Tip: To match a phrase, use quotation marks around the search term. eg. "Parliamentary Estate"

Written Question
Warm Home Discount Scheme
20 Jan 2022

Questioner: Grahame Morris (LAB - Easington)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will require all utility companies to provide the Warm Homes Discount to both the (a) core group and (b) broader group.

Answered by Greg Hands

Currently, energy suppliers with over 150,000 domestic customer accounts are obligated to deliver the Warm Home Discount Core Group, and those with over 250,000 are obligated to deliver both the Core and Broader Groups. These thresholds are in place following a consultation in 2020, and are set out in Regulations. Energy suppliers below these thresholds are able to voluntarily participate in the delivery of rebates.

The Government consulted last summer on the future of the scheme, which included proposals to reduce the energy supplier participation thresholds to 50,000 domestic customer accounts in 2022/23, and 1,000 domestic customer accounts from 2023/24 onwards. These balances are increasing access to the scheme, while ensuring costs are not prohibitive for new market entrants. The Government has also proposed to reform the scheme and replace the Broader Group in order to better target households in fuel poverty. The Government will be publishing its response to the consultation in Spring 2022.


Written Question
Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office: Working Hours
20 Jan 2022

Questioner: Grahame Morris (LAB - Easington)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment she has made of the compliance of her Department's staff working from home with the Working Time Regulations 1998.

Answered by Vicky Ford

FCDO continues to apply the policies that were in place prior to the pandemic in regard to working time. Staff have contracted hours which do not exceed the limit specified in the Working Time Regulations 1998. Staff working from home are required to work their contracted hours as if they were attending a workplace. The policy includes provision for 'time off in lieu' to be authorised for any ad-hoc instances where staff have been required to work over their contracted hours for business reasons. Each employee's contracted hours are recorded on FCDO's payroll systems and ensuring staff work their contracted hours, and are not routinely working beyond this, is part of the role of the line manager.


Written Question
Warm Home Discount Scheme
20 Jan 2022

Questioner: Grahame Morris (LAB - Easington)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will commission a public information campaign to raise awareness of the Warm Homes Discount Scheme.

Answered by Greg Hands

In the 2021/22 scheme year, all low-income pensioners who are potentially eligible for a rebate under the Warm Home Discount Core Group will have received a letter from the Government by mid-December 2021. Most will receive the rebate automatically; in 2020/21, around 95% of Core Group recipients received their rebates automatically. In addition, the Warm Home Discount website is widely signposted and used by consumer groups, charities, and energy comparison websites to maximise uptake.

Energy suppliers are responsible for administering their Broader Group rebates, including setting their eligibility criteria and providing the rebates to eligible households. Suppliers make their customers aware of the scheme and are usually over-subscribed with applications.

Last summer, the Government consulted on extending, expanding, and reforming the scheme such that from winter 2022/23 the vast majority of all Warm Home Discount rebates would be provided automatically.


Written Question
Warm Home Discount Scheme
20 Jan 2022

Questioner: Grahame Morris (LAB - Easington)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will standardise the eligibility criteria for the Warm Homes Discount.

Answered by Greg Hands

The Government consulted last summer on the future of the Warm Home Discount scheme. While the Core Group of low-income pensioners would be maintained, the Government has proposed to replace the Broader Group and instead identify households on low incomes with the highest energy costs through data matching. Eligibility would be the same across all participating energy suppliers and this would enable most rebates to be provided automatically without customers having to apply, including working-age households for the first time.

The Government will be publishing its response to the consultation in Spring 2022, with the reforms coming into force from the 2022/23 scheme year.


Written Question
Warm Home Discount Scheme
20 Jan 2022

Questioner: Grahame Morris (LAB - Easington)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will remove the limits on the number of Warm Home Discounts a supplier can issue.

Answered by Greg Hands

The Government sets the overall spending target for each Warm Home Discount scheme year. For 2021/22, the spending target is £354 million, and around 2.2 million households will receive a rebate worth £140. However, the Warm Home Discount is not funded by the Government – it is paid for by energy suppliers, who generally recoup the costs from customers’ energy bills. This is currently estimated to be around £14 per customer bill.

Having a spending target is therefore necessary to balance providing significant numbers of rebates to as many households as possible, while minimising the impact on consumers’ bills. Energy suppliers can also support their customers through other means, such as through Industry Initiatives under the Warm Home Discount, or measures outside of the scheme.


Written Question
Revenue and Customs: Working Hours
20 Jan 2022

Questioner: Grahame Morris (LAB - Easington)

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 2 December 2021 to Question 81168, Treasury: Working Hours, what policies are in place to ensure that HM Revenue and Customs staff working from home comply with the Working Time Regulations 1998.

Answered by Lucy Frazer

There are a range of policies which cover how working time operates in HMRC. These policies also apply to homeworkers.

  • HR28000 Working Time Regulations policy: applies to all employees, including contractual homeworkers, and includes:

‘what counts as working time: work performed away from the normal place of work, for example drafting a document at home.’

  • HR25005 Contractual homeworking policy: includes the ‘how to make contractual homeworking work well’ toolkit which states:

‘What does HMRC expect of homeworkers? …Basically HMRC expects the same standards from homeworkers as all other employees. You'll still be bound by Our Commitments and the HMRC values, and all the HR policies will still apply to you. You'll be expected to agree your working hours with your manager as normal…’

‘Working hours: The same flexibility exists for contractual homeworkers to ask for help to achieve a better work life balance, or deal with life changing events. It's important to discuss and explore with your manager if you need to consider more flexibility in when and how long you work for…’

  • HR25601 When we work policy: provides an overview of working time in HMRC and applies to all employees, including contractual homeworkers. This includes these fundamental principles:

‘HMRC ‘standard operating hours’ are 07:00 to 20:00 from Monday to Saturday. Working time is time when you are undertaking the work required to deliver your role. You will only be paid, or receive a flexi credit, for times when you are performing the duties that are required to carry out your role. Working time is therefore any period of time in which you are:

  1. working; and
  2. carrying out your duties; and
  3. at HMRC’s disposal (that is, required to be in a specific place and to be ready to work at a specified time for HMRC’s benefit); or
  4. receiving ‘relevant training’ (agreed for the purposes of HMRC employment); or
  5. any additional period which is agreed in a relevant agreement to be working time (for example, undertaking trade union duties).
  • HMRC sets the hours you are required to work and how those hours are to be worked. This will be set out within contracts of employment and/or as part of Directorate Working Arrangements. These may require you to work shifts or variable or unsocial hours, including weekends and public and privilege holidays.
  • Working Time Regulations mean you should normally work no more than an average of 48 hours per week within each reference period of 17 weeks.
  • Break times do not contribute toward working time and as such are not paid. There may be local arrangements on the approach to breaks, which if relevant, will be set out as part of any applicable Directorate Working Arrangements.
  • Most of us will carry out the duties required of our roles within Standard Operating Hours, but some roles may require you, either on a temporary or permanent basis, to work outside of these times. Where this is the case, HMRC will be clear about the requirement and the agreed arrangements. HMRC expects you to apply the same consideration offered on flexibility to reasonable management requests.’

  • HR25200 Balancing home and office working: this policy applies to all employees, including contractual homeworkers, and includes these relevant statements:

‘As part of your usual performance development conversation, you and your manager should discuss your homeworking arrangements to make sure they are working for you, to address any concerns that may arise and to ensure the arrangements are meeting the needs of our customers, those of the wider team and your personal needs.’ And ‘You should agree with your manager any times you will not be available, or if something occurs which means you cannot work, whilst working at home (as you would when in an office). If you are unwell on a working from home day you should take the time off if you are unfit for work. You should follow the Supporting your attendance policy in the usual way.’

  • HR35001 Working your hours flexibly in HMRC: Flexible working hours (flexi) approach: applies to all employees, including contractual homeworkers, and describes how the flexible working hours scheme works. It includes this statement:

‘Working Hours: In general, colleagues will work in line with their contracted daily and weekly hours and in line with any Directorate Working Arrangements. You are not expected to work longer than a 10-hour day, excluding breaks. However, there may be occasions when a longer day is required, for instance if you are travelling to a location other than your usual place of work.’


Written Question
Department for Education: Working Hours
18 Jan 2022

Questioner: Grahame Morris (LAB - Easington)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the compliance of his Department's staff working from home with the Working Time Regulations 1998.

Answered by Michelle Donelan

The department does not centrally monitor working hours for any employee but requires all employees, regardless of work location, to keep an accurate record of the hours they work.

All employees are able to work flexibly under the department’s Flexible Working and Flexitime Policies; these policies discourage long hours working. Under these policies, managers are responsible for organising workloads, and must avoid imposing workloads or deadlines that oblige their employees to work excessive hours. Managers are also encouraged to check their employees' flexitime sheets on a monthly basis to ensure they are not working excessive hours.


Written Question
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Working Hours
17 Jan 2022

Questioner: Grahame Morris (LAB - Easington)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the compliance of his Department's staff working from home with the Working Time Regulations 1998.

Answered by Victoria Prentis

We have not made a central assessment of the compliance of staff working from home against the Working Time Regulations (WTR) 1998. While we do not centrally monitor or hold records of employees’ working time (whether working from home, a Defra workplace or other location), we do ask managers and employees to ensure compliance and keep local records in accordance with WTR 1998.


Written Question
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport: Working Hours
17 Jan 2022

Questioner: Grahame Morris (LAB - Easington)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment she has made of the compliance of her Department's staff working from home with the Working Time Regulations 1998.

Answered by Julia Lopez

Staff at DCMS work a standard 36 or 37 hour week and paid overtime is allowed on an exceptional basis in priority areas. Staff are encouraged to discuss their working hours with their Line Manager and, where they may be working beyond their standard hours, to record their hours of work with managers keeping oversight. A flexi time sheet template is made available for individuals to use to record their hours; records are not held centrally. Managers are responsible for ensuring employees are working their hours and not working excessive hours in line with Regulation 9 of the Working Time Regulations 1998 and this requirement has not been different where staff have been working from home. There are currently no staff at DCMS who have chosen to opt out of the Working Time Directive.


Written Question
Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities: Working Hours
17 Jan 2022

Questioner: Grahame Morris (LAB - Easington)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the compliance of his Department's staff working from home with the Working Time Regulations 1998.

Answered by Eddie Hughes

The Department has policies and processes in place that allow staff to work within the requirements of the Working Time Regulations. These apply to all staff irrespective of working location.


Written Question
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy: Working Hours
17 Jan 2022

Questioner: Grahame Morris (LAB - Easington)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the compliance of his Department's staff working from home with the Working Time Regulations 1998.

Answered by George Freeman

Line managers and individuals have joint responsibility for ensuring that staff work their agreed hours and take breaks in accordance with the Working Time Regulations 1998, and to manage any issues if they arise. This applies to both where the employee is attending the workplace and where they are working from home.


Written Question
Brook House Immigration Removal Centre
5 Jan 2022

Questioner: Grahame Morris (LAB - Easington)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether any recent changes have been made to the reception criteria at Brook House Immigration Removal Centre.

Answered by Tom Pursglove

The immigration removal estate is kept under ongoing review to ensure that the Home Office has sufficient capacity to detain for the purposes of removal, to protect the public and to provide value for money.

In order to support the management of the arrival of migrants, we have temporarily accommodated people under the provisions of the Short-term Holding Facilities (STHF) Rules 2018, in a small number of immigration removal centres (IRCs) including Tinsley House.

The normal operational capacity for Tinsley House IRC was increased on a temporary basis over the autumn in response to these changes. This temporary increase has now been removed and the centre has reverted to an operating capacity of 162.

Reception criteria at Brook House IRC is managed in line with the published Detention Services Order 03/2016 ‘Consideration of Detainee Placement in the Detention Estate’.


Written Question
Tinsley House Immigration Removal Centre
5 Jan 2022

Questioner: Grahame Morris (LAB - Easington)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what additional capacity has been provided at Tinsley House Immigration Removal Centre in response to changes in the number of asylum seekers.

Answered by Tom Pursglove

The immigration removal estate is kept under ongoing review to ensure that the Home Office has sufficient capacity to detain for the purposes of removal, to protect the public and to provide value for money.

In order to support the management of the arrival of migrants, we have temporarily accommodated people under the provisions of the Short-term Holding Facilities (STHF) Rules 2018, in a small number of immigration removal centres (IRCs) including Tinsley House.

The normal operational capacity for Tinsley House IRC was increased on a temporary basis over the autumn in response to these changes. This temporary increase has now been removed and the centre has reverted to an operating capacity of 162.

Reception criteria at Brook House IRC is managed in line with the published Detention Services Order 03/2016 ‘Consideration of Detainee Placement in the Detention Estate’.


Written Question
Tinsley House Immigration Removal Centre
5 Jan 2022

Questioner: Grahame Morris (LAB - Easington)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the current capacity is for Tinsley House Immigration Removal Centre.

Answered by Tom Pursglove

The immigration removal estate is kept under ongoing review to ensure that the Home Office has sufficient capacity to detain for the purposes of removal, to protect the public and to provide value for money.

In order to support the management of the arrival of migrants, we have temporarily accommodated people under the provisions of the Short-term Holding Facilities (STHF) Rules 2018, in a small number of immigration removal centres (IRCs) including Tinsley House.

The normal operational capacity for Tinsley House IRC was increased on a temporary basis over the autumn in response to these changes. This temporary increase has now been removed and the centre has reverted to an operating capacity of 162.

Reception criteria at Brook House IRC is managed in line with the published Detention Services Order 03/2016 ‘Consideration of Detainee Placement in the Detention Estate’.


Written Question
Asylum: Detainees
5 Jan 2022

Questioner: Grahame Morris (LAB - Easington)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, under what rules asylum seekers are detained in the UK.

Answered by Tom Pursglove

Information on our powers to detain are set out in our published Home Office Detention: General Instructions guidance on page 11.

This includes the power to detain for the purposes of initial examination under paragraph 16(1) of Schedule 2 to the 1971 Act and the power to detain for the purpose of removal under paragraph 16(2) of Schedule 2 to the 1971 Act.