George Howarth Portrait

George Howarth

Labour - Knowsley

Select Committees
Panel of Chairs (since January 2020)
Panel of Chairs
22nd Jun 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Panel of Chairs
13th Oct 2009 - 3rd May 2017
Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament
9th Sep 2015 - 20th Oct 2016
Finance and Services Committee
30th Jan 2012 - 30th Mar 2015
Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament
17th Jul 2005 - 30th Mar 2015
Modernisation of the House of Commons
13th Jul 2005 - 6th May 2010
Conventions (Joint Committee)
17th May 2006 - 31st Oct 2006
Armed Forces Bill Committee
19th Dec 2005 - 9th May 2006
Armed Forces Bill Committee
20th Dec 2005 - 9th May 2006
Draft Mental Health Bill (Joint Committee)
20th Jul 2004 - 11th Jul 2005
Public Accounts Committee
15th May 2002 - 10th Sep 2003
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Northern Ireland Office)
29th Jul 1999 - 7th Jun 2001
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
6th May 1997 - 29th Jul 1999
Shadow Spokesperson (Home Affairs)
1st Jun 1994 - 1st Jun 1997
Shadow Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Jun 1989 - 1st Jun 1994
Environment
19th Dec 1989 - 16th May 1990
Members' Interests
4th Apr 1990 - 11th May 1990
Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration
28th Jan 1987 - 15th Dec 1989


There are no upcoming events identified
Division Votes
Tuesday 19th October 2021
Supporting Small Business
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 161 Labour Aye votes vs 0 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 215 Noes - 298
Speeches
Wednesday 22nd September 2021
Oral Answers to Questions

May I thank you personally, Mr Speaker, for the kindness you showed during my recent illness?

Does the right hon. …

Written Answers
Thursday 21st October 2021
Voting Methods: Visual Impairment
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what plans his Department has to provide information …
Early Day Motions
Monday 14th June 2021
Government review of NHS eating disorder services
That this House expresses strong concern at the lack of a coherent and effective approach to eating disorders in the …
Bills
None available
Tweets
None available
MP Financial Interests
Saturday 11th January 2020
2. (a) Support linked to an MP but received by a local party organisation or indirectly via a central party organisation
Name of donor: Unite the Union
Address of donor: Unite House, 128 Theobald's Road, Holborn, London WC1X 8TN
Amount of …
EDM signed
Thursday 21st October 2021
Campaign to secure the future of the Covid Memorial Wall
That this House welcomes the creation of the Covid Memorial Wall on Albert Embankment by Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice; …
Supported Legislation
Wednesday 22nd April 2020
Public Advocate (No. 2) Bill 2019-21
A Bill to establish a public advocate to provide advice to, and act as data controller for, representatives of the …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, George Howarth has voted in 232 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All George Howarth 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
Boris Johnson (Conservative)
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
(6 debate interactions)
Stuart C McDonald (Scottish National Party)
Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Home Affairs)
(4 debate interactions)
Kit Malthouse (Conservative)
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
(4 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Cabinet Office
(7 debate contributions)
Department for Transport
(5 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all George Howarth's debates

Knowsley 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).

Petition Debates Contributed

We have the second most expensive childcare system in the world. A full time place costs, on average, £14,000 per year, making it completely unaffordable for many families. Parents are forced to leave their jobs or work fewer hours, which has a negative impact on the economy and on child poverty.


Latest EDMs signed by George Howarth

23rd September 2021
George Howarth signed this EDM on Thursday 21st October 2021

Campaign to secure the future of the Covid Memorial Wall

Tabled by: Afzal Khan (Labour - Manchester, Gorton)
That this House welcomes the creation of the Covid Memorial Wall on Albert Embankment by Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice; notes that this memorial now includes over 150,000 hand-painted hearts to symbolise all those who lost their lives during the coronavirus pandemic; praises the work of Covid-19 Bereaved Families for …
72 signatures
(Most recent: 22 Oct 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 45
Scottish National Party: 9
Liberal Democrat: 9
Democratic Unionist Party: 5
Conservative: 2
Green Party: 1
Independent: 1
10th September 2021
George Howarth signed this EDM on Thursday 21st October 2021

Introducing a Wealth Tax

Tabled by: Richard Burgon (Labour - Leeds East)
That this House notes that almost a quarter of all household wealth in the UK is held by the richest one per cent. of the population; further notes that the wealth of UK billionaires increased by £106 billion since the start of the pandemic; believes that it is unjust that …
31 signatures
(Most recent: 22 Oct 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 24
Independent: 2
Scottish National Party: 2
Alba Party: 1
Green Party: 1
Liberal Democrat: 1
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 1
View All George Howarth's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by George Howarth, 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.


George Howarth has not been granted any Urgent Questions

George Howarth has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

George Howarth has not introduced any legislation before Parliament


107 Written Questions in the current parliament

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department
2 Other Department Questions
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what plans his Department has to provide information on (a) support for and (b) changes to voting in elections to blind and partially sighted people.

It is integral to our democracy that everybody is able to make their voice heard and that elections are accessible for all those eligible to vote.

This is why, for the first time in electoral law, through the Elections Bill, we are putting in place a requirement for Returning Officers to consider the needs of all disabled voters when providing equipment for polling stations.

This will allow Returning Officers to tailor the package of equipment they offer to their voters and to take into account developments in equipment and technology, in order to best meet the needs of people with disabilities including those who have sight loss.

Clear guidance will be issued to Returning Officers by the Electoral Commission, which will be produced in partnership with the Government's expert Accessibility of Elections Working Group, which includes a wide range of stakeholders including the Royal National Institute of Blind People.

We will also work with the group and wider stakeholder networks to publicise the support available and help ensure people get the right support for them.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the Elections Bill on the ability of blind and partially sighted people to vote without assistance.

It is integral to our democracy that everybody is able to make their voice heard and that elections are accessible for all those eligible to vote.

This is why, for the first time in electoral law, through the Elections Bill, we are putting in place a requirement for Returning Officers to consider the needs of all disabled voters when providing equipment for polling stations.

This will allow Returning Officers to tailor the package of equipment they offer to their voters and to take into account developments in equipment and technology, in order to best meet the needs of people with disabilities including those who have sight loss.

Clear guidance will be issued to Returning Officers by the Electoral Commission, which will be produced in partnership with the Government's expert Accessibility of Elections Working Group, which includes a wide range of stakeholders including the Royal National Institute of Blind People.

We will also work with the group and wider stakeholder networks to publicise the support available and help ensure people get the right support for them.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what progress he has made on the public inquiry into the Government's response to the covid-19 pandemic, announced on 21 May 2021.

On 12 May, the Prime Minister confirmed that a public inquiry into COVID-19 would be established on a statutory basis, with full formal powers, and that it will begin its work in spring 2022.

Further details will be set out in due course.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will take steps to work with blind and partially sighted people to produce more accessible voting options.

The Government is committed to ensuring that elections are accessible for all those eligible to vote.

To that end, the Government has introduced a number of measures to support the accessibility of elections in the recently introduced Elections Bill, such as removing restrictions on who can act as a companion to support voters with disabilities and placing a broader requirement for Returning Officers to consider the needs of all disabled voters when providing equipment for polling stations.

Specifically on issues related to sight loss, we were pleased to be able to carry out some testing of accessible voting solutions for blind and partially sighted electors with the RNIB and Broadland District Council at the recent elections in May, and we are currently considering our next steps. We will continue to work with the RNIB and other interested groups in taking this forward and have already talked with RNIB about looking at the postal vote system to see how and where that can be improved to support engagement.

We also continue to work with the members of the Accessibly of Elections Working Group, including the Electoral Commission, the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and the Association of Electoral Administrators. The Association of Electoral Administrators provides training and guidance for Returning Officers and their teams to further improve the support provided to enable disabled electors to participate in future elections.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what his planned timescale is for a review of the postal voting system to ensure that system is fully accessible for blind and partially sighted people.

The Government is committed to ensuring that elections are accessible for all those eligible to vote.

To that end, the Government has introduced a number of measures to support the accessibility of elections in the recently introduced Elections Bill, such as removing restrictions on who can act as a companion to support voters with disabilities and placing a broader requirement for Returning Officers to consider the needs of all disabled voters when providing equipment for polling stations.

Specifically on issues related to sight loss, we were pleased to be able to carry out some testing of accessible voting solutions for blind and partially sighted electors with the RNIB and Broadland District Council at the recent elections in May, and we are currently considering our next steps. We will continue to work with the RNIB and other interested groups in taking this forward and have already talked with RNIB about looking at the postal vote system to see how and where that can be improved to support engagement.

We also continue to work with the members of the Accessibly of Elections Working Group, including the Electoral Commission, the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and the Association of Electoral Administrators. The Association of Electoral Administrators provides training and guidance for Returning Officers and their teams to further improve the support provided to enable disabled electors to participate in future elections.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many care home residents have died of covid-19 since the start of the covid-19 outbreak.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what representations he has received from businesses in Great Britain on delays in the distribution of goods to Northern Ireland.

Government departments regularly engage with individual businesses to support the development of practical solutions to issues raised, to ensure the effective movement of goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The Government receives regular feedback on issues of concern through the Northern Ireland Secretary’s Business Engagement Forum and the dedicated Protocol sub-group of the Brexit Business Taskforce. This engagement supports ongoing UK-EU discussions on addressing outstanding concerns on the Protocol. Concerns raised are addressed through action, including continuous improvements to the Trader Support Service, which processes approximately 99% of declarations within 15 minutes.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will publish the Government's policy on what constitutes British values; and what mechanisms are in place to ensure that such values are taken into account when developing Government policy.

The British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance are a fundamental part of the work of Government. Ministers are accountable to Parliament for the policies, decisions and actions of their departments and agencies.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what additional support is available to support service veterans during the covid-19 pandemic to (a) access employment opportunities, (b) access housing opportunities for those who are homeless and (c) link those about to leave the armed services with training opportunities.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, veterans have continued to be able to access support for employment, housing and training through services including the Veterans Gateway and the MOD’s Veterans Welfare Service. The Department for Work and Pensions is delivering the £2bn Kickstart programme, creating high quality work placements for young people at risk of long-term unemployment, and each of Jobcentre Plus’s Districts is currently supported by an Armed Forces Champion to cater for the specific needs of veterans. Training and resettlement is delivered to service leavers through the MOD’s Career Transition Partnership.

As a result of the pandemic, access to CTP services has been extended by three months, and training courses available virtually wherever possible. The Defence Transition Services, which support the most vulnerable Service leavers and their families have continued to operate. The Government has provided additional housing support to the general population, helping rough sleepers into safe accommodation, and published updated guidance for local authorities in June 2020 to ensure the veteran community has appropriate access to social housing, placing a bigger emphasis on mental health needs.

22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what progress has been made on agreeing to new visa arrangements, whether bilaterally or with individual EU states, for UK residents who carry out short-term contracts in the EU.

The Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) is the basis of our trading relations with the EU, and this is not going to be re-negotiated. Commitments in the TCA provide certainty and clarity for those who travel to another country temporarily to do business. For example, the TCA guarantees market access to key economic sectors, and eases some burdens on business travellers, such as: removing the need for work permits for some short-term trips and reducing the number of economic needs tests a country could impose to block access to exporters. They also ensure that the UK and EU Member States have a minimum standard for how business travellers and service providers should be treated when working abroad through non-discrimination clauses.

The end of freedom of movement between the UK and the EU will inevitably have some consequences for cross-border business travel, and we are engaging regularly with businesses to help them understand the new requirements for travel to the EU. We have published guidance on GOV.UK to help those intending to travel to the EU, EEA and Switzerland for work or other business purposes. The Government will continue to enhance this guidance and to engage with our embassies to better understand the requirements in Member States, on behalf of UK businesses.

We respect the right of individual Member States to determine their own immigration policies. Here in the UK, we have adopted a global immigration system that treats EU and non-EU citizens equally.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the environment costs and benefits of the transition from petrol, diesel, and hybrid engines, in terms of the (a) carbon emissions from the electricity required and (b) steel used.

The Department for Transport developed the Transport Energy Model, published in 2018, to provide a clear assessment of the relative environmental impacts of different road vehicle technologies and fuels in the UK. For a typical medium car travelling at 34 km/hour, Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG from fuel/electricity production and vehicle use) for a Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) were 66% lower than for a petrol car and 60% lower than for a diesel car. The Transport Energy Model also showed that BEVs are highly energy efficient – a typical BEV uses a two thirds less energy than the average petrol vehicle to move the same distance.

Lifecycle analysis looks at the total GHG emissions of a vehicle across its lifetime, including manufacturing, in-use and end-of-life. The latest evidence from lifecycle analysis shows that BEVs have significantly lower GHG emissions than their petrol, diesel or hybrid equivalents today. The leading lifecycle analysis studies have included emissions associated with vehicle production, including steel, and emissions from fuel or electricity production. To maximise environmental benefits, electric vehicles (EVs) and their batteries need to be manufactured and charged using electricity from low carbon sources. With the Government’s announcement of up to £1bn to support EV supply chains, our increasing use of low carbon energy sources, and our commitment to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, the UK is an attractive option for investment in low-carbon battery manufacture. UK BEV emissions, from energy production and use, are expected to fall to near zero by 2050 as the electricity grid decarbonises in line with Government projections.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what representations he has received from the automotive industry on the (a) transition from petrol, diesel, and hybrid engines, and (b) Government’s support for such a transition timetable.

The Government consulted last year on bringing forward the end to the sale of new petrol, diesel and hybrid cars and vans. We sought views on the phase out date, the definition of what should be phased out, barriers to achieving the proposals, the impact of the ambitions on different sectors of industry and society, and what measures were required by government and others to achieve the earlier phase out date.

As part of my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister’s ten point plan published in November 2020, we announced that we would phase out the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030, and, from 2035, all new cars and vans must be zero emissions at the tailpipe. On 10 March, the Government published the full written outcome of the consultation including stakeholder views and the Government’s response. These ambitions will be supported by an accompanying package of £2.8 billion, with up to £1 billion to support the electrification of UK vehicles and their supply chains, £1.3 billion to accelerate the roll out of charging infrastructure and £582 million for plug in vehicle grants.

Between 2030 and 2035, any new cars and vans sold that emit from the tailpipe must have significant zero emission capability. This will be defined through consultation in the coming months. We will continue to support industry and consumers to make the switch to cleaner vehicles and will publish a clear delivery plan later this year.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the economic effect of insecure employment models such as zero-hours contracts, rolling contracts and other casual or insecure employment models.

The UK economy’s continued success is built on the flexibility of our labour market. Flexible working provides opportunities for those who may not be able to work in more conventional ways and has played a crucial part in our high rates of employment pre-Covid-19. For example, in 2019, the UK employment rate was 76%, the highest since comparable records began in 1971. The Government also recognises the valuable contribution made by those in the gig economy during the Covid-19 pandemic and anticipate that these jobs will be crucial to our economic recovery.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of improving collaboration between Government, universities and the private sector on science and technology in the context of the experience of developing new covid-19 vaccines.

The Vaccines Taskforce has coordinated the collective efforts of government, academia, industry and healthcare to find successful and effective vaccines. The Government has secured early access to 457 million vaccines doses through agreements with eight separate vaccine developers.

As a result, the UK was the first country in the world to procure, authorise and start a vaccination programme using the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, and shortly followed with the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. Due to our swift and decisive action, as of 18 March over 26.2 million individuals have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

In addition to this, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) works in close collaboration with others to build a thriving, inclusive research and innovation system that connects discovery to prosperity and public good. UKRI bring together nine organisations with great depth and breadth of expertise, allowing government to connect research communities, institutions, businesses and wider society, in the UK and around the world. This combination enables government to work across the whole research and innovation system, informed by our networks and expertise.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
12th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has discussed the implications of a statutory right to bereavement leave with (a) other Departments and (b) external organisations.

Officials from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) recently met with representatives from the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD); Cruse Bereavement Care; Jack’s Rainbow; Affinity Coaching Supervision; Bereavement UK; and the Advisory Conciliation Service (Acas) to discuss CIPD guidance for employers and the scope for introducing a new entitlement to Bereavement Leave and Pay for employee’s who lose a close family member.

A follow up meeting with CIPD and officials from BEIS last week. This meeting was also attended by an official from the Department for Health and Social Care.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the scale of the contribution to the UK economy from the technical support industry to the entertainment industry.

The Government recognises the importance of the technical support and production services industry to the entertainment sector, and its contribution to the UK economy. We appreciate that the Covid-19 pandemic presents a significant challenge to this industry.

The Government undertakes a monthly assessment of the GVA of the cultural sector as a whole. It is estimated that GVA in the cultural sector shrank by 28% in March to December 2020, compared to the same period in 2019. In comparison, DCMS sectors (excluding Civil Society) shrank by 18% and the UK economy as a whole shrank by 11%. These monthly GVA estimates are based on incomplete information and should only be used to illustrate general trends, rather than be taken as definitive measures.

The Government recognises that there are many individuals and freelancers working across these industries. This is why the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) were extended to September 2021 at Budget. Also announced at Budget were changes to the SEISS scheme, meaning that 600,000 more people are now able to claim for the first time.

Through the CJRS, the Government is currently supporting 315,000 employees in the Arts, Entertainment and Recreation sectors.

The Department has remained in close contact with the technical support industry and production services sector throughout the pandemic and continues to hold regular meetings with a wide range of companies and representative organisations to understand the challenges they are facing and provide Government support targeted to their needs.

18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent representations he has received on the effect of covid-19 restrictions on (a) lower league and (b) amateur football.

Sports and physical activity are incredibly important for our physical and mental health, and are a vital weapon against coronavirus. We are in regular contact with The Football Association about lower league and amateur football, and they are also invited to regular meetings of the Sport Working Group which I chair. Through these meetings we are continuing discussions with representatives from the sport and physical activity sector about the steps required to reopen indoor and outdoor sports facilities.

Many football clubs have benefited from the multi-billion pound package of cross-sector business support from the Government that has enabled many sports clubs and leisure businesses to survive, including the furlough scheme and business interruption loan scheme. Sports have accessed many hundreds of millions of pounds of support through this.

As part of this, Sport England has provided £220m directly to support community sport clubs and exercise centres through this pandemic, via a range of funds including their £35m Community Emergency Fund. This support is available to both men’s and women’s clubs with the latest figures showing £10.5m has already been awarded to over 1,500 football clubs. This sector support was recently boosted by an extra £50m to help grassroots sports clubs and organisations as part of Sport England’s new strategy Uniting the Movement.

National League clubs have also received further government support from the Sport Winter Survival Package. Steps 3-6 of the National League system will receive up to £10 million of grant support to protect the immediate future of approximately 850 clubs over the winter period. We also confirmed the second tranche of funding from the Package will provide an initial 19 National League Step 1-2 clubs with loans offers worth up to £5.4 million. Further awards will be announced in due course.

At Budget, the Chancellor also announced that the Government will provide an initial £25 million to support the growth of grassroots football, which will be enough to build around 700 new pitches across the UK.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of re-opening zoos and safari parks with appropriate social distancing measures.

As announced by the Prime Minister on 10 June, outdoor areas of zoos and safari parks will be allowed to reopen from 15 June, subject to appropriate social distancing measures being in place. This includes keeping indoor exhibitions, such as reptile houses and those in aquariums, closed, and ensuring other amenities like cafes offer takeaway services only.

The move follows close work by the Government with the zoo industry to ensure visitor numbers can be managed and safeguards are put in place. The decision to relax restrictions on these select outdoor attractions is part of the Government’s careful approach to easing the lockdown in phases, guided by the advice of scientific and medical experts and the fact the risk of transmission is much lower outdoors.

Officials in the Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs continue to meet weekly with the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums and with the CEOs of the largest charitable zoos and aquariums in England, providing a forum to monitor concerns and seek insights from key sector representatives on current issues.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
19th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether the Government has plans to introduce a stabilisation fund for the charity sector in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

The government has pledged £750 million to ensure the voluntary and community sector continues its vital work supporting the country during the Coronavirus outbreak. This includes £360m distributed through government departments and £200m for the Coronavirus Community Support Fund, being delivered by The National Lottery Community Fund. The government has unlocked a further £150 million from dormant bank and building society accounts, which will be distributed to organisations to support urgent work to tackle youth unemployment, expand access to emergency loans for civil society organisations and help improve the availability of fair, affordable credit to people in vulnerable circumstances.

We have published clear and comprehensive guidance on the £750 million, plus other sources of support, at

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/financial-support-for-voluntary-community-and-social-enterprise-vcse-organisations-to-respond-to-coronavirus-covid-19.

This is a package of emergency response funding targeted at supporting charities and social enterprises on the frontline of responding to Coronavirus, or providing other essential services. It builds on the significant package of support available across sectors, including the Job Retention Scheme.

18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what representations he has received on the (a) adequacy of the Government’s summer catch-up provision, and (b) suitability of providers who have applied for contracts to provide such programmes.

The Government is committed to helping children and young people make up education lost as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

In January 2021, my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, committed to work with parents, teachers and pupils to develop a long-term plan to help pupils make up their education over the course of this Parliament. As an immediate step to support nurseries, schools and colleges, on 24 February the Department committed an additional £700 million to support summer schools, tutoring, early language interventions, and additional support to schools to help pupils make up their education. This builds on the £1 billion from last year and brings the total available to £1.7 billion.

The £1 billion package includes a £650 million catch up premium to support schools in helping their pupils to make up lost education. The funding will be issued in three tranches, two of which have already been delivered. The third, and largest (£271 million), will be delivered in the summer term. Schools can use catch up premium funding to support pupils to catch up in the summer. To help schools make the best use of this funding, the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) has published a support guide for schools with evidence-based approaches to catch up for all students, which is available here: https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/covid-19-resources/national-tutoring-programme/covid-19-support-guide-for-schools/#nav-covid-19-support-guide-for-schools1. The EEF have also published a further school planning guide: 2020 to 2021, available to view here: https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/covid-19-resources/guide-to-supporting-schools-planning/.

The £700 million announcement in February also included a new one-off recovery premium of £302 million for the next academic year. The recovery premium will build on the pupil premium to further support pupils who need it most. Schools’ allocations from the recovery premium will be based on the number of their pupils who are eligible for the pupil premium. Schools should use the recovery premium, alongside their existing catch up premium, and their pupil premium as a single total from which to prioritise support for pupils according to their need, including to support catch up in the summer.

£200 million will be made available to secondary schools to deliver a face to face summer school. A mix of academic and enrichment activities should help the pupils involved to recover some of their lost education and should also support their mental health and wellbeing. The Department has not contracted any providers to deliver summer schools. Schools will be funded directly and they are free to resource the support to best meet the needs of the school and its pupils. The Department will shortly publish guidance that includes signposts to additional support for schools should they need it.

The Department has made an additional £630,000 available for Oak National Academy to support education recovery by developing free, high-quality resources that will be available online throughout the summer holidays. This optional suite of resources covering Reception to Year 11 will provide support to pupils who have missed important curriculum content. It can be used by teachers or holiday clubs when setting holiday homework or running summer schools.

In addition, the Department’s holiday activities and food programme will make up to £220 million available to local authorities to coordinate free holiday activities, including healthy food and enriching activities, during the Easter, summer and Christmas holidays in 2021. The programme will be available to children who receive benefits-related free school meals in every local authority in England. The programme is delivered through grants to local authorities, and local authorities will therefore hold any contracts with local providers.

In summer 2020, as part of the initial £1 billion catch-up package, the Government launched a £350 million National Tutoring Programme (NTP). The NTP is an ambitious scheme which provides additional, targeted support for those children and young people who have been hardest hit from disruption to their education as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

As part of the £700 million plan announced on 24 February, this included £200 million to expand our successful tutoring programmes. This will fund an £83 million expansion of the National Tutoring Programme for 5–16-year-olds in 2021/22, which has been shown to boost catch up education by much as 3-5 months, a £102 million extension of the 16-19 Tuition Fund for a further year to support more students in English, maths and other vocational and academic subjects, and £18 million funding to support language development in the early years, supporting a critical stage of child development.

18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, in the event of future covid-19 lockdown restrictions to schools, what proposals he has to ensure that all children have access to appropriate devices for online learning.

The Government is investing over £400 million to support access to remote education and online social care services, including making 1.3 million laptops and tablets available for disadvantaged children and young people. To date, over 1.2 million laptops and tablets have been delivered to schools, academy trusts, local authorities and further education colleges.

The Government is providing this significant injection of laptops and tablets on top of an estimated 2.9 million already owned by schools before the start of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Once received, the laptops and tablets will be owned by schools, academy trusts, local authorities or further education colleges who can lend these to children and young people who need them the most. These laptops and tablets are intended to give schools the flexibility to provide remote education support and can continue to be used in the longer term either in the classroom or from home.

The Department also provided support for over 100,000 families to get online through uplifts in mobile data and 4G wireless routers.

We are considering future options on digital education, and we will set out our plans in due course.

13th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential effect on students' exam performance of their disrupted schooling as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department acknowledges that pupils due to sit examinations next summer have experienced considerable disruption to their education. The Government is determined to do everything possible to ensure that no pupil is prevented from fulfilling their potential due to COVID-19.

The Department has been working closely with Ofqual, the examination boards and groups representing teachers, schools, colleges, and students, to consider its approach to examinations and other assessments for 2021. It is working closely with the sector representatives to identify any risks to examinations at a national, local, and individual pupil level, and consider measures needed to address any potential disruption. The extent of necessary public health restrictions over the year is of course unknown so the Department is planning for every eventuality.

Working jointly with Ofqual, the Department is also considering the approach to grading, to ensure the 2021 cohort is treated fairly compared to previous cohorts. It continues to believe that examinations are the best and fairest way of judging pupils’ performance and the Government is committed to GCSE, AS and A level examinations taking place next year.

More detail will be published later this autumn.

18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the change in the level of food insecurity among children during the covid-19 outbreak.

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

Our latest guidance for schools is set out below:

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

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

The government has taken a series of significant actions, including actions regarding families’ access to food, to support families affected by COVID-19.

During this period, the Department for Education is asking schools to support children who are eligible for and claiming benefits-related free school meals by providing meals or food parcels through their existing food providers wherever possible. However, we recognise that providing meals and food parcels is not a practicable option for all schools. That is why, on 31 March, we launched a national voucher scheme as an alternative option, with costs covered by the Department for Education.

Schools are best placed to make decisions about the most appropriate arrangements for eligible pupils. This can include food parcel arrangements, alternative voucher arrangements or provision through the national voucher scheme. Our national voucher scheme supplier, Edenred, has reported that over £101.5 million worth of voucher codes has been redeemed into supermarket eGift cards by schools and families through the scheme as of Friday 22 May.

On 8 May, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport announced up to £16 million to provide food for those who are struggling as a result of COVID-19. The programme will provide millions of meals over a 12-week period, as delivered through charities including FareShare and WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme). At least 5,000 frontline charities and community groups in England will benefit, including families, refuges, homeless shelters and rehabilitation services. It will cover rural areas as well as cities, targeting those who are struggling to get food.

In addition, the government continues to invest significantly each year on welfare benefits for people of working age, supporting people when they need it, including those who are out of work or on a low income. During the COVID-19 outbreak, the UK government’s package of support in response to COVID-19 is one of the largest in the world. We have increased Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit by over £1,000 a year for this financial year, benefiting over 4 million households. We have also increased Local Housing Allowance rates, putting an average of £600 into people’s pockets. Taken together, these measures provide over £6.5 billion of additional support through the welfare system for people affected by COVID-19.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether the national voucher scheme offered to children eligible for free school meals during school closures will include support to cover the costs of breakfast.

While schools are closed to the majority of pupils, they are able to provide meals or vouchers to children who are eligible for benefits-related free school meals. More information can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance.

In addition to this, we are working to consider options to support children who currently receive a free breakfast through the department’s contract with Family Action and Magic Breakfast. Family Action with Magic Breakfast will liaise directly with the schools involved in the programme.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans his Department has to (a) increase the take-up of school meals and (b) improve compliance with school food standards.

The government encourages all schools to promote healthy eating and provide healthy, tasty and nutritious food and drink. Compliance with the School Food Standards is mandatory for all maintained schools. We also expect all academies and free schools to comply with the standards, and since 2014 we have made this an explicit requirement in their funding agreements.

School governors have a responsibility to ensure compliance and should appropriately challenge the headteacher and the senior leadership team to ensure that the school is meeting its obligations. Should parents feel that school food standards are not being met at their child’s school, they may choose to make a complaint using the school’s own complaints procedure.

In particular, we want to ensure that as many eligible pupils as possible are claiming their free school meals (FSM) and we also want to make it as simple as possible for schools and local authorities to determine eligibility. To support this, we provide an Eligibility Checking System to make the checking process as quick and straightforward as possible for schools and local authorities. We have also developed a model registration form to help schools encourage parents to sign up for FSM. Additionally, we provide guidance to Jobcentre Plus advisers so that they can make Universal Credit recipients aware that they may also be entitled to wider benefits, including FSM.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what progress his Department has made on achieving the ambition in the Child Obesity Plan to update the Schools Food Standards to reduce children's sugar consumption.

The department is working with Public Health England (PHE) to update the School Food Standards in relation to sugar and fibre. On 7 May and 6 November 2019, we brought together an advisory group comprising of key stakeholders in the food, nutrition and health sectors who hold a wide breadth of knowledge and expertise in relation to school food to discuss the proposed updates to the standards.

PHE has launched an invitation to tender for organisations interested in testing the detail of the proposed updates to ensure these are practical and can be easily implemented by schools and caterers. Further information will be announced as this develops.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what representations he has received from (a) zoos, (b) aquariums and (c) safari parks on the support needed to (i) remain economically viable in the context of the effect of covid-19 restrictions and (ii) ensure that animal welfare standards are maintained.

We remain committed to ensuring the sector can deliver the best possible care for its animals and have regular meetings with BIAZA, the zoo and aquarium industry body, and frequently engage with the CEOs of the largest charitable zoos. These discussions touch on many topics, including updates on the financial situation of the sector.

We have reacted to feedback from the industry and expanded the eligibility criteria of the Zoo Animals Fund so that grant payments to zoos begin when zoos reach their final 12 weeks of financial reserves, rather than six weeks and also expanded the range of costs that are eligible under the Fund so zoos can now claim costs relating to pre-planned essential maintenance and repair works as well as animal care costs. Representations were also made to extend the Fund and we have acted upon on this and extended the Fund for a second time. Applications are now open until 28 May and support will be provided until 30 June.

We are pleased to say we have received positive feedback from recipients of the Zoo Animals Fund on how the funding has enabled them to continue to provide the best care for their animals and operate safely in these challenging times. We are also working closely with the sector on their reopening guidance to ensure that zoos and aquariums are ready to open their doors to visitors, as soon as it is safe to do so. We will continue to engage with the sector to fully understand the ongoing impact of Covid-19 and to provide updates as situations change.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps she taking to ensure that aid is targeted at the most vulnerable regardless of their faith; and what criteria her Department applies to ensure that religious minorities are not discriminated against.

The UK Government works to ensure that UK overseas aid is targeted at the most vulnerable and that religious minorities are not discriminated against. The UK is committed to delivering its aid according to internationally recognised humanitarian principles. These principles ensure that humanitarian assistance is delivered to those who are most vulnerable and most in need of this assistance irrespective of race, religion or ethnicity. The UK is firmly committed to the protection of religious minorities, and regularly challenges our partners to demonstrate that they are doing all they can to meet the needs of the most vulnerable people, including those from religious minorities.

DFID undertakes interdisciplinary analysis of a country’s politics, society, state and economy to identify the most significant problems that hinder development and the main entry points and opportunities to create change. There is a strong emphasis on how politics, security, and demographics interact with economic growth and human development to ensure that aid is targeted at the most vulnerable.

Vulnerable religious minority groups will experience crises such as COVID-19 outbreaks differently. Crises are likely to reinforce their marginalised position in society, their experience of discrimination, violence and stigma, and further limit their access to essential support and services. For this reason, guidance was circulated across DFID highlighting that inclusion must be central to our response and that the specific contexts and needs of vulnerable religious communities and other vulnerable groups should be taken into account when developing practical programmes of assistance.

On 8 June, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State for Human Rights, hosted a roundtable to hear from faith leaders and faith-based development organisations about the specific challenges minority faith communities were facing during this COVID-19 pandemic.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, if she will list the countries with which the Government is conducting bilateral trade negotiations.

HM Government has agreed trade deals with 66 countries, in addition to the EU, covering trade worth £890 billion in 2019.

My Department has agreed continuity arrangements with the European Economic Area (EEA) and continue to make progress towards a new comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (FTA). We are continuing discussions from last year with Serbia too, with a view to concluding an agreement soon.

FTA negotiations are continuing with the US, Australia and New Zealand. We will re-open negotiations with Canada and Mexico this year, which supports our strategy to accede to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
5th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, if she will publish (a) a list of all current export licenses to the US of riot control projectiles and equipment including (i) who has purchased those items and (ii) their declared purpose; and if she will (A) suspend all existing licenses and (B) halt any new licenses for the export of riot control projectiles and equipment to the US if it is determined that such equipment is being used in the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests.

My Rt Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade and I have been sorry to see the violence that has taken place in the United States of America.

All export licence applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (‘Consolidated Criteria’). In reaching a decision, the Department for International Trade receives advice from a number of Departments including the Ministry of Defence and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Together, we draw on all available information, including reports from NGOs and our diplomatic missions. The Consolidated Criteria provides a thorough risk assessment framework and requires us to think hard about the impact of exporting any equipment. These are not decisions my Department takes lightly, and we will not license the export of items where to do so would be inconsistent with the Consolidated Criteria.

Any licence granted by my Rt Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade may be subject to conditions. In addition, in line with the Consolidated Criteria, my Department is able to review licences – and suspend or revoke as necessary – when circumstances require. There are currently eight extant licences that may be linked to law enforcement agencies. Six are Open Individual Export Licences (‘OIELs’), which have potential end users that include law enforcement agencies. Two are Standard Individual Export Licences (‘SIELs’), which have numerous potential end users that include law enforcement agencies. There are also 15 Open General Licences (‘OGLs’) for which businesses can register that cover the export of anti-riot gear.

Much information is in the public domain already. We publish information on all export licences issued, refused and revoked on a quarterly and annual basis as official statistics on GOV.UK – at: gov.uk/government/collections/strategic-export-controls-licensing-data – and whilst data on actual exports is not required to be centrally held, the licences issued until the end of December 2019 are available.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what progress has been made on bilateral negotiations for a covid-19 vaccine visa with countries that are popular as holiday destinations for UK tourists.

The Department for Transport is leading a successor to the Global Travel Taskforce to develop a framework that can safely facilitate international travel when the time is right, while still managing the risk from imported cases and variants. As part of that, we continue to engage with bilateral partners to explore how to open up international travel safely, including the role of vaccine and testing certificates. We also continue to work with a range of international partners to look at new technology and evidence as it emerges, assessing if it could be applicable to international travel.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether train drivers working for (a) Northern Rail and (b) London North Eastern Railway are classed as public sector workers and will not receive a pay rise.

Recent Office for National Statistics (ONS) data shows that since 2011 all rail workers’ earnings have increased at rates often double that for the average UK worker.


We are still working through how the public sector pay policy announced by the Chancellor may affect rail workers working for Northern Rail and London North Eastern Railway.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make an assessment of the (a) effect of the covid-19 outbreak on levels of food bank usage in Knowsley and (b) potential merits of holding discussions with food bank centres in Knowsley on tackling poverty.

No assessment has been made. There is no consistent and accurate measure of food bank usage at a constituency or national level.

This Government is committed to tackling poverty and officials from the Department continue to engage on this issue with a wide range of stakeholders, including food bank operators. Throughout this pandemic, this Government has delivered an unprecedented package of support and, for those in most need, injected billions into the welfare system. Our Covid Winter Grant Scheme has provided £229m to Local Authorities in England to enable them to support people with food and essential utility bills during the coldest months. Building on this, we have now introduced the £40m Covid Local Support Grant which will run to the 20th June.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make an (a) assessment of whether universal credit adequately covers the cost of living for recipients and (b) estimate of the number of universal credit applicants who access food bank services.

No assessment of foodbank use has been made. There is no consistent and accurate measure of food bank usage at a constituency or national level.

Universal Credit is a flexible, personalised benefit which responds to people’s circumstances. It includes separate elements to provide support for housing costs, children and childcare costs and support for disabled people and carers. UC entitlement automatically increases when someone’s income falls, meaning that claimants are better supported. Spring ‘20 forecasts estimated that when fully rolled out, UC will be £2 billion per year more generous than the support it replaces.

Throughout the pandemic we have targeted our support to those most in need by raising the living wage, spending hundreds of billions to safeguard jobs, boosting welfare support by billions and introducing the Covid Winter Grant Scheme (now the Covid Local Support Grant).

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what representations she has received on the potential merits of reforming self-employment.

The Department welcomes representations from stakeholders and incorporates these into policy development and implementation where possible. Many policies relating to self-employment, fall within the ambit of other Government Departments and representations may have been made to them on these matters.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what discussions her Department has had with (a) MacMillan Cancer Support and (b) other charities on retaining (i) remote ID verification, (ii) flexible assessments and (iii) other recently introduced measures to help universal credit support people living with cancer.

I refer the honourable Member to the answer I gave on 14 September 2020, in response to question 86019.

29th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people are claiming universal credit; and what the unemployment rate is in Knowsley constituency as of 29 April 2020.

The information requested on Universal Credit is not readily available at constituency level and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Statistics on employment and unemployment at Parliamentary Constituency level are estimated by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) using the Annual Population Survey (APS).

The latest available data on unemployment in Knowsley constituency covers the period January 2019-December 2019, when the unemployment rate was estimated at 2.2%. However, the ONS consider this estimate highly uncertain as it is based on a very small sample. A less uncertain estimate exists for Knowlsey Local Authority District which is 2.9% (with the true level between 1.5% and 4.3%).

The first dataset containing information on the requested period for April 2020 will be published by the ONS in autumn 2020.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 7 July 2021 to Question 23077 on Primary health care, what estimate his Department has made of the number of referrals from the NHS 111 referral service to community pharmacy for self-treatable conditions in each month since November 2020.

The following table shows the number of referrals to the Community Pharmacist Consultation Scheme (CPCS) from NHS 111 for minor illnesses in each month since November 2020:

Month

NHS 111 minor illness CPCS referrals

November 2020

22,165

December 2020

20,063

January 2021

23,600

February 2021

19,475

March 2021

24,574

April 2021

29,250

May 2021

37,390

June 2021

29,448

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 7 July 2021 to Question 23078 on Pharmacy: medical records, whether (a) his Department and (b) NHS bodies plan to publish its assessments of the potential merits of giving pharmacy write access to medical records; and if he will make it his policy to hold a consultation on providing that access to pharmacies.

The Government’s plans for developing interoperable IT systems to provide read and write access across health and care settings were set out in ‘The future of healthcare: our vision for digital, data and technology in health and care’ published in October 2018. There is agreement across stakeholders that read and write access to patient records, where they are involved in the patient’s direct care, is necessary for pharmacists to play the increased role envisaged by the NHS Long Term Plan and the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework.

NHSX is engaging with stakeholders including pharmacy contractors, IT suppliers and the public, including testing proposed digital solutions and considering issues such as patient consent and data security. However, there are no plans for a public consultation.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the role that the health and fitness industry plays on people developing eating disorders.

We have no plans to make such an assessment.

We know that some people with eating disorders may struggle with excessive exercising. However, we also recognise the positive impact that sport can have on physical and mental health.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to investigate the increase in the number of cases in eating disorders in the last 10 years.

We currently have no plans to do so.

The Government is funding, via the National Institute for Health Research, a new eating disorder study jointly led with Kings College London and eating disorder charity, Beat. This is the largest ever study of eating disorders in England which aims to better understand these conditions and enable the design of new treatments aimed at improving the lives of patients.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how the Government plans to ensure that eating disorder services are sufficiently funded in the event that more power is devolved to clinical commissioning groups; and what plans he has to maintain ring-fenced funding for eating disorder services.

The funding and provision of health services, including mental health services, are the responsibility of local clinical commissioning groups which have the flexibility to reallocate funding according to local need.


NHS England and NHS Improvement continue to work with mental health leads from local systems, Health Education England, and other partners across the health system to support local services and help ensure the funding flows to these services as intended.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his Department will make an assessment of the impact of social media on children and young people developing eating disorders.

This Department, through the National Institute for Health Research, has funded a systematic review to explore the relationship between social networking sites and other online content, and body image and disordered eating in children and young people. The review is being led by the Evidence for Policy and Practice Information and Co-ordinating Centre and we will report on findings in due course. We are also working with the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on the Online Safety Bill to fully consider pro-eating disorder content online.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of a national approach to self care that (a) encourages referrals to pharmacy for self care advice and (b) empowers community pharmacists to refer people to other healthcare professionals as appropriate.

The Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework (CPCF) 2019-24 five-year deal, commits £2.592 billion every year to the sector. Community pharmacy will support delivery of the NHS Long Term Plan by becoming better integrated in the National Health Service and delivering more clinical services.

The Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS) launched in November 2019, enabling NHS111 to refer patients to a community pharmacist for minor illness or the urgent supply of a prescribed medicine. In November 2020 this service was expanded to general practitioner surgeries and we are exploring the potential to expand the CPCS to urgent treatment centres and accident and emergency departments. Community pharmacists are already required, as part of their NHS contractual arrangements, to refer people to other health and social care providers and support organisations as appropriate.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has been made of the potential merits of ensuring pharmacists have both read and write access to medical records to ensure a consistent and comprehensive record of care.

The Department, NHS England and NHS Improvement, NHSX and NHS Digital are currently considering this access for pharmacists.

In some areas, medical records are already shared between medical professionals to support locally commissioned services. Nationally, pharmacists have read access via a patient’s Summary Care Record. Following a successful pilot of the digital transfer between community pharmacy and general practitioner (GP) IT systems, when a patient has their NHS flu vaccination in a community pharmacy this information is sent electronically to the patient’s GP where known and is automatically recorded in the patient’s medical record. As access is extended, we are considering technical requirements, patient consent and data security to provide access to patient records as part of the integration of National Health Service IT systems.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Government’s White Paper, Integration and Innovation: working together to improve health and social care for all, whether he has made an assessment of who will be responsible for the continuum of self care for self-treatable conditions.

Integrated care systems will have a key role in considering how best to support self-care, working with their partners across acute care, primary care and local authorities. The National Health Service promotes self-care when appropriate and has commissioned a range of information, advice and support to help people do so.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many prostate cancer patients have been enrolled in the personalised stratified follow-up pathway across each of the Cancer Alliances in England.

As set out in the National Health Service 2021/22 priorities and operational planning guidance, Cancer Alliances are delivering personalised stratified follow up (PSFU) pathways for prostate cancer across England. NHS England and NHS Improvement published a handbook to support implementation of PSFU pathways in March 2020 and continue to work with Cancer Alliances to ensure all trusts have a PSFU pathway for prostate cancer in place.

There are no plans to include questions on PSFU pathways for prostate cancer within the National Cancer Patient Experience Survey 2021. NHS England and NHS Improvement do not hold information on the number of prostate cancer patients enrolled on to a PSFU pathway across each of the Cancer Alliances in England.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department plans to include questions on the personalised stratified follow-up pathways for prostate cancer within the National Cancer Patient Experience Survey 2021.

As set out in the National Health Service 2021/22 priorities and operational planning guidance, Cancer Alliances are delivering personalised stratified follow up (PSFU) pathways for prostate cancer across England. NHS England and NHS Improvement published a handbook to support implementation of PSFU pathways in March 2020 and continue to work with Cancer Alliances to ensure all trusts have a PSFU pathway for prostate cancer in place.

There are no plans to include questions on PSFU pathways for prostate cancer within the National Cancer Patient Experience Survey 2021. NHS England and NHS Improvement do not hold information on the number of prostate cancer patients enrolled on to a PSFU pathway across each of the Cancer Alliances in England.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure take up of personalised stratified follow-up pathways for prostate cancer in England.

As set out in the National Health Service 2021/22 priorities and operational planning guidance, Cancer Alliances are delivering personalised stratified follow up (PSFU) pathways for prostate cancer across England. NHS England and NHS Improvement published a handbook to support implementation of PSFU pathways in March 2020 and continue to work with Cancer Alliances to ensure all trusts have a PSFU pathway for prostate cancer in place.

There are no plans to include questions on PSFU pathways for prostate cancer within the National Cancer Patient Experience Survey 2021. NHS England and NHS Improvement do not hold information on the number of prostate cancer patients enrolled on to a PSFU pathway across each of the Cancer Alliances in England.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people live in residential care homes on average for the latest period for which data is available.

The Department receives data on care home occupancy on a voluntary basis from care homes. However, this data is not sufficiently accurate to provide a comprehensive assessment of occupancy in residential care homes.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent discussions he has held with (a) clinicians, (b) representatives of charities and (c) campaigners concerned with eating disorders on potential ways to improve the services available to people with those disorders.

Departmental Ministers and officials meet with NHS England and a range of stakeholders on a regular basis, including the Royal College of Psychiatrists, clinicians, charities and campaigners for people with eating disorders.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
19th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what information his Department holds on the number of people who have received the (a) Oxford AstraZeneca and (b) Pfizer-BioNTech covid-19 and have since experienced adverse reactions.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency’s Yellow Card scheme is a mechanism by which anybody can voluntarily report any suspected adverse reactions or side effects to the vaccine. It should be noted that a Yellow Card report does not necessarily mean the vaccine caused that reaction or event. Reports to the scheme are known as suspected adverse reactions.

As of 7 March 2021, for the United Kingdom, 35,325 Yellow Cards have been reported for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, 61,304 have been reported for the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine and 281 have been reported where the brand of the vaccine was not specified. For both vaccines the overall reporting rate is around three to six Yellow Cards per 1,000 doses administered.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
19th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on people diagnosed with cancer.

The NHS Cancer Programme is currently establishing a task and finish group to review alterations and/or disruptions to care pathways, including services for those with secondary breast cancer, during the pandemic. Once a group has been established the group will consider the most appropriate data sources with which to make this assessment.

Cancer diagnosis and treatment has remained a top priority for the Government throughout the pandemic. From March 2020 to the end of January 2021, 1.86 million people have been urgently referred and over 477,000 people started receiving cancer treatment. First and subsequent cancer treatments have been maintained at 87% of the level in 2019.

The Government has taken a number of steps to ensure people can continue to access high-quality cancer care throughout the pandemic. For example, there are currently 65 live regional diagnostic centre pathways across hospitals in England, compared to 12 in March 2020.

Additionally, COVID-19 protected hubs for cancer surgery have been established to keep vulnerable cancer patients safe. This particularly protects cancer patients from immunocompromised infection. All 21 Cancer Alliances across England have arrangements in place for surgical cancer hubs. Adults experiencing cancer can access Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) mental health services, which provide evidence based therapies for people with anxiety disorders and depression. The implementation of IAPT/long term condition pathways has been identified as a priority to support integration of mental health and physical health services for people with co-morbid long term conditions, such as cancer.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what programmes are in place to provide mental health support for NHS staff.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have developed a comprehensive package of mental health support for National Health Service staff, including virtual staff common rooms for mutual support, free access to a range of well-being apps and a helpline and text service for counselling and support. Last autumn, £30 million was invested to strengthen mental health and occupational health support. This funding is being used to set up mental health hubs that will provide outreach and assessment services to help staff receive rapid access to mental health services. Staff referred will be treated by local mental health specialists and those with severe needs will be referred to a specialist centre.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the (a) risk of the latest wave of covid-19 cases to the health of frontline pharmacy staff and (b) additional support that those staff require to ensure that they remain safe.

Guidance on working safely is available on GOV.UK for people who work in community pharmacies and a COVID-19 standard operating procedure for community pharmacy has been published by NHS England and NHS Improvement.

The first part of this year’s Pharmacy Quality Scheme focuses on activities to support the response to COVID-19, including the requirement to complete individual COVID-19 risk assessments for all community pharmacy staff, particularly those already known to be in an ‘at risk’ group or from a black, Asian and minority ethnic background.

We have supported community pharmacies and their staff in other ways to adopt COVID-19 secure working practices, such as free personal protective equipment (PPE) and reimbursement for PPE previously purchased and £300 towards premises adjustments.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 17 November 2020 to Question 116400, if he has made an assessment of the reasons for the increase in over-the-counter prescribing in each month from July 2019 to March 2020.

The attached table shows the number of over the counter items prescribed and all items prescribed, by month, from July 2019 to March 2020. As shown the number of items prescribed during this period fluctuates on a month by month basis. However, when compared to the same month in the previous year, fewer over the counter items were prescribed in eight of the nine months. In comparison, all items prescribing was greater in eight of the nine months shown with the biggest increase also observed in March 2020.

The reasons why there has been an increase in over the counter prescribing items in March 2020 compared to the same month last year are not known. This could be an anomaly or it may be linked to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Net ingredient cost of over the counter items is dependent not only on the volume of items prescribed but also price changes of individual products.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to (a) class as key workers and (b) introduce regular testing for all staff working in education settings during the covid-19 outbreak.

Education and childcare workers, including support and teaching staff, social workers and specialist education professionals have been classed as keyworkers.

Lateral flow testing is available to staff of primary and secondary schools, nurseries and colleges and students of secondary schools and colleges. From 8 March, twice-weekly lateral flow testing has also been available to the households, childcare and support bubbles of staff and students. Students and staff should continue to access testing via their school. Tests for households, support and childcare bubbles can be ordered and collected from local sites or administered through workplace testing programs.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many A&E attendances there have been for minor ailments in England in each month since January 2019.

We do not hold information on accident and emergency attendances for minor ailments.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many GP appointments there were for minor ailments in England in each month since January 2019.

Data is not collected or held in the format requested.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many Community Pharmacy Consultation Service referrals there have been for minor ailments since the launch of that service in October 2019; and, of those referrals, how many were made through the NHS 111 service.

NHS England and NHS Improvement advise that the NHS 111 service has made 235,309 referrals for minor illness assessment since the launch of the service in October 2019 up to 17 November 2020.

Since 1 November 2020, general practices have been able to make minor illness referrals to the NHS Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (NHS CPCS). Between 1 November and 17 November, there have been 516 referrals from general practices to the NHS CPCS.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on levels of self care for minor ailments.

During the COVID-19 outbreak, fewer people attended general practitioner (GP) surgeries and emergency departments. The period also saw an increase in use of NHS 111, with triaged calls increasing by 12.4% in April-October 2020 compared to the same period last year. The proportion of calls where patients were not recommended to attend another service or to seek advice from a pharmacy increased from 27.9% to 32.6% of all calls.

This may mean that some people utilised self-care for some minor ailments, which would include seeking advice and over-the-counter treatments from pharmacists. While some minor ailments can be treated through self-care, the public should continue to seek and access care through NHS 111, their GP, and 999 if it is an emergency.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 5 August 2020 to Question 72910 on Drugs: Expenditure, if he will provide a breakdown of the savings in each month since March 2018.

As a result of improvements at the NHS Business Services Authority in how it stores and reports prescribing data, there have been changes to the drug classification structure and an increase in the number of products included in the over the counter (OTC) product list. This change has particularly affected some OTC items, including vitamins and minerals, emollients and creams. The effect has been to change the total spend on OTC items in each year and the reduction in spend.

After taking account of the changes, the figures now show a reduction in spend of £10 million from the baseline year of 2017-2018 to the last full year of 2019-2020. A review of the guidance is planned for next year, taking into account updates to the evidence, data on impact, feedback from patient groups, and will include a review of expected savings.

The following table shows the net savings, by month, since NHS England and NHS Improvement and National Health Service clinical commissioners published ‘Conditions for which over the counter items should not routinely be prescribed in primary care: Guidance for Clinical Commissioning Groups’.

Financial year

Month

Net Ingredient Cost (millions)

Rolling 12 month Net Ingredient Cost (millions)

Saving over previous 12 months versus 2017/18 financial year (millions)

2017/18

March

£43.3

£521.9

£0.0

2018/19

April

£41.9

£521.9

£0.0

2018/19

May

£44.1

£519.6

-£2.2

2018/19

June

£43.4

£515.6

-£6.3

2018/19

July

£42.5

£513.7

-£8.2

2018/19

August

£42.6

£514.1

-£7.8

2018/19

September

£40.1

£511.4

-£10.5

2018/19

October

£42.8

£510.3

-£11.6

2018/19

November

£40.9

£507.0

-£14.9

2018/19

December

£39.7

£504.5

-£17.4

2018/19

January

£42.4

£503.4

-£18.5

2018/19

February

£38.4

£502.2

-£19.7

2018/19

March

£41.8

£500.7

-£21.2

2019/20

April

£41.2

£499.9

-£21.9

2019/20

May

£44.0

£499.9

-£22.0

2019/20

June

£40.9

£497.4

-£24.5

2019/20

July

£42.3

£497.2

-£24.7

2019/20

August

£43.6

£498.2

-£23.7

2019/20

September

£41.3

£499.5

-£22.4

2019/20

October

£43.6

£500.2

-£21.7

2019/20

November

£41.8

£501.0

-£20.9

2019/20

December

£41.8

£503.2

-£18.7

2019/20

January

£44.1

£504.9

-£17.0

2019/20

February

£40.3

£506.7

-£15.2

2019/20

March

£46.8

£511.7

-£10.1

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 5 August 2020 to Question 72910 on Drugs: Expenditure, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the guidance on prescribing over-the-counter items on health outcomes.

The Department has made no assessment. In March 2018 NHS England and NHS Improvement published ‘Conditions for which over the counter items should not routinely be prescribed in primary care: Guidance for Clinical Commissioning Groups’. This includes a general exception enabling prescribers to continue to prescribe where the clinician considers that patients’ ability to self-manage is compromised as a consequence of medical, mental health or significant social vulnerability.

Prescribing trends and spend for each item within the scope of this guidance is monitored by commissioners on an on-going basis which, alongside further analysis of the underlying data and impact, will inform any update of the guidance.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to (a) reduce variation in bereavement support and (b) improve the adequacy of provision of that support throughout England.

The Government is taking a cross-Government approach to address bereavement support and help ensure that families and friends of those deceased get the support they need, particularly during this difficult time.

We are engaging with bereavement support organisations, the National Health Service and arm’s length bodies to assess how we can help make sure that there is adequate support available across England and reduce variation.

On 22 May, the Government announced £22 million of funding to life-saving health charities, £4.2 million of which will be used to support mental health charities and charities providing bereavement support.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
22nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on oral health inequalities in children; and if he will make a statement.

No specific assessment has been made of the effect of the COVID-19 outbreak on oral health inequalities in children.

The Dental Public Health Epidemiology Programme annual oral health surveys which include children’s oral health have been affected. The 2019-2020 oral health survey of three-year-olds was suspended on the 18 March 2020 and the 2020-2021 oral health survey of five-year-olds has been suspended until summer term 2021.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Consultation, Advancing our health: prevention in the 2020s, published on 22 July 2019, when he plans to implement the Government's commitments on children’s oral health.

In ‘Advancing our health: Prevention in the 2020s’, we committed to consulting on rolling out a supervised toothbrushing scheme in more pre-school and primary school settings in England. We also committed to exploring the barriers to increasing water fluoridation. No date has yet been set for this consultation.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many hospital laboratory staff were furloughed in each hospital trust in each month since March 2020.

The Department does not hold information in relation to whether National Health Service trusts and foundation trusts have furloughed staff. This information would be held by those employing organisations, not the Department.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
16th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many covid-19 tests were carried out in each hospital trust area in each month since 2020; which laboratories analysed those tests; and what the average cost per test was.

The Government does not publish data in the format requested.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
14th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to test staff employed at designated covid-19 testing stations to ensure that they are not carrying the virus.

We have a number of measures in place to maintain health and safety at site. This includes strict social distancing measures, ensuring sites are cleaned multiple times a day to ensure very high standards of hygiene and the use of personal protective equipment on site. As testing capacity increases, repeat testing of priority groups is under consideration and a decision will be made in due course on whether to make this available for testing centre personnel.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much has been spent on developing the Government’s covid-19 contact tracing app to date; which companies were paid sums as part of that process; how much each such company received; and what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of that expenditure.

The cost of the National Health Service COVID-19 app will be £10.8 million as of 30 June 2020. This figure is based on the spend for developing and hosting the app together with associated policy, project, evaluation, assurance related activity. Details on individual contracts can be found on under Contract Finder on GOV.UK. Companies which helped to develop the NHS COVID-19 contact tracing app include VMware/VMware Pivotal Labs, Zuhlke Engineering, Microsoft, and Amazon Web Services. Our investment in the Isle of Wight phase has provided us with valuable information that we can now take forward in a new solution that is right for the British public.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what (a) assessment he undertook, (b) the value was of and (c) procurement process was for each private sector NHS contract awarded by his Department since the start of the covid-19 outbreak.

As part of an unprecedented response to this global pandemic we have drawn on the expertise and resources of a number of public and private sector partners to support the National Health Service and social care sector. Officials across Government have assessed each and every contract that has been entered into to ensure compliance with procurement regulations for exceptional circumstances, where being able to procure at speed has been critical in the national response to COVID-19.

Authorities are allowed to procure goods, services and works with extreme urgency in exceptional circumstances using regulation 32(2)(c) under the Public Contract Regulations 2015.The guide to how contracting authorities should respond to coronavirus was published on 18 March. This is applicable to all contracting authorities, including central Government departments, executive agencies, non-departmental public bodies, local authorities, NHS bodies and the wider public sector. We have been clear from the outset that public authorities must achieve value for money for taxpayers and use good commercial judgement.

The Contract Award Notices, containing information on the final agreed value of the contact, are being published on Contracts Finder as quickly as possible in line with Government transparency guidelines at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/contracts-finder

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment his Department has made of the effect of GDPR legislative framework on the Government's covid-19 testing and tracing programme plans.

The Government’s test and trace programme will bring together the National Health Service COVID-19 app, expanded web and phone-based contact tracing, and swab testing for those with potential COVID-19 symptoms. Each element of the programme has been developed with full regard to all applicable data protection laws.

We have published a Data Protection Impact Assessment and Privacy Notice for the app’s roll out to the Isle of Wight and will provide updates to these if there are any significant updates to the app and before the national roll out.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
29th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State of Health and Social Care, if the Government will take steps with Liverpool Football Club and the relevant football authorities to (a) trace people who attended the Champions League fixture held at Anfield on 11 March 2020 and (b) commission an independent comparative assessment of the rate of covid-19 infection in that cohort and their contacts and a control group.

It is our absolute priority to protect people’s health. The Champions League fixture held at Anfield on 11 March 2020 took place in accordance with scientific advice at the time. The Government has no current plans to trace people who attended this match or to commission an independent comparative assessment of the rate of COVID-19 infection in that cohort and their contacts and a control group.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will place in the Library any medical and scientific advice he received on (a) the holding the Champions League fixture at Anfield Stadium on 11 March 2020 and (b) the decision to allow supporters from Spain to travel to and attend that fixture.

At the time of the fixture there were no restrictions on mass gatherings or foreign travel. The decision to hold this football match was taken by the footballing authorities.

The Government relies on the advice of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies for scientific and technical advice during emergencies. This included advice on mass gatherings. It concluded that the risk to an individual from attending large events is generally no higher than in smaller events. In most larger events, such as sports matches, attendees will come into close contact with at most a handful of people, so the risk to attendees is low.

The advice can be found here;

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/873748/12-spi-m-o-consensus-view-on-public-gatherings.pdf

On 16 March, the Prime Minister announced significant changes to the Government’s approach to social distancing. This included increasing social distancing to help avoid unnecessary contact between individuals. Advice was issued on mass gatherings on the same day.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/covid-19-guidance-for-mass-gatherings

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when his Department plans to publish its response to the public consultation entitled, Introducing further advertising restrictions on TV and online for products high in fat, sugar and salt, published in March 2019.

We will be responding to the consultation ‘Introducing further advertising restrictions on TV and online for products high in fat, sugar and salt’ as soon as possible.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the 2019 Prevention Green Paper, when his Department plans to publish the public consultation on supervised tooth brushing.

The Government’s Green Paper: ‘Advancing our health: prevention in the 2020s’, published in July 2019, committed to consulting this year on a national school toothbrushing scheme in more pre-school settings and primary schools in England.

The intention is to begin a public consultation on a national school toothbrushing scheme, later this year.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent representations his Department has made to China on that country's behaviour in the South China Sea.

In the South China Sea, our commitment is to international law, particularly the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and to freedom of navigation and overflight. We encourage all parties to settle their disputes peacefully through the existing legal mechanisms, particularly UNCLOS. This is in line with the recently published Integrated Review where we set out our commitment to upholding the international rules and norms that underpin free trade, security and stability.

We routinely raise our concerns, both in private and in public, with Chinese officials, including about reports of militarisation, coercion and intimidation in the South China Sea. We will continue to do so where we have concerns. In May last year, officials raised concerns with Chinese authorities about recent incidents, including the creation of new administrative territories. On 3 September 2020, I [Minister Adams] set out our legal analysis on the South China Sea in full to Parliament for the first time. On 16 September 2020, we issued a joint Note Verbale with France and Germany to the UN's Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf in response to assertions in Chinese Notes Verbale that we consider inconsistent with UNCLOS. On 8 December 2020, the UK made a national statement at the annual UN General Assembly debate on the Law of the Sea reiterating our legal position on the South China Sea.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of bi-lateral relations between Taiwan and the UK.

The UK does not have diplomatic relations with Taiwan but we do have a strong, unofficial relationship, based on dynamic commercial, educational and cultural ties. This relationship delivers significant benefits to both the UK and Taiwan and has featured a wide range of exchanges and visits, for example on environmental, judicial and educational issues.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of current bi-lateral relations between Vietnam and the UK.

The UK's relationship with Vietnam has strengthened over time. In September 2020 the Foreign Secretary signed the renewed UK-Vietnam Strategic Partnership Agreement in Hanoi with his counterpart Deputy Prime Minister Pham Minh Binh. The Agreement spans a range of interests including climate change, trade, security, innovation and human rights.

We use our broad relationship with Vietnam to advance bilateral and regional priorities: The UK-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (FTA) signed in December is already benefitting businesses in the UK and Vietnam. Vietnam has been a strong supporter of the UK's bid to be a Dialogue Partner of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and application to accede to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

We have regular dialogue on areas of mutual interest such as climate change and energy, maritime security and tackling human trafficking. We also regularly raise our concerns over restrictions on freedom of expression with the Government of Vietnam.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations he has made to his Bahraini counterpart on the continued detention and wellbeing of Hasan Mushaima.

We continue to monitor and raise the case of Hassan Mushaima, as necessary, at senior levels with the Bahraini Government. The Government of Bahrain has been clear that access to medical care for those in detention is provided in line with the Constitution of Bahrain. We welcome those assurances. We encourage those with concerns about treatment in detention to raise the matter with the Bahraini human rights oversight bodies. The UK continues to engage with the Government of Bahrain to support its reform agenda, and to deliver on its international and domestic human rights commitments.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations his Department is making to the Bahraini Government on securing the release of Hasan Mushaima.

We continue to monitor and raise the case of Hassan Mushaima, as necessary, at senior levels with the Bahraini Government. The Government of Bahrain has been clear that access to medical care for those in detention is provided in line with the Constitution of Bahrain. We welcome those assurances. We encourage those with concerns about treatment in detention to raise the matter with the Bahraini human rights oversight bodies. The UK continues to engage with the Government of Bahrain to support its reform agenda, and to deliver on its international and domestic human rights commitments.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent representations he has made to his Mexican counterpart on freedom of religion and belief in that country.

The UK Government continues to engage regularly with Mexican authorities at ministerial, official, and state levels to discuss human rights, including Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB), and to support a broad human rights agenda in Mexico. Most recently, I discussed human rights with the Mexican Deputy Foreign Minister when he visited London on 9 March. During the Foreign Secretary's visit to Mexico in August 2019, he raised human rights with his counterpart, Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard, who expressed his support for working with the UK both bilaterally and multilaterally to protect human rights. Additionally, Baroness Williams raised FoRB with the Mexican Interior Minister in September 2019.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations he has made to his Chinese counterpart on releasing prisoners of conscience Gedhun Choekyi Nyimain, Hu Chigen and Bishop James Zhumin due to the risk of covid-19 to detainees in overcrowded prisons.

The risk of the spread of COVID-19 in places of detention is a matter of concern around the world. We will continue to engage closely with the Chinese authorities on the COVID-19 crisis. We pay close attention to the human rights situation in Tibet, and raise our concerns with the Chinese authorities.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations he has made to the UN Human Rights Council on the renewal of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea.

The UK is a strong supporter of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea and the important work that she does in challenging the government of Eritrea to improve its human rights record. This was reiterated by the UK's International Ambassador for Human Rights in her statement at the last session of the Human Rights Council (HRC) on 26 February. The HRC was suspended in March because of COVID-19, and arrangements to conclude the 43rd session and hold the 44th session have not yet been agreed. As the Minister of State responsible for Human Rights, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, told the High Commissioner for Human Rights on 20 May, the UK supports the safe resumption of the HRC in June. The UK believes that the Special Rapporteur's work on Eritrea needs to continue, and we would support a resolution renewing her mandate.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations he has made to the Saudi Arabian Government on releasing prisoners of conscience Raif Badawi, Ashraf Fayadh and Ahmad Al Shamri due to the risk of covid-19 posed to detainees in overcrowded prisons.

We remain concerned over the continued detention of a number of individuals in Saudi Arabia. The Foreign Secretary raised our concerns on a number of cases during his visit to Saudi Arabia on 4 and 5 March, including Raif Badawi. In response to COVID-19, Saudi Arabia temporarily released a small number of prisoners with debt-related convictions. Embassy staff visited a number of high security prisons in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam in February and March, where the facilities and prison wings appeared to be in good and clean condition. Prison services and administration appeared professional. We will continue to raise concerns about individual cases regularly.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations he has made to his Egyptian counterpart on releasing prisoner of conscience Rami Kamil due to the risk of covid-19 to detainees in overcrowded prisons.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials have raised the case of Ramy Kamil with the Egyptian authorities. We also regularly raise the broad issue of prison conditions in Egypt: improving them was one of the specific recommendations we made in our intervention at Egypt's Universal Periodic Review at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva last year. Encouragingly, the Egyptian Government has accepted our recommendation, which we are following up. In addition, we are speaking to partners about supporting practical projects to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in prisons.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what plans he has to reduce the deficit projected in Budget 2021 (a) through taxation, (b) from issuing extra currency, (c) from the proposed recovery bond and (d) via other forms of government-issued bonds.

Borrowing in 2021-22 is the second highest peacetime level on record, coming only after 2020-21 – it is clearly not sustainable to continue borrowing at record levels indefinitely.

The OBR forecast shows that the medium-term outlook for the public finances has returned to a more sustainable path, supported by the fiscal repair measures set out in the Budget.

For example, the income tax Personal Allowance and higher rate threshold will be uprated in line with CPI as planned in April 2021, then maintained at that level until April 2026. In 2023, the main rate of corporation tax, paid on company profits, will increase to 25%.

Regarding issuing extra currency, the actual demand for banknotes and coins issued into circulation is determined by demand from UK banks and the Post Office – i.e. currency is issued to meet market demand and not to have any effect on the public finances.

Government bonds (called ‘gilts’ in the UK) are issued to finance the difference between Exchequer incomings and outgoings rather than being a tool utilised to reduce government deficits.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what tax incentives are available to (a) employer share ownerships plans, (b) value workers' cooperatives and (c) other forms of mutual employment and membership.

The Government offers four tax-advantaged employee share schemes: Share Incentive Plans (SIPs), the Save As You Earn (SAYE) scheme, Enterprise Management Incentives (EMI), and the Company Share Option Plan (CSOP). These schemes offer a range of Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax reliefs on qualifying shares. Employee Ownership Trusts (EOTs) promote indirect employee share ownership through offering similar tax reliefs to employees, with EOTs holding shares on their behalf. EOTs also offer an Income Tax exemption on bonus payments to employees.

While there are no statutory Income Tax or Corporation Tax incentives specifically for mutual organisations, the Government recognises their value in delivering the services their members and communities need.

15th Sep 2020
What fiscal steps he is taking to help companies in the live entertainment industry remain in business during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has announced unprecedented support for businesses during the pandemic, including those in the live entertainment industry.

Measures include a £1.57 billion fund to support the cultural sectors including live music, theatre and performing arts, and a temporary reduction in VAT to boost the tourism and hospitality industries, for example by reducing the cost of admission to concerts, theatres, fairs, exhibitions and similar events.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
17th Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of the UK budget deficit by the end of 2020; and what that deficit equates to per household.

The Treasury does not publish forecasts of the economy or the public finances; the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) is the UK’s official forecaster.

On 14 April, the OBR published a coronavirus reference scenario outlining the potential impact of COVID-19 on the economy and public finances. This was not an official forecast and the OBR highlight that the duration and scale of the economic disruption is highly uncertain. On 14 May the OBR published revised fiscal aggregates and monthly profiles relating to this scenario, estimating PSNB will reach £298.4 billion or 15.2% of GDP in 2020/21. The OBR did not produce an estimate on a per household basis.

While it is clear that the impact of COVID-19 on the economy and the government's necessary response to it will lead to an increase in borrowing this year, the OBR have noted that the costs of inaction would have been greater.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
17th Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what the value is of notes and coins in pounds sterling in circulation in the (a) UK and (b) rest of the world.

The issue of banknotes is the responsibility of the Bank of England. The Bank of England calculates that the aggregate value of its notes in circulation is £71bn.

Furthermore, the aggregate value of banknotes in circulation issued by the Scottish and Northern Irish commercial banks authorised to do so is £7bn.

The Royal Mint calculates the total face value of coins in circulation is £4.7bn.

It is not possible for the Bank of England or the Royal Mint to calculate what value of notes and coins are freely circulating and what is being held as a store of value.

The Bank of England and the Royal Mint do not hold information on the value of notes and coins held outside the UK.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
24th Feb 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether his Department has plans to extend the soft drinks industry levy to sugary milk drinks.

If the evidence shows that industry has not made enough progress on reducing sugar, the Government may extend the SDIL to sugary milk drinks.

12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to recent changes to the Security Industry Authority license to incorporate first aid training, whether her department has made an assessment of the effect of those changes on the (a) potential financial implications and (b) demand for jobs within the security industry; and whether she has received representations on the reasons for the those changes.

The Security Industry Authority (SIA) recently updated training requirements for those applying for a front-line SIA licence. These changes followed the SIA’s last five-year review of its training standards and are designed to ensure that people working in the private security sector can continue to keep the public safe. From 1 April 2021 first time applicants for a door supervisor or security guard licence are expected to complete a first aid qualification as part of their licence-linked training. This will be a requirement for people renewing their licences from October 2021.

The Home Office received a detailed explanation of the reasons for these changes and fully considered the SIA’s assessment of the impact of these reforms. The SIA conducted robust research within the industry on skills requirements, including consulting with industry experts, to inform the drafting of the new qualification specifications. The SIA also carried out two rounds of public consultation on all of the revised qualification specifications. These resulted in over 6,000 responses to the SIA which were mostly from licence holders.

Applicants will have choices that will affect how much they will pay. They have choices about which training provider to use, and what method of learning to use (for example, the proportion of self-study, remote and in-person learning), which affects the length of time required to complete it.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to ensure that the UK's immigration policy enables people with (a) professional and (b) technical skills to access employment in the UK.

The Skilled Worker route is designed to allow licensed UK employers to recruit workers to fill skilled vacancies on a global basis. Workers sponsored must be paid the appropriate salary and demonstrate they have the appropriate level of English language ability.

The new system includes broadening the minimum skill level for the skilled work route to RQF 3, equivalent to A levels, and lowering the general salary threshold to £25,600. The expanded skills threshold includes a variety of jobs requiring different professional and/or technical skills.

The new points-based system plays a key part in our long-term approach as the Government brings forward its strategy to rebuild our economy, support businesses to grow and get people back to work, with immigration policy being considered as part of our overall strategy for the UK Labour market, not in isolation to it.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what additional measures are under consideration to provide additional security for UK borders.

On 17th December the cross -Government 2025 Border Strategy was published which sets out the Government’s ambition to create the world’s most effective border by 2025, the can be accessed on the following link - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/2025-uk-border-strategy

Border Force (BF) is committed to working collaboratively at the border with all partner law enforcement agencies, including the Police Counter Terrorism Borders Operations Centre (CTBOC), to mitigate National Security threats and to strengthen border security. BF was a key participant in the Collaboration at the Border programme involving all National Security agencies with an interest in border crossing interception opportunities, aiming for an enhanced collaborative working at the border.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, when his Department plans to publish the findings from its research on fire safety and property protection; and whether he has plans to incorporate the findings from that research into the draft Building Safety Bill.

The Government has no current plans to extend the scope of the building regulations in this area through the Building Safety Bill, but is keeping this matter under review. As a next step, we are planning to undertake research this year looking at international approaches to regulation in this area, and will be publishing the final reports.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the administration cost of collecting contributions towards the Building Safety Fund from leaseholders living in residential buildings 18 metres and over.

We do not expect any contributions towards the Building Safety Fund from leaseholders. The additional £3.5 billion announced on 10 February provides assurance for leaseholders that all eligible applications to the Building Safety Fund will be able to proceed and that Government will fully fund the cost of replacing unsafe cladding for all leaseholders in residential buildings 18 metres and over in England.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what comparative assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the responses to the covid-19 pandemic of locally-based public health approaches and central Government-managed programmes involving private sector contracts.

MHCLG is responsible for delivering a sustainable and resilient local government sector that delivers priority services and empowers communities, however this Department is not responsible for individual council functions such as those relating to health, education and culture. As such this Department has not made an assessment of the effectiveness of the responses to the COVIID-19 pandemic of public health approaches, or central Government-managed programmes involving private sector contracts.

Local public health services are supported by the Public Health Grant. In 2021 to 2022 the total public health grant to local authorities will be £3.324 billion. The grant will be ring-fenced for use on public health functions. This may include public health challenges arising directly or indirectly from coronavirus (COVID-19).

Further details can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/public-health-grants-to-local-authorities-2021-to-2022

18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the potential merits for fire-safety of bringing forward legislative proposals for installing water sprinkler systems in (a) public, (b) residential, (c) commercial and (d) industrial premises.

We have already brought forward changes to Building Regulations guidance (Approved Document B) by lowering the height threshold for sprinklers from 30 metres to 11 metres in new blocks of flats. Assessments were set out in the Government impact assessment, available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/887225/Impact_Assessment_-_Sprinklers_and_other_fire_safety_measures_in_high-rise_blocks_of_flats_2020.pdf.

We are assessing the body of evidence available on the costs, benefits, and implications of installing sprinkler systems for selected other residential building types within the full technical review of Approved Document B (ADB) which began on 17 June 2020 with research into specialised housing and care homes. We have not made an assessment of the potential merits of sprinklers in commercial, industrial, or other types of premises.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what representations he has received on funding for local government to (a) increase Government support to pre-2010 levels and (b) ensure that local government additional spending on Covid-19 is fully recovered by councils.

Core Spending Power for local authorities in England could rise from £49.0 billion in 2020-21 to up to £51.3 billion in 2021-22, depending on local decisions - a 4.6% increase in cash terms. If councils do decide to take up the entirety of the increase on offer, they will see an overall increase in line with last year’s. This recognises the resources councils need to meet their pressures and maintain current service levels. These resources were reflected in the Local Government Finance Settlement for 2021/22, which received broad support from the majority of those who responded to the consultation and was passed in Parliament unopposed.

We are collecting monthly financial monitoring returns to better understand the additional costs councils are facing due to COVID-19. According to the latest of these returns, the estimated expenditure pressures for the financial year are £7.3 billion. The Government has allocated over £8 billion directly to councils since the start of the pandemic specifically for their expenditure pressures. Furthermore, the Chancellor took action at the Spending Review to provide local authorities with over £3 billion of additional support in 2021-22, taking total support committed to local authorities to tackle COVID-19 to over £11 billion. This level of support has been broadly welcomed by the sector.