatives like our ground-breaking What Works to Prevent Violence Programme are working to challenge discriminatory social norms which are a key factor in perpetuating these harmful practices. Rigorous evidence generated through What Works has shown that harmful attitudes and norms can change in less than three years. Approaches that engaged whole communities to challenge harmful perceptions and norms achieved significant reductions in VAWG of around 50 per cent. UK Aid has also supported the Africa-led movement to end FGM since 2013, which has helped over 10,000 communities, representing over 27 million people, pledge to abandon FGM. The UK has also recently launched the next component of support. Through a major investment of up to £31.5 million, we are supporting an exciting new partnership to accelerate action to end FGM in high prevalence countries in Africa.

James Duddridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of (a) reports of conditions in quarantine camps and (b) the wider humanitarian situation in the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea in the context of the covid-19 pandemic; and what humanitarian assistance the Government is providing in response to that matter.

We are aware of the disturbing reports of so called 'quarantine camps' and take all allegations of human rights violations inside North Korea very seriously. We have made clear on many occasions our concern at North Korea's appalling human rights record, including in detention facilities. We raise these concerns with the DPRK authorities directly as well as in international fora. We made an assessment of the humanitarian situation in North Korea in September 2020. It concluded that North Korea's humanitarian need is likely increasing as a result of the country's border lockdown in response to Covid-19 and abnormally high cumulative rainfall in the monsoon period. The United Kingdom provides multilateral funds to the UN and other international organisations providing humanitarian assistance in North Korea, including the Global Humanitarian Response Plan (GHRP) in response to Covid-19. As a country of concern in the GHRP, North Korea is receiving funds from this global appeal. North Korea is also one of the countries eligible to receive Covid-19 vaccines through the COVAX initiative to which the United Kingdom has committed up to £500 million.

We keep the humanitarian situation in North Korea under constant review, including through ongoing discussions with international organisations operational in country. We continue to make clear to the North Korean Government that international support is available, and urge them to restore international access and monitoring for humanitarian assistance. The UK has also repeatedly called on North Korea to prioritise the well-being of its people over the development of illegal weapons programmes, through our bilateral relationship and in multilateral fora.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the risk of (a) violations of freedom of religion or belief and (b) a rise in ethno-religious nationalism and intolerance in Myanmar (i) before and (ii) after the forthcoming elections in that country.

The UK is very concerned by the discrimination facing religious minorities in Myanmar, and by reports of hate speech, destruction of places of worship and forced conversions. The Race and Religion Laws and the 1982 Citizenship Law have been used to discriminate against non-Buddhists. The UK continues to raise the issue of freedom of religion or belief with the Myanmar Government. The UK also works with partners and community leaders to improve religious tolerance and social cohesion through facilitating a greater understanding of religious and cultural differences, and promoting dialogue between different communities across Myanmar.

The UK is deeply concerned that the Rohingya and other minorities will be excluded from the upcoming elections. I raised this directly with the Myanmar Minister for International Cooperation in June. The 2020 elections are an important milestone but the transition to democracy will be a long-term process. The UK is clear that universal suffrage for all of Myanmar's communities is a key part of achieving an effective, plural democracy. We will continue to call for elections to be credible and inclusive, allowing individuals of all communities to participate.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the Answers of 20 October 2020 to Questions 104086 and 104087, if his Department will publish the findings of the projects funded by the John Bunyan fund with sensitive information redacted if necessary.

The authors of the reports provided them on the basis that they would not be published by the FCDO. Given the sensitivity of the topics, and the potential harm that releasing the reports might cause to those threatened by religious intolerance, we have no plans to make the contents of the reports public.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent progress there has been on using British armed forces to train and support counter-terrorism squads in Nigeria.

For over a decade, terrorist groups, including Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa, have caused immense suffering to local communities in North East Nigeria. Since 2015, UK military personnel have provided training to Nigerian military personnel on topics including human rights compliance, countering improvised explosive devices and first aid. Many of those trained have been deployed on operations to tackle the terrorist threat in North East Nigeria. The UK Government has also provided training to the Nigerian authorities on responding to terrorist attacks, bomb scene management and improving aviation security. We remain committed to helping Nigeria and its neighbours tackle the threat of terrorism.

James Duddridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of deploying British armed forces to join a UN peacekeeping mission against Boko Haram in Nigeria similar to that of the deployment of armed forces in Mali.

There is no UN peacekeeping mission in Nigeria. The UK has no plans to make representations to the UN Security Council on the deployment of peacekeeping forces to Nigeria as we do not assess their deployment to be the most effective way to tackle the conflict with Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa, and create long-term stability. In North East Nigeria, the UK provides a comprehensive package of security, humanitarian and stabilisation assistance to help Nigeria tackle the threat from these terrorist groups, and support affected communities. We work closely with the UN, including through our support to the UN Development Programme Stabilisation Facility in North East Nigeria and our support to the work of the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel.

UN peacekeeping is not suited to mounting offensive operations against terrorist networks. The UK troops deploying to MINUSMA, the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali, will help the mission fulfil its mandated tasks, including protection of civilians and support towards implementation of the Algiers Peace Agreement.

James Duddridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what criteria the Government plans to use to make an assessment of the effectiveness of the fight against West Africa's Islamist insurgency; and what steps the Government is taking to provide social and economic support to that region after that conflict ends.

The Government condemns all acts of terrorism committed by extremist groups, including Boko Haram, Islamic State West Africa, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and Jama'a Nusrat ul-Islam wa al-Muslimin (JNIM). We are committed to working with West African countries and our international partners to support the fight against Islamist insurgencies in West Africa. We consider a wide range of factors when assessing the effectiveness of the fight against these groups, including reporting from our staff in country and information from international partners.

We provide a comprehensive package of security and stabilisation support across West Africa to tackle the immediate impact and long-term drivers of conflict, and to support local communities. Examples of this support include: a contribution of £2 million in 2019-20 and a further £3 million in 2020-21 to the Lake Chad Basin Regional Stabilisation Facility, to strengthen community security, provide basic services and support livelihoods; and our adaptive social protection programme in the Sahel, which has helped over 92,000 vulnerable households across the Sahel adapt and build their resilience to climate change, a key driver of instability.

James Duddridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what the titles are of the 15 projects funded through the John Bunyan fund for Freedom of Religion and Belief.

In August 2019, we launched the John Bunyan Fund for Freedom of Religion or Belief. This is a designated funding stream. Last financial year we funded 15 research projects which cover the challenges faced by different communities, such as Christians, Yazidis and Humanists, as well as cross-cutting issues such as migration and the double vulnerability experienced by women from minority faith backgrounds. The research projects have provided the Government, and the wider international community, with more granular recommendations on how we might tackle the problem of persecution as it affects particular countries or groups. The titles of the 15 projects have not been published for sensitivity reasons, but we can confirm that the FCDO supported research projects in a diverse range of geographic regions, including Asia, the Middle East and Africa. All projects have reported back in line with FCDO agreed project management processes.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what the reporting requirements and accountability mechanisms are for projects funded from the John Bunyan fund for Freedom of Religion and Belief.

In August 2019, we launched the John Bunyan Fund for Freedom of Religion or Belief. This is a designated funding stream. Last financial year we funded 15 research projects which cover the challenges faced by different communities, such as Christians, Yazidis and Humanists, as well as cross-cutting issues such as migration and the double vulnerability experienced by women from minority faith backgrounds. The research projects have provided the Government, and the wider international community, with more granular recommendations on how we might tackle the problem of persecution as it affects particular countries or groups. The titles of the 15 projects have not been published for sensitivity reasons, but we can confirm that the FCDO supported research projects in a diverse range of geographic regions, including Asia, the Middle East and Africa. All projects have reported back in line with FCDO agreed project management processes.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, how much of the John Bunyan fund for Freedom of Religion and Belief remains unallocated.

Over the past two financial years (2018 - 19 and 2019 - 20), we allocated £1m to Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB) projects via the Magna Carta Fund. FoRB policy programming is now done through the John Bunyan Fund. This financial year, we have allocated less than before across human rights programmes because of delays as a result of COVID-19. This reduced amount also reflects the shorter delivery period for the remainder of this financial year. £100,000 has been allocated this financial year through the John Bunyan Fund for Freedom of Religion or Belief. None of this funding remains unallocated. Last financial year, the 15 research projects received around £140,000 in total.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, how much of the £1 million Magna Carta fund for freedom of religion and belief projects remains unallocated.

Over the past two financial years (2018 - 19 and 2019 - 20), we allocated £1m to Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB) projects via the Magna Carta Fund. FoRB policy programming is now done through the John Bunyan Fund. This financial year, we have allocated less than before across human rights programmes because of delays as a result of COVID-19. This reduced amount also reflects the shorter delivery period for the remainder of this financial year. £100,000 has been allocated this financial year through the John Bunyan Fund for Freedom of Religion or Belief. None of this funding remains unallocated. Last financial year, the 15 research projects received around £140,000 in total.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, how much funding has been allocated to each of the 15 projects funded through the John Bunyan fund for Freedom of Religion and Belief.

Over the past two financial years (2018 - 19 and 2019 - 20), we allocated £1m to Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB) projects via the Magna Carta Fund. FoRB policy programming is now done through the John Bunyan Fund. This financial year, we have allocated less than before across human rights programmes because of delays as a result of COVID-19. This reduced amount also reflects the shorter delivery period for the remainder of this financial year. £100,000 has been allocated this financial year through the John Bunyan Fund for Freedom of Religion or Belief. None of this funding remains unallocated. Last financial year, the 15 research projects received around £140,000 in total.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the level of freedom of religion or belief in Mexico.

The Mexican Constitution guarantees freedom of religion or belief for all its citizens. States as well as federal officials have responsibility for ensuring non-discrimination, and we welcome the 2019 launch of the National Strategy for the Promotion of Respect and Tolerance of Religious Diversity. The assessment by the Mexican Government, the local UN Human Rights office, and local civil society organisations is that while there are some cases of individuals being targeted because of their religion or beliefs, people are more often targeted for their work and activities in defence of human rights or because of religious intolerance between faith groups in Mexico.

The UK Government continues to engage regularly with Mexican authorities at ministerial, official, and state level to discuss human rights, including Freedom of Religion or Belief, and to support a broad human rights agenda in Mexico. On 28 July, Lord Ahmad, the Minister for human rights, discussed human rights with his Mexican counterpart.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policy on freedom of religion or belief of the case of six Protestant Christian families in El Encanto village, Las Margaritas Municipality, Chiapas Mexico, who had their electricity cut off on 27 July 2020 because they refused to sign an agreement which obliged them to participate in religious activities associated with the Catholic religion and to help with the upkeep of the local Catholic church building.

We are aware of reports of the removal of some Mexican Protestants' access to water, electricity, and other basic services in Mexico, and have raised this specific case with the Mexican authorities. The overall assessment by the Mexican Government, the local UN Human Rights office, and local civil society organisations is that, while there are some cases of individuals being targeted because of their religion or beliefs, people are more often targeted for their work and activities in defence of human rights or because of religious intolerance between faith groups in Mexico. We will continue to raise our concerns when we become aware of such cases. The UK Government continues to engage regularly with Mexican authorities at ministerial, official, and state level to discuss human rights, including Freedom of Religion or Belief, and to support a broad human rights agenda in Mexico.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect on the rule of law in Hong Kong of the recent arrest of fifteen democracy activists and former lawmakers.

We are concerned about the arrests of a number of political figures in Hong Kong, and are following these cases closely. The rule of law and independence of the judiciary are one of the foundations on which Hong Kong's success and prosperity is built. It is crucial that Hong Kong's courts are able to exercise their power independently and free from interference. We therefore expect any arrests and judicial processes to be conducted in a fair and transparent manner.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of whether the arrest of fifteen prominent democracy activists and former lawmakers in Hong Kong on 18 April 2020 is a breach of the Sino-British Joint Declaration.

We are concerned about the arrests of a number of political figures in Hong Kong, and are following these cases closely. We expect any arrests and judicial processes to be conducted in a fair and transparent manner. The right to peaceful protest is fundamental to Hong Kong's way of life and as such is protected in both the Joint Declaration and the Basic Law. It is essential that any protests are conducted peacefully, and that the authorities avoid actions that inflame tensions. The authorities should focus on rebuilding trust through a process of meaningful political dialogue.

We continue to follow the situation in Hong Kong closely and we provide a full assessment of the implementation of the Joint Declaration in the six-monthly reports to Parliament. The UK remains committed to upholding the rights and freedoms underpinned by the Joint Declaration, the Basic Law and enshrined in Hong Kong's Bill of Rights, and we expect the Chinese authorities to respect and preserve Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy. We have made this position clear to the Hong Kong and Chinese authorities and will continue to do so, publicly and privately.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is bound by Article 22 of Hong Kong Basic Law which ensures that Chinese Government departments cannot interfere in the affairs of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy is guaranteed under the Sino-British Joint Declaration to which the UK is a party. We expect the Chinese authorities to respect and preserve this high degree of autonomy.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps the UK is taking as co-signatory to the Sino-British Joint Declaration to defend the freedom to protest in Hong Kong.

The right to peaceful protest is fundamental to Hong Kong's way of life and as such is protected in both the Joint Declaration and the Basic Law. The UK remains committed to upholding the rights and freedoms underpinned by the Joint Declaration, the Basic Law and enshrined in Hong Kong's Bill of Rights, and we expect the Chinese authorities to respect and preserve Hong Kong's rights and freedoms and high degree of autonomy. We regularly make this position clear to the Hong Kong and Chinese Governments, and will continue to do so, both publicly and privately.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the decision by the Chinese Foreign Ministry to expel United States citizens working for the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and the New York Times from mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau, as it pertains to the obligations arising from the Sino-British Joint Declaration.

As Lord Ahmad said in the Lords on 19 March, we have consistently stated our concern about media freedoms in China. The Chinese Government's announcement that they will prevent certain American journalists from working in China and Macao further restricts transparency at a particularly important time. The suggestion by the Chinese MFA that this measure may apply in Hong Kong is deeply concerning. The Sino-British Joint Declaration is clear. It sets out that immigration decisions are the sole responsibility of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government, and freedom of the press is guaranteed. It is imperative that these rights and freedoms are fully respected.

We are concerned about the implications this decision could have upon British Journalists. We will continue to monitor the situation and work with the Chinese and Hong Kong Governments on this issue.

We remain fully committed to upholding Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy and rights and freedoms underpinned by the legally binding Joint Declaration, and the 'One Country, Two Systems' framework set out in the Hong Kong Basic Law.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the decision by the Chinese Foreign Ministry to expel US citizens working for the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and the New York Times from mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau, as it pertains to Hong Kong’s Basic Law.

As Lord Ahmad said in the Lords on 19 March, we have consistently stated our concern about media freedoms in China. The Chinese Government's announcement that they will prevent certain American journalists from working in China and Macao further restricts transparency at a particularly important time. The suggestion by the Chinese MFA that this measure may apply in Hong Kong is deeply concerning. The Sino-British Joint Declaration is clear. It sets out that immigration decisions are the sole responsibility of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government, and freedom of the press is guaranteed. It is imperative that these rights and freedoms are fully respected.

We are concerned about the implications this decision could have upon British Journalists. We will continue to monitor the situation and work with the Chinese and Hong Kong Governments on this issue.

We remain fully committed to upholding Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy and rights and freedoms underpinned by the legally binding Joint Declaration, and the 'One Country, Two Systems' framework set out in the Hong Kong Basic Law.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the decision by the Chinese Foreign Ministry to expel US citizens working for the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and the New York Times from mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau, as that decision pertains to the Hong Kong Basic Law.

As Lord Ahmad said in the Lords on 19 March, we have consistently stated our concern about media freedoms in China. The Chinese Government's announcement that they will prevent certain American journalists from working in China and Macao further restricts transparency at a particularly important time. The suggestion by the Chinese MFA that this measure may apply in Hong Kong is deeply concerning. The Sino-British Joint Declaration is clear. It sets out that immigration decisions are the sole responsibility of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government, and freedom of the press is guaranteed. It is imperative that these rights and freedoms are fully respected.

We are concerned about the implications this decision could have upon British Journalists. We will continue to monitor the situation and work with the Chinese and Hong Kong Governments on this issue.

We remain fully committed to upholding Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy and rights and freedoms underpinned by the legally binding Joint Declaration, and the 'One Country, Two Systems' framework set out in the Hong Kong Basic Law.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps he is taking to help ensure press freedom in Hong Kong in line with the UK's obligations under the Sino-British Joint Declaration.

As Lord Ahmad said in the Lords on 19 March, we have consistently stated our concern about media freedoms in China. The Chinese Government's announcement that they will prevent certain American journalists from working in China and Macao further restricts transparency at a particularly important time. The suggestion by the Chinese MFA that this measure may apply in Hong Kong is deeply concerning. The Sino-British Joint Declaration is clear. It sets out that immigration decisions are the sole responsibility of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government, and freedom of the press is guaranteed. It is imperative that these rights and freedoms are fully respected.

We are concerned about the implications this decision could have upon British Journalists. We will continue to monitor the situation and work with the Chinese and Hong Kong Governments on this issue.

We remain fully committed to upholding Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy and rights and freedoms underpinned by the legally binding Joint Declaration, and the 'One Country, Two Systems' framework set out in the Hong Kong Basic Law.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps the UK Government is taking to tackle human rights breaches in North Korea.

We continue to call on the North Korean Government to acknowledge and address the many reports of serious and wide-ranging human rights violations in the country. We delivered a strong statement at North Korea's Universal Periodic Review in May 2019, and we called on the North Korean Government to show the world that freedoms supposedly enshrined in its constitution are not a mirage at the UN General Assembly in October 2019. At the UN Human Rights Council in March, we made clear that the UK stands ready to engage and assist the North Korean Government on human rights issues. We also raise our concerns bilaterally through our Embassy in Pyongyang and the North Korean Embassy in London. The Foreign Secretary is looking forward to engaging further with the right honourable MP and the All Party Parliamentary Group on North Korea on this issue.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps he has taken to provide support to his Nigerian counterpart to tackle the security situation in Nigeria; and whether that support has been (a) accepted or (b) rejected.

The UK remains committed to working with the Government of Nigeria to help tackle insecurity and address the underlying causes of the instability. This includes supporting Nigeria and its neighbours in the fight against Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa. We currently provide a comprehensive package of support to Nigeria, which includes humanitarian and development support, to help tackle this threat. The UK also conducts training and capacity building, including on Human Rights compliance, for Nigerian armed forces deploying to the North East. We regularly express our concern about the increasing levels of violence with the Nigerian Government. Most recently the Prime Minister raised this with President Buhari during the UK-Africa Investment Summit in January, and the President expressed his gratitude for UK support.

James Duddridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations he has made to his Nigerian counterpart on the abduction and imprisonment of Leah Sharibu by Boko Haram; and what response he has received to those representations.

The UK has repeatedly called for the release of all those abducted by Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa (ISWA), including Leah Sharibu. 19th February marked the second anniversary of her abduction. At the time of the Dapchi abductions, the then Foreign Secretary spoke to the Nigerian Vice President to offer UK assistance in the search for the schoolchildren, but none was requested. We continue to use our public messaging and extensive engagement with the Government of Nigeria to push for urgent action to secure the release of all abductees.

James Duddridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will publish the legal advice which led his Department to conclude that the arrest of the fifteen year old girl directly outside the UK consulate in Hong Kong on 11 January 2020 occurred on land which does not carry any special status under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.

As a matter of course, the Government does not publish its legal advice.

8th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the validity of reports that Uighur Muslims who have been released from re-education camps have been subjected to forced labour.

We note statements made by the Chinese authorities about the ‘graduation’ of Uyghur Muslims and other ethnic minorities from ‘vocational education centres’ in Xinjiang, but we have seen evidence to suggest these centres continue to operate. We have particularly serious concerns about the human rights situation in Xinjiang including the extra-judicial detention of over a million Uyghur Muslims and other minorities in ‘political re-education camps’, systematic restrictions on Uyghur culture and the practice of Islam, and extensive and invasive surveillance targeting minorities. We are aware of recent reports of forced labour, including from respected academics and credible non-governmental organisations. These reports are based on first-hand testimony and documents from the Chinese authorities and add to the growing body of evidence about the disturbing situation that Uyghurs and other minorities are facing in Xinjiang.

The UK Ambassador to China raised our concerns most recently with Vice Foreign Minister Qin Gang on 24 December 2019 and we regularly discuss concerns about the human rights situation in Xinjiang with likeminded partners including at the UN. We have issued or joined a number of statements of concern in recent months: on 29 October at UN Third Committee, the UK read out a joint statement signed by 22 others drawing attention to the human rights violations and abuses in Xinjiang and called on China to uphold its obligations to respect human rights; on 24 September, during the UN General Assembly Lord (Tariq) Ahmad called on China to allow UN observers immediate and unfettered access to the region; on 17 September, at the 42nd session of the UN Human Rights Council, the UK again called for UN experts to be granted unfettered access to Xinjiang and raised our concerns on arbitrary detention.

8th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the validity of reports of the arrest and abuse of medical personnel at recent protests in Hong Kong that amount to violations of humanitarian law.

We are seriously concerned by reports of the arrest and abuse of medical personnel in Hong Kong. We expect the Hong Kong authorities to abide by international humanitarian laws and practices. It is vital that those who are injured are able to receive appropriate medical treatment. We expect any arrests and judicial processes to be fair and transparent. We have called consistently for a robust, independent inquiry into recent events in Hong Kong.

8th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations he has made to his Chinese counterpart on China's claims that Uighur Muslims have been released from Xinjiuang re-education camps; and whether he has received evidence of their release.

We note statements made by the Chinese authorities about the ‘graduation’ of Uyghur Muslims and other ethnic minorities from ‘vocational education centres’ in Xinjiang, but we have seen evidence to suggest these centres continue to operate. We have particularly serious concerns about the human rights situation in Xinjiang including the extra-judicial detention of over a million Uyghur Muslims and other minorities in ‘political re-education camps’, systematic restrictions on Uyghur culture and the practice of Islam, and extensive and invasive surveillance targeting minorities. We are aware of recent reports of forced labour, including from respected academics and credible non-governmental organisations. These reports are based on first-hand testimony and documents from the Chinese authorities and add to the growing body of evidence about the disturbing situation that Uyghurs and other minorities are facing in Xinjiang.

The UK Ambassador to China raised our concerns most recently with Vice Foreign Minister Qin Gang on 24 December 2019 and we regularly discuss concerns about the human rights situation in Xinjiang with likeminded partners including at the UN. We have issued or joined a number of statements of concern in recent months: on 29 October at UN Third Committee, the UK read out a joint statement signed by 22 others drawing attention to the human rights violations and abuses in Xinjiang and called on China to uphold its obligations to respect human rights; on 24 September, during the UN General Assembly Lord (Tariq) Ahmad called on China to allow UN observers immediate and unfettered access to the region; on 17 September, at the 42nd session of the UN Human Rights Council, the UK again called for UN experts to be granted unfettered access to Xinjiang and raised our concerns on arbitrary detention.

8th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations he has made to the International Court of Justice on the case of The Gambia v. Myanmar.

We are following proceedings in The Hague closely and welcome the International Court of Justice's consideration of whether genocide has occurred. The UK is not currently involved in the case. UK Ministers have consistently expressed their profound concern at the horrific events of August 2017 in Rakhine state. The perpetrators of these atrocities should be held to account.

8th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the validity of reports that Uighar Muslims have been released from re-education camps in Xinjiang, China.

We note statements made by the Chinese authorities about the ‘graduation’ of Uyghur Muslims and other ethnic minorities from ‘vocational education centres’ in Xinjiang, but we have seen evidence to suggest these centres continue to operate. We have particularly serious concerns about the human rights situation in Xinjiang including the extra-judicial detention of over a million Uyghur Muslims and other minorities in ‘political re-education camps’, systematic restrictions on Uyghur culture and the practice of Islam, and extensive and invasive surveillance targeting minorities. We are aware of recent reports of forced labour, including from respected academics and credible non-governmental organisations. These reports are based on first-hand testimony and documents from the Chinese authorities and add to the growing body of evidence about the disturbing situation that Uyghurs and other minorities are facing in Xinjiang.

The UK Ambassador to China raised our concerns most recently with Vice Foreign Minister Qin Gang on 24 December 2019 and we regularly discuss concerns about the human rights situation in Xinjiang with likeminded partners including at the UN. We have issued or joined a number of statements of concern in recent months: on 29 October at UN Third Committee, the UK read out a joint statement signed by 22 others drawing attention to the human rights violations and abuses in Xinjiang and called on China to uphold its obligations to respect human rights; on 24 September, during the UN General Assembly Lord (Tariq) Ahmad called on China to allow UN observers immediate and unfettered access to the region; on 17 September, at the 42nd session of the UN Human Rights Council, the UK again called for UN experts to be granted unfettered access to Xinjiang and raised our concerns on arbitrary detention.

14th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will reconsider the provisions under Section 33 of the VAT Act 1994 which mean charitable bodies cannot recover VAT on public benefit works on endowed sites.

Eligibility for VAT refunds for public bodies is subject to strict criteria, as set out in UK legislation. Although the Government keeps all taxes under review, there are no plans to extend the scope of Section 33 at this time.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to ensure that elderly people in self-isolation due to the outbreak of covid-19 are able to access cash for grocery shopping.

The Government recognises that cash will remain important to the daily lives of millions of people during the Covid-19 outbreak, particularly to those in vulnerable groups.

The UK has a resilient cash supply system and the cash industry has well developed contingency arrangements. The Government is working closely with the cash industry and regulators to ensure that people continue to be able to access their cash.

The banking and finance industry has committed to support all customers who are impacted. Customers who are impacted are advised to temporarily use alternatives where possible - such as digital banking, telephone banking or the Post Office - or contact their account provider.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what the cost to the public purse was of the (a) freezes and (b) reductions in alcohol duty in each year since 2012.

Based on the Office for Budget Responsibility’s (OBR) published policy costings, we estimate the cumulative loss to the Exchequer from the successive alcohol duty freezes and cuts from financial year 2013-14 to the current financial year 2018-19 to be around £5.2bn.

The annual impacts on the Exchequer are reported in the table below.

(£m)

2013-14

2014-15

2015-16

2016-17

2017-18

2018-19

2019-20

Exchequer Impact

-170

-505

-685

-770

-820

-1,059

-1,217

These past decisions will also incur future losses to the Exchequer in years beyond 2019-20. The OBR’s costings of previously announced policies currently extend to 2023-23, and the future impact of these announced freezes and cuts in the alcohol duties to that year is estimated to be around £5.2bn.

The future annual impacts are set out in the table below.

(£m)

2019-20

2020-21

2021-22

2022-23

Exchequer Impact

-1,246

-1,282

-1,320

-1,361

The OBR’s policy costings are available at the following link:

http://budgetresponsibility.org.uk/download/policy-measures-database/

Steve Barclay
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of extending to six months the three month limit for tribunal applications for employees claiming to be the subject of sexual harassment.

The Government consultation on Sexual Harassment in the Workplace asked whether the time limit for taking a harassment, discrimination or victimisation claim to an Employment Tribunal should be extended, including in cases of sexual harassment.

We are considering the responses we received and will publish our response to this consultation in due course.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of level of risk of online harms for children including (a) child sexual abuse and (b) exposure to inappropriate sexual content on social media during the covid-19 pandemic.

The Government recognises that the measures required to tackle COVID-19 mean it is likely that more people are spending more time online, including children and vulnerable users.

The Internet Watch Foundation reported an increase of almost 50% in indecent images of children online over an eleven-week period during lockdown and that there were 8.8 million attempts by UK internet users to access child sexual abuse imagery during a one-month period during lockdown.

We have worked with technology companies, civil society and academia on online harms and amplifying messages to ensure online child users are protected. We have also worked across government and agencies to ensure that teachers and parents and carers have access to the support they need to help keep children safe online. This includes the launch at the start of national lockdown in March, of the NCA-CEOP Education team’s #OnlineSafetyAtHome campaign, to reach those most at risk, as a result of which ThinkuKnow resources aimed at parents, carers and children have now been downloaded over half a million times.

Protecting children is at the heart of our Online Harms agenda, and wider government priorities. We expect companies to use a proportionate range of tools, including age assurance and age verification technologies, to prevent children accessing age-inappropriate content and to protect them from other harms.

Our proposals as part of the Online Harms framework sets out our plans to introduce world-leading legislation to tackle harmful content online and make the UK the safest place in the world to be online. This legislation will include a legal duty of care on online platforms, backed up by an independent regulator to hold them to account. This will make companies more responsible for their user’s safety online, especially children.

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many people her Department is housing in the Chimney House Hotel, Sandbach; and for how long those people have been so housed.

The number of asylum seekers accommodated in each local authority can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/asylum-and-resettlement-datasets#asylum-support

This includes the numbers of those accommodated under Section 98, Section 95 and Section 4.The length of stay varies, with the average length of stay not available in a reportable format. To provide the information could only be done at disproportionate cost.

It is Home Office policy to move people into suitable Dispersed Accommodation (DA) once their claim for support has been assessed.The current global pandemic has presented significant challenges when it comes to the provision of asylum accommodation. This has included the need to source sufficient accommodation to meet demand.

A comprehensive cessation plan has been established with input from Local Authorities, Other Government Departments and Stakeholders to reduce the number of people in hotels.Work to explore further options to accommodate asylum seekers have included work with the Ministry of Defence to identify and to utilise MOD sites at short notice.

This accommodation is contingency accommodation, whilst pressures in the system are addressed and will be discontinued as soon as the Home Office is able to do so.Our accommodation providers are working to maximise their procurement plans throughout the UK, but they can only do so with Local Authority agreement. It is our intention to move all individuals in contingency accommodation into suitable DA as soon as reasonably practical.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many (a) people are eligible for compensation and (b) people have received compensation from the Windrush compensation scheme.

An updated Impact Assessment was published in February 2020 which outlines the Home Office’s estimate that there could be 11,500 eligible claims to the Windrush Compensation Scheme.

This has reduced since the previous Impact Assessment was published in April 2019 (which predicted 15,000 eligible claims), due to lower than anticipated claims to date.

There inevitably is a high degree of uncertainty around estimated volumes of claims and the Department will continue to review estimates as more payments are made.

Information on the total number of applications, claims paid and the overall amount paid out by the scheme since April 2019 is available to view on GOV.UK at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/windrush-compensation-scheme-data-may-2020.

Priti Patel
Home Secretary
13th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the timeframe is for the publication of the Home Office funded research by the University of Bristol on prostitution policy.

As part of the Government’s response to the 2016 Home Affairs Select Committee report into prostitution, the Home Office provided £150,000 to fund research specifically into the nature and prevalence of prostitution in England and Wales.

This independent research was led by the University of Bristol and was published on 30 October 2019. It is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/nature-of-prostitution-and-sex-work-in-england-and-wales

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when she plans to publish the Government's alcohol strategy.

The Government is working to reduce alcohol-related harms with the NHS long-term plan, the prevention Green Paper, support for children of alcohol-dependent parents and action to tackle alcohol-related violent crime. Together, this work constitutes an effective package to address alcohol abuse. We are not planning a stand-alone strategy.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what progress has been made on bringing forward legislation to give freeholders the right to challenge the reasonableness of estate maintenance charges and management fees.

The Government is committed to promoting fairness and transparency for homeowners and ensuring that consumers are protected from abuse and poor service. We intend to legislate to ensure that freehold homeowners who pay estate rentcharges have the right to challenge their reasonableness and to go to the tribunal to appoint a new management company if necessary. This is part of a comprehensive programme of reform to end unfair practices in the leasehold market and on managed estates. We will bring forward legislation in the upcoming session to set future ground rents to zero. This will be the first part of seminal two-part legislation to implement reforms in this Parliament.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how the proposed new infrastructure levy to replace section 106 agreements will operate.

In the Planning for the Future White Paper we propose that the existing parallel regimes for securing developer contributions, the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) and section 106 planning obligations, are replaced with a new, consolidated ‘Infrastructure Levy’.

The new Levy will raise at least as much value as is currently captured through CIL and section 106. We are exploring a number of different options for setting the Levy, including but not limited to a single national rate. The rate charged will depend on the approach taken. We will assess a number of different options for the setting of the Levy rates, in order to establish optimal approach.

The new Levy will be charged on the final value of a development and will include a value-based minimum threshold below which the levy is not charged, to prevent low viability development becoming unviable.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, with reference to the proposed planning changes, what steps his Department will take to protect the supply of affordable housing and ensure it is delivered where it is needed.

The Government is committed to increasing the supply of affordable housing and has recently confirmed the details of £12.2 billion of investment. This includes a new £11.5 billion Affordable Homes Programme which will be delivered over 5 years from next year (2021-2026), providing up to 180,000 new homes across the country, should economic conditions allow. This programme represents the highest single funding commitment to affordable housing in a decade.

Affordable housing is also delivered through developer contributions in the planning system. The Planning for the Future White Paper, published on 6 August, sets out proposals for reform of the planning system in England. This includes reform of developer contributions and proposes a new nationally-set ‘Infrastructure Levy’, which will be designed to deliver at least as much affordable housing as current arrangements. Under the proposed approach, housing associations and providers of affordable housing will continue to play an important role in delivering affordable housing secured through developer contributions.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
4th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of how Congleton (a) has benefited to date and (b) will benefit from the Towns Fund.

The £3.6 billion Towns Fund will drive the economic regeneration of towns across England to deliver long-term economic and productivity growth.?As you know, there are currently an initial 101 places developing proposals for Town Deals to benefit from the Towns Fund.?

I am pleased to confirm we have committed to a future competitive round of the Towns Fund. This will allow for more places?like Congleton?to benefit from the economic regeneration of towns to deliver long-term economic and productivity growth.?We will publish details of the competition in due course.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
4th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of how Congleton constituency has (a) benefited from to date and (b) will benefit from the Reopening High Streets Safely Fund.

Our £50 million Reopening High Streets Safely Fund is playing an important role in getting people back to work, supporting our businesses and helping to reinvigorate our communities. Congleton will benefit from £339,533 that has been made available to Cheshire East Unitary Authority as part of the Reopening High Streets Safely Fund. Already they are using their allocation to enable social distancing in 16 town centres across Cheshire East. They are also delivering a communications campaign for the people of Congleton, ensuring they know about the measures in place to support the safe reopening of their high streets and other commercial areas.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
4th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of how the High Streets Task Force will benefit towns in (a) Congleton constituency and (b) England.

The Government is providing support to local leadership with a High Streets Task Force, giving high streets and town centres expert advice to adapt and thrive. Over five years this is providing hands-on support to local areas in England to develop data-driven innovative strategies and connect local areas to relevant experts. The Task Force, hosted by a consortium led by the Institute of Place Management, is also providing training and help to improve coordination between different groups working to improve their high streets.

In July 2020, the Task Force launched its range of support for high streets in England affected by Covid-19. Support is open to all high streets and town centres that wish to use it, including in Congleton. This includes access to a range of online training, data dashboards and guidance, which will be available on the Task Force’s website. This covers advice and information on local recovery planning, coordination, public space and place marketing. For more information on the Task Force and to kept up to date on its work, local places can register their interest at https://www.highstreetstaskforce.org.uk/.

The Task Force will also be providing specific expert support and training to a number of places over the course of its five-year contract. Some of this support will be prioritised according to need.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
4th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of how the Kickstarting Tourism Package has (a) benefited to date) and (b) will benefit Congleton consituency.

The Kick-Starting Tourism Package provides £10 million of ERDF funding as part of the government’s drive to boost the recovery of the economy and provide small and medium sized enterprises in tourist destinations help to adapt their businesses following the coronavirus pandemic.

Cheshire and Warrington Growth Hub, which forms part of the Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership has been allocated £223,873 for the area, which encompasses the Congleton constituency. It is working with the business community to target and allocate funding in line with local priorities. ?

Applications are expected to be sought imminently, but no funding awards have yet been made by Cheshire and Warrington Growth Hub. No information is yet available on the geographic composition of awards.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps his department has taken to ensure that people who have fallen behind with council tax payments are supported to repay rather than becoming liable to pay the full years bill upfront.

Local authorities are responsible for the collection of council tax. Anyone who is concerned about falling behind with their council tax payments should contact their council as soon as possible to discuss the support available. Guidance issued by my Department makes clear that councils should be willing to take account of individuals’ circumstances, and agree affordable and sustainable payment plans to ensure debts are paid off in a reasonable time. The Council will also be able to advise on eligibility for a reduced bill, for example through its local council tax support scheme and any additional help under the £500 million council tax hardship fund. This is part of the Government's response to COVID-19 and enables councils to provide further reductions in bills for economically vulnerable households.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, with reference to the Government's News story of 2 May 2020, Top-up to local business grant funds scheme, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of permitting unused monies paid to local authorities under the initial Government business support grant funds scheme to be used in the discretionary top-up scheme.

The Government has confirmed to local authorities that the additional costs of the Discretionary Grants Fund will firstly be met in whole or in part from unused monies allocated to them for the Small Business and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants Funds. Only where local authorities have disbursed more that 95 per cent of their original funding allocation will their funding will be topped up to ensure that they can provide the full value of the Discretionary Grants Fund.

We recognise that some local authorities may still have residual initial funding available, even accounting for the Discretionary Grants Fund expenditure. Officials continue to stay in close contact with local authorities?to understand how the schemes are performing and advising ministers on any additional support?which could be offered to help businesses and support local economies. No decisions have yet been taken, but the level of demand will continue to be monitored.

12th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the second report of the Private Law Working Group entitled, The Time for Change, The Need for Change, The Case for Change, published in March 2020.

The work of the Private Law Working Group, set up by the President of the Family Division, has been invaluable in helping to inform our programme of reform currently underway in the private family law system.

The report features a number of recommendations which we are working to develop alongside our colleagues in the judiciary and other representatives from the family justice system through the Family Justice Board.

Alex Chalk
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps his Department is able to take to speed up procedures in the Office of the Public Guardian.

The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) has many areas of responsibility, but the areas most affected by COVID-19, leading to delays in procedures, are those regarding the registering of lasting and enduring powers of attorney (LPAs and EPAs), and time taken for an investigation into concerns raised about an attorney or deputy to be approved by the public guardian.

LPAs and EPAs are paper documents that require a physical staff presence in an office to process and register; therefore these elements of the registration process have been affected by the need to maintain social distancing measures. Additionally, the staff numbers that are available to attend the office to carry out these physical activities are significantly reduced due to COVID-19. Measures introduced were focused on enabling as much remote working as possible, and also increasing the number of staff hours available in the office through overtime payments.

OPG aims to register Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) in 40 working days (this includes a statutory 4-week waiting period). OPG has seen an impact on the time taken to process an LPA since COVID-19 began affecting circumstances. As of 22/10/2020 the average time taken to process and dispatch an LPA was 58 days against the target of 40 days. As a comparison, the July average came in at 71 days. The average of 40 days was achieved in 2019/20.

As part of a wider transformation programme, OPG is developing options to consult on proposals for modernising the LPA, with the opportunity for less reliance on paper and therefore the need for the physical presence of staff in offices.

When investigating concerns regarding an attorney or deputy, OPG needs to establish the mental capacity of the person (the donor of the LPA/EPA or the person who has a deputyship order in place for them) before conducting further enquiries into the allegations made. COVID-19 has prevented or delayed the ability for assessment of capacity to be made, as this is done through specially arranged visits to the person’s home/residence. As of the end of September 2020, an investigation was taking an average of 83 days against the target of 70 days. As a comparison, an average of 74 days was achieved in 2019/20. Where any serious concerns about a person are identified, OPG informs the local authority so they can follow up at a local level and take any actions they feel are necessary.

Alex Chalk
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps his Department is taking to reduce the waiting time for Court of Protection decisions.

HMCTS and the MOJ have been working together to pilot new, digital ways of working in the Court of Protection that could streamline processes and remove both administrative and procedural delay. Emphasis has also been placed on increased digital working, to increase efficiency and facilitate remote working for both Court users and Court staff. These pilots are still in their early stages.

A digital upload pilot that commenced in April enables professional users to submit their Property and Affairs deputyship applications online. Over 200 applications have now been issued through this pilot, which has enabled orders, in non-contentious cases, to be made within weeks of the application being received.

A second pilot is being developed to encourage applicants to notify parties upfront. This will remove delays in waiting for responses and enable non-contentious cases to be dealt with in a more timely and efficient manner.

In addition, this month a new centralised team will be created at the Court of Protection, called the ‘Orders Hub’, to focus specifically on orders and process them more efficiently. Staff will be provided with targeted training to increase their expertise, tasks will be completed in tandem to reduce the time taken and areas of improvement will be identified to allow changes to be implemented. This will enable court orders to be issued quicker, and some within days of receipt

Alex Chalk
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
22nd Sep 2020
What plans he has to include proposals on strengthening non-custodial sentences in the forthcoming sentencing White Paper.

The Sentencing White Paper sets out our plans for more effective community sentencing that offers punishment and responds to the underlying drivers of offending.

We will better identify individual needs, provide treatment options where appropriate and utilise technology to drive compliance. These measures will support offenders to change their lifestyles for good and protect the public.

The reforms will be underpinned by our ongoing probation reform, to deliver effective, tailored and responsive supervision of offenders in the community.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
21st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to the Infant Life Preservation Act 1929, how many people have been convicted in each category of offence of child destruction for performing abortions on other people in each of the last 30 years.

The Ministry of Justice publishes statistics on the number of convictions for child destruction. This is available for each year since 2008 up to 2018, in the Outcomes by Offence data tool available at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/802314/outcomes-by-offence-tool-2018.xlsx

  • Select ‘4.3 Child Destruction’ in the Offence filter; convictions can be found in row 25.

The number of convictions for child destruction in the years between 1992 (the earliest available in the court proceedings database) and 2007, can be found in the attached table.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, pursuant to the Answer of 21 January 2020 to Question 6069, what steps he will take to prevent sex selective abortion under the Abortion (Northern Ireland) (No 2) Regulations 2020.

An abortion on the grounds of sex-selection is not one of the lawful grounds for a termination of pregnancy under the Abortion (Northern Ireland) (No. 2) Regulations 2020.

The UK Government takes any suggestion of sex-selective abortion seriously and has conducted a careful study of the data in GB which shows no evidence that it has been taking place.

Data collection and publication on abortion related issues in Northern Ireland is a matter for the Department of Health in Northern Ireland to take forward.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
16th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what steps he is taking to ensure that the new abortion regulations for Northern Ireland do not go further than those laid out in section 9 of the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc) Act 2019.

We have now finished a six-week consultation on the proposals for the new framework that would provide lawful access to abortion services in Northern Ireland, consistent with what is required under section 9 of the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc.) Act 2019 - and the recommendations of the 2018 UN CEDAW Report.

This consultation provided an opportunity for the people in Northern Ireland and relevant organisations to properly provide input and views on the question of how we can best deliver a proposal that is consistent with what is required under section 9 of the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc.) Act 2019.

We welcomed the submissions received particularly from health professionals, statutory bodies and people with lived experience in Northern Ireland - and appreciate all of those that have taken the time to engage with the consultation.

We will now be carefully analysing the submissions received, and ensuring that the views received are reflected in the Government’s response, and inform the final framework that will be provided for in the regulations.