Gavin Williamson Portrait

Gavin Williamson

Conservative - South Staffordshire

First elected: 6th May 2010


3 APPG memberships (as of 24 Jan 2024)
Democratic Republic of Congo, Snooker, Somaliland
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
25th Oct 2022 - 8th Nov 2022
Secretary of State for Education
24th Jul 2019 - 15th Sep 2021
Secretary of State for Defence
2nd Nov 2017 - 1st May 2019
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
14th Jul 2016 - 2nd Nov 2017
Northern Ireland Affairs Committee
26th Jul 2010 - 28th Nov 2011


There are no upcoming events identified
Division Votes
Tuesday 20th February 2024
Offshore Petroleum Licensing Bill
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 279 Conservative No votes vs 0 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 226 Noes - 287
Speeches
Tuesday 6th February 2024
Fly-tipping
I thank the Minister for pointing out that the amount councils can charge in a fixed-penalty fine has gone up. …
Written Answers
Thursday 25th January 2024
Railways: Stone (Staffordshire)
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what information his Department holds on the number of passengers that have …
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
Tuesday 4th July 2023
Republic of Somaliland (Recognition) Bill 2022-23
A Bill to require His Majesty’s Government to recognise formally the Republic of Somaliland; to make provision in connection with …
MP Financial Interests
Monday 30th October 2023
1. Employment and earnings
29 September 2023, received £25,000 as a one-off bonus. Hours: no additional hours.
EDM signed
Thursday 25th January 2024
Girlguiding UK and the British Overseas Territories and military bases
That this House expresses its concern and disappointment in Girlguiding UK’s withdrawal of support in the British Overseas Territories and …
Supported Legislation
Tuesday 16th May 2023
Children not in school (register) Bill 2022-23
A Bill to place a duty on local authorities to maintain a register of children who are not in school; …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliament, Gavin Williamson has voted in 748 divisions, and 2 times against the majority of their Party.

17 Jun 2020 - Health and Personal Social Services - View Vote Context
Gavin Williamson voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 104 Conservative Aye votes vs 124 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 253 Noes - 136
30 Mar 2022 - Health and Care Bill - View Vote Context
Gavin Williamson voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 72 Conservative Aye votes vs 175 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 215 Noes - 188
View All Gavin Williamson 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
Kate Green (Labour)
(47 debate interactions)
Lindsay Hoyle (Speaker)
(30 debate interactions)
Robert Halfon (Conservative)
Minister of State (Education)
(24 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Department for Education
(998 debate contributions)
Department of Health and Social Care
(13 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
Legislation Debates
Finance Act 2024
(69 words contributed)
View All Legislation Debates
View all Gavin Williamson's debates

South Staffordshire Petitions

e-Petitions are administered by Parliament and allow members of the public to express support for a particular issue.

If an e-petition reaches 10,000 signatures the Government will issue a written response.

If an e-petition reaches 100,000 signatures the petition becomes eligible for a Parliamentary debate (usually Monday 4.30pm in Westminster Hall).

Petitions with highest South Staffordshire signature proportion
Petition Debates Contributed

The Education Committee has recently recommended introducing a statutory home educated register, and greater assessment of home educated children. These recommendations are in contrast to the views of many parents who home educate.

Remove the clauses relating to 'Children not in school' from Part 3 of the Schools Bill, and do not pursue compulsory registration of all home-schooled children. We see no evidence that this would be beneficial, and we believe the proposals place a discriminatory burden on supportive parents.


Latest EDMs signed by Gavin Williamson

13th December 2023
Gavin Williamson signed this EDM on Thursday 25th January 2024

Girlguiding UK and the British Overseas Territories and military bases

Tabled by: Judith Cummins (Labour - Bradford South)
That this House expresses its concern and disappointment in Girlguiding UK’s withdrawal of support in the British Overseas Territories and on military bases and the closure and sale of all their outdoor activity centres in the UK; notes this will have a detrimental impact on young women and communities within …
29 signatures
(Most recent: 25 Jan 2024)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 9
Conservative: 7
Scottish National Party: 4
Democratic Unionist Party: 4
Plaid Cymru: 3
Liberal Democrat: 2
View All Gavin Williamson's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Gavin Williamson, 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.


Gavin Williamson has not been granted any Urgent Questions

1 Adjournment Debate led by Gavin Williamson

Tuesday 18th January 2022

2 Bills introduced by Gavin Williamson

Introduced: 12th May 2021

A Bill to make provision in relation to freedom of speech and academic freedom in higher education institutions and in students’ unions; and for connected purposes.

This Bill received Royal Assent on 11th May 2023 and was enacted into law.


A Bill to require His Majesty’s Government to recognise formally the Republic of Somaliland; to make provision in connection with the establishing of diplomatic relations with the Republic of Somaliland; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Tuesday 4th July 2023

113 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
9th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what assessment her Department has made of the potential impact of planned closures of Royal Mail Customer Service Points on rural mail services.

The Government recognises the important role that the postal service plays in providing key services to local communities across the country.

However, as a private business, the closure of Customer Service Points is a commercial and operational matter for Royal Mail. The Government does not have a role in Royal Mail’s commercial or operational decisions.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
2nd Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of bringing forward the £400 energy support payment for residents of Park Homes to a date before 27 February 2023.

Developing and delivering the Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Funding (EBSS AF) is a complex task, and it is critical that the Government gets it right. There are significant complexities in delivering EBSS AF, which is a novel scheme with a wide variety of eligible groups with different energy arrangements. The Government remains committed to delivering for those households, including park home residents, without a direct relationship to a domestic energy supplier as soon as possible, but we need to ensure consumers are protected, and public money is well spent, including robust verification and anti-fraud checks.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
11th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if his Department will provide a package of support to small businesses that are intensive energy users.

The Government recognises the importance to secure a competitive future for our energy intensive industries (EIIs), and in recent years have provided them with extensive support, including more than £2 billion to help with the costs of energy and to protect jobs. As part of our Energy Security Strategy, we recently announced that we have extended the EII Compensation Scheme for a further three years and its budget will be more than doubled. That strategy also announced plans to consider increasing support offered by the EII Exemption Scheme. Small businesses will continue to be eligible to apply in each case.

Lee Rowley
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
15th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he will reply to the letter of 10 January 2022 from the Rt. Hon. Member for South Staffordshire on a national strategy and guidance for battery storage unit planning applications.

The Department received the letter of 10 January on 17 March, on transfer from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. A response will be issued as a priority.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of providing support for domestic users of liquified petroleum gas in the context of increases in market prices.

The price of liquified petroleum gas is affected by a range of factors, including crude oil prices, refinery capacity, stock levels, and distribution costs. Seasonal factors also play a role. The increases to wholesale price of liquified petroleum gas compared to crude tend to occur during the winter months.

Consumers of liquified petroleum gas will be eligible for the £200 energy rebate as long as they are also domestic electricity customers. Financial support also remains available for liquified petroleum gas customers with energy bills, if eligible, through the Warm Home Discount, Winter Fuel Payment and Cold Weather Payment schemes.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
2nd Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to prevent gambling companies contacting individuals who have excluded themselves from gambling platforms by (a) postal marketing and (b) other means.

As a condition of their Gambling Commission licences, all operators must offer self-exclusion procedures for customers, with multi-operator self-exclusion schemes in place for both online gambling (where all operators must be integrated with the GAMSTOP scheme) and land-based sectors.

As part of the self-exclusion process, licensees must take all reasonable steps to prevent marketing materials being sent to any self-excluded individual, including removing their details from any marketing database within two days of receiving notice of self-exclusion. If a customer has registered with GAMSTOP, all operators are expected to remove them from marketing lists. Operators who fail to comply with self-exclusion requirements are subject to enforcement action from the Gambling Commission.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
2nd Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to help protect people who exclude themselves from gambling platforms.

As a condition of their Gambling Commission licences, all operators must offer self-exclusion procedures for customers, with multi-operator self-exclusion schemes in place for both online gambling (where all operators must be integrated with the GAMSTOP scheme) and land-based sectors.

As part of the self-exclusion process, licensees must take all reasonable steps to prevent marketing materials being sent to any self-excluded individual, including removing their details from any marketing database within two days of receiving notice of self-exclusion. If a customer has registered with GAMSTOP, all operators are expected to remove them from marketing lists. Operators who fail to comply with self-exclusion requirements are subject to enforcement action from the Gambling Commission.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
22nd Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how much funding Arts Council England has provided per capita in (a) South Staffordshire, (b) Birmingham, (c) Kensington and (d) Chelsea in the financial year 2021-22.

Arts Council England (ACE) has advised that between 1 April 2021 and 31 March 2022 it provided the following funding: (a) South Staffordshire (Non-Metropolitan District) received a total of £38,500 investment representing £0.34 funding per capita; (b) Birmingham (Metropolitan District) received £33,173,995 investment representing £29.09 funding per capita; (c&d) Kensington and Chelsea (London Borough) received £6,398,309 investment representing £40.79 funding per capita.

These data are accurate at the time of writing, but are subject to change due to factors such as underspends, withdrawals, and other similar grant adjustments. The figures include both Lottery and Exchequer funding, including one-off grant schemes, such as the Culture Recovery Fund.

As part of building back more strongly, in February 2022, the government announced a series of measures to significantly increase and better distribute ACE’s funding, transforming the landscape for arts and culture to ensure that it benefits everyone. Additional funding announced at Spending Review 2021 for Arts Council England (£43.5 million) will be invested outside London in levelling up places. This means that access to arts and culture across the country will be transformed with plans to increase and better distribute funding for the sector in areas outside London by around £75 million by 2025.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether she has made an assessment of the potential impact of the policies of some schools to close toilets during lesson times on pupils' wellbeing; and if she will make a statement.

The Department trusts head teachers to develop tailored policies on the use of toilets which reflect their school’s individual contexts and needs. The 2015 Advice on Standards for School Premises is clear that suitable toilet and washing facilities must be provided for the sole use of pupils.

It is for schools to find reasonable ways, in accordance with the law, to balance every child’s right to access clean and safe toilet facilities when they need them, with every child’s right to have a safe and calm environment to learn in. In the rare cases where parents or pupils may have concerns, they should speak to their school in the first instance.

12th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps she is taking to improve school infrastructure in (a) South Staffordshire constituency, (b) Staffordshire and (c) the West Midlands.

Well maintained, safe school buildings are a priority for the Department.

The Department has allocated over £13 billion to improve the condition of school buildings since 2015, including £1.8 billion committed for the current 2022/23 financial year.

The Department recently announced that eligible schools will also receive an allocation from an additional £447 million in capital funding in 2022/23 for capital improvements to buildings and facilities, prioritising works to improve energy efficiency. This includes £709,572 for schools in South Staffordshire constituency, £7,266,813 for schools in the Staffordshire Local Authority and £49,563,732 for schools in the West Midlands.

Condition allocations are published online at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/school-capital-funding. As the funding of many of these allocations is determined at a local level, and because many responsible bodies, such as large academy trusts, cut across local boundaries, it is not possible to break the total spend down to constituency or Local Authority level.

In addition, the School Rebuilding Programme (SRP) will carry out major rebuilding and refurbishment projects at 500 schools across England, with buildings prioritised based on their condition. There are now 400 projects in the programme, with the most recent set of 239 schools announced in December 2022. Confirmed projects can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-rebuilding-programme.

In total, fifty schools in the West Midlands have been provisionally selected for SRP to date. Of these, four are within Staffordshire, two of which are within the South Staffordshire constituency. These are Brindley Heath Junior School Academy and Wombourne High School.

Seven schools within Staffordshire Local Authority were part of the Priority School Building Programme (PSPB), two of which are still in progress.

20th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when pay rates for foster carers will next be reviewed.

Foster parents deserve high quality support to provide safe and loving homes for children in their care. The department is working with stakeholders to understand the impact of financial pressures on foster carers, particularly in the context of the cost of living. The department is also in the process of looking at the annual uplift to the national minimum allowance (NMA), with the next update to come into effect in April 2023. The NMA is not considered a wage or income for the foster parent but money to support the child in the family.

It is the responsibility of fostering service providers to set their own payment structures in accordance with local needs, using the NMA. This includes reviewing their rates each year and setting out a clear policy on what payments their foster carers can expect. This policy should include how other necessary expenses are covered for the care, education, and reasonable leisure interests for any child living with them in a fostering placement and any additional fees that the foster carer is entitled to. In 2021, the department wrote to any local authority that failed to provide the NMA.

Foster carers can also benefit from reformed tax and benefit allowances which ensure they receive the best support for their individual financial circumstances, in recognition of their role. As with all aspects of the tax system, the government will keep tax reliefs under review and any decisions on future changes will be taken by the Chancellor in the context of the wider public finances.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment her Department has made of the adequacy of the level of funding it provides for the Canal and River Trust; what steps her Department is taking to protect canals; and if she will make a statement.

The Government’s review of the current grant funding for the Canal and River Trust (C&RT) examined the performance of the C&RT since its establishment in 2012 to assess value for money, and considered the case for continued Government grant funding beyond the end of the current grant period in 2027. The comprehensive and independent evidence-based assessment undertaken during the review drew on Government best practice using cross-government and external expertise, as set out in HM Treasury’s 5-case business case model and the Green Book. Full consideration was given to the evidence provided by the C&RT when assessing the range of benefits it provides. The report on the review of the grant agreement between the Government and the C&RT was published on the gov.uk website on 11 July, available here.

The current 15-year Government grant that ends in 2027 amounts to around £740 million, and the new 10-year grant from 2027 to 2037 announced on 10 July amounts to a further £401 million. This supports the C&RT in maintaining a safe canal network. Specific activities undertaken to achieve that are an operational matter for the C&RT.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether her Department is taking steps to help ensure the financial self-sufficiency of the Canal and River Trust.

The Memorandum of Understanding between Defra and the C&RT signed on 28 June 2012 has a clear objective: “To reduce dependence on Government Grant and to foster increasing self-sufficiency, by providing access to new charitable income streams and stimulating new efficiencies”. Defra officials have been discussing this with the C&RT for some time and have offered support on how it can increase income from other sources, alongside continued Government funding. The C&RT’s total income has grown by 11% between 2013/14 and 2022/23, while the proportion of that from the Government grant has remained relatively stable over this period at around 24%

The Government currently provides the Canal and River Trust (C&RT) with a grant worth £740 million over the 15 years 2012-2027 that provides roughly a quarter of its income. When the C&RT was set up in 2012, the Government also provided it with a permanent endowment fund now worth over £1 billion that generates a further quarter of its income. On 10 July the Government announced a very substantial £401 million of new grant funding for the C&RT between 2027 and 2037. This is a significant sum of money and a sign of the importance that we place on our inland waterways. It will also support the C&RT in continuing to move towards achieving the original objective of greater self-sufficiency.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to support local and sustainable horticulture.

At the recent Farm to Fork Summit the Prime Minister made a commitment to maintain food production at current levels, where 60 per cent by value of all the food we need is sourced domestically. A wide range of measures to support the horticulture sector were announced, including a replacement Fruit & Vegetables Aid Scheme for England from 2026. Also announced was a review of the horticulture supply chain to help ensure farmers are paid a fair price for their produce.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to encourage (a) supermarkets and (b) other vendors to sell British-grown flowers.

Defra meets regularly with food retailers to discuss a range of issues including selling British produce. However, it is not for HM Government to comment on day-to-day commercial decisions by companies.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment her Department has made of the implications of the relevant advice from the Expert Committee on Pesticides for her decision to provide temporary emergency authorisation to the pesticide Cruiser SB containing neonicotinoid thiamethoxam.

The decision to grant an emergency authorisation for the use of Cruiser SB on the 2023 sugarbeet crop has not been taken lightly. In making this decision, I considered the evidence and the advice provided by the Health and Safety Executive and Expert Committee on Pesticides, as well as Defra’s Chief Scientific Adviser and economists.


This emergency authorisation allows a single use of a neonicotinoid on a single crop under very strict conditions to mitigate risks to pollinators and other insects, as well as mammals and birds.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of postponing the phase out of direct payments to farmers until 2024 in the context of the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on global food production.

We are not going to change the profile of Direct Payments reductions.

Area based subsidy gave half the farming budget to 10% of landowners. The Basic Payment Scheme did not support food production and did nothing to stop the decline in nature. We must seize the opportunity to establish a different system of rewards and incentives in agriculture. I am pleased that we are supporting farmers with the choices that they make for their own holdings.

Defra has been engaging with industry via various forums to understand significant impacts of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on individual industries and supply chains in Defra's sectors. No impacts have been reported that will severely disrupt entire markets.

Last month we announced steps to assist farmers with the availability of fertilisers for the coming growing season, to help address uncertainty amongst growers and help keep costs down for farmers.

The planned changes to the use of urea fertiliser will be delayed by at least a year, helping farmers manage costs and giving them more time to adapt to pressures on the supply of ammonium nitrate fertilisers. We are also encouraging farmers to make use of organic fertilisers. Farmers will be further supported by new slurry storage grants introduced this year.

Alongside this, we have published further details of the early rollout of Sustainable Farming Incentive. The scheme will help farmers move towards more sustainable farming practices over time; supporting farmers to build the health and fertility of their soil, and to reduce soil erosion which are essential for food production, helping to bolster food security and the longer-term resilience of the sector.

Defra will continue to keep the situation under review going forward.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
31st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if his Department will make an assessment of (a) the effectiveness of existing and (b) potential for further steps to prevent asbestos being disposed of in landfill.

The handling and transport of waste asbestos-containing material is only to be undertaken by specialist asbestos removal contractors, and must be disposed of at a site permitted to accept asbestos-containing materials.

The safest way to dispose of asbestos waste is to an appropriately permitted landfill site, regulated by the Environment Agency in England. Permits for these sites control the site design, quantities of waste and site operation in order to prevent or minimise pollution. Defra has no plans to review the current disposal route.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
31st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to reduce the amount of asbestos sent to landfill.

The handling and transport of waste asbestos-containing material is only to be undertaken by specialist asbestos removal contractors, and must be disposed of at a site permitted to accept asbestos-containing materials.

The safest way to dispose of asbestos waste is to an appropriately permitted landfill site, regulated by the Environment Agency in England. Permits for these sites control the site design, quantities of waste and site operation in order to prevent or minimise pollution. Defra has no plans to review the current disposal route.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to support companies in the horticultural sector to (a) expand, (b) develop skills and (c) improve business management.

The Government is taking a number of steps to support companies in the horticulture sector. In November, Defra launched the Farming Investment Fund which provides grants to farmers and horticultural growers to improve their businesses and bring further environmental benefits. The schemes have proved incredibly popular with unprecedented levels of demand. We are keen to support farmers and horticultural producers during this period of Agricultural Transition and help drive business growth. As a result, we have responded by approving a significant budget increase for round one of the Farming Equipment and Technology Fund from £21 million to £48.5 million. We hope this is well received by the horticulture sector and helps provide further access to funding for those who wish to take up the offer of grant funding support.

We will continue to support Research and Development in the horticulture and wider agricultural sectors going forward, for example, through the Farming Innovation Programme. Furthermore, the Government is contributing towards the establishment of a new professional body, the Institute for Agriculture and Horticulture. This initiative is aimed at removing the fragmentation that exists within current learning and skills landscape for farming businesses, enabling the industry to drive forward greater uptake of skills (including basic business management), creating clear career development pathways and promoting the sector as a progressive, professional and attractive career choice. The Government is also working with industry bodies to improve access to the talent and skills required within the industry and we are taking action through our apprenticeship programme and post-16 Skills Plan to reform technical education and new Careers Strategy.

The Government’s new ‘Help to Grow’ scheme will help small business across the UK learn new skills, reach new customers and boost profits. Help to Grow: Management aims to deliver an intensive leadership and management training programme to up to 30,000 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across the UK to improve SME leadership and management skills and address firm-level productivity challenges. The programme has been developed in partnership with industry and is designed to be manageable alongside full-time work. It combines a practical curriculum with 1:1 support from a business mentor, peer-learning sessions and an alumni network, equipping SMEs with the tools to grow their businesses. The programme is delivered by leading business schools across the UK and is 90% subsidised by the Government, with participants contributing £750.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure an adequate labour supply for the horticultural sector in the (a) short and (b) long term.

On 24 December 2021, the Government announced that the seasonal worker visa route would be extended through to 2024. As with the Pilot, it allows overseas workers to come to the UK for up to six months to harvest both edible and ornamental crops. 30,000 visas will be available in 2022. This will be kept under review with the potential to increase by 10,000 visas if there is clear evidence of need.

While acknowledging the sector's reliance on foreign workers, the UK is committed to becoming a high-skilled, high-wage economy and the Government has been clear that more must be done to attract UK workers through offering training, career options, wage increases and to invest in increased automation technology.

To help with these efforts, Defra is working with industry and the Department for Work and Pensions to raise awareness of career opportunities within the horticulture sector among UK workers.

As announced in December 2020, Defra has undertaken a review of automation in horticulture during 2021, covering both the edible and ornamental sectors in England. It is due to be published in early 2022. Our response to the review will work alongside the seasonal worker visa route - and Defra's efforts to attract more UK residents into agricultural work - to support the overall aim of reducing the sector's dependency on seasonal migrant labour

Defra is also engaging with the operators of the seasonal worker visa route to prepare and advance emergency plans in response to the situation in Ukraine. Operators can recruit from any country they choose for the seasonal workers visa route and operators recruited seasonal works from almost 50 countries in 2021.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions officials in his Department have had with officials in (a) Department for Education and (b) horticultural sector on working together to secure a high-quality domestic labour supply for that sector.

Attracting bright new talent into agricultural and horticultural careers and having a skilled workforce in place is vital for the future of UK food and farming. By raising awareness of agriculture as an exciting and attractive career path, people will understand the opportunities available to them.

The Government is contributing towards the establishment of a new professional body, The Institute for Agriculture and Horticulture (TIAH). This initiative is aimed at removing the fragmentation that exists within current learning and skills landscape for farming businesses, enabling the industry to drive forward greater uptake of skills, creating clear career development pathways and promoting the sector as a progressive, professional and attractive career choice.

The Government is reforming post-16 technical education to provide clearer routes into skilled employment in agriculture and other sectors. A key part of this is the introduction of the new Technical Level programmes (T-levels). Alongside apprenticeships, these provide more opportunities and pathways for young people looking for careers in horticulture.

Defra continues to speak regularly with the sector and other Government departments, including the Department for Education, to understand labour supply and demand, including both permanent and seasonal workforce requirements, and to ensure there is a long-term strategy for the horticultural workforce.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
17th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what information his Department holds on the number of passengers that have passed through Stone, Staffordshire on trains since 2009.

The Department holds entry/exit data for passengers using Stone train station on a financial year basis. The number of passengers entering/exiting Stone station grew from 48,054 in 2009-10 to 214,040 in 2022-23. Whilst West Midlands Trains has been the operator since 2017, any data prior to this relates to London Midland.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
16th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department is taking steps to help ensure that the costs of charging electric vehicles in public places remain affordable.

The Government has recently laid regulations to improve the consumer experience across the public charging network. The regulations will ensure that pricing information is transparent, payment methods are simplified, charge points are reliable and public charge point data is freely available for consumers.

Through these regulations, the Government will ensure that drivers can get value for money by comparing prices across different public charge points through a single format of pence per kilowatt hour, similar to pence per litre of fuel.

Overall, in many cases electric vehicle drivers can benefit from savings on the cost of fuel compared to conventional combustion engines.

16th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department plans to take steps to regulate the frequency of bus services.

The Government recognises that frequent bus services are vital and has invested to protect them. How frequently bus services operate is a local decision and the responsibility of bus operators and Local Transport Authorities. While Enhanced Partnerships can place upper limits on frequencies, LTAs can subsidise frequency increases above the service levels provided commercially to meet local need. Since 2020, we have invested over £3.5 billion in buses, including a recently announced further £300 million to protect and enhance services from July 2023 to April 2025. Following the redirection of HS2 funding, on 23 October the government announced over £250 million will be allocated to local authorities in the Midlands to improve bus services.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department plans to hold discussions with car manufacturers on helping to ensure there is a provision of a range of wheelchair accessible battery electric vehicles.

The Government will continue to engage with vehicle manufacturers in the UK and other industry stakeholders to support the provision of zero emission wheelchair-accessible vehicles (WAVs). It is already supporting the uptake of WAVs through the Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) mandate and Plug in Vehicle Grant.

13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will hold discussions with the Chief Executive of National Express on cuts to transport services in South Staffordshire.

The Department for Transport regularly engages with bus operators, including National Express, and will continue to do so to support the delivery of sustainable local transport networks.

On 23 October the Government announced that Staffordshire County Council has been allocated a further £4,982,000 for the first year of funding for buses redirect from HS2 funding, building on the £2,655,347 in BSIP+ funding to support and protect bus services allocated in 2023-4 and 2024-5. This can bus used by local authorities to support and enhance bus networks across Staffordshire and is on top of the extension of the national ‘Get Around For Two Pound’ national fare cap scheme.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
11th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent estimate he has made of the average number of trains that will leave Stafford each hour following the construction of HS2 phase (a) 2a and (b) 2b.

No decisions have yet been taken on the train services that will operate when HS2 opens. These decisions will be taken nearer the time of delivery, drawing on advice from the West Coast Partnership and Network Rail. These proposals will be subject to public consultation and will cover the high-speed services as well as the recommended use of the capacity that will become available on the West Coast Main Line.

The Department is clear that the high-speed and West Coast services will complement each other to seek to maximise the benefits for passengers across the region.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
11th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent estimate he has made of the average number of trains that will leave Stoke-on-Trent each hour following the construction of HS2 phase (a) 2a and (b) 2b.

No decisions have yet been taken on the train services that will operate when HS2 opens. These decisions will be taken nearer the time of delivery, drawing on advice from the West Coast Partnership and Network Rail. These proposals will be subject to public consultation and will cover the high-speed services as well as the recommended use of the capacity that will become available on the West Coast Main Line.

The Department is clear that the high-speed and West Coast services will complement each other to seek to maximise the benefits for passengers across the region.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
11th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent estimate he has made of the average number of trains that will leave Macclesfield each hour following the construction of HS2 phase (a) 2a and (b) 2b.

No decisions have yet been taken on the train services that will operate when HS2 opens. These decisions will be taken nearer the time of delivery, drawing on advice from the West Coast Partnership and Network Rail. These proposals will be subject to public consultation and will cover the high-speed services as well as the recommended use of the capacity that will become available on the West Coast Main Line.

The Department is clear that the high-speed and West Coast services will complement each other to seek to maximise the benefits for passengers across the region.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
11th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent estimate he has made of the average number of trains that will leave Stockport each hour following the construction of HS2 phase (a) 2a and (b) 2b.

No decisions have yet been taken on the train services that will operate when HS2 opens. These decisions will be taken nearer the time of delivery, drawing on advice from the West Coast Partnership and Network Rail. These proposals will be subject to public consultation and will cover the high-speed services as well as the recommended use of the capacity that will become available on the West Coast Main Line.

The Department is clear that the high-speed and West Coast services will complement each other to seek to maximise the benefits for passengers across the region.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
11th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent estimate he has made of the average number of trains that will leave Manchester Piccadilly each hour following the construction of HS2 phase (a) 2a and (b) 2b.

No decisions have yet been taken on the train services that will operate when HS2 opens. These decisions will be taken nearer the time of delivery, drawing on advice from the West Coast Partnership and Network Rail. These proposals will be subject to public consultation and will cover the high-speed services as well as the recommended use of the capacity that will become available on the West Coast Main Line.

The Department is clear that the high-speed and West Coast services will complement each other to seek to maximise the benefits for passengers across the region.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
11th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent estimate he has made of the average number of trains that will leave Wilmslow each hour following the construction of HS2 phase (a) 2a and (b) 2b.

No decisions have yet been taken on the train services that will operate when HS2 opens. These decisions will be taken nearer the time of delivery, drawing on advice from the West Coast Partnership and Network Rail. These proposals will be subject to public consultation and will cover the high-speed services as well as the recommended use of the capacity that will become available on the West Coast Main Line.

The Department is clear that the high-speed and West Coast services will complement each other to seek to maximise the benefits for passengers across the region.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
11th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent estimate he has made of the average number of trains that will leave Crewe each hour following the construction of HS2 phase (a) 2a and (b) 2b.

No decisions have yet been taken on the train services that will operate when HS2 opens. These decisions will be taken nearer the time of delivery, drawing on advice from the West Coast Partnership and Network Rail. These proposals will be subject to public consultation and will cover the high-speed services as well as the recommended use of the capacity that will become available on the West Coast Main Line.

The Department is clear that the high-speed and West Coast services will complement each other to seek to maximise the benefits for passengers across the region.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
11th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent estimate he has made of the average number of trains that will leave Runcorn each hour following the construction of HS2 phase (a) 2a and (b) 2b.

No decisions have yet been taken on the train services that will operate when HS2 opens. These decisions will be taken nearer the time of delivery, drawing on advice from the West Coast Partnership and Network Rail. These proposals will be subject to public consultation and will cover the high-speed services as well as the recommended use of the capacity that will become available on the West Coast Main Line.

The Department is clear that the high-speed and West Coast services will complement each other to seek to maximise the benefits for passengers across the region.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
11th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent estimate he has made of the average number of trains that will leave Liverpool Lime Street each hour following the construction of HS2 phase (a) 2a and (b) 2b.

No decisions have yet been taken on the train services that will operate when HS2 opens. These decisions will be taken nearer the time of delivery, drawing on advice from the West Coast Partnership and Network Rail. These proposals will be subject to public consultation and will cover the high-speed services as well as the recommended use of the capacity that will become available on the West Coast Main Line.

The Department is clear that the high-speed and West Coast services will complement each other to seek to maximise the benefits for passengers across the region.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
11th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent estimate he has made of the average number of trains that will leave Warrington Bank Quay each hour following the construction of HS2 phase (a) 2a and (b) 2b.

No decisions have yet been taken on the train services that will operate when HS2 opens. These decisions will be taken nearer the time of delivery, drawing on advice from the West Coast Partnership and Network Rail. These proposals will be subject to public consultation and will cover the high-speed services as well as the recommended use of the capacity that will become available on the West Coast Main Line.

The Department is clear that the high-speed and West Coast services will complement each other to seek to maximise the benefits for passengers across the region.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
11th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent estimate he has made of the average number of trains that will leave Preston each hour following the construction of HS2 phase (a) 2a and (b) 2b.

No decisions have yet been taken on the train services that will operate when HS2 opens. These decisions will be taken nearer the time of delivery, drawing on advice from the West Coast Partnership and Network Rail. These proposals will be subject to public consultation and will cover the high-speed services as well as the recommended use of the capacity that will become available on the West Coast Main Line.

The Department is clear that the high-speed and West Coast services will complement each other to seek to maximise the benefits for passengers across the region.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
11th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent estimate he has made of the average number of trains that will leave Blackpool each hour following the construction of HS2 phase (a) 2a and (b) 2b.

No decisions have yet been taken on the train services that will operate when HS2 opens. These decisions will be taken nearer the time of delivery, drawing on advice from the West Coast Partnership and Network Rail. These proposals will be subject to public consultation and will cover the high-speed services as well as the recommended use of the capacity that will become available on the West Coast Main Line.

The Department is clear that the high-speed and West Coast services will complement each other to seek to maximise the benefits for passengers across the region.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
11th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent estimate he has made of the average number of trains that will leave Lancaster each hour following the construction of HS2 phase (a) 2a and (b) 2b.

No decisions have yet been taken on the train services that will operate when HS2 opens. These decisions will be taken nearer the time of delivery, drawing on advice from the West Coast Partnership and Network Rail. These proposals will be subject to public consultation and will cover the high-speed services as well as the recommended use of the capacity that will become available on the West Coast Main Line.

The Department is clear that the high-speed and West Coast services will complement each other to seek to maximise the benefits for passengers across the region.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
11th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent estimate he has made of the average number of trains that will leave Wigan North Western each hour following the construction of HS2 phase (a) 2a and (b) 2b.

No decisions have yet been taken on the train services that will operate when HS2 opens. These decisions will be taken nearer the time of delivery, drawing on advice from the West Coast Partnership and Network Rail. These proposals will be subject to public consultation and will cover the high-speed services as well as the recommended use of the capacity that will become available on the West Coast Main Line.

The Department is clear that the high-speed and West Coast services will complement each other to seek to maximise the benefits for passengers across the region.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
11th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent estimate he has made of the average number of trains that will leave Oxenholme the Lakes each hour following the construction of HS2 phase (a) 2a and (b) 2b.

No decisions have yet been taken on the train services that will operate when HS2 opens. These decisions will be taken nearer the time of delivery, drawing on advice from the West Coast Partnership and Network Rail. These proposals will be subject to public consultation and will cover the high-speed services as well as the recommended use of the capacity that will become available on the West Coast Main Line.

The Department is clear that the high-speed and West Coast services will complement each other to seek to maximise the benefits for passengers across the region.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
11th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent estimate he has made of the average number of trains that will leave Penrith each hour following the construction of HS2 phase (a) 2a and (b) 2b.

No decisions have yet been taken on the train services that will operate when HS2 opens. These decisions will be taken nearer the time of delivery, drawing on advice from the West Coast Partnership and Network Rail. These proposals will be subject to public consultation and will cover the high-speed services as well as the recommended use of the capacity that will become available on the West Coast Main Line.

The Department is clear that the high-speed and West Coast services will complement each other to seek to maximise the benefits for passengers across the region.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
11th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent estimate he has made of the average number of trains that will leave Carlisle each hour following the construction of HS2 phase (a) 2a and (b) 2b.

No decisions have yet been taken on the train services that will operate when HS2 opens. These decisions will be taken nearer the time of delivery, drawing on advice from the West Coast Partnership and Network Rail. These proposals will be subject to public consultation and will cover the high-speed services as well as the recommended use of the capacity that will become available on the West Coast Main Line.

The Department is clear that the high-speed and West Coast services will complement each other to seek to maximise the benefits for passengers across the region.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
11th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent estimate he has made of the average number of trains that will leave Lockerbie each hour following the construction of HS2 phase (a) 2a and (b) 2b.

No decisions have yet been taken on the train services that will operate when HS2 opens. These decisions will be taken nearer the time of delivery, drawing on advice from the West Coast Partnership and Network Rail. These proposals will be subject to public consultation and will cover the high-speed services as well as the recommended use of the capacity that will become available on the West Coast Main Line.

The Department is clear that the high-speed and West Coast services will complement each other to seek to maximise the benefits for passengers across the region.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
11th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent estimate he has made of the average number of trains that will leave Glasgow Central each hour following the construction of HS2 phase (a) 2a and (b) 2b.

No decisions have yet been taken on the train services that will operate when HS2 opens. These decisions will be taken nearer the time of delivery, drawing on advice from the West Coast Partnership and Network Rail. These proposals will be subject to public consultation and will cover the high-speed services as well as the recommended use of the capacity that will become available on the West Coast Main Line.

The Department is clear that the high-speed and West Coast services will complement each other to seek to maximise the benefits for passengers across the region.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
11th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent estimate he has made of the average number of trains that will leave Edinburgh Haymarket each hour following the construction of HS2 phase (a) 2a and (b) 2b.

No decisions have yet been taken on the train services that will operate when HS2 opens. These decisions will be taken nearer the time of delivery, drawing on advice from the West Coast Partnership and Network Rail. These proposals will be subject to public consultation and will cover the high-speed services as well as the recommended use of the capacity that will become available on the West Coast Main Line.

The Department is clear that the high-speed and West Coast services will complement each other to seek to maximise the benefits for passengers across the region.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
11th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent estimate he has made of the average number of trains that will leave Edinburgh Waverley each hour following the construction of HS2 phase (a) 2a and (b) 2b.

No decisions have yet been taken on the train services that will operate when HS2 opens. These decisions will be taken nearer the time of delivery, drawing on advice from the West Coast Partnership and Network Rail. These proposals will be subject to public consultation and will cover the high-speed services as well as the recommended use of the capacity that will become available on the West Coast Main Line.

The Department is clear that the high-speed and West Coast services will complement each other to seek to maximise the benefits for passengers across the region.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of changing the timetable for the High Speed Rail Bill to complete compulsory purchase orders.

The duration of powers for the compulsory acquisition of property was determined by Parliament to be five years for both Phase One (London – West Midlands) and Phase 2a (West Midlands – Crewe) of HS2. In light of lessons learned on Phase One in particular, the High Speed Rail (Crewe – Manchester) Bill proposes that the equivalent powers should be of eight years’ duration for the Phase 2b Western Leg.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the Final Land Acquisition Boundary process for HS2 has been completed; and when he plans to publish those documents.

The Final Land Acquisition Boundary (FLAB) process is a fixed process undertaken over several months to determine and assure each individual land requirement in advance of a notice being served. It is a collaborative process between all key stakeholders including construction partners to review the Land Request requirements, review progress of actions against any known complex issues, and ensure compliance with Undertakings & Assurances and mitigation of risks.

It is an iterative process and will be ongoing as the HS2 programme progresses.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, in how many and what proportion of compulsory purchase cases for HS2 had payment not been received by the former owners (a) two, (b) three (c) four and (d) more than four weeks after HS2 Limited had taken ownership of the property in each of the last 12 months.

When a property is being acquired by compulsory purchase, HS2 Ltd will make payment of compensation subject to section 52 of the Land Compensation Act 1973.

When an Advance Payment Request (APR) is made, it must be done so in writing and usually will be submitted by the claimants’ Agent. Ninety-seven per cent of valid APRs in the six months to July 2023 were paid on time.

On Phase One, if a party makes a valid APR under section 52 of the Land Compensation Act 1973, payment must be made by either 3 months from the date of request, or, on the vesting date, whichever is the later.

On Phase 2a, if a party makes a valid APR under section 52 and the Secretary of State for Transport executes a General Vesting Declaration, then HS2 Ltd must pay:

- on the date the General Vesting Declaration is executed (or notice of entry is served), or,

- if later than this date, within 2 months of the date of the request (if full details were provided), or

- the date HS2 Ltd received the full details needed to make an assessment of compensation.

If HS2 Ltd can reach an agreement on the request, they will pay the full value of the advance payment request. If they cannot reach an agreement, HS2 Ltd will pay 90% of their estimate of compensation (this may be less than the claimant’s agent’s estimate).

If the owner identifies further reasons for compensation after the first advance payment has been received, they can send further requests.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
22nd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, for what reason larger local transport authorities have greater access to funding for disabled bus passes compared to smaller local transport authorities.

Funding for free concessionary pass holders is provided to Local Authorities by the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities’ Settlement Funding Assessment which is allocated by His Majesty’s Treasury through a formula that supports a wide range of activities to ensure that each travel concession authority receives the funding that they need.

The funding is not ringfenced, which enables local authorities to make spending decisions that more closely match local needs and circumstances.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
22nd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that disabled people have equal access to public transport.

The Government’s priorities for improving access for disabled people are set out in the Inclusive Transport Strategy (ITS), which aims to address Government’s ambition for disabled people to have the same access to transport as everyone else and to be able to travel confidently, easily and without extra cost.

The strategy included commitments and actions across all modes of transport, on which we are making good progress. Recent delivery progress includes:

  • introducing regulations requiring bus companies to provide audible and visual announcements on board services;
  • the Access for All programme, which has so far provided step free, accessible routes at over 220 rail stations and smaller scale access improvements at 1500 more, with more on the way;
  • publishing an Aviation Passenger Charter, providing a single point of information for consumers on their rights and responsibilities when travelling by air;
  • relaunching the Inclusive Transport Leaders Scheme (ITLS), an accreditation scheme which provides a framework that operators can use to make their services more accessible to disabled people.
Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
30th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department has provided guidance to local authorities on whether companies are required to provide notice to local authorities when digging up pathways.

Highway authorities have a duty to manage their networks effectively by co-ordinating works taking place on their roads under the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991 and the Traffic Management Act 2004.

Before planning to carry out works on the highway, which includes the footway, utility companies must seek permission (a permit) from the highway authority and agree how long the works will take. If they take longer than expected, the highway authority can levy penalty charges against the utility. The Government does provide statutory guidance on the operation of permit schemes: www.gov.uk/government/publications/street-works-the-2007-permit-scheme-regulations-as-amended-in-2015

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
20th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when his Department plans to update the budget for HS2 to reflect the level of inflation since Q3 2019; and whether his Department plans to provide additional funding to reflect the level of inflation.

Along with the rest of the construction sector and wider economy, HS2 is currently experiencing very high levels of inflation. Following the Autumn Statement we are working through how to manage the impact of inflation and will set out any changes in due course.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
20th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, which areas to the north of Birmingham on the West Coast Mainline will have increased (a) train paths and (b) platforms following the construction of phase two of HS2.

HS2 will provide high-speed inter-city services on dedicated lines that will free up train paths and platforms on the southern end of the West Coast Main Line, and generate much-needed additional network capacity. The indicative train service assumptions that underpinned the IRP and inform the HS2 and NPR business cases included HS2 services to several destinations on the north end of the West Coast Main Line.

Platform capacity at Crewe will increase as a result of the arrival of HS2 services. There will be 16 platforms in the new station layout, an increase of 4. Some of these will be bay platforms which will remove the conflict of mainline services such as HS2 and regional services, possibly opening up further timetabling options. Works to platforms at Preston and Carlisle are also planned as part of HS2 Phase 2b Western Leg.

No final decisions have been made on the train service that will run when HS2 becomes operational. These decisions will be taken nearer the time, drawing on advice from the West Coast Partnership and Network Rail, and will be subject to public consultation.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
20th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to Annex Two to the paper entitled HS2 Phase 2b Western Leg: Crewe to Manchester: An Update on the Strategic Outline Business Case, published by his Department on 24 January 2022, whether the Indicative Train Service Specification has been superseded by an updated version.

Annex Two to the paper entitled HS2 Phase 2b Western Leg: Crewe to Manchester: An Update on the Strategic Outline Business Case, published by this Department on 24 January 2022 provided two indicative train service specifications (iTSS) – a central scenario which assumed that the Golborne Link formed part of the scheme, and an alternative scenario in which the Golborne Link was not constructed. In June 2022, with the removal of the Golborne Link from the High-Speed (Crewe-Manchester) Bill, the alternative scenario as published in January 2022 became the central scenario. There have been no further changes to the iTSS beyond this. An updated iTSS for Northern Powerhouse Rail services will be incorporated in future.

No final decisions have been made on the train service that will run when HS2 becomes operational. These decisions will be taken nearer the time, drawing on advice from the West Coast Partnership and Network Rail, and will be subject to public consultation.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
6th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will list the HS2 trains which are going to service (a) Crewe, (b) Macclesfield, (c) Stafford, (d) Liverpool, (e) Edinburgh and (f) Glasgow.

In the indicative train service assumptions that inform the HS2 and NPR business cases, the following HS2 services will call at the stations below, once Phases 1, 2a and the Western Leg to Manchester are operational. No final decisions have been made on the train service that will run when HS2 becomes operational. These decisions will be taken nearer the time, drawing on advice from the West Coast Partnership and Network Rail, and will be subject to public consultation.

Indicative for Crewe

2 trains per hour from London to Liverpool

1 train per hour from London to Lancaster

2 trains per hour from Manchester to Birmingham (as part of NPR)

Indicative for Macclesfield

1 train per hour terminating from London.

Indicative for Liverpool

2 trains per hour terminating from London.

Indicative for Glasgow

1 train per hour terminating from London

Edinburgh

Based on the current scope in the High Speed Rail (Crewe-Manchester) Bill, following the removal of the Golborne Link, HS2 trains are no longer proposed to serve Edinburgh as part of the Phase 2b Western Leg indicative train service. Following the Union Connectivity Review, the Government is committed to looking again at alternatives which deliver similar benefits as the Golborne Link to Scotland, so long as these deliver for the taxpayer within the £96 billion envelope allocated for the Integrated Rail Plan.

In the meantime, we are getting on with delivering the benefits of HS2 to Manchester by taking the rest of the High Speed Rail (Crewe – Manchester) Bill forwards.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
6th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether Phase 2 of HS2 will reduce or increase capacity of the West Coast Main Line north of Birmingham.

HS2 will provide high-speed inter-city services on dedicated lines that will free up train paths and platforms on the West Coast Main Line, and generate much-needed additional network capacity for both passenger and freight services.

The indicative train service assumptions that inform the HS2 and NPR business cases included HS2 services to several destinations on the north end of the West Coast Main Line that may free up conventional rail paths to those destinations. No final decisions have been made on the train service that will run when HS2 becomes operational. These decisions will be taken nearer the time, drawing on advice from the West Coast Partnership and Network Rail, and will be subject to public consultation.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
6th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what number of HS2 services are planned to (a) arrive at and (b) depart from Stafford station.

In the indicative train service assumptions that inform the business case, 1 train per hour in each direction will run between London and Macclesfield calling at Stafford, once Phases 1, 2a and the Western Leg to Manchester are operational. No final decisions have been made on the train service that will run when HS2 becomes operational. These decisions will be taken nearer the time, drawing on advice from the West Coast Partnership and Network Rail, and will be subject to public consultation.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
6th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his department has made of the impact of inflation on the cost of HS2; and whether his Department plans to update the financial modelling.

Along with the rest of the construction sector and wider economy, HS2 is experiencing higher levels of inflation. This is creating pressures against HS2’s existing annual funding settlements, which we are working through following the Autumn Statement. The most recent position on HS2 was reported in the six monthly update to Parliament in October.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
11th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether Highways England will make the traffic reports and studies taken to produce the design of the connection at Junction 11 on the M6 link road available to the public.

The traffic reports and studies that informed the design of the M54 to M6 Link road scheme have been made publicly available on both National Highways’ website and the Planning Inspectorate’s website.

The Scheme Assessment Report which details the appraisal of options and informed the Preferred Route Announcement can be found here: https://highwaysengland.citizenspace.com/he/m54-to-m6-m6-toll-link-road/results/schemeassessmentreport.pdf.

The Scheme Assessment Report that was submitted as part of the scheme’s Development Consent order application, along with the Transport Assessment Report, can be found here: https://infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/wp-content/ipc/uploads/projects/TR010054/TR010054-000335-TR010054%20M54%207.4%20Transport%20Assessment%20Report.pdf.

The Transport Assessment Report was updated as part of the DCO application and that can also be found on the Planning Inspectorate’s website: https://infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/wp-content/ipc/uploads/projects/TR010054/TR010054-000727-7.4%20P06%20Transport%20Assessment%20Report%20clean%20(1).pdf.

11th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what additional support his Department has provided to Staffordshire County Council to help run continued rural bus services.

The Government has provided over £2bn of support for local transport networks to date through emergency and recovery grants to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic.

The Government has announced a further £150m in funding for local transport providers to continue supporting the sector following the Covid-19 pandemic from April until October 2022. A condition of this new funding is that both Local Transport Authorities and operators must work together to ensure that effective and financially sustainable networks which cater for the needs of the local public are implemented once recovery funding ends. As part of this, £355,014 has been allocated to Staffordshire County Council to support local bus services, in addition to the funding provided to bus operators directly.

The Department has also provided a Rural Mobility Fund (RMF) worth £20 million to trial more demand responsive services and have awarded funding to 17 pilot projects. Staffordshire County Council was awarded £1,038,091 to pilot demand responsive transport services in the Staffordshire Moorlands.

14th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he will make it his policy to provide additional Carer’s Allowance for people caring for more than one person.

This Government recognises and values the vital contribution made by carers in supporting some of the most vulnerable in society, including pensioners and those with disabilities.

Carer’s Allowance is not means-tested and is not based on National Insurance contributions. Its principal purpose is to provide a measure of financial support and recognition for people who give up the opportunity of full-time work in order to provide regular care for a severely disabled person. The main qualifying condition is that the carer is providing at least 35 hours of care to somebody in receipt of a qualifying disability benefit, and that no-one else is providing such care to that person.

Carer’s Allowance is therefore not a payment for providing a care service, so only one payment is made even if a carer is caring for more than one severely disabled person.

In addition to Carer’s Allowance, carers on low incomes can claim income-related benefits, such as Universal Credit and Pension Credit. These benefits can be paid to carers at a higher rate than those without caring responsibilities through the carer element and the additional amount for carers respectively. Currently, the Universal Credit carer element is £185.86 per monthly assessment period. The additional amount for carers in Pension Credit is £42.75 a week.

Around 550,000 (May 2023 data) carer households on Universal Credit can receive around an additional £2,230 a year through the carer element. The Government has chosen to focus extra support on those carers who need it most.

The Government keeps the qualifying conditions for Carer’s Allowance under review, but has no plans to amend them at this time.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
14th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps he is taking to improve financial support for people caring full-time for multiple individuals with disabilities and (b) other full-time carers.

This Government recognises and values the vital contribution made by carers in supporting some of the most vulnerable in society, including pensioners and those with disabilities.

Carer’s Allowance is not means-tested and is not based on National Insurance contributions. Its principal purpose is to provide a measure of financial support and recognition for people who give up the opportunity of full-time work in order to provide regular care for a severely disabled person. The main qualifying condition is that the carer is providing at least 35 hours of care to somebody in receipt of a qualifying disability benefit, and that no-one else is providing such care to that person.

Carer’s Allowance is therefore not a payment for providing a care service, so only one payment is made even if a carer is caring for more than one severely disabled person.

In addition to Carer’s Allowance, carers on low incomes can claim income-related benefits, such as Universal Credit and Pension Credit. These benefits can be paid to carers at a higher rate than those without caring responsibilities through the carer element and the additional amount for carers respectively. Currently, the Universal Credit carer element is £185.86 per monthly assessment period. The additional amount for carers in Pension Credit is £42.75 a week.

Around 550,000 (May 2023 data) carer households on Universal Credit can receive around an additional £2,230 a year through the carer element. The Government has chosen to focus extra support on those carers who need it most.

The Government keeps the qualifying conditions for Carer’s Allowance under review, but has no plans to amend them at this time.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
11th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will issue guidance to local authorities to prioritise families who rely on non-price capped fuel for the Household Support Fund.

The Household Support Fund extension is part of £22 billion we are providing in 2022-23 to help ease cost of living pressures. The additional £500 million we are providing from April to help households with the cost of essentials brings the total funding for this support to

£1 billion. In England, £421 million will be provided to extend the existing Household Support Fund from 1 April to 30 September inclusive and will continue to help people who are struggling to afford energy and water bills, food, and other essentials.

Local Authorities have been issued with the fund guidance and the accompanying grant determination for the extended funding. We know energy bills may be of particular concern to low income households and so the guidance encourages Local Authorities to focus on supporting households with the cost of energy, and to focus all support on those in most need. Within the parameters set by the guidance, it is for Local Authorities, using their local ties and knowledge, to design local schemes that best meet the needs of local people.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will issue guidance to local authorities to prioritise families who rely on non-price capped fuel for the Household Support Fund.

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

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the adequacy of funding allocated by his Department to community defibrillator projects.

No assessment has been made. The Government’s £1 million Community Automated External Defibrillators (AED) fund will provide an estimated 1,000 new defibrillators across England, with the potential for this to double as successful applicants will be asked to match the funding they receive partially or fully.

As of 22 September 2022, community organisations can now apply for a grant to fund a life-saving defibrillator for their local area. Applications for funding will be submitted to Smarter Society and the London Hearts Charity, who will assess each application against set criteria, ensuring that each AED is placed where they are needed most. They have designed engagement and application processes to appeal to a wide and diverse audience.

18th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the consultation entitled Original pack dispensing and supply of medicines containing sodium valproate, published in November 2021, what assessment his Department has made of the potential impact of the (a) proposal to always dispense those medicines in the original manufacturer's packaging and (b) other proposals in that consultation on consumers.

The amendments to the Human Medicines Regulations 2012 to enable original pack dispensing of medicine and require whole-pack dispensing of medicines containing valproate were signed on 13 September 2023 and come into force on 11 October 2023.

An impact assessment was published on 19 March 2023 and is available at the following link:

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2023/1015/impacts

This impact assessment was informed by responses to the consultation that we held on the proposals and sets out the Department’s assessment of the impact of the regulation changes for original pack dispensing and whole pack dispensing of medicines containing valproate.

14th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that full-time carers have access to support to help (a) prevent burnout and (b) maintain their (i) mental and (ii) physical well-being.

The Care Act (2014) requires local authorities to deliver a wide range of sustainable, high-quality care and support services, including support for unpaid carers. Local authorities are required to undertake a Carer’s Assessment for any unpaid carer who appears to have a need for support and to meet their eligible needs on request from the carer.

For 2023/24, the Better Care Fund earmarked £327 million to support local authorities with health and care services, including providing carers with advice, support, short breaks, and respite services.

The NHS Long Term Plan has also committed an additional £2.3 billion this year for the expansion and transformation of mental health services in England by March 2024 so that an additional two million people, including full-time carers, can get the National Health Service-funded mental health support that they need.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has plans to raise awareness among (a) healthcare professionals and (b) patients of the safe (i) prescription and (ii) use of sodium valproate.

Information to support the safe use of medicines such as valproate is provided in the product information which consists of the summary of product characteristics for healthcare professionals and the patient information leaflet that is supplied with each pack of medicines. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has issued many communications in its Drug Safety Update bulletin informing and raising awareness among healthcare professionals about safety concerns associated with valproate, particularly the risks associated with use of valproate during pregnancy.

Preparations are underway to introduce new measures to ensure all healthcare professionals and patients are aware of the reproductive risks associated with valproate which will be supported by a comprehensive information once the details are finalised.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
14th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to take steps to secure financial redress for the victims of Primodos.

The Government published its response to the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety (IMMDS) review in July 2021, which did not accept the recommendation to establish separate redress schemes for the three interventions covered by the review. This included a redress scheme for those harmed by Primodos.

Our priority is to make medicines and devices safer, and the Government is pursuing a wide range of activity to further this aim. The 2021 response, and the Government’s December 2022 update to the response, explains the changes that have been put in place since the IMMDS Review report’s publication, and the further action the Government will take to implement the recommendations accepted and to improve patient safety.

In the recent House of Commons debate of 7 September 2023 on hormone pregnancy tests, I committed to review the outstanding recommendations in relation to Primodos.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
12th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he is taking steps to ensure that Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation is available in all NHS Trusts in England.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s (NICE) interventional procedures guidance on repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation for depression, published in December 2015, found the procedure was safe and effective for use in the National Health Service, although the benefits vary among patients. There is no legal requirement for the National Health Service to implement this specific form of NICE’s guidance. While it is considered best clinical practice, NHS commissioners and providers are responsible for commissioning services to meet the needs of the local population.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
22nd Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of using the Health and Social Care Levy to provide support for SMEs who provide training and support for the NHS.

No specific assessment has been made.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
22nd Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has plans to support staff in healthcare focused SMEs to develop IT management skills.

We have no specific plans to do so. It is the responsibility of individual employers and service providers to ensure that staff have the appropriate IT management skills for their roles.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
22nd Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to support healthcare focused SMEs with apprenticeship programmes.

The Government is increasing funding for apprenticeships to £2.7 billion by 2024/5. This will support apprenticeships in non-levy employers, including small and medium enterprises, where the Government will continue to pay 95% of training costs.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
24th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if she will update the criteria for a Platinum Jubilee Medal to ensure that air ambulance staff who do not have NHS ambulance trust service are eligible for the award.

The Platinum Jubilee Medal eligibility criteria were agreed across Government, the devolved administrations and Crown Dependencies, confirmed by the Committee on the Grant of Honours, Decorations and Medals and approved by Her Majesty. Individual Government departments are responsible for eligibility decisions regarding the award of the Medal to their staff and other organisations sponsored by that department.

Frontline emergency services personnel who have been in paid service, retained or in a voluntary capacity through a National Health Service ambulance trust, who publicly face the prospect of dealing with emergencies as part of their conditions of service and have completed five full calendar years of service on 6 February 2022 are eligible for the Platinum Jubilee medal. There is no intention to change the eligibility criteria for the Platinum Jubilee Medal, which follows the precedent set for the Diamond Jubilee.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
10th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment his Department has made of Chinese activity in Somalia.

China is a significant partner for many countries. The Somali Government pursues its international trading, development and political relations as it chooses. The UK's focus is on working closely with the Somali Government to support its ambitious programme for a more stable and peaceful Somalia. This includes the provision of humanitarian relief and crucial support for the fight against Al-Shabaab.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
6th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether his Department is taking steps to help provide resources to Somalia and Somaliland, in the context of drought in 2022.

Somalia urgently needs life-saving aid. In late 2022 I visited Somalia and saw how the drought is impacting millions across the country. I met President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, other government figures and humanitarian delivery partners, to discuss preparation for future crises. I also announced further UK aid, bringing the total humanitarian, health and nutrition support in Somalia to over £61 million this financial year.

In Somaliland, as part of a wider package of humanitarian and development support, the UK is working with partners to provide health and nutrition support, including to over 80 health facilities, providing services in the context of drought with the support of our partner UNICEF.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
6th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his counterparts in (a) Somalia and (b) Somaliland on the status of Somaliland.

The UK, consistent with the entire international community, does not recognise Somaliland's unilateral declaration of independence. It is for Somaliland and Somalia to come to an agreement about their future relationship. Any new arrangements would need to be recognised by the African Union and neighbours in the region. The African Union is the pre-eminent regional body mandated to defend the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of its Member States, of which Somalia is one. The UK encourages dialogue between Mogadishu and Hargeisa on this issue. During my visit to Somalia in November 2022, I reiterated this position in my engagements with the Federal Government of Somalia.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
25th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the supply of Iranian weapons to Russia on that country's invasion of Ukraine.

The UK condemns Iranian support for the Russian invasion of Ukraine: Iran's supply of drones is in violation of UN Security Council Resolution 2231. Iran is profiting from Russia's attacks on Ukrainian citizens, causing human suffering and the destruction of critical infrastructure. On 20 October, new UK sanctions targeted Iranian individuals and businesses responsible for supplying Russia with drones. On 21 October, jointly with France and Germany, we wrote to the UN Secretary General in support of a UN investigation into the Iranian transfers. We will continue to work with the international community to hold Russia and Iran to account.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the ongoing civil rights protests in Iran, what steps his Department is taking to support women's rights in that country.

Mahsa Amini's death is a shocking reminder of the repression faced by women in Iran. On 10 October, the UK sanctioned the Morality Police, two of its leaders and five others for serious human rights violations. For decades, the Morality Police have used the threat of detention and violence to control what Iranian women wear and their public behaviour. These sanctions send a clear message that the UK will hold Iran to account for its repression of women and girls. We continue to urge Iran to improve its human rights record at all appropriate opportunities, including on women and girls, and to work with international partners to ensure accountability.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, when his Department plans to publish an action plan for supporting child health and survival, including its funding strategy for routine vaccination programmes for children.

The UK published our approach paper on Ending the Preventable Deaths of Mothers, Babies and children and Health Systems Strengthening Position Paper in December 2021. Together these lay out the UK's approach to improving maternal and child health through the four pillars of strengthening health systems, improving inequality, tackling the wider determinants of health, and research and innovation.

The UK's commitment to improving the reach and equity of routine childhood vaccination cuts across these pillars and is reaffirmed in these papers. The UK's contribution to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance is supporting them to vaccinate 300 million children, saving 7-8 million lives through 2021-25.

17th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether his Department is taking steps to (a) integrate nutrition across its programming and (b) use the OECD policy marker for nutrition, including in its programmes in the Horn of Africa.

The UK is committed to integrating nutrition objectives and interventions across multiple sectors including health, humanitarian, women and girls, climate and economic development partnerships. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Nutrition Policy Marker is now embedded in our systems to ensure that FCDO programmes contributing to nutrition objectives are 'marked' from the point of programme design, including those in the Horn of Africa. This will help to improve tracking and accountability for nutrition programmes.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, how his Department's funding for (a) Somaliland and (b) Somalia will be spent in the 2022-23 financial year; and how much and what proportion of the funding will be spend on programmes to help tackle child wasting.

The UK is a major humanitarian donor to the East Africa region and UK-funded activities are making a difference and saving lives. Since 1 April 2022 the UK has allocated £52.8 million in humanitarian, health and nutrition support to alleviate the impact of drought and address the risk of famine in Somalia and Somaliland.

An estimated 1.8 million children under the age of 5 are affected by acute malnutrition in Somalia. UK support is providing emergency cash transfers, life-saving health and nutrition services and supplies, and supporting immediate access to food for people in rural communities. In early 2022 FCDO Ministers approved 'Better Lives'; a new multi-year health and nutrition programme in Somalia targeted at mothers and children.

Given the current fiscal context, the FCDO is not able to publish forward programme allocations in our Annual Report. The original allocations would not be accurate, and it would be misleading to publish detailed disaggregated budgets at this time.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
30th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how long her Department intends to use the two hotels in the South Staffordshire District Council area to temporarily house asylum seekers.

Successive years of record numbers crossing the Channel has placed our immigration system under substantial pressure. The use of contingency accommodation is a temporary solution to ensure that we meet our statutory obligation to house destitute asylum seekers.

The length of stay in the contingency hotel accommodation is determined by a number of factors such as overall demand and availability of suitable dispersal accommodation. The government is committed to reducing the flow of people through deepening cooperation with France, implementing the Nationality and Borders Act, and signing returns agreements. The average length of stay in our contingency hotels is 6 to 12 months due to the current accommodation and capacity challenges. The Full Dispersal model, announced on 13 April 2022, aims to reduce, and ultimately, end the use of hotels by allowing the Home Office to procure dispersal properties within the private rental sector in all Local Authority areas across England, Scotland and Wales.

30th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, the average length of time which individual hotels are used to temporarily house asylum seekers; and whether her department sets target dates to vacate these hotels.

Successive years of record numbers crossing the Channel has placed our immigration system under substantial pressure. The use of contingency accommodation is a temporary solution to ensure that we meet our statutory obligation to house destitute asylum seekers.

The length of stay in the contingency hotel accommodation is determined by a number of factors such as overall demand and availability of suitable dispersal accommodation. The government is committed to reducing the flow of people through deepening cooperation with France, implementing the Nationality and Borders Act, and signing returns agreements. The average length of stay in our contingency hotels is 6 to 12 months due to the current accommodation and capacity challenges. The Full Dispersal model, announced on 13 April 2022, aims to reduce, and ultimately, end the use of hotels by allowing the Home Office to procure dispersal properties within the private rental sector in all Local Authority areas across England, Scotland and Wales.

17th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what guidance his Department is providing to local authorities on the distribution of funding for high streets.

There is a range of support options available to encourage regeneration of high streets and we advise local authorities on how to make the best use of these. This support includes provisions in the Levelling Up and Regeneration Act for High Street Rental Auctions (HSRA) which give local authorities new powers to force landlords to rent out vacant units in high streets, as well as the High Street Accelerator pilot programme and the Government’s Long-Term Plan for Towns to drive ambitious plans for regeneration.

Long-term investment also includes £2.35 billion of Town Deals and over £830 million of Future High Streets Funding across 170 high streets, town centres and local communities in England.

Jacob Young
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
17th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether the Future High Streets Fund will be extended to smaller high streets.

There is a range of support options available to encourage regeneration of high streets and we advise local authorities on how to make the best use of these. This support includes provisions in the Levelling Up and Regeneration Act for High Street Rental Auctions (HSRA) which give local authorities new powers to force landlords to rent out vacant units in high streets, as well as the High Street Accelerator pilot programme and the Government’s Long-Term Plan for Towns to drive ambitious plans for regeneration.

Long-term investment also includes £2.35 billion of Town Deals and over £830 million of Future High Streets Funding across 170 high streets, town centres and local communities in England.

Jacob Young
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
9th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, with reference to the Voluntary Right to Buy Midlands pilot between 2018 and 2021, whether his Department plans to introduce a full-scale rollout of that scheme.

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

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

The Voluntary Right to Buy Midlands pilot was independently evaluated by RSM Economic Consulting, with the report published in 2021.

9th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what recent assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of the Voluntary Right to Buy Midlands pilot between 2018 and 2021.

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

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

The Voluntary Right to Buy Midlands pilot was independently evaluated by RSM Economic Consulting, with the report published in 2021.

30th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what his timescale is for the removal of the duty to cooperate.

The duty to cooperate will be abolished by the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill. The Bill was introduced to Parliament on 11 May and has continued its passage through Parliament and Committee stage.

It will remain vital for local planning authorities to work together to make sure that cross-boundary issues are properly addressed, and we expect them to continue to plan for and deliver the housing, other development, and infrastructure that our communities need.

Lucy Frazer
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
12th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if his Department will review housing associations’ compliance with existing legislation.

The Government believes very strongly that service charges should be transparent and communicated effectively. The way a service charge is organised (for example, what it covers and how it is worked out) is set out in the lease or tenancy agreement. The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 is clear that variable service charges, including any increase in costs, must be reasonable, and where costs relate to work or services, the work or services must be of a reasonable standard. This applies equally to social housing residents and tenants.  Leaseholders and tenants may challenge the reasonableness of their variable service charges by making an application to the First-Tier tribunal.

The Government's policy statement on rents for social housing (published in February 2019) encourages registered providers of social housing to keep increases for services charges within CPI+1% per annum, to help keep charges affordable.  It also states that tenants should be supplied with clear information on how service charges are set, and in the case of social rent properties, providers are expected to identify service charges separately from the rent charge.

The Regulator of Social Housing's Rent Standard says that registered providers must comply with all the requirements and expectations of the Government's Rent Policy Statement on the setting, increase and decrease of rents and service charges.

Regarding transparency and accountability, the Social Housing Regulation Bill, introduced in the House of Lords on 8 June, will facilitate the implementation of the new, proactive consumer regulation regime. As part of the new regime, landlords will be required to report on a set of Tenant Satisfaction Measures. These are being developed by the Regulator of Social Housing, and will include measures relating to tenant engagement. Landlords will also be required to publish a set of financial metrics, including information on management costs, to allow tenants to hold their landlords to account and ensure they are receiving value for money. The Bill will also facilitate the introduction of an Access to Information scheme, enabling housing association tenants to request information from their landlords relating to the management of their homes.

This set of measures will ensure that residents can access key information regarding their homes and landlords, and will allow residents to have a stronger voice in decisions relating to their homes.

12th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether his Department is taking steps to encourage housing associations to increase their engagement with tenants.

The Government believes very strongly that service charges should be transparent and communicated effectively. The way a service charge is organised (for example, what it covers and how it is worked out) is set out in the lease or tenancy agreement. The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 is clear that variable service charges, including any increase in costs, must be reasonable, and where costs relate to work or services, the work or services must be of a reasonable standard. This applies equally to social housing residents and tenants.  Leaseholders and tenants may challenge the reasonableness of their variable service charges by making an application to the First-Tier tribunal.

The Government's policy statement on rents for social housing (published in February 2019) encourages registered providers of social housing to keep increases for services charges within CPI+1% per annum, to help keep charges affordable.  It also states that tenants should be supplied with clear information on how service charges are set, and in the case of social rent properties, providers are expected to identify service charges separately from the rent charge.

The Regulator of Social Housing's Rent Standard says that registered providers must comply with all the requirements and expectations of the Government's Rent Policy Statement on the setting, increase and decrease of rents and service charges.

Regarding transparency and accountability, the Social Housing Regulation Bill, introduced in the House of Lords on 8 June, will facilitate the implementation of the new, proactive consumer regulation regime. As part of the new regime, landlords will be required to report on a set of Tenant Satisfaction Measures. These are being developed by the Regulator of Social Housing, and will include measures relating to tenant engagement. Landlords will also be required to publish a set of financial metrics, including information on management costs, to allow tenants to hold their landlords to account and ensure they are receiving value for money. The Bill will also facilitate the introduction of an Access to Information scheme, enabling housing association tenants to request information from their landlords relating to the management of their homes.

This set of measures will ensure that residents can access key information regarding their homes and landlords, and will allow residents to have a stronger voice in decisions relating to their homes.

12th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if his Department will review the composition of housing association charges to ensure the equity of those charges for tenants.

The Government believes very strongly that service charges should be transparent and communicated effectively. The way a service charge is organised (for example, what it covers and how it is worked out) is set out in the lease or tenancy agreement. The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 is clear that variable service charges, including any increase in costs, must be reasonable, and where costs relate to work or services, the work or services must be of a reasonable standard. This applies equally to social housing residents and tenants.  Leaseholders and tenants may challenge the reasonableness of their variable service charges by making an application to the First-Tier tribunal.

The Government's policy statement on rents for social housing (published in February 2019) encourages registered providers of social housing to keep increases for services charges within CPI+1% per annum, to help keep charges affordable.  It also states that tenants should be supplied with clear information on how service charges are set, and in the case of social rent properties, providers are expected to identify service charges separately from the rent charge.

The Regulator of Social Housing's Rent Standard says that registered providers must comply with all the requirements and expectations of the Government's Rent Policy Statement on the setting, increase and decrease of rents and service charges.

Regarding transparency and accountability, the Social Housing Regulation Bill, introduced in the House of Lords on 8 June, will facilitate the implementation of the new, proactive consumer regulation regime. As part of the new regime, landlords will be required to report on a set of Tenant Satisfaction Measures. These are being developed by the Regulator of Social Housing, and will include measures relating to tenant engagement. Landlords will also be required to publish a set of financial metrics, including information on management costs, to allow tenants to hold their landlords to account and ensure they are receiving value for money. The Bill will also facilitate the introduction of an Access to Information scheme, enabling housing association tenants to request information from their landlords relating to the management of their homes.

This set of measures will ensure that residents can access key information regarding their homes and landlords, and will allow residents to have a stronger voice in decisions relating to their homes.

12th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that tenants renting housing association properties receive value for money.

The Government believes very strongly that service charges should be transparent and communicated effectively. The way a service charge is organised (for example, what it covers and how it is worked out) is set out in the lease or tenancy agreement. The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 is clear that variable service charges, including any increase in costs, must be reasonable, and where costs relate to work or services, the work or services must be of a reasonable standard. This applies equally to social housing residents and tenants.  Leaseholders and tenants may challenge the reasonableness of their variable service charges by making an application to the First-Tier tribunal.

The Government's policy statement on rents for social housing (published in February 2019) encourages registered providers of social housing to keep increases for services charges within CPI+1% per annum, to help keep charges affordable.  It also states that tenants should be supplied with clear information on how service charges are set, and in the case of social rent properties, providers are expected to identify service charges separately from the rent charge.

The Regulator of Social Housing's Rent Standard says that registered providers must comply with all the requirements and expectations of the Government's Rent Policy Statement on the setting, increase and decrease of rents and service charges.

Regarding transparency and accountability, the Social Housing Regulation Bill, introduced in the House of Lords on 8 June, will facilitate the implementation of the new, proactive consumer regulation regime. As part of the new regime, landlords will be required to report on a set of Tenant Satisfaction Measures. These are being developed by the Regulator of Social Housing, and will include measures relating to tenant engagement. Landlords will also be required to publish a set of financial metrics, including information on management costs, to allow tenants to hold their landlords to account and ensure they are receiving value for money. The Bill will also facilitate the introduction of an Access to Information scheme, enabling housing association tenants to request information from their landlords relating to the management of their homes.

This set of measures will ensure that residents can access key information regarding their homes and landlords, and will allow residents to have a stronger voice in decisions relating to their homes.

12th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that transparency and accountability measures apply to housing association service charges.

The Government believes very strongly that service charges should be transparent and communicated effectively. The way a service charge is organised (for example, what it covers and how it is worked out) is set out in the lease or tenancy agreement. The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 is clear that variable service charges, including any increase in costs, must be reasonable, and where costs relate to work or services, the work or services must be of a reasonable standard. This applies equally to social housing residents and tenants.  Leaseholders and tenants may challenge the reasonableness of their variable service charges by making an application to the First-Tier tribunal.

The Government's policy statement on rents for social housing (published in February 2019) encourages registered providers of social housing to keep increases for services charges within CPI+1% per annum, to help keep charges affordable.  It also states that tenants should be supplied with clear information on how service charges are set, and in the case of social rent properties, providers are expected to identify service charges separately from the rent charge.

The Regulator of Social Housing's Rent Standard says that registered providers must comply with all the requirements and expectations of the Government's Rent Policy Statement on the setting, increase and decrease of rents and service charges.

Regarding transparency and accountability, the Social Housing Regulation Bill, introduced in the House of Lords on 8 June, will facilitate the implementation of the new, proactive consumer regulation regime. As part of the new regime, landlords will be required to report on a set of Tenant Satisfaction Measures. These are being developed by the Regulator of Social Housing, and will include measures relating to tenant engagement. Landlords will also be required to publish a set of financial metrics, including information on management costs, to allow tenants to hold their landlords to account and ensure they are receiving value for money. The Bill will also facilitate the introduction of an Access to Information scheme, enabling housing association tenants to request information from their landlords relating to the management of their homes.

This set of measures will ensure that residents can access key information regarding their homes and landlords, and will allow residents to have a stronger voice in decisions relating to their homes.

11th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if his Department will amend the Duty to co-operate to state that a council’s contribution to meeting another council’s employment need, or other development needs, affects an authority's contribution to housing need or vice versa.

Through the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill we are abolishing the Duty to Cooperate. The Duty has not achieved the level of co-operation that was intended and has become something of a bureaucratic exercise which, as a rigid legal test, has resulted in around 20 local plans failing at examination.

Instead, we will introduce a more flexible policy based requirement for local planning authorities to work together on local plans, through an updated National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). The details of the new NPPF will be developed as the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill progresses through Parliament and will be consulted upon.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
11th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether his Department plans to introduce legislation to change the park homes pitch fee review inflationary index to the Consumer Prices Index during this session.

The Government remains committed to improving protections for park home residents and this includes changing the pitch fee review inflationary index from the Retail Prices Index (RPI) to the Consumer Prices Index (CPI). We will introduce the required legislation when the parliamentary timetable allows.

22nd Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what support his Department has provided to local authorities to enable them to enforce the fit and proper person test for park home site owners and managers.

To assist local authorities enforcing the fit and proper persons test the department published non-statutory guidance on the implementation and the setting of fees in June 2021 and gave additional advice to authorities as required. We also provided local authorities with new burdens funding to support them in enforcing the test and continue to engage with and support local authorities to ensure the test is applied fairly and consistently.

22nd Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what records the Government holds on park homes site owners and managers not deemed fit and proper for the financial year 2018-19.

The fit and proper person test was implemented in two stages. The first part came into effect on 1 July 2021 to allow local authorities to set up and prepare to receive applications. By 1 October 2021, all site owners were required to have submitted their applications. There is therefore no data from financial years 2018-2021. The department is aware of site owners and managers who have been deemed not fit and proper since the regulations came into effect, however, as these are the subject of appeals it would not be appropriate to share this information at this time.

22nd Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what records the Government holds on park homes site owners and managers not deemed fit and proper for the financial year 2019-20.

The fit and proper person test was implemented in two stages. The first part came into effect on 1 July 2021 to allow local authorities to set up and prepare to receive applications. By 1 October 2021, all site owners were required to have submitted their applications. There is therefore no data from financial years 2018-2021. The department is aware of site owners and managers who have been deemed not fit and proper since the regulations came into effect, however, as these are the subject of appeals it would not be appropriate to share this information at this time.

22nd Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what records the Government holds on park homes site owners and managers not deemed fit and proper for the financial year 2020-21.

The fit and proper person test was implemented in two stages. The first part came into effect on 1 July 2021 to allow local authorities to set up and prepare to receive applications. By 1 October 2021, all site owners were required to have submitted their applications. There is therefore no data from financial years 2018-2021. The department is aware of site owners and managers who have been deemed not fit and proper since the regulations came into effect, however, as these are the subject of appeals it would not be appropriate to share this information at this time.

22nd Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what records the Government holds on park homes site owners and managers not deemed fit and proper for the financial year 2021-22.

The fit and proper person test was implemented in two stages. The first part came into effect on 1 July 2021 to allow local authorities to set up and prepare to receive applications. By 1 October 2021, all site owners were required to have submitted their applications. There is therefore no data from financial years 2018-2021. The department is aware of site owners and managers who have been deemed not fit and proper since the regulations came into effect, however, as these are the subject of appeals it would not be appropriate to share this information at this time.

31st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what his Department's policy is on whether a surplus contribution to meeting employment need made by a council through its local plan affects expectations for that council's contributions to housing need through the Duty to Cooperate.

The standard method for assessing local housing need is used by councils to inform the preparation of their local plans. Councils decide their housing requirement once they have considered their ability to meet the needs in their area. This includes taking local circumstances and constraints into account.

The duty to co-operate is a statutory requirement on councils (local planning authorities and county councils) and other public bodies. They must work together constructively, actively and on an ongoing basis in relation to planning for strategic cross boundary matters during plan preparation. This can include the redistribution of housing need and employment need between authorities where one authority cannot meet its own need.

There is no direct relationship or expectation that a contribution to meeting employment need, or other development needs, affects an authority's contribution to housing need or vice versa.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will issue guidance to local authorities to use their discretionary powers to fast-track Disabled Facilities Grant applications for people living with motor neurone disease and other terminal conditions.

New Government guidance on the effective delivery of the Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) for local authorities in England was published on 28 March 2022 on Gov.uk at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/disabled-facilities-grant-dfg-delivery-guidance-for-local-authorities-in-england.

The guidance includes information on discretionary powers available to local authorities under a published Housing Assistance Policy, which can include fast-tracking the DFG process for eligible people living with motor neurone disease and other terminal conditions, as well as means test exemptions for adaptations costing less than £5000 if agreed locally. Any decision to include these priorities in a Housing Assistance Policy is a local one determined by local authorities.

28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will issue guidance to local authorities to use their discretionary powers to exempt Disabled Facilities Grant applicants from means testing for housing adaptations costing less than £5,000.

New Government guidance on the effective delivery of the Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) for local authorities in England was published on 28 March 2022 on Gov.uk at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/disabled-facilities-grant-dfg-delivery-guidance-for-local-authorities-in-england.

The guidance includes information on discretionary powers available to local authorities under a published Housing Assistance Policy, which can include fast-tracking the DFG process for eligible people living with motor neurone disease and other terminal conditions, as well as means test exemptions for adaptations costing less than £5000 if agreed locally. Any decision to include these priorities in a Housing Assistance Policy is a local one determined by local authorities.

15th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what his policy is on protecting the Green Belt from planning applications for battery storage units; and if he will update the national planning policy framework with a strategy for locating these units on land other than Green Belt land.

This Government has a manifesto commitment to protect and enhance the Green Belt. Our National Planning Policy Framework makes clear that most new building is inappropriate in Green Belt and should be refused permission unless in very special circumstances. Very special circumstances are not defined in national planning policy as it is rightly for the individual local authority to assess each case on its merits, and give relevant circumstances their due weight. However, when considering any planning application affecting Green Belt land, the local authority should ensure that substantial weight is given to any harm to the Green Belt.

The Framework is also clear that local authorities should support transition to a low-carbon future, including renewable and low-carbon energy generation. Local plans should identify suitable areas for renewable and low-carbon energy sources and infrastructure and guidance sets out how local authorities should take account of environmental, landscape and amenity considerations.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)