Gregory Campbell

Democratic Unionist Party - East Londonderry

Shadow DUP Spokesperson (International Development)

(since May 2015)

Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Cabinet Office)

(since May 2015)
Gregory Campbell is not a member of any APPGs
1 Former APPG membership
Union
Northern Ireland Affairs Committee
11th Sep 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Northern Ireland Affairs Committee
5th Dec 2016 - 3rd May 2017
Shadow Minister (International Development)
1st Jun 2010 - 18th Mar 2013
Shadow Minister (Transport)
1st Mar 2009 - 1st Oct 2011
Shadow Minister (Work and Pensions)
1st Jun 2009 - 1st Jun 2010
Shadow Minister (Work and Pensions)
1st Jun 2007 - 1st Jun 2009
Northern Ireland Affairs Committee
4th May 2004 - 10th Nov 2008
Shadow Minister (Culture, Media and Sport)
1st Jun 2005 - 1st Jun 2007
Shadow Minister (Defence)
1st Jun 2005 - 1st Jun 2007
Transport Committee
22nd Jul 2002 - 4th May 2004
Transport, Local Government & The Regions
16th Jul 2001 - 22nd Jul 2002
Transport Sub-committee
16th Jul 2001 - 22nd Jul 2002


Department Event
Wednesday 7th September 2022
11:30
Northern Ireland Office
Oral questions - Main Chamber
7 Sep 2022, 11:30 a.m.
Northern Ireland
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Department Event
Thursday 20th October 2022
09:30
Cabinet Office
Oral questions - Main Chamber
20 Oct 2022, 9:30 a.m.
Cabinet Office (including Topical Questions)
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Division Votes
None available
Speeches
Wednesday 13th July 2022
Northern Ireland Protocol Bill
My right hon. Friend is talking about misinterpretations of the protocol. There are those who repeatedly say that the protocol …
Written Answers
Thursday 14th July 2022
Private Rented Housing: Tax Allowances
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of reviewing buy …
Early Day Motions
Wednesday 22nd June 2022
Rates for savers
That this House notes one financial institution, a mutual, has announced a savings rate of 5 per cent, marking a …
Bills
None available
Tweets
None available
MP Financial Interests
Monday 31st January 2022
1. Employment and earnings
11 December 2021, payment of £170 for a survey in September 2021. Hours: 25 mins. (Registered 24 January 2022)
EDM signed
Tuesday 19th July 2022
50th anniversary of the Bloody Friday bombings
That this House notes the 50th anniversary of the Bloody Friday bombings which took place on the 21st of July …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Gregory Campbell has voted in 309 divisions, and 2 times against the majority of their Party.

23 Sep 2020 - Deferred Division - View Vote Context
Gregory Campbell voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 2 Democratic Unionist Party No votes vs 3 Democratic Unionist Party Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 332 Noes - 5
30 Nov 2021 - Public Health - View Vote Context
Gregory Campbell voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 2 Democratic Unionist Party Aye votes vs 3 Democratic Unionist Party No votes
Tally: Ayes - 434 Noes - 23
View All Gregory Campbell 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
Jim Shannon (Democratic Unionist Party)
Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights)
(33 debate interactions)
Brandon Lewis (Conservative)
(19 debate interactions)
Sammy Wilson (Democratic Unionist Party)
Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Brexit)
(5 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Northern Ireland Office
(19 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(16 debate contributions)
Department of Health and Social Care
(9 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Gregory Campbell's debates

East Londonderry 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

The SNP government appears solely intent on getting independence at any cost.


Latest EDMs signed by Gregory Campbell

18th July 2022
Gregory Campbell signed this EDM as a sponsor on Tuesday 19th July 2022

50th anniversary of the Bloody Friday bombings

Tabled by: Jim Shannon (Democratic Unionist Party - Strangford)
That this House notes the 50th anniversary of the Bloody Friday bombings which took place on the 21st of July 1972; extends again sympathies to the families of those 9 people so callously murdered and also to the 130 others who were injured and who bear the physical scars and …
4 signatures
(Most recent: 20 Jul 2022)
Signatures by party:
Democratic Unionist Party: 3
Conservative: 1
28th June 2022
Gregory Campbell signed this EDM as a sponsor on Monday 4th July 2022

Freedom of North Down Borough

Tabled by: Jim Shannon (Democratic Unionist Party - Strangford)
That this House notes the decision made by Ards and North Down Borough Council to confer its highest honour - the Freedom of the Borough - to the Irish Guards; highlights that this is only the second time the Freedom of the Borough has been awarded by this Council since …
7 signatures
(Most recent: 14 Jul 2022)
Signatures by party:
Democratic Unionist Party: 5
Conservative: 1
Alliance: 1
View All Gregory Campbell's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Gregory Campbell, 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.


Gregory Campbell has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Gregory Campbell has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

Gregory Campbell has not introduced any legislation before Parliament

Gregory Campbell has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


392 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
7 Other Department Questions
19th May 2022
To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Members Estimate Committee, how much Representative Money has been made available to elected Members who have not taken the Oath in each year between 2006 and 2022.

The table below details how much Representative Money has been made available to elected Members who have not taken the Oath in each year between 2006 and 2022:

Representative Money allocations, 2005/06-2021/22

Financial year

Main budget (£)

Travel budget (£)

2005/06*

35,163.00

868.00

2006/07

86,245.00

2,136.07

2007/08

90,036.00

2,230.05

2008/09

93,639.00

2,319.26

2009/10

94,482.00

2,340.13

2010/11** (1 Apr-5 May)

9,277.00

229.78

(6 May-31 Mar)

87,133.00

2,493.73

2011/12

101,004.00

2,890.59

2012/13

105,850.00

3,029.34

2013/14

109,135.00

3,123.25

2014/15

112,076.00

3,207.58

2015/16 # (1 Apr-7 May)

11,511.00

329.45

(8 May-31 Mar)

87,783.00

1,898.90

2016/17

97,556.00

2,224.32

2017/18 $ (1 Apr-8 Jun)

18,737.00

431.41

(9 Jun-31 Mar)

130,970.00

2,901.64

2018/19

165,864.00

3,674.62

2019/20 ^ (1 Apr-11 Dec)

117,986.27

2,613.95

(12 Dec-31 Mar)

48,243.74

1,200.05

2020/21

161,296.87

4,007.68

2021/22

162,265.31

4,021.01

Notes:

* from 1 November 2005-31 March 2006

** general election year full year allocations based on 2005 and 2010

general election results would have been:

Main budget

Travel budget

2005 results

£96,747

£2,396.30

2010 results

£96,374

£2,758.22

# general election year full year allocations based on 2010 and 2015

general election results would have been:

Main budget

Travel budget

2010 results

£113,867

£3,258.90

2015 results

£97,655

£2,112.46

$ general election year full year allocations based on 2015 and 2017

general election results would have been:

Main budget

Travel budget

2015 results

£99,116

£2,282.09

2017 results

£161,500

£3,578.03

^ general election year full year allocations based on 2015 and 2017

general election results would have been:

Main budget

Travel budget

2017 results

£169,345

£3,751.79

2019 results

£159,074

£3,956.92

This information can also be found on the App3 tab in the Excel spreadsheet (44 KB) accessed from the following link:
https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/sn01663/

24th Mar 2022
To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the House of Commons Commission, pursuant to the Answer of 14 September 2021 to Question 45805 on Parliamentary Estate: Access, what estimate the Commission has made of the timetable for reopening exit three from Westminster tube station.

Exit 3 to Westminster Underground Station (the subway under Bridge Street beyond the Subway Entrance) was closed at Christmas 2018 by Westminster Council, due to low footfall and rough sleeping, following consultation with the Parliamentary Estate and London Underground. The land was then transferred to the Parliamentary Estate. There is no plan to reopen Exit 3.

16th Mar 2022
To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the House of Commons Commission, what the latest estimate is of the date on which access to the Parliamentary estate from Westminster Bridge will be re-opened.

There has not been access from Westminster Bridge to the estate for many years, and currently there are no plans for access from the north side of Bridge Street to the underpass in the Underground station to be re-opened.

30th Nov 2021
To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the House of Commons Commission, if the Commission will ensure that the St Patrick's Cross flag will be flown in New Palace Yard on 17 March 2022 on the same terms as the flag of Scotland was flown on St Andrew's Day on 30 November 2021.

The New Palace Yard flags are an initiative by the Speaker and decisions about which flags are flown there are not decided by the Commission. Members can make representation to the Speaker about flags they wish to be flown.

9th Sep 2021
To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the House of Commons Commission, what estimate the Commission has made of the timetable for reopening exit three from Westminster tube station.

For safety reasons, exit 3 (or the underpass) must remain closed until the end of the Elizabeth Tower Conservation project, which would not be until Summer 2022. In addition, we are exploring how the exit could be best used for Parliament in a way that would benefit Members, staff, and the Estate. Any decision regarding exit three will be reviewed in the next six months.

9th Jan 2020
To ask the hon. Member representing the Members Estimate Committee, how much (a) was paid between the 2015 and 2019 general elections and (b) is scheduled to be paid between 12 December 2019 and 12 December 2020 in Representative Monies to parties whose Members had not taken the oath.

Under a resolution of the House, Representative Money is provided to opposition parties represented by Members who have chosen not to take the Oath.

Budget allocations for Representative Money since 2005-06 are published in Appendix 4 of the following document:
https://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/SN01663

Since 2016-17 it has been a requirement to publish the amounts paid for the financial year and these can be found on the Parliament website via the following link:
https://www.parliament.uk/site-information/foi/transparency-publications/hoc-transparency-publications/financial-information/financial-assistance-to-opposition-parties/
previous-financial-assistance-to-opposition-parties/

The Representative Money scheduled to be paid following the General Election on 12 December 2019 to the end of the current financial year (31 March 2020) will be published in due course on the above page, as will amounts relating to subsequent financial years.

7th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many people died between 1 April 2020 and 31 March 2021 with covid-19 being mentioned on the death certificate; and how many of those people were (a) over 65 and (b) had underlying health conditions.

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)
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what information he holds from the European Commission on the average number of weekly checks which being undertaken at EU ports compared to the number of similar weekly checks at Belfast port.

This information is not held by the UK Government. However, as indicated by the Chief Veterinary Officer for Northern Ireland, on the 15 April 2021 in the Northern Ireland Assembly’s Committee for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, the Northern Ireland Executive has estimated that from January to March, the number of entry documents for products of animal origin, germinal products, and animal by-products (CHED-Ps) processed in Northern Ireland represented approximately 20% of the EU total. This is more than any single EU Member State - even though the population of Northern Ireland is just 0.5% of that of the EU as a whole.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the Answer of 23 December 2020 to Question 130109 on Cybercrime, what the outcome was of his Department's work on developing the UK’s strategic direction and funding for cyber security beyond 2021.

The Integrated Review published in March set a goal of cementing the UK’s position as a leading responsible and democratic cyber power, and committed to launching a new comprehensive cyber strategy in 2021 to implement this vision. The strategy will set out how we will build up the UK’s cyber resilience; deter our adversaries; and influence tomorrow’s technologies so they are safe, secure and open. Work is underway to develop the new strategy, and the government plans to continue engaging with partners before publishing it later this year and aligning with funding decisions in the next Spending Review.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps the Government is taking to respond to changes in the cyber security challenge over the 2019 Parliament.

Cyber security is a key priority for this Government. Advances in cyber technologies are revolutionising the way in which we live our lives and guard our national security, and our aim is to ensure citizens can enjoy the benefits this brings while mitigating the risks. The Covid pandemic has made the UK more reliant on digital technologies and we are seeing a growth in damaging threats such as ransomware.

Our National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) continues to work closely with law enforcement, government and industry to tackle cyber threats and support the country’s response to the covid-19 crisis, publishing guidance and identifying and removing malicious sites. This includes ramping up the Active Cyber Defence Programme, launching the Suspicious Email Reporting tool and working closely with the NHS to keep their systems and the healthcare sector safe. We are able to draw upon these resources because of the implementation of the 2016 National Cyber Security Strategy.

We are also planning for the future to strengthen our approach and maintain the UK’s position as a leading responsible and democratic cyber power. Later this year we will be launching a new comprehensive Cyber Strategy, setting out how we will build up the UK’s cyber resilience; detect, disrupt and deter our adversaries; and shape, influence and unlock tomorrow’s technologies and opportunities so they are safe, secure and open.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether the Border Delivery Group made an assessment of matters arising from the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol at its most recent meeting.

The Border and Protocol Delivery Group is an organisational unit within the Cabinet Office, not a standing body. The UK Government has made clear, though, that there are outstanding issues that must be addressed as to the operation of the Protocol to restore confidence among the people of Northern Ireland following the EU’s invocation of Article 16 on 29 January. The Joint Committee meeting on 24 February underlined the importance of dealing with these issues and of continuing to engage with businesses and other stakeholders as they proceed.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assistance the Government provides to veterans from the Commonwealth at risk of deportation from the UK.

There are long-standing arrangements in place for non-UK personnel, including those from the Commonwealth, who have served in the Armed Forces to apply for citizenship and settlement either during or at the end of their service. These are set out in the Armed Forces Appendix to the immigration regulations and the Government is currently exploring how to further improve these systems.

The Government is unaware of any deportation action in progress against any veterans of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces at this time and any such action would require authorisation by Ministers. However, any former member of the Armed Forces who have not previously applied for settlement, who wishes to change their immigration status in the UK or who wishes to have their case re-examined is entitled to make an application to the Home Office to have their case looked at.

Veterans UK’s provide the same level of support to Foreign and Commonwealth veterans as they do to any other veteran. They provide relevant advice, information and support to meet veterans individual needs and requirements, including immigration and naturalisation issues. This support continues for as long as required as part of our commitment to providing ‘through-life support’ to veterans

Johnny Mercer
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister for Veterans' Affairs)
22nd Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the Border Operating Model on the movement of (a) urgent medical supplies and (b) other goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.

The Border Operating Model, published 13 July, covers trade between Great Britain and the EU only. As for goods movements from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, guidance was published on 8 August. That guidance is being updated on an ongoing basis and in response to developments, including discussions in the UK-EU Joint Committee.

As for medical supplies, the Department of Health and Social Care, in consultation with the Devolved Administrations and Crown Dependencies, is working with trade bodies, product suppliers, and the health and care system in England to make detailed plans to help ensure continued supply of medicines and medical products to the whole of the UK, at the end of the transition period. With respect to Northern Ireland, guidance will be set out in due course, taking into account discussions in the Joint Committee as appropriate.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 6 May 2020 to Question 41909 on Coronavirus: Death, what proportion of people that died from covid-19 were aged (a) up to 30, (b) 31 to 60 and (c) over 60 for each calendar month from 1 April 2020 to 30 September 2020.

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)
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 28 September 2020 to Question 92635, what the outcomes were of the Border and Protocol Delivery Group's meeting with airports and ports in September 2020.

The Border and Protocol Delivery Group holds regular meetings with representatives of Northern Ireland ports and airports. Recent meetings have covered a range of topics including the Trader Support Service, the Goods Vehicle Movement Service and infrastructure.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, when he plans to respond to the letter from the hon. Member for East Londonderry of 20 August 2020 on the official status of the Ulster Banner.

This letter was transferred to the Northern Ireland Office who will be issuing a response shortly. May I apologise for the delay in considering and responding to the issues the hon. Member has raised.

23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the change in value was of (a) exports and (b) imports between the UK and the Irish Republic between (i) 2018 and (ii) 2019.

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)
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the daily death rate was from (a) cancer, (b) dementia (c) Alzheimer's disease, (d) coronary heart disease, (e) stroke and (f) covid-19 in the latest period for which figures are available.

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 Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, when the next meeting is scheduled for the Border Delivery Group with representatives of (a) ports and (b) airports in Northern Ireland.

The Border and Protocol Delivery Group holds regular meetings with representatives of Northern Ireland ports and airports alongside representative bodies. The group is scheduled to meet with airports and ports in September.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many children of (a) primary and (b) secondary school age there are in England.

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)
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many people died from (a) coronary heart disease, (b) stroke, (c) prostate cancer, (d) breast cancer and (e) bowel cancer from 1 April to 1 August in (i) 2016, (ii) 2017, (iii) 2018, (iv) 2019 and (v) 2020.

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)
30th Apr 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what proportion of people that died from covid-19 were aged (a) up to 30, (b) 31 to 60 and (c) over 60 between 1 March 2020 and 10 April 2020.

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)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how much was spent from the public purse on advertising aimed at warning the public of the dangers of covid-19 between 23 March 2020 and 23 April 2020 in (a) newspapers, (b) commercial radio, (c) internet advertising and (d) commercial television.

I refer the Hon. Gentlemen to the answer I gave to PQ 33512 on 21 April 2020.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
5th Mar 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the level of foreign direct investment into the UK was in (a) 2018 and (b) 2019.

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)
4th Mar 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 12 February 2020 to Question 13946 on Exports and Imports: Republic of Ireland, what proportion of GDP the import figures for (a) 2009 and (b) 2019.

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)
4th Mar 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what estimate he has made of the number of centenarians in (a) England, (b) Scotland, (c) Wales and (d) Northern Ireland in 2019.

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)
3rd Mar 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether the policy to guarantee interviews for veterans seeking Civil Service jobs applies throughout the UK.

The UK Civil Service operates in all parts of the Union and our commitment to make it easier for Veterans to join is UK wide. Civil Service employment policies take into account legislation and employment factors throughout the UK, but we are working to implement this policy in Northern Ireland.

Johnny Mercer
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister for Veterans' Affairs)
28th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what plans he has to meet the Northern Ireland Executive to discuss the National Cyber Security Strategy.

Our National Cyber Security Strategy (2016-2021) is delivering transformational change across the United Kingdom, building new capabilities and intervening to address the cyber threat.

Government Departments and the National Cyber Security Centre regularly engage with the Devolved Administrations to understand priorities and work together to address shared challenges, and will continue to do so as we develop our plans beyond 2021.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
7th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the value was of (a) exports and (b) imports between the UK and Ireland in (i) 2009 and (ii) 2019.

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)
21st Jan 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what plans his Department has to change the National Cyber Security Strategy after 2021.

The cyber security challenge will endure beyond 2021. We committed in our manifesto to invest more in cyber security, embrace new technologies and legislate to make the UK the safest place in the world to be online.

Work on our plans for cyber security after 2021 is in progress. This work includes reviewing progress on delivery, while recognising that cyber security operates in a dynamic environment which is constantly evolving and will continue to change up to – and beyond – 2021.

11th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the number of energy suppliers that have ceased trading in each of the last two years; what estimate he has made of the number of consumers that have been transferred to alternative energy suppliers as a result; and what estimate he has made of the total additional estimated cost to consumers of those transfers.

Information on energy suppliers that have ceased trading, and their customer base, is published by the regulator Ofgem at https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/publications/check-whos-taken-over-your-energy-supply.

Suppliers can make a claim for the unrecoverable costs of acting as the supplier of last resort. The individual claims and decisions can be found on Ofgem’s website.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will take steps to ensure that companies listed in the UK which are engaged in lithium mining in the UK do not fall under the control of the Government of the People's Republic of China.

Mergers and takeovers are primarily commercial matters for the parties involved. The Government has powers under the Enterprise Act 2002 to intervene in transactions which raise national security concerns. The Government has recently strengthened those powers through the National Security and Investment Act 2021.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
25th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he plans to respond to Question 60360 on Electric Vehicles: Charging Points tabled by the hon. Member for East Londonderry on 21 October 2021.

The Hon. Member received a response on 27th October.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
16th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to ensure that the increase in annual core funding for Innovate UK will help support organisations based in Northern Ireland.

Innovation is at the heart of the UK’s strategy to boost productivity and international competitiveness. Cutting-edge businesses require access to growth capital and funding for high-risk, high-reward innovation activities available to businesses across all economic sectors, value chains and UK regions. Since 2004, Innovate UK has offered over £158 million in grants for R&D to businesses in Northern Ireland.

Spending Review 2021 secures increased funding for core Innovate UK programmes, reaching c.£1 billion per year by 2024/25 (over £300 million more than in 2021/22) to ensure it can support business in bringing innovations to market and drive economic growth. The money will be used to help boost private sector investment across the whole of the UK, creating the right conditions for all businesses to innovate and giving them the confidence to do so.

Following the Spending Review, BEIS will set R&D budgets through to 2024/25. Further details of how this funding will be allocated will be announced in due course.

16th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he undertake a review of Enterprise Zones to date to establish whether further steps can be taken to increase their effectiveness.

Enterprise Zones have been a very successful government policy. They drive growth in local economies, by attracting and supporting businesses, which increases investment and employment to the area. There are no current plans to review Enterprise Zones; however, the experience of delivering Enterprise Zones has informed the development of the Government's new Freeports programme.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
21st Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has made an estimate of the number of additional public facing charging points that will be required for electric vehicles in the next eight years.

Building on the £1.9bn from Spending Review 2020, the Government has committed an additional £620m to support the transition to electric vehicles. The additional funding will support the rollout of charging infrastructure, with a particular focus on local on street residential charging, and targeted plug-in vehicle grants.

Government and industry have supported the installation of almost 26,000 publicly available charging devices. This includes more than 4,900 rapid devices – one of the largest networks in Europe.

Later this year Government will publish an EV Infrastructure Strategy to set out the vision and action plan for charging infrastructure rollout needed to achieve the 2030/35 phase out successfully. It will also discuss possible ranges for the numbers of chargepoints required, recognising that charging habits are likely to evolve over time, and that needs will differ between local areas.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many people (a) signed up to and (b) have been actively involved with the National Trading Standards' Friends Against Scams initiative in the past twelve months.

The National Trading Standards Annual Report (2020-21) states that between April 2020 and March 2021, 324,296 ‘Friends’ have signed up and pledged their action as part of the initiative, which has recently celebrated its fourth anniversary. This brought the total number of ‘Friends’ to 738,440 by the end of March 2021. The initiative gained an additional 292 ‘SCAMchampions’, who drive the initiative forward for example by running in person awareness sessions to recruit ‘Friends’, bringing the total to 2,088. The initiative also gained 5 ‘SCAMbassadors’, who are MPs and senior officials who use their influence to raise the profile of the work and highlight scams at a national level, bring that total to 211. A further 31 national and local organisations have pledged their support to the initiative across the UK, bring that total to 269. Finally, an additional 400 ‘Scam Marshals’ have signed up, who are former targets of scams who help to fight back using their own experiences, bringing that total to 1920.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
16th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what progress he has made on the North Sea Transition Deal.

Immediately following the publication of the Deal in March this year, we met with industry, government and regulator members of the North Sea Transition Forum in April to agree our approach to implementing and overseeing the Deal. We have established governance mechanisms to identify near term and longer-term priorities, and to drive progress. As committed in the Deal, we have set up a government-led group to address barriers to electrification of oil and gas platforms. We continue to make progress on the business case for the Global Underwater Hub in Aberdeen and on proposals for spending the £2m allocated in the Budget for the Deal.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
16th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the long term viability of town centre retailing in response to changes in purchasing behaviour during the covid-19 restrictions.

The Government recognises and values the diversity of the retail sector and is clear that it wants to see the sector continue to thrive in all forms and settings, including town centres.

Retail remains a key part of the high street and thriving town centres will need a strong retail offering. While the trend towards online shopping has been accelerated by Covid-19, 72% of retail sales in 2020 took place in stores and physical retail will remain an important route to consumers.

The Retail Sector Council remains a key part of working to address the challenges the sector faces and on 15 July. The Government published the Build Back Better High Streets Strategy, which sets out our long-term plan to support the evolution of high streets into thriving places to work, visit and live. The report can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/build-back-better-high-streets.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
15th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the budget is of the Green Jobs Taskforce in each of the next three years.

The independent Green Jobs Taskforce has concluded its work, with the publication of its recommendations to government, industry and skills sector on the 14th July 2021. Government will now consider these recommendations as part of the development of our Net Zero Strategy, building on the work already underway to deliver the skills for net zero.

The Government has already invested in a variety of initiatives that will boost green skills and jobs across the country, including a wide range of green apprenticeships; Green Skills Bootcamps; the Emerging Skills Electrification Project; and, Free Courses for Jobs, backed by £95 million from the National Skills Fund, to allow adults to take a Level 3 qualification for free. Additionally, as part of our initial response to the Taskforce's independent report, we have announced a cross-cutting delivery group to oversee the development and delivery of the Government’s plans for green jobs and skills.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
14th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what changes have been introduced as a result of the investigation by the Financial Reporting Council into NMC Health’s insolvency in 2020.

The Financial Reporting Council’s investigation into the audit of the accounts of NMC Health for the year ended 31 December 2018 was launched in May 2020 under the FRC’s Audit Enforcement Procedure and is ongoing. The Government is committed to restoring trust in audit and corporate governance as set out in the white paper published in March this year. The Government will consider the findings of the Financial Reporting Council’s investigation when it is concluded.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
12th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the number of young people who will benefit from the increase in the national minimum wage announced in April 2021.

Through the National Minimum Wage and the National Living Wage, the Government protects the lowest paid within our society. On 1 April 2021, the Government increased the minimum wage rates for all age groups. Young people and apprentices saw above inflation increases in the National Minimum Wage rates of between 1.5% and 3.6% on 1 April 2021. In addition, the reduction in the National Living Wage age threshold from 25+ to 23+ gave an extra 71p per hour to those aged 23 and 24 – the largest individual increase for this group ever.

Our best estimates suggest that over 300,000 workers aged 16-24 benefitted from the rise in the National Minimum Wage. This consists of under 100,000 23-24 year olds, over 100,000 21-22 year olds, approximately 90,000 18-20 year olds and around 20,000 16-17 year olds. Furthermore, around 30,000 Apprentices of all ages also received a pay rise as a result of the April 2021 uprating.

Further details on the impact of the rate increases on young people are contained in the 2021 Impact Assessment here.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
12th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much funding from the public purse the Government plans to disburse in Northern Ireland through the Net Zero Innovation Portfolio in each of the next three years.

The Net Zero Innovation Portfolio (NZIP) is open to all regions of the UK, including Northern Ireland. The Government’s £1bn investment in innovation through the NZIP will support levelling-up and will support the best ideas and organisations, wherever they are based.

All grants through the programme will be awarded on the basis of fair and open competition. As a result, we cannot determine how much grant funding will go to any particular region.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many loans have been issued under the Bounce Back Loan scheme and to what value in (a) England, (b) Scotland, (c) Wales and (d) Northern Ireland.

A breakdown on the number of loans issued through the Bounce Back Loan Scheme as of 10 January 2021 is in the table below.

Value of Loans Offered (£)

Number of Loans Offered

England

38,387,275,292

1,253,376

Scotland

2,496,404,756

86,062

Wales

1,524,813,850

55,094

Northern Ireland

1,172,538,374

38,181

Updated figures will be published in due course.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
21st Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will take further steps to support the travel agency sector in the context of the continuing uncertainty for airline travel as a result of the covid-19 pandemic.

We recognise that these are very challenging conditions for businesses in the travel sector, including travel agents, which is why we have provided a range of measures to support the sector.

In total, over £25bn has been provided to the tourism, leisure and hospitality sectors in the form of grants, loans and tax breaks. On top of the Government’s wider economic support package, we have extended business rates relief and introduced new Restart Grants of up to £18,000 for many in the sector.

We have also extended the cut in VAT for tourism and hospitality activities to 5% until the end of September. To help businesses manage the transition back to the standard rate, a 12.5% rate will then apply for a further six months.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if will make an assessment of the potential merits of including Solar PV and Battery Storage in the Green Homes Grant scheme.

We are listening to feedback on the Green Homes Grant, including on the type of technologies included in the scheme. The list of technologies currently included in the scheme reflects our assessment of the best balance between economic stimulus and maximising value for householders and taxpayers. We will assess potential technologies under consideration against the following broad policy criteria - job creation, carbon savings, fuel poverty, delivery confidence, value for money, along with BEIS’ wider departmental objectives.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the effectiveness of the operation of Enterprise Zones to help those zones that have been less successful.

The Enterprise Zones programme has supported the design of the Freeports model. A consultation was run earlier in the year and the Government response has recently been published at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/878352/Freeports_Consultation_Extension.pdf.

We are committed to continuing to work with local places to deliver economic growth across the country.

Nadhim Zahawi
Chancellor of the Exchequer
2nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to assess the (a) scale and (b) cost of potential fraud in the Bounce Back Loan scheme.

As part of the Bounce Back Loan Scheme application process lenders undertake fraud checks, including Know Your Customer and Anti Money Laundering checks as required. In addition, the application form is clear – any individual who knowingly provides false information is at risk of criminal prosecution. We are working across Departments, and with lenders and law enforcement agencies, to tackle fraudulent abuse of the scheme.

Further details of how we expect the Bounce Back Loan Scheme to perform are set out in our accounts for 2019-20, a copy of which has been placed in the Libraries of the House. At this early stage, such estimates are naturally highly uncertain as reflected in the explanatory notes of the Accounts.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will include (a) the self employed and (b) non-business rate businesses in the coronavirus business interruption scheme.

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme supports small and medium-sized businesses with access to working capital (including loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance) of up to £5 million and for up to 6 years.

The Scheme is available to self-employed individuals with an eligible business entity. This includes sole traders, freelancers, bodies corporate, limited partnerships, limited liability partnerships or any other legal entity carrying out a business activity in the United Kingdom, with a turnover of less than £45m, operating in most sectors.

Whether or not a business is liable for Business Rates, or occupies business premises, is not a consideration under the Scheme.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
4th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many Friends have been trained through the National Trading Standards' Friends Against Scams initiative in (a) England, (b) Scotland, (c) Wales and (d) Northern Ireland in 2019.

The Friends Against Scams initiative protects and prevents people from becoming victims of scams. In 2019, 208,158 people joined the scheme, bringing the total number to over 412,800. Regional figures are not available to National Trading Standards.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
3rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he plans to make a decision on the UK's association with Horizon Europe.

The Government will continue to collaborate with Europe on scientific research, and the UK’s negotiating approach states that the UK is ready to consider participation in certain EU programmes, including Horizon Europe.

The shape and content of EU Programmes post-2020, including Horizon Europe, are currently being negotiated in the EU Institutions and have not yet been finalised. These EU Programmes must be adopted by the EU before arrangements for potential UK participation could be finalised.

Amanda Solloway
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will take steps to ensure that the forthcoming oil and gas sector deal has the potential to provide benefits for energy sector companies across the UK.

We know that the offshore oil and gas sector has a key role to play as we move to a Net Zero economy. We have committed to supporting this transition with a transformational Sector Deal. The oil and gas sector, including its supply chain, has a UK-wide footprint and as such we envisage that any Sector Deal should benefit companies across the whole of the UK. This will ensure they benefit from the opportunities of a Net Zero economy thereby anchoring them to the UK and retaining the high skilled jobs in the sector.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
10th Feb 2020
Pay
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps she is taking to ensure employees in receipt of salary levels below statutory minimum levels are given the appropriate salary increases.

The Government is committed to ensuring that everyone entitled to National Living Wage (NLW) and National Minimum Wage (NMW) receives it. This is why we have more than doubled the compliance and enforcement budget for the NMW and NLW to £27.4 million for 2019/20, up from £13.2 million in 2015/16.

In 2018/19, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) identified a record £24.4 million in minimum wage arrears for over 220,000 workers and issued over £17 million in penalties to non-compliant employers.

HMRC use a range of techniques ranging from ‘nudge’ letters in low risk cases to criminal prosecution in the most egregious cases of underpayment. Without fail, HMRC investigate where they believe an employer is not paying the minimum wage, which includes following up every worker complaint they receive.

Kelly Tolhurst
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
18th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what estimate she has made of the average proportion of homes and business that have high speed broadband availability in (a) England, (b) Scotland, (c) Wales and (d) Northern Ireland.

The vast majority of the United Kingdom (96.7%) has access to superfast broadband. Superfast broadband allows households to work or learn from home and stream a high definition film simultaneously. Additionally, the government is committed to delivering nationwide gigabit connectivity as soon as possible. Today, over 66% of premises can access gigabit-capable networks, up from just one in ten in November 2019. By 2025 the government is targeting a minimum of 85% gigabit-capable coverage.

According to ThinkBroadband, as of 21/03/2022 coverage statistics were as follows:

  1. England - (Superfast 97.5%) and (Gigabit 67.9%)

  2. Scotland - (Superfast 94.9%) and (Gigabit 60.8%)

  3. Wales- (Superfast 96%) and (Gigabit 49%)

  4. Northern Ireland - (Superfast 91.5%) and (Gigabit 82.3%)

23rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what information her Department holds on the change in problem gambling rates between 2015 and 2020 among those aged between (a) 11-18, (b) 19-25, and (c) 26-35.

As set out in Public Health England’s evidence review on gambling-related harms, the estimated overall problem gambling rate for England was 0.5% in 2018, and has been stable at this rate since 2012. This estimate was drawn from the Health Surveys conducted in 2012, 2015, 2016 and most recently in 2018. The problem gambling rates for those aged between 16-44 years old in the 2015 combined Health Survey for Great Britain and the 2018 Health Survey for England were as follows:

16-24

25-34

35-44

Combined Health Survey for Great Britain (2015)


1.1%


1.4%


0.9%

Health Survey for England (2018)

1.0%

0.9%

0.6%

To supplement the Health Surveys, the Gambling Commission carries out a quarterly survey by telephone which includes a shortened problem gambling screen. For the year to December 2020 this estimated a problem gambling rate of 0.3% (estimated at 0.5% in 2015). The problem gambling rate among 16-24 year olds was 0.5%, among 25-34 year olds was 0.2% and 35-44 year olds was 0.8%.

The Gambling Commission’s Young People and Gambling Report has measured gambling behaviour in children since 2014, including problem gambling using an adapted screen. The data is not directly comparable over the period as the sample group has changed from 12-15 year olds in England and Wales (2014-16) to 11-16 year olds in England, Scotland and Wales, and there have also been changes to the survey methodology. In 2015, the Commision found the problem gambling rate among 12-15 year olds in England and Wales was 0.6%. In 2019, the last year for which the survey has been based on complete data, the rate for 11-16 year olds in England, Scotland and Wales was 1.7%.

21st Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will make it his policy that a successful UK and Republic of Ireland bid for the 2030 FIFA World Cup would include venues in all parts of the UK.

Hosting a FIFA World Cup would be an exciting opportunity for the whole of the UK and Ireland. UK Government - along with the Devolved Administrations, the Government of Ireland, and the five football associations - has committed to scoping a potential bid for the 2030 competition.

Although the final decision on host venues would be made by FIFA, it is our strong aspiration that matches (as well as other venues, such as training locations) would be hosted in all parts of the UK. We are working closely with all bid partners to assess the options for doing so.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
20th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent progress his Department has made on tackling loneliness following the Let’s Talk Loneliness campaign and the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department’s response to the COVID-19 recognised the importance of social connection, and we are continuing to build on this as part of our strategy to tackle loneliness.

In addition to providing over £34 million to charities tackling loneliness through the £750 million Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) funding package, over recent months we have continued to deliver the £4 million Local Connections Fund. This funding is being delivered in partnership with the National Lottery Community Fund, and so far we have awarded over 1,300 microgrants to charities and community groups that help people to connect via the things they enjoy. For example, we’ve supported songwriting workshops in Devon, dance classes in Bedfordshire, and online chat services in Durham.

In September, we launched the Loneliness Engagement Fund to provide small grants to organisations that can reach the groups in England most affected by loneliness during COVID-19. Funding will be provided to support communications and engagement activity that will help reduce feelings of stigma, and encourage people to take steps to help themselves and others. We will inform organisations who have been successful in applying for funding in early November.

We are also preparing to deliver winter loneliness campaign activity as part of the Better Health: Every Mind Matters campaign. Building on the success of the Let’s Talk Loneliness campaign, we will be reminding people that it is OK to feel lonely, and providing advice on how people can help themselves and others to tackle loneliness.

We continue to support organisations across sectors to take action on loneliness through our Tackling Loneliness Network. This year, we set up a digital platform to support members of the Network to connect and share resources and best practice. We are also working closely with stakeholders and experts through our new Social Connection Funders Group, and our Loneliness Evidence Group.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when he plans to make a decision on whether the UK will ratify the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.

As with any international treaty, UK ratification of UNESCO Conventions should be considered fully, taking into account value for money to the UK taxpayer and the interests of both the Devolved Administrations and our Overseas Territories. When this process has been completed, Ministers will take a decision on the merits of ratification.

17th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will have discussions with the BBC Director General to ascertain whether licence fee proceeds have been used in non disclosure agreements between the BBC and former BBC employees.

The BBC is operationally and editorially independent from the government and the government cannot intervene in the BBC’s day-to-day operations.

The BBC Board is ultimately responsible for appropriate use of licence fee payers' money.

22nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what role the UK Safer Internet Centre partnership has in bringing to justice people guilty of abusive online practices.

The government recognises the important role the UK Safer Internet Centre delivers on online safety. This includes the operation of a public hotline for reporting and removing child sexual abuse material online and a helpline to support professionals working with children in the UK with any online safety issues young people in their care may face.

The government engages regularly with the UK Safer Internet Centre, and has previously provided it with funding to develop advice for schools on understanding, preventing and responding to cyberbullying, and an online safety toolkit to help schools deliver sessions about cyberbullying, peer pressure and sexting.

13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will hold discussions with OFCOM on the need to retain FM licences for locally-based community radio stations where there is a demand.

Ofcom has recently completed its fourth round of community radio licensing and awarded 24 licences to new community stations between November 2019 and April 2020. A total of 302 community radio stations are currently on air across the UK.

During 2019, Ofcom also agreed to improve the quality of the coverage of 63 community radio stations, and extend the coverage of 33, enabling community radio to reach a wider audience than ever.

Decisions on whether to offer new FM community radio licences are a matter for Ofcom to determine.

12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of trends in the level of children identified as problem gamblers between (a) 2010 and (b) 2020.

The Gambling Commission conducts an annual survey of children and young people that collects data about gambling participation. Since 2014, that survey has included screening questions adapted for use with adolescents to identify respondents who may be problem gamblers. Problem gambling rates for all available years are given in the accompanying table. No comparable data is available for the years 2010-2013.

The latest published data is from 2019 and gives a problem gambling rate of 1.7% amongst 11-16 year olds, which is steady from the previous year. Changes to the survey’s methodology throughout its lifetime mean it is not possible to identify long-term trends. In 2017 the survey was extended to cover Scotland and the pool of respondents was widened to include 16 year olds, and in 2018 the survey moved online from paper-based questionnaires. Further detail about the survey and its findings can be found in its 2019 report, available at: https://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/PDF/Young-People-Gambling-Report-2019.pdf

Table: Rates of problem gambling amongst 11-15/16 year olds since 2014

Year

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

Rate of problem gambling (%)

0.7

0.6

0.4

0.9

1.7

1.7

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will hold urgent discussions with representatives of the BBC on investigating internal allegations of bullying by BBC Northern Ireland employees.

The BBC is operationally and editorially independent from the government and the government cannot intervene in the BBC’s day-to-day operations, including with regards staffing matters. The BBC Board is responsible for the governance of the BBC. The government established Ofcom as the BBC regulator to ensure the BBC is robustly held to account as the nation's broadcaster. Issues such as these are therefore to be dealt with by the BBC, the BBC Board and, when appropriate, Ofcom.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will take steps with the OFCOM to waive the temporary licence fee required for churches to use radio wavelengths for drive in church services.

The Government understands that Ofcom has recently published updated licensing information for people and organisations wishing to put on drive-in services. These events need a ‘restricted service licence’, so people in their cars can hear what is being said on their car radios.

It is for Ofcom, as the independent regulator, to set tariffs to cover their licensing costs, and to ensure that these are reasonable attributable to the sectors from which they recover them.

Fees for restricted service licences will vary according to the band, the power and the duration for which the applicant requires the licence, and the options and associated costs are set out in Ofcom’s annually published tariff tables.

15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will hold further discussions with the BBC on their decision to remove the free television licence concession for people aged over 75.

The Government recognises the value of free TV licences for over-75s and believes that they should be funded by the BBC. The Government is disappointed with the BBC's decision to restrict the over 75 licence fee concession only to those in receipt of Pension Credit. However, the BBC remains responsible for the administration of the concession and it will be responsible for setting out what those affected will need to do.

The BBC and the Government have been discussing the national Coronavirus situation. Recognising the exceptional circumstances, the BBC Board decided to change the start date of its new policy on over 75s. The current plan is to reduce the concession on 1 August and the BBC will keep the issue under review as the situation continues to evolve.

3rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether the ministerial group on loneliness plans to publish a report in 2020.

In the Tackling Loneliness Strategy, published October 2018, government committed to publishing annual progress reports to provide an update on the implementation of policies set out in the strategy. The first annual report was published in January 2020. This set out progress to date, including action by frontline workers across the public sector to recognise and act on loneliness, the launch of the Let’s Talk Loneliness campaign, the commitment to include measures in the Public Health Outcomes Framework so we can understand local rates of loneliness, and the announcement of an additional £2m of grant-funding to help frontline grassroots organisations that bring people together.

The ministerial group on loneliness will consider whether any further reports should be published this year, as part of its ongoing discussions around the government’s work on tackling loneliness.

7th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what estimate his Department has made of the amount of additional annual BBC revenue following the implementation on (a) ending free TV licence for all over 75's and (b) proposed increases in the annual licence fee.

In 2015, the Government agreed a licence fee funding settlement with the BBC for a five year period between 2017 and 2022. We agreed that responsibility for the over 75 licence fee concession would transfer to the BBC in June 2020. In return, we closed the iPlayer loophole, committed to increase the licence fee in line with inflation for each year of the settlement period, and reduced a number of other BBC spending commitments.

The BBC reports annually on the revenue raised by the licence fee in the ‘Television Licence Fee Trust Statement’ available on the TV Licensing website. For 2017/18, it said that it received an additional £23m as a result of the uplift in the level of the licence fee. For 2018/19, it said that it received an additional £79 million to BBC revenue as a result of the increase.

The estimate for the impact on BBC revenue following the implementation of the revised over 75 licence fee concession from June 2020 is a matter for the BBC.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
7th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the Answer of 9 April 2019 to Question 240967 on Broadband, whether people throughout the UK will have access to high speed broadband by the end of 2020.

On the 20th March, the Universal Service Obligation will come into effect, giving all citizens the right to request a ‘decent broadband’ service, up to a reasonable cost threshold.

This initiative, combined with greater commercial availability of broadband services of all types, will provide a ‘safety net’ for broadband provision in the UK.

Progress on the rollout of broadband services continues apace across the UK. The commercial rollout of Gigabit-Capable Networks is accelerating, with more than 10% of the UK now covered with full-fibre services. Superfast services are now available to more than 96% of the UK population. Mobile broadband coverage is also improving, and should benefit from the Shared Rural Network programme.

Matt Warman
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to increase the effectiveness of the apprenticeship levy.

The department is responsible for apprenticeships policy in England only.

The apprenticeship levy is collected by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs from all UK employers with a pay bill above £3 million. Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland receive a share of levy funding and it is the responsibility of the devolved administrations to determine how they spend this share to fund and operate their apprenticeship programmes.

Apprenticeships are vital in driving economic recovery, and we continue to improve apprenticeships to make it easier for employers in England to make full use of their levy funds. To help businesses of all sizes in England to offer apprenticeships as new employment opportunities, we have increased our cash incentive payments to £3,000 for every apprentice they hire as a new employee from 1 April until 30 September 2021.

We are improving the apprenticeship levy transfer process so that, from August 2021, employers in England who pay the levy will be able to pledge funds for transfer to other employers, including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), supported by a new online service to match levy payers with SMEs.

In addition, since 1 April 2021 all SMEs in England arranging new apprenticeship starts have done so through the apprenticeship service. This gives them more control over their apprenticeship choices and the ability to reserve funds before choosing the provider that best meets their needs.

We are also making apprenticeships in England more flexible so that they better meet the needs of employers from all sectors. We continue to support employers by encouraging greater use of innovative apprenticeship training models, such as the front-loading of off-the-job training. We are also developing accelerated apprenticeships so that apprentices with substantial prior learning (e.g. T Level graduates) can complete an apprenticeship more quickly.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if his officials will discuss the National Tutoring Programme and other similar schemes in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland with officials in the devolved Administrations to ensure best practice for supporting disadvantaged pupils is implemented across the UK.

The Department has worked closely with the devolved administrations throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, mutually and beneficially exchanging information and policy developments across the full range of issues and challenges facing education systems in the UK. For example, in addition to education recovery, there has also been a UK-wide discussion on the reopening of schools and colleges and arrangements for awarding qualifications in 2021.

One example where the Department is working with the devolved administration to enhance educational opportunities is on the Turing scheme, the UK-wide replacement for Erasmus+, which will support 35,000 students from schools, further education and higher education across the UK to do study and work placements abroad. It aims to improve social mobility, targeting students from disadvantaged backgrounds, making life-changing opportunities accessible to everyone across the country.

The Department will continue to engage with the devolved administrations on the response to the COVID-19 outbreak and on how to support education recovery. This engagement will include sharing information and evidence on education recovery initiatives, including the National Tutoring Programme.

13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the outcome was of the strategic guidance letter he issued to the Office of Students to identify higher education providers which have yet to adopt an internationally recognised definition of anti-semitism.

There is no place in our society, including within higher education (HE), for antisemitism. The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition is an important tool in tackling antisemitism. Adopting the widely recognised definition sends a strong signal that HE providers take these issues seriously.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, wrote to the sector in October 2020, calling upon leaders to adopt the IHRA definition. He repeated this message in May, reinforcing the government's expectation that providers adopt the IHRA definition, stressing the even greater importance of doing so in light of increased number of antisemitic incidents recorded (as a result of the conflict in the Middle East). We are aware of over 100 HE providers which have now adopted the IHRA definition. This includes over 80 universities.

In his February 2021 strategic guidance letter, the Secretary of State also asked the Office for Students (OfS) to undertake a scoping exercise, to identify providers which are reluctant to adopt the definition. He asked them to consider introducing mandatory reporting of antisemitic incident numbers by providers, with the aim of ensuring a robust evidence base, which the OfS can then use to effectively regulate in this area. I meet regularly with the OfS, and they have assured me they are progressing work in response to Secretary of State's request, including in relation to a scoping exercise to identify higher education providers which have yet to adopt the IHRA definition.

The decision on adoption of the definition rests with individual providers, but the government will continue to urge them to adopt the definition and ensure that HE is a genuinely fulfilling and welcoming experience for everyone.

Adoption of the IHRA definition is only a first step, and while the government considers that adoption of the definition is crucial, it is not enough on its own. That is why I will continue to work with the sector to ensure it better understands antisemitism and does more to end it.

27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will (a) review and (b) consult on the adequacy of funding available for music and arts courses at higher education level.

The Strategic Priorities Grant, formerly referred to as the Teaching Grant, plays an important role in supporting providers and students to develop the skills and knowledge needed locally, regionally and nationally to support the economy.

We have asked the Office for Students (OfS) to reform the Grant for 2021-22. These reforms include the reallocation of high-cost subject funding towards the provision of high-cost subjects that support the NHS and wider healthcare policy, high-cost science, technology and engineering subjects and subjects meeting specific labour market needs.

One of our proposals is for a 50% reduction in the rate of high-cost subject funding, which is one element of the wider Strategic Priorities Grant, for some subjects in order to enable this reprioritisation.

It is important to note that the Strategic Priorities Grant accounts for a relatively small proportion of the total income of higher education providers today. For the providers losing funding due to this reallocation, the income lost would account for approximately 0.05% of their estimated total income, based on the latest data available.

This important reprioritisation of taxpayers’ money does not mean this government is devaluing the arts or social sciences. High-quality provision in a range of subjects is critical for our workforce, and our public services, and is culturally enriching for our society.

That is why, as part of the same reform programme, we have asked the OfS to invest an additional £10 million in our world-leading specialist providers, many of which specialise in arts provision. We want to ensure that our specialist providers receive additional support, and that grant funding is used to effectively support students.

The OfS has now publicly consulted on these proposals, and responses from universities, students and others will be taken into account before any final decisions on allocations are made.

6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the tuition fees that will apply to BNO citizens from Hong Kong in the event that they move to live in the UK.

I refer the hon. Member for East Londonderry to the answer I gave on 7 July 2020 to Question 68342.

7th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what support the Government is providing to the UK lamb sector in preparation for January 2022 when exports to the US can resume.

I am sure the whole House will join me in welcoming the great news that the US market is opening its doors to UK lamb again after over two decades of restrictions. We will support the UK lamb sector by working with colleagues in the Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board and the UK Export Certification Partnership to promote the benefits of UK lamb in the USA.

Now that the US doors are open, we will also continue to work with counterparts in the USA to ensure the necessary technical requirements are in place for our lamb exports to happen. Similarly, we will support food business operators here in the UK as they make their preparations for the resumption of UK lamb exports, which I very much look forward to occurring in 2022.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he has made an assessment of the potential effect on maintenance of the bee population in the UK of proposals for a sugar tax.

We are grateful to Henry Dimbleby and his team for their work on the independent review examining our food system and the vital role it plays in all our lives, which included their proposal for sugar and salt reformulation tax. The proposals put forward in the review are independent of Government. We will be developing a food strategy White Paper within the next six months setting out our own ambitions and priorities for a food system that delivers healthy and affordable food for all people.

Sugar is sometimes purchased by beekeepers in order to feed their bees and as was the case following the first report from this independent review, we will continue to work collaboratively across Government to evaluate the impacts of each recommendation made by the review.


The overall size of the honey bee population is dependent to a large extent on the number of individuals who wish to keep bees. Under the Healthy Bees Plan 2030, Defra works in partnership with beekeeping stakeholders on a range of measures to maintain a healthy honey bee population in England and Wales. For example, UK beekeepers benefit from an extensive programme of apiary inspections and bee health training and advice provided by the National Bee Unit.

We need to ensure that our food systems are sustainable and resilient systems which deliver for people, nature and climate, to support our exceptional British food and drink producers, protect and enhance the nation's health and the natural environment for generations to come. The Government’s food strategy White Paper will set out how we will achieve that.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when the 2020 data on air pollutant emissions from waste plants will included on the Pollutant Release and Transfer Register.

The 2020 data for the Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (PRTR) will be available in December 2021. PRTR data is collated by 30 November each year and will be published within one month of this. The UK’s PRTR includes a range of industrial activities, including waste and wastewater management, which are listed in Annex I of the UK PRTR legislation.

29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he plans to introduce targets for the promotion of healthy eating as identified in the National Food Strategy.

We want the entire supply chain to help deliver healthier food and encourage healthy eating and look forward to seeing Henry Dimbleby's review. Our Food Strategy White Paper will set out future policy, building on existing work such as that developed under the Agriculture Act and the Obesity Strategy, to help ensure that our food system delivers healthy and affordable food for all people and is built upon a resilient and sustainable agriculture sector.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with Public Health England on progress on the sugar reduction programme and the voluntary ambition.

The Secretary of State regularly meets with colleagues across Government to discuss measures to improve the healthiness of our food and diets. Public Health England (PHE) oversees the sugar reduction programme on behalf of the Government. As part of ongoing efforts to tackle the overconsumption of sugar, this programme challenged businesses across all industry sectors to reduce levels of sugar by 20% by 2020 in foods that contribute significantly to the sugar intakes of children up to 18 years. Juices and milk-based drinks excluded from the Soft Drinks Industry Levy also form part of the programme. Progress on sugar reduction is regularly and transparently monitored, and the most recent report on industry action was published in October 2020. This can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/sugar-reduction-report-on-progress-between-2015-and-2019

Analysis shows mixed progress to date across categories, sectors and businesses and within individual products. Defra officials work closely with counterparts at PHE and the Department of Health and Social Care to ensure that policies and programmes on food, diet, and obesity are developed and delivered successfully.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will hold discussions with Public Health England on the voluntary target of a 20 per cent reduction in the sugar content of foods on sale to the public.

Public Health England (PHE) oversees the voluntary sugar reduction programme on behalf of the Government, as set out in all parts of the childhood obesity plan. PHE is an executive agency of the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), the Government department responsible for nutrition policy and the Government’s obesity strategy.

PHE published the third progress report for the sugar reduction programme on 7 October 2020. This showed a 3.0% reduction in overall average sugar per 100g for retailers and manufacturer branded food products. Larger reductions were seen in some categories, but increased sales of higher sugar categories reduced the impact of these reductions. The eating out of home sector saw hardly any change in average sugar levels. The 2021 progress report will provide a fourth assessment towards the 20% reduction ambition.

DHSC will hold discussions with PHE on the sugar reduction programme and the voluntary ambition. Defra will work with other Government departments and agencies including PHE to respond to recommendations in Part Two of the forthcoming National Food Strategy relating to healthy eating.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will set a target for increasing the red squirrel population by the end of this Parliament.

The protection of species and the setting of targets for biodiversity are devolved matters.

In England, the Government remains committed to taking action to recover our threatened native species. Defra, Natural England and the Forestry Commission are signatories to the United Kingdom Squirrel Accord, working with over 30 other signatories to secure and expand red squirrel populations.

The 25 Year Environment Plan marked a step-change in ambition for wildlife and the natural environment. We are already taking action to fulfil this ambition. We are exploring the use of powers in the Environment Bill to strengthen our commitment to improve the status of threatened species by setting at least one biodiversity target in law, as set out in our recently published policy paper on environmental targets.

5th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps she is taking to (a) reduce the grey squirrel population and (b) increase the red squirrel population.

The Government is committed to protecting and expanding red squirrel populations and tackling the threats that grey squirrels pose to them. This is a devolved matter, and the information below applies directly to England. The Invasive Alien Species (Enforcement and Permitting) Order 2019 is, however, joint legislation between England and Wales.

In December 2019 the Invasive Alien Species (Enforcement and Permitting) Order (2019 No 527) came into force. This legislation ensures that a number of listed invasive species, including grey squirrels, cannot be imported, kept, bred, transported, sold, used or exchanged, allowed to reproduce, or be grown, cultivated, or released into the environment. The Order is an important step in achieving the Government’s strategy to tackle invasive non-native species, as outlined in the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan. The risks posed by key widespread invasive species, such as the grey squirrel, will be managed though measures aimed at their eradication, population control or containment.

The red squirrel is protected under Schedules 5 and 6 of the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981. It is an offence intentionally to kill or injure a red squirrel or intentionally damage or destroy any structure it uses for shelter or protection, as well as to kill or trap the species using certain prohibited methods. Two Sites of Special Scientific Interest: Breckland Forest and Poole Harbour, have been designated in part to protect the red squirrel in England.

The Forestry Commission (FC) checks all felling licence applications against a large number of records, including the Red Squirrel Reserves. This allows them to highlight any potential issues and advise the applicant how to avoid the disturbance or damage of protected species. The FC also undertakes actions to protect red squirrels from the impact of grey squirrels more widely as outlined in the Grey Squirrel Action Plan for England.

In addition, the FC and Natural England (NE) are members of Red Squirrels Northern England (RSNE), a red squirrel conservation partnership project managed by Northumberland Wildlife Trust, which works in seven northern counties. Defra, NE and the FC are signatories to the United Kingdom Squirrel Accord (UKSA), working with over 30 other signatories, including RSNE, to secure and expand red squirrel populations. Defra, in partnership with UKSA, has provided funding for work by the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) for the development of a fertility control method for grey squirrels. Further research is needed; however, the results continue to show promise as one potentially effective and humane method to control grey squirrel numbers in the longer term.

4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether her Department has made an estimate of the number of red squirrels by the end of the current Parliament; and if she will make a statement.

The conservation of red squirrels is a devolved matter. The Government works closely with leading red squirrel conservation organisations who estimate the red squirrel population in England to be around 15,000.

19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, if he will make representations to the World Health Organisation on publishing a detailed analysis of the covid 19 outbreak in Yemen.

The World Health Organisation already works with the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs to produce regular analysis on the COVID-19 outbreak in Yemen. Their most recent update can be found online here: https://reliefweb.int/report/yemen/yemen-covid-19-preparedness-and-response-snapshot-13-june-2020-enar.

Additionally, my officials remain in close and regular contact with the World Health Organisation in Yemen to discuss the latest COVID-19 developments and ways of improving the humanitarian response.

James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
16th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that (a) food, (b) water and (c) medicines are supplied to people in Yemen.

As part of our £160 million aid commitment for Yemen in the 2020/21 financial year, the UK expects to provide support to at least 300,000 vulnerable people each month to help them buy food and household essentials, treat 40,000 children for malnutrition and provide 1 million people with improved water supply and basic sanitation.

Our funding will also help tackle the spread of COVID-19 in Yemen and we expect this new package to provide over 700,000 medical consultations, train 12,000 healthcare workers to work safely in a COVID-19 environment and provide a much-needed boost to nearly 4,000 health centres to continue providing existing health services.

James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
13th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps his Department is taking to help tackle the desert locust invasion in Eastern Africa.

We are deeply concerned about the devastating locust outbreak in East Africa. It is destroying crops, livelihoods and essential food supplies.

UK aid is helping to tackle this outbreak though the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF). The CERF has released £7.5 million to the UN Food and Agriculture Office (FAO) Locust Appeal. Our support is having an immediate impact, with UK aid backed funding, the FAO is spraying pesticides on the ground and by air to prevent further damage to crops and protect livelihoods.

DFID’s existing humanitarian and development programming in the region is working to address current food insecurity and poverty challenges and is ready to flex to respond to this crisis. We continue to monitor the situation closely and stand ready to help further.

As rising temperatures due to climate change make such events across Africa more likely, we are also helping communities adapt longer term to climate shocks.

James Duddridge
Lord Commissioner (HM Treasury) (Whip)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what further overseas markets have been effectively opened up for Northern Ireland producers in the 12 months since the announcement of the Bounce Back Plan for the food, drink and agriculture industries.

The Department of International Trade’s (DIT) Bounce Back package and the more recently launched Open Doors campaign have supported UK businesses in accessing international opportunities, through initiatives such as our export masterclasses and virtual trade promotion events. Last year, DIT secured market access to the USA for UK beef exports for the first time in 20 years, worth an estimated £66m over five years. Northern Irish beef producers are already taking advantage of this lucrative market.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what estimate her Department has made of the increase in trade in agri-food exports from Northern Ireland to Japan by 2024 under the terms of the UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement.

The Government’s published impact assessment shows that every region and nation of the UK is estimated to benefit from the UK-Japan agreement compared to a situation where the UK does not have an agreement with Japan. In 2020 Northern Ireland's agri-food exports to Japan were worth £8.6 million, an increase of 33% from 2019 levels.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps she is taking with the Northern Ireland Executive to promote the Northern Ireland agri-food sector in the US following the re-commencement of UK beef exports to that country.

The resumption of market access for beef to the US marks an historic moment for our farmers and producers, with the first shipment originating from Northern Ireland on 30th September.

On 22nd June, in partnership with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Department for International Trade launched a Bounce Back Plan to support the food, drink and agriculture industries. The package offers initiatives to support the agri-food sector, both in Northern Ireland and across the whole of the UK, and includes support such as export masterclasses and virtual meet the buyer events. This bespoke package will further boost our trade efforts and complement new opportunities for Northern Irish companies presented by free trade agreements, such as with Japan.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps her Department is taking to promote trade that was previously undertaken with China with Taiwan.

China and Taiwan remain strategically important trade partners for the UK as the world recovers from Covid-19.

The Department is continuing work to identify market opportunities through its dedicated teams in Taipei and Beijing, who are ready to provide advice and support to ensure UK businesses take full advantage of emerging opportunities.

The UK also holds annual ministerial trade talks with Taiwan, and with China through the UK-China Joint Economic and Trade Committee (JETCO), designed to develop our trading relationships further and improve market access.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, if she will hold discussions on free ports with all ports in the UK which express an interest in such developments.

The Government is in the process of engaging with a range of industry, business and academic experts across the UK to develop our future Freeport model. Specific locations for Freeports will be chosen according to a fair and transparent bidding process and we are keen to ensure that we hear from all ports who are interested in becoming a Freeport. We recognise the importance of working with the Devolved Administrations to make sure that Freeports are a UK-wide offer, not just one for English ports.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he expects to publish his review of the implementation of the Clean Maritime Plan.

Launched in 2019, the Clean Maritime Plan is the environmental route map of the Maritime 2050 Strategy. We intend to publish a refresh of the Clean Maritime Plan in 2023. This will identify clear milestones and actions to spark the transition to net zero shipping technologies, as we place the UK at the forefront of the industries of the future.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
12th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 12 July 2021 to Question 28972, on Shipping: Exhaust Emissions, when he plans to publish the review of the Clean Maritime Plan.

Launched in 2019, the Clean Maritime Plan is the environmental route map of the Maritime 2050 Strategy. We intend to publish a refresh of the Clean Maritime Plan in 2023. This will identify clear milestones and actions to spark the transition to net zero shipping technologies, as we place the UK at the forefront of the industries of the future.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
2nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what his Department's targets are for the outcomes of the £2 billion in funding announced in July 2020 for cycling and walking active travel schemes.

This and other matters will be set out in the second Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy which will be published early next year. This will also reflect the policies outlined in the Prime Minister’s long-term cycling and walking plan, Gear Change, including the vision for half of all journeys in towns and cities to be cycled or walked by 2030.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
29th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with his international counterparts on expanding the list of designated countries where an exchange agreement is in place for recognition of driving licences.

On 20 May 2021, legislation was introduced to designate specified driving licences issued in the Cayman Islands, Taiwan, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates and North Macedonia for exchange in GB.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) is currently dealing with requests for reciprocal driving licence exchange agreements from Malaysia, Serbia and Sri Lanka and continues to work with the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office to identify further opportunities.

The DVLA has also been in contact with the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators to gauge interest in reciprocal licence exchange arrangements among US licensing authorities.

Trudy Harrison
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what criteria are used to decide whether UK citizens returning to the UK can exchange their non-British driving licence for a British licence.

The law requires that driving licences are only granted to drivers who are resident in the UK for at least 185 days in each calendar year and hold a valid, exchangeable licence which has been issued by an EU/EEA country or one of the other designation countries listed here.

If a driver does not hold an exchangeable licence but previously held a UK licence, the UK licence will be reissued.

Trudy Harrison
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what progress his Department is making on improving the (a) provision of training and (b) recruitment of large goods vehicle drivers to tackle the shortage of those drivers.

In respect of England, we are supporting apprenticeships, including to train lorry drivers. A revised standard will be available from 2 August 2021 attracting £7,000 in apprenticeship levy funding. There is also an incentive payment of £3,000 available for new apprentices of any age with an employment start date of 1 April 2021 to 30 September 2021.

The Department for Work and Pensions is developing a scheme to train jobseekers in HGV driving. The Flexible Support Fund is available to help the unemployed or those in receipt of Universal Credit renew their Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC).

On 20 July 2021, the Government announced a package of measures to support road haulage industry. This includes more capacity for driving tests.

15th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what changes the Government plans for the organising and recruitment of Sea Cadets across the UK in response to the Maritime Skills Commission Cadet Review.

The recently published Maritime Skill Commissions report included recommendations specifically targeted at improving the recruitment of cadets. The recommendations are aimed at improving the system to ensure it delivers appropriately skilled seafarers to meet the future needs of an evolving global industry.

Officials at the Department for Transport, including the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, will now work with its stakeholders to implement these recommendations. They will set up a ‘Seafarers Reform Oversight Group’ to oversee these changes to ensure they move forward with the urgency required to address any shortfalls within the sector.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
12th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will carry out an assessment of the reasons for the recent increases in shipping costs for products from overseas, including the Far East, for wholesalers and suppliers in the UK.

My Department has been monitoring international shipping operations, and engaging closely, with the sector throughout the pandemic. Shipping costs during 2021 have risen to a global high level in international freight markets as a result of unprecedented levels of demand driven by changed consumer behaviour during the pandemic.

Historical trends in the shipping sector are of pricing peaks and troughs and although industry estimates that high levels of demand and pricing are likely to continue throughout 2021, it is expected that pricing levels should similarly re-adjust when the current demand drivers change.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he plans to review the Clean Maritime Plan by May 2024.

Launched in 2019, the Clean Maritime Plan is the environmental route map of the Maritime 2050 Strategy. As stated in the Plan, the Government will publish a review of its implementation by 2022.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the timeframe is for publishing an update on the viability of the construction of a bridge between Northern Ireland and Scotland.

As part of the Union Connectivity Review, Sir Peter Hendy CBE is assessing the feasibility of such a link. Outputs of this study are due to be published this summer.

5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has had discussions with rail companies on potential changes to train announcements on covid-19 compliance measures for passengers.

Throughout the pandemic the Department has worked closely with the train operating companies to keep passengers and the public safe. Government has published Safer Travel guidance for operators which sets out measures that train operating companies can take to assess and mitigate the risks of Covid-19 for passengers. Based on this guidance, train operators are using a range of on board and station announcements to encourage passengers to travel safely, including using the length of the platform to board trains, wearing face coverings, and maintaining social distancing where possible.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what criteria he uses to determine how he reviews the traffic light system, indicating which countries are safe to travel to without the need for quarantining on return.

The Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) produces risk assessments of countries and territories. Decisions on Red, Amber or Green List assignment and associated border measures are taken by Ministers, who take into account the JBC risk assessments, alongside wider public health factors.  Key factors in the JBC risk assessment of each country include genomic surveillance capability, COVID-19 transmission risk and Variant of Concern transmission risk. A summary of the JBC methodology has been published on GOV.UK, alongside key data that supports ministers’ decisions.

The countries on the green list are those that present the lowest risk to the UK. Arrivals from green list countries must take a pre-departure test as well as a PCR test on or before day 2 of their arrival in England but will not need to quarantine. Countries on the green list have low case rates, low positivity, good surveillance and low risk from variants of concern.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he plans to exempt the UK from the implications of the EU Motor Insurance Directive apply in Northern Ireland.

Prior to the end of the transition period, the UK as a whole was obliged to comply with the 2009 EU Motor Insurance Directive. Now that the transition period has ended the UK is free to create its own laws and Ministers are currently collectively considering how motor insurance might be improved in GB – that is England, Wales and Scotland. Motor insurance is transferred to Northern Ireland, meaning that Northern Ireland has full legislative powers over this matter.

13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he plans to reply to the correspondence from the hon. Member for East Londonderry sent on 28 July 2020 regarding help for the travel industry.

A response to your letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer was sent on 14 October.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
25th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans the Government has to provide financial assistance to regional airports in response to the outbreak of covid-19.

The Government recognises that airports are critical in enabling essential air services across the country and overseas, including getting Britons home from abroad, delivering essential supplies, and connecting isolated communities. We are working to make sure that a network of infrastructure remains in place across the UK to continue to deliver these services.

Airports are able to draw upon the unprecedented package of measures announced by the Chancellor, including a Bank of England scheme for firms to raise capital, Time to Pay flexibilities with tax bills, financial support for employees and VAT deferrals, as well as existing measures such as the UK Guarantee scheme.

Kelly Tolhurst
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
10th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the progress that will be made by the end of the 2019 Parliament on the ambitions set out in the Government's Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans.

The 2017 Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy set out ambitious plans to make cycling and walking the natural choices for short journeys. In 2018, people cycled an estimated total of 1,006 million stages, an increase of 22% since the 2013 baseline. The 2025 aim for walking stages has already been exceeded, with people walking an average of 347 stages per year in 2018. Further details were set out in the Report to Parliament, published on 7 February and available on gov.uk.

The Department has now received 39 draft Local Cycle and Walking Infrastructure Plans (LCWIPs) from local authorities, which will set the context for future scheme investment.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
28th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make an assessment of the effect of the judgment in relation to R (Friends of the Earth) v Secretary of State for Transport and others on the sustainability of the Heathrow Logistics Hubs initiative.

Last week the Court of Appeal ruled that the designation of the Airports National Policy Statement did not take account of the Paris Agreement, non-CO2 emissions or emissions post 2050, and therefore has no legal effect unless and until the Government carries out a review under the Planning Act 2008.

The Government has taken the decision not to appeal the Court’s judgment. We take seriously our commitments on the environment and reducing carbon emissions.

This is a complex and important judgment which the Government will need time to consider carefully.

The Government will not comment on an ongoing legal case.

Kelly Tolhurst
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what progress has been made on implementing local cycling and walking infrastructure plans.

The Department has provided support to 46 local authorities to help them develop Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure plans (LCWIPs). To date, the Department has received 36 draft plans. Authorities are at different stages of development, with many plans requiring local consultation and cabinet clearances. The Department is also working with the sector to develop further support for authorities on scheme development. Decisions on future funding for cycling and walking infrastructure will be a matter for the Budget and forthcoming Spending Review.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
17th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether he plans to change the estimated date by which the State Pension Age will begin at 68 years.

Under existing legislation, the state pension age is due to increase to 67 between 2026 and 2028 and 68 between 2044 and 2046. The Pensions Act 2014 requires Government to undertake a periodic review of whether the rules about pension age are appropriate. The first review of State Pension age was undertaken in 2017. It set out the Government’s intention to bring forward the increase to 68 in 2037-39 but that the Government would carry out a further review before tabling any changes to legislation.

Work has now begun on the second review of State Pension age, which will consider evidence from across the UK, including findings from two independent reports. It has not yet concluded and will be published by May 2023.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Answer of 21 July 2021 to Question 34458 on Kickstart Scheme, when he expects the evaluation process of Kickstart participants to conclude.

The fieldwork for the commissioned evaluation will continue until at least 2023. This evaluation will continue to assess the longer term outcomes for Kickstart participants after they have completed their six-month jobs. We plan to publish the findings once complete.

25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the number of people who have made additional National Insurance contributions to qualify for a full State Pension in the last 12 months.

This information is not collated as a matter of normal business and is only available at disproportionate cost to the Department.

Information about how awards of the new State Pension are calculated is available on the GOV.UK website, searching for “new State Pension explained”. In addition, the personalised digital “Check your State Pension” forecast service allows people to find out when they could receive their payments, how much they can get and what they can do to increase their amount, to enable people to find out what the changes mean for them. Since its launch in February 2016, over 26 million digital forecasts have been viewed.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the change has been in attendance allowance award success rates from 2012 to 2020.

The Attendance Allowance Award Success Rate for the 2012/13 (full financial year) was 75.2% and the rate for 2020/21 (full financial year) was 88.9%.

Source: Output from Attendance Allowance Computer System (AACS)

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what methodology she uses to evaluate the effectiveness of the Kickstart scheme across the regions and nations of the UK.

The Department for Work and Pensions will be monitoring and evaluating the Kickstart Scheme throughout and after its implementation, and will continue to evaluate the longer term outcomes for Kickstart participants after they have completed their six-month job placements.

The evaluation will include large scale surveys to capture the views and experiences of Kickstart participants and of employers and gateway organisations. The evaluation will consider how experiences and outcomes from the scheme vary and examine how participants’ and employers’ characteristics, local context and local approaches to delivery affect experiences. Qualitative case-studies will provide a detailed understanding of how different aspects of the scheme interact and we will draw on available data and insights.

We will publish the findings of the evaluation once complete.

19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what alternative arrangements are in place for people seeking to apply for a national insurance number during the period of suspension of face-to-face interviews during the covid-19 outbreak.

DWP are responsible for the allocation of National Insurance Numbers to residents living in England, Scotland and Wales. The Department for Communities is responsible to the residents of Northern Ireland.

In order for a National Insurance Number (NINo) to be allocated an individual’s identity needs to have been verified.

DWP have continued to allocate NINos to those who require one for benefit purposes and for those who are entitled to Student Finance. DWP have also continued to work with the Home office to provide a NINo allocation services for Tier 2 visa holders and Refugees and their adult dependants.

In England, Scotland and Wales, DWP are offering a NINo allocation service to foreign nationals who have already had their identity verified as part of their visa application before they entered the UK. This is done through a data sharing agreement with the Home Office.

DWP started testing a partial digital solution, on a small scale, in mid-October, to support the issuing of National Insurance Numbers, which is still ongoing. This solution enables collection of the applicant’s data, but not the online verification of their identity. Alternative identity verification solutions to reduce the need for a face to face identity check for some customer groups is under development as part of this test.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that employers are aware of the need to make pension equalisation payments to those people entitled to receive such payments.

The Government published a consultation response discussing Guaranteed Minimum Pension equalisation methods in March 2017, and guidance on Guaranteed Minimum Pension conversion and equalisation in April 2019.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/599457/government-response-to-occupational-pension-schemes-regulations-2017-and-related-issues-consultation.pdf

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/equalising-pensions-for-the-effect-of-unequal-guaranteed-minimum-pensions/guidance-on-the-use-of-the-guaranteed-minimum-pensions-gmp-conversion-legislation

The Government believes that schemes have a requirement to equalise in respect of Guaranteed Minimum Pensions and it is something they have been aware of, and should have been planning for, for many years.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people claimed statutory sick pay in Northern Ireland in each year since 2014.

Statutory Sick Pay is a devolved matter in Northern Ireland and is therefore the responsibility of the Department for Communities.

30th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will review the Bereavement Support Payment in the light of the changes that were made to that payment in 2017.

We have always been committed to evaluating Bereavement Support Payment, but we need to ensure that we have enough information to assess all aspects of the policy, so that the review is meaningful. As BSP was introduced in 2017 and is payable in 18 monthly instalments we are only now reaching a point that we have sufficient data. We will set a date for publication of the review in due course.

24th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of trends in the level of people with diabetes receiving diabetic retinopathy screening between 2016 and 2021.

Between April 2016 and March 2020, levels of routine digital screening for diabetic retinopathy in England were approximately 82%. Due to the impact of the pandemic, this rate reduced to 67.7% between January and March 2021.

The National Health Service and its partners are ensuring that participation in diabetic eye screening participation returns to pre-pandemic levels and we will continue to monitor progress.

Maria Caulfield
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to include under 18s in any future low calorie diet programme in the context of rising prevalence of obesity rates among minors.

The calorie reduction programme challenges all sectors of the food industry to achieve up to a 20% reduction in calories by 2024 in product categories which contribute significantly to the intakes of children up to the age of 18 years old. The programme includes retailers and manufacturers as well as businesses in the eating out, takeaway and delivery sector.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the outcomes were of the detailed modelling assessment of endoscopy capacity and demand within the bowel cancer screening programme.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have advised that the modelling of endoscopy capacity and demand for the NHS Bowel Screening Programme has been completed and its outcomes are currently under review. Initial data was shared with regional public health commissioning teams to support the age extension to the Bowel Screening Programme over the next three years.

Maria Caulfield
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will take steps to help ensure that health service employees including care workers, who are paid a mileage allowance, have the rate per mile increased.

The reimbursement of travel costs for National Health Service staff is covered by the NHS Terms and Conditions, jointly agreed by employers and NHS trades unions. The current rate of reimbursement is 56 pence per mile. The NHS Terms and Conditions sets out the process for reviewing the rate of reimbursement every six months. This includes reviewing fluctuations in fuel prices.

The vast majority of care workers are employed by private sector providers who ultimately set their pay and terms and conditions, independent of central Government. HM Revenue and Customs sets the approved mileage allowance rate at 45 pence per mile for 10,000 miles. Employees can claim tax relief if they are reimbursed at less than 45 pence per mile.

8th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people were diagnosed with diabetes in each year between (a) 2011 and (b) 2021.

The following table shows the number of adults diagnosed with diabetes in each year from 2011 to 2020. Data for 2021 is not yet available. The National Diabetes Audit (NDA) does not hold comprehensive data on children with diabetes.

Year

Type 1 diagnoses

Type 2 and other diagnoses

2011

7,615

150,105

2012

8,055

165,220

2013

8,165

182,515

2014

8,365

173,895

2015

9,080

196,730

2016

9,270

202,940

2017

8,970

195,445

2018

9,210

220,545

2019

9,820

237,530

2020

11,730

198,600

Source: NHS Digital

Notes:

  1. The NDA does not hold comprehensive data on children with diabetes.
  2. Diabetes type is reported as ‘Type 1’ and ‘Type 2 and other’ within the NDA.
  3. Type 1’ includes where a person is recorded as having Type 1 diabetes in the NDA.
  4. ‘Type 2 and other’ includes where a person is recorded as having Type 2 diabetes, Maturity-onset Diabetes of the Young, other or non-specified diabetes in the NDA.
  5. Figures are based on people who appear in the 2020/21 NDA who have a new diagnosis of diabetes in the relevant calendar year.
  6. Disclosure control has been applied to all figures, as per the NDA publication - all numbers are rounded to the nearest 5, unless the number is 1 to 7, in which case it is rounded to ‘5’.
Maria Caulfield
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether covid-19 lateral flow test products that are made in the UK for use in the UK are subject to (a) testing or (b) checking requirements that are (i) different or (ii) in addition to those applied to covid-19 lateral flow test products manufactured in the Far East for use in the UK.

All COVID-19 lateral flow test devices and their manufacturers are subject to the Medical Device Regulations 2002 and COVID Testing Devices Authorisation requirements regardless of the origin of manufacture. There are no alternative or additional requirements for devices manufactured in the United Kingdom.

In exceptional circumstances, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) can issue an Exceptional Use Authorisation (EUA). The MHRA publishes the names of tests and other medical devices which have been granted an EUA online. All manufacturers are subject to the same EUA assessment standards regardless of the location of the manufacturer.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will introduce incremental targets in the years up to 2030 for the purposes of trying to reach the objective of a smoke free country by that date.

The Department is undertaking further policy development on the Tobacco Control Plan, including whether to introduce incremental targets. We will publish the Plan in due course.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of the 5.7 million people who tested as covid-19 positive in the UK in the last six months his Department has estimated were unvaccinated.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has not made a specific assessment. However, the UKHSA monitors weekly COVID-19 cases by vaccination status, which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-vaccine-weekly-surveillance-reports

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the findings of the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch’s national review of Intrapartum stillbirths during the COVID-19 pandemic published in September 2021; and what steps he plans to take in response to that report.

The Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch’s (HSIB) national review set out that there remains uncertainty among experts as to whether the rate of stillbirths has increased during the pandemic. The stillbirth rate has fallen by 25% since 2010 and we continue work to achieve our ambition to halve the 2010 rates of stillbirths, neonatal and maternal deaths and brain injuries in babies occurring during or soon after birth by 2025.

The HSIB report also recommended that the Department commission a review to improve the reliability of existing assessment tools for fetal growth and fetal heart rate to minimise the risk for babies. The Department is considering this recommendation and will publish an official response in due course.

Maria Caulfield
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of the 5.7 million people who have been tested as covid-19 positive in the UK in the last six months have tested positive more than once in that period.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has not made an assessment of the proportion of reinfections of those who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the United Kingdom in the last six months. However, the UKHSA monitors weekly COVID-19 cases, including numbers and rates of reinfections in England. This data is published in the weekly COVID-19 Vaccine Surveillance Report, which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/national-flu-and-covid-19-surveillance-reports-2021-to-2022-season

Data on COVID-19 reinfections is available to 31 October 2021 which shows that 72,264 possible reinfections have been identified since the first recorded case of a reinfection. In the same period there were 7.9 million first positive COVID-19 test results.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he expects to receive from the National Institute for Health Research the results of the high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) therapy for prostate cancer research.

The randomised controlled trial of Partial prostate Ablation versus Radical prosTatectomy (PART) in intermediate risk unilateral clinically localised prostate cancer a feasibility study’ was funded and supported by the National Institute for Health Research. The research was undertaken between 2015-2017 and the results were published on 1 September 2018 at the following link:

https://www.journalslibrary.nihr.ac.uk/hta/hta22520#/full-report

Maria Caulfield
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to respond to Question 58745 on Smoking tabled by the hon. Member for East Londonderry on 19 October 2021.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer of 25 October to Question 58745.

23rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to reply to Question 35525 tabled on 19 July 2021 on the outcome of discussions with the Thalidomide Trust regarding support for ongoing health needs beyond 2022-23.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer of 30 July to Question 35525.

23rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to help tackle the increase in cases of mumps.

The United Kingdom Measles and Rubella Elimination Strategy, published in 2019, focuses on four components required to maintain elimination. These are to: achieve and sustain at least 95% coverage with two doses of measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine in the routine childhood programme; achieve at least 95% coverage with two doses of MMR vaccine in older age cohorts through opportunistic and targeted catch-up; strengthen measles and rubella surveillance through rigorous case investigation and testing at least 80% of all suspected cases with an Oral Fluid Test; and ensure easy access to high-quality, evidence-based information for health professionals and the public. This will improve mumps control and reduce outbreaks occurring.

The epidemiology of mumps in the UK has been impacted in several ways during the COVID-19 pandemic. The closures and public health measures in place in educational settings since March 2020 has led to the interruption of transmission of mumps and very few cases being reported. In England, there were two laboratory confirmed mumps infections between April and June 2021.

Maria Caulfield
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will hold discussions with Health Ministers in the devolved administrations on steps being taken to ensure that there is similarly high uptake of the covid-19 booster or third dose vaccine across all nations of the UK.

The Secretary of State holds weekly meetings with the Health Ministers of the Devolved Administrations (DAs). He has raised the importance of the uptake of COVID-19 boosters and third doses in these meetings with the DAs.

As health is devolved across the United Kingdom, vaccination deployment is managed by the health services in each nation: NHS England and NHS Improvement, NHS Wales, NHS Scotland, and Health and Social Care Northern Ireland. The UK government is working closely with the DAs to facilitate an aligned approach to COVID-19 vaccine deployment across the UK. Officials in the Department of Health and Social Care hold regular meetings with colleagues in the DAs to discuss COVID-19 vaccine uptake progress and interventions to drive vaccine uptake.

Data on the number of people who have received a booster or third dose COVID-19 vaccination in the UK, including a breakdown by nation, can be found at the following link: https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/details/vaccinations

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the outcome was of the trial on the use of inhaled budesonide to treat older people with covid-19 symptoms who are not hospitalised.

Inhaled budesonide, a corticosteroid, was entered into the PRINCIPLE clinical trial in November 2020 for the treatment of non-hospitalised patients with COVID-19 who are 65 years old and over or 50 years old and over with an underlying health condition. The final trial results were peer reviewed by an independent panel of experts and published in The Lancet on 10 August 2021. The PRINCIPLE trial reported a three-day median benefit in self-reported recovery for patients with COVID-19 in the community setting who received inhaled budesonide.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress has been made to encourage more high quality applications for funding into brain tumour research.

In May 2018 the Government announced £40 million over five years for brain tumour research as part of the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). We are relying on researchers to submit high-quality fundable research applications in a difficult area with a small research community. We have released a public announcement making clear our desire to receive funding applications.

Working with the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission, we held customised workshops in October 2021 to support the research community in submitting more fundable research applications and we are funding training in research for specialist brain tumour oncologists. The NIHR has received 69 applications to date, of which 10 have already been successful with others still under consideration.

20th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether NHS England and NHS Improvement have concluded their detailed modelling assessment of endoscopy capacity and demand within the Bowel Cancer Screening Programme.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have concluded their modelling and data has been shared with regional commissioners and providers of the National Health Service Bowel Cancer Screening Programme for planning services appropriately and to maximise delivery.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have established a number of workstreams to increase diagnostic capacity, including investment of £150 million in new imaging and endoscopy equipment, increasing the number and accessibility of accreditation sessions for new endoscopists and building further capacity through community diagnostic centres and the adopt and adapt programme.

Maria Caulfield
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he estimates publication will be of the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch examination of the reported recent increase in the number of stillbirths.

The Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch’s national learning report, ‘Intrapartum Stillbirth: learning from maternity safety investigations that occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic, 1 April to 30 June 2020’ was published on 16 September 2021.

Maria Caulfield
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, in the context of smoking prevalence among adults, what assessment he has made of the feasibility of delivering a smoke-free country by 2030.

We are committed to reducing the harms caused by tobacco and smoking rates amongst adults are currently at 13.9%, the lowest on record. The Department is currently preparing a new Tobacco Control Plan which will deliver our ambition to be smoke-free by 2030.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many of the three million reported positive covid-19 cases in the three months from 8 July 2021 to 8 October 2021 were (a) aged more than 12 years and (b) had not received a double vaccination.

The data is not available in the format requested.

Of 750,518 cases reported with a specimen date between 6 September to 3 October 2021, 402,004 were in individuals aged over 18 years old. Of these, 60,497 cases were unvaccinated and 21,340 had a specimen date at least 21 days post receiving one vaccine dose.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will hold discussions with representatives of GPs to establish a national assessment of the outcome of the measles, mumps and rubella catch-up programme for 10 and 11 year olds.

Ministers meet regularly with general practitioner stakeholders, including the Royal College of General Practitioners and the British Medical Association to discuss a range of issues.

A national catch-up campaign was launched in April 2013 with the objective of ensuring that 95% of children aged 10 to 16 years old received at least one dose of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine. Subsequent evaluation estimated that vaccine coverage in England following the campaign was close to 95%.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 30 June 2021 to Question 22142 on Food: Sugar, what the outcome of discussions held with Public Health England was on the sugar reduction programme and the voluntary ambition reduction of 20 per cent.

The fourth progress report for the sugar reduction programme is expected to be published by the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities in late autumn 2021.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the (a) net and (b) percentage change in total NHS funding has been in each of the ten years up until 31 March 2021.

The information requested, for the years where data is available is shown in the following table.

Financial year

Outturn

Total NHS England Departmental Expenditure Limit (£ million)

Percentage change from previous year

2020-21

Draft outturn

144,100

+16.2%

2019-20

Outturn

124,016

+8.3%

2018-19

Outturn

114,552

+4.3%

2017-18

Outturn

109,833

+3.6%

2016-17

Outturn

105,975

+5.2%

2015-16

Outturn

100,754

+3.6%

2014-15

Outturn

97,287

+3.6%

2013-14

Outturn

93,876

-

Source: HM Treasury Public Expenditure Statistical Analyses 2018 and 2021

8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the outcome was of the national review by the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch into the reported increase in the number of still births.

We expect the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch’s national review of intrapartum stillbirths during the COVID-19 pandemic to be published shortly.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether research has been conducted on the use of pulse oximetry as an additional test in screening all babies in the context of the Newborn and Infant Physical Examination programme.

The United Kingdom National Screening Committee (UK NSC) looked at the evidence to use pulse oximetry (PO) as an additional test in the Newborn and Infant Physical Examination programme in 2019. The UK NSC recommended that there were still crucial gaps in the evidence to determine whether PO could be offered within a population screening programme to all newborn babies, as it was unclear whether PO would benefit or cause harm in finding babies with mild hypoxaemia or abnormally low oxygen blood levels.

The UK NSC supported the call for further research to help explore the uncertainties of the offer of PO in all babies, before a final recommendation is made. In 2020, the National Institute of Health Research made a call for evidence and a feasibility report is underway.

19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when discussions with the Thalidomide Trust on support for ongoing health needs beyond 2022-23 will conclude.

On 3 March 2021, we committed to continue the Thalidomide Health Grant beyond 31 March 2023. This commitment includes an initial payment of approximately £39 million for the first four years after the current grant ends. Future funding figures will be confirmed every four years following an assessment of need.

8th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will hold discussions with health ministers in (a) Scotland, (b) Wales and (c) Northern Ireland on reaching a consensus on having 75 per cent of cancers diagnosed within the first two stages across the UK.

We have no current plans to do so. While the NHS Long Term Plan commits to diagnosing 75% of cancers in England at an early stage by 2028, in other parts of the United Kingdom this is a devolved matter. The Department engages in sharing best practice between the devolved administrations.

6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the pilot low calorie diet programme launched in 2020 includes children under the age of 16.

The National Health Service low calorie diet (LCD) programme does not include children under the age of 16 years old. However, NHS England and NHS Improvement continue to monitor the latest evidence to inform future updates to the eligibility. NHS England and NHS Improvement launched the pilot program in September 2020, following a commitment in the NHS Long Term Plan. It provides LCD treatment for adults between 18 and 65 years of age living with type 2 diabetes who are overweight or obese.

5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to improve the rates of colour vision deficiency among men.

In the majority of cases, colour vision deficiency is caused by a hereditary genetic fault. Due to the pattern of inheritance, the condition most commonly appears in males, with females being carriers rather than expressing the condition, resulting in much higher rates among men. Colour vision deficiency acquired later in life may improve with treatment for the underlying cause. Sight tests are recommended every two years, although some people will be advised to attend more frequently due to increased risk factors.

However, occasionally colour vision deficiency may develop later in life as a result of other factors such as a side effect of certain medications and underlying health conditions, such as glaucoma and diabetes. Diabetic retinopathy can lead to problems with vision, including colour vision deficiency. The National Health Service diabetes prevention programme identifies those at high risk of developing diabetes and refers them for tailored, personalised education. Diabetic retinopathy screening is also offered to anyone over the age of 12 years old who has diabetes.

5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to prepare for a covid-19 booster vaccination programme before winter 2021.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) published interim advice on a potential COVID-19 booster vaccination programme on 30 June, which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/jcvi-interim-advice-on-a-potential-coronavirus-covid-19-booster-vaccine-programme-for-winter-2021-to-2022

Final decisions on the timing and scope of the booster programme, as well as cohorts and eligibility, will be made later in the year, informed by further independent advice from the JCVI. NHS England and NHS Improvement are asking all local systems to develop detailed plans to ensure they are ready to deliver a booster programme from the start of September should this be required.

Nadhim Zahawi
Chancellor of the Exchequer
29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the timetable is for the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch to report on the national review entitled Intrapartum stillbirth during COVID-19.

The Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch is aiming to publish its report in September 2021.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the National Institute for Health Research is on schedule to report the results of clinical trials on universal screening for Group B Strep during pregnancy in 2023.

The trial was paused last year due to the pandemic and it is now expected that the results will be in the public domain in early 2025.

28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the timetable is for the Group B Strep trial to report.

The trial was paused last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and it is now expected that the results of the trial will be in the public domain in early 2025.

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 any research has been carried out into the reasons for which the number of patients having IVF treatment compared to the number of successful cycles has not improved in recent years.

Recent data show that the number of in vitro fertilisation cycles and birth rates have both increased over time for all patients under 43. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority’s annual statistics on trends in fertility treatment is available at the following link:

www.hfea.gov.uk/about-us/publications/research-and-data/fertility-treatment-2019-trends-and-figures

25th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether it is his policy to include a target in the forthcoming Tobacco Control Plan to reduce the prevalence of women smoking during pregnancy to less than 6 per cent by the end of 2022.

The Government remains committed to reducing the prevalence of women smoking during pregnancy. Addressing this issue will be a priority for our new Tobacco Control Plan, which we will publish later this year. A number of targets are currently under consideration, which will support our ambition to be Smokefree by 2030.

24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the outcome was of the national review by the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch to examine the reported recent increase in the number of stillbirths.

The Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch’s national review of Intrapartum stillbirths during the COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will ensure that published data on new covid-19 cases includes the number of (a) hospital admissions and (b) people who are in ICU beds.

Public Health England publishes rates of hospitalisation to all levels of care and separately, rates based on admission to intensive care units/high dependency units, which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/national-flu-and-covid-19-surveillance-reports

Data on COVID-19 patients admitted to hospital and patients on ventilation machines, as proxy for intensive care units, is available at the following link:

https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/

21st Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when NICE plans to publish the outcome of its assessment of the effectiveness of Niraparib for maintenance treatment of advanced ovarian, fallopian tube and peritoneal cancer.

In February 2021, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence issued final guidance that recommends niraparib for use within the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF) for the maintenance treatment of advanced ovarian, fallopian tube and peritoneal cancer after response to first-line platinum-based chemotherapy. Niraparib is now available to eligible National Health Service patients in England through the CDF in line with this recommendation.

26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether NHS England and NHS Improvement have concluded their detailed modelling assessment of endoscopy capacity and demand within the Bowel Cancer Screening Programme.

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

23rd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will increase funding for brain tumour research in the current Parliament.

The level of funding in the current Parliament for brain tumour research is dependent on funding applications received. We are looking to researchers to submit higher quality applications into the system, so that research funding can be directed to this very difficult area.

In May 2018 the Government announced £40 million over five years for brain tumour research as part of the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). The NIHR welcomes funding applications for research into any aspect of human health, including brain tumours. The NIHR released a public announcement to the research community in April 2018, making clear our desire to receive brain tumour research funding applications.

18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the Government's target to reduce the number of adults who smoke to less than 12 per cent by 2022 is still in place.

Current smoking prevalence in adults is at a historic low of 13.9%. The ambition set in the current Tobacco Control Plan to reduce adult smoking prevalence to 12% or less by the end of 2022 remains. A new Tobacco Control plan is due to be published later this year and will set out further ambitions to deliver a smoke free country by 2030.

15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of covid-19 vaccines administered to date were manufactured by Oxford Astra Zeneca; and what information his Department holds on the number of people who have received that vaccine who have since reported serious blood clotting.

As of 14 March, an estimated 13.7 million doses of the Oxford /AstraZeneca vaccine have been administered. As of the same date, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has received 187 reports of blood clots reported in temporal association with the vaccine.

Such reports are not proven side effects of the vaccine. Blood clots can occur naturally and are not uncommon and this number is not greater than would have occurred naturally in the vaccinated population.

Nadhim Zahawi
Chancellor of the Exchequer
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 27 January 2021 Question 128093 on NHS: Protective Clothing, what estimate he has made of the average cost per thousand of individual face coverings purchased for NHS staff since the start of the covid-19 outbreak from suppliers (a) inside the UK and (b) outside the UK where orders were for in excess of 100,000 face coverings.

No new contracts were awarded to suppliers by the Department for face coverings or face masks since July 2020.

The outbreak of COVID-19 placed extreme strain on the global supply chain of personal protective equipment (PPE) and procuring PPE was a significant challenge many countries were posed with. This led to a significant surge in demand in global markets, increased competition and limited supply. These factors resulted in vast increases in the cost of PPE including face masks.

The United Kingdom market for face masks has stabilised since the first peak in 2020 and we have now moved to a stable situation which has equipped us for any further spikes or waves. If we need to procure more face masks for frontline workers, we anticipate this to be at the prevailing price point.

22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to reduce the number of cases of mumps in the UK during the 2019-2021 Parliament.

Actions already taken include a measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) catch-up vaccination programme for 10 and 11 year olds delivered through primary care, communications campaigns targeting festival goers and students and local initiatives addressing inequalities in vaccine uptake.

Public Health England provides information on the benefits and risks of the MMR vaccine to the public using National Health Service branded leaflets, some of which are available in multiple languages. The leaflets address common questions about the MMR vaccine and encourage parents to have their children vaccinated. The leaflets, designed for use in schools, healthcare centres, accident and emergency departments, hospital wards, walk-in centres and general practices, are available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/immunisation#measles,-mumps-and-rubella-(mmr)

15th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to respond to Named Day Question 128093, tabled on 15 December 2020 by the hon Member for East Londonderry.

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

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

11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of prescribing ivermectin for reducing the (a) transmission or (b) severity of covid-19.

The Therapeutics Taskforce is continuing to monitor any new, high quality evidence on COVID-19 therapeutics and has been following recent findings on ivermectin.

The Department has monitored a collection of small studies which have now completed and provided some positive signals on the use of ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19. This is a promising step. However, larger-scale studies are still needed to confirm the effectiveness and safety of this treatment. The Therapeutics Taskforce is aware that several more studies into ivermectin are set to conclude in the next few months and will continue to monitor these ongoing trials to assess the evidence available on whether ivermectin reduces transmission and/or severity of COVID-19. The Department and its arm’s length bodies are prepared to act rapidly should any trial readouts prove positive at a greater scale.

16th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate his Department has made of the number of women who have had incomplete abortions within the first nine weeks of having taken mifepristone and misoprostol and have received surgery as a result of those incomplete abortions since April 2020.

This information is not collected centrally.

14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the level of immunity that has been acquired by people verified as having tested positive for covid-19 in the last three months.

Currently, we do not know how long immunity developed from infection or vaccines lasts.

Further research is being carried out to establish the efficiency of long-term immunity after infection or vaccination that remains after initial antibody levels have dropped off.

14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many abortion pills were issued by post in the first six months since the introduction of temporary provisions permitting the application of both sets of abortion pills at home.

The Department does not hold information on the method of delivery for abortion pills.

10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the average cost per thousand of individual face coverings purchased for NHS staff in (a) September (b) October 2020 and (c) November 2020 from suppliers (i) inside the UK and (ii) outside the UK where the orders were for in excess of 100,000 face coverings.

No contracts were awarded to suppliers by the Department for face coverings or face masks in the months of September, October and November 2020.

4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the reasons for reported increases in the number of still births since April 2020.

An assessment has not yet been made of the reasons for reported increases in the number of still births since April 2020.

A national review has been launched by the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB) to look at the reported increase in the number of still births. It is important that we wait for the full data from HSIB and other reviews of stillbirth cases during this time to draw any conclusions.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps have been taken to prepare for the supply of medicine stocks from Great Britain to Northern Ireland (a) before and (b) after 1 January 2021.

The Department, in consultation with the devolved administrations and Crown Dependencies, is working with trade bodies, product suppliers, and the health and care system to make detailed plans to help ensure continued supply of medicines and medical products to the whole of the United Kingdom, including Northern Ireland, at the end of the transition period, and will continue to after the end of the transition period.

This includes:

- medicines (prescription-only, pharmacy and general sales list and unlicensed medicines);

- medical devices and clinical consumables;

- supplies for clinical trials and clinical investigations;

- vaccines and countermeasures; and

- blood, tissue and transplant materials.

Further detail on the plans to help ensure continuity of medical supplies is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/letter-to-medicines-and-medical-products-suppliers-3-august-2020/letter-to-medicine-suppliers-3-august-2020

19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has undertaken a ten year review of the outcomes of the Change4Life programme.

A 10-year review of the outcomes of the Change4Life programme has not been undertaken.

16th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent progress the Government has made with the European Commission on the UK's relationship with the European Reference Network for rare diseases after the transition period.

Continued United Kingdom membership of the European Reference Networks beyond the end of 2020 remains subject to the outcome of negotiations with the European Commission. The European Reference Networks are not negotiated in isolation and instead form part of a complex set of interlinked policy issues that remain subject to ongoing negotiations with the European Union.

As part of the UK Strategy for Rare Diseases the Government has supported world-leading experts in rare diseases through clinical services and research. We remain committed to improving the diagnosis and treatment of rare disease patients through the new UK Rare Disease Framework, set to be published by the end of 2020, and the Genome UK strategy. Additionally, UK clinicians across all four nations have been asked to advise the Government on which elements should be retained if future participation in the ERNs is not agreed.

16th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to support the development of the evidence base for high-intensity focused ultrasound therapy for prostate cancer.

The National Institute for Health Research has funded, and supported, several research studies on high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) therapy for prostate cancer over the last five years. This includes an award of £677,000 for the feasibility of a randomised controlled trial of partial prostate ablation (via HIFU) versus radical prostatectomy in intermediate risk unilateral clinically localised prostate cancer.

15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether it remains his policy increase diagnosis of the 10 most common cancers at stages 1 and 2 to 75 percent by 2028.

The NHS Long Term Plan commitments remain in place despite the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes the commitment of staging 75% of all cancers at stage 1 or 2.

5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of trends in the level of alcohol consumption in domestic settings since March 2020.

Public Health England has published an online monitoring tool to track behavioural changes, including alcohol consumption during the COVID-19 pandemic. The findings on alcohol consumption are that intake across the population as a whole remained about the same during the pandemic. Those aged 18 to 34 were more likely to report consuming less alcohol each week than before and those aged 35 to 54 were more likely to report an increase. There was also an increase in the proportion of ‘high risk’ drinking between February and June 2020. The monitoring tool can be viewed at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/wider-impacts-of-covid-19-on-health-monitoring-tool

30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on levels of (a) domestic abuse, (b) personal mental ill health and (c) excessive alcohol consumption.

Domestic abuse helplines have reported significant increases in calls during lockdown and the police have also reported an increase in reported domestic abuse incidents based on provisional data, a 6% increase in the four weeks up to 5 July compared to the same period last year.

We are working with the National Health Service, Public Health England and other key partners to gather evidence and assess the potential longer-term mental health impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak, and plan for how to support mental health and wellbeing throughout the ‘recovery’ phase.

Public Health England has published an online monitoring tool to track behavioural changes, including alcohol consumption. The findings on alcohol consumption throughout the COVID-19 pandemic are that intake across the population as a whole remained about the same during lockdown. Those aged 18 to 34 were more likely to report consuming less alcohol each week than before and those aged 35 to 54 were more likely to report an increase. There was an increase in the proportion of ‘high risk’ drinking between February and June 2020. The monitoring tool is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/wider-impacts-of-covid-19-on-health-monitoring-tool

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when the extension of bowel cancer screening to people aged over 50 is planned to begin.

NHS England and NHS Improvement and Public Health England agree that a phased approach is required to safely introduce the lowering of the starting age for bowel screening from 60 to 50, allowing capacity and resources (financial, facilities and accredited workforce) to be built into the system.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, NHS England and NHS Improvement is currently undertaking detailed modelling to assess endoscopy capacity and demand within the Bowel Cancer Screening Programme, which will inform decisions about the timing and implementation of the age extension.

29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to reduce the number of deaths which are primarily caused by excess of prescription drugs.

A number of measures are in place to reduce death and harm from unnecessary medicines. Healthcare professionals are advised to take an approach known as medicines optimisation to their prescribing practice. Medicines optimisation focuses on patients and their experiences: the goal is to help patients to improve their outcomes, take their medicines as intended, avoid taking unnecessary medicines, reduce wastage of medicines and improve medicines safety. Medicines optimisation is a key workstream within NHS England’s Medicines Value Programme, which aims to improve outcomes, quality and value from the investment made in medicines.

29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the timetable is for the UK National Screening Committee's review of the process of screening for prostate cancer.

The United Kingdom National Screening Committee’s (UK NSC) three-month public consultation on prostate cancer screening/prostate specific antigen testing in men over the age of 50 closed on the 21 September 2020. The responses are being carefully reviewed internally and with the external reviewer before this is submitted to the UK NSC to make a final recommendation.

Information about the outcome of the 2020 evidence review and the recommendation on prostate screening is estimated to be completed by December 2020. It will be updated and be made available at the following link:

https://legacyscreening.phe.org.uk/prostatecancer

28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the change in the prevalence of mumps in the last three years.

In England, there were 1,796 laboratory confirmed mumps cases reported in 2017, 1,061 in 2018 and 5,042 in 2019. The data is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/measles-confirmed-cases/confirmed-cases-of-measles-mumps-and-rubella-in-england-and-wales-2012-to-2013

Mumps activity in 2019 was the highest observed in a decade and the number of laboratory confirmed cases remained high in the first quarter (Q1) of 2020. This rise in mumps cases has been driven by outbreaks in universities and colleges. Many of the cases were seen in young adults born in the late nineties and early 2000s who missed out on the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine when they were children.

In Q1 of 2020 there were 3,088 laboratory confirmed mumps infections. Cases were reported in all regions of England, predominantly in young adults aged 15 to 34 years -2,533/3,088 or 82% - so the total number of laboratory-confirmed mumps cases in Q2 is likely to be an underestimate.

28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether it remains his Department's policy to halve childhood obesity by 2030, as outlined in the childhood obesity plan, published in June 2018.

‘Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives’ takes forward actions from previous chapters of the childhood obesity plan including our ambition to halve the number of children living with obesity by 2030.

21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people were tested for covid-19 from 2 September to 9 September 2020; and how many of those who tested positive were aged between four and 16 years old.

The Government does not publish data in the format requested.

21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the outcome was of the MMR catch-up programme for 10 and 11-year olds, held through general practices.

We do not have access to data on the outcome of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) catch-up programme for 10- and 11-year olds. This data is transferred from school-aged vaccination service providers into general practice IT systems, so information is held at individual practice level.

The MMR vaccination programme is a priority as the Government has committed to regaining the UK’s measles elimination status. The catch-up programme for 10- and 11-year olds is part of the work supporting the Measles and Rubella Elimination Strategy.

9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the implications for his policy on ME funding of trends in the level of post-viral fatigue syndrome.

No specific assessment has been made. Funding for services for people with myalgic encephalomyelitis is a local matter and is the responsibility of clinical commissioning groups (CCGs). CCGs are best placed to ensure NHS services are commissioned to meet local population need, taking into account best practice guidance such as the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guideline ‘Chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (or encephalopathy): diagnosis and management’, published in 2007 and currently being updated.

6th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to include pulse oximetry as an additional test to the Newborn and Infant Physical Examination programme.

Ministers have accepted the United Kingdom National Screening Committee’s (UK NSC) recommendation from its November 2019 meeting, that further research is needed on the use of pulse oximetry (PO) as an additional test to understand the effect of screening on all babies, before a final recommendation can be made to add PO to the Newborn and Infant Physical Examination programme. Minutes from the UK NSC’s meeting can be viewed at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/uk-national-screening-committee-uk-nsc

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps is he taking to improve take-up of the MMR vaccine for five year old children.

To increase take-up of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine, NHS England and NHS Improvement and Public Health England are working with key regional and local stakeholders, such as Directors of clinical quality, clinical commissioning groups and local authorities, to implement actions from Public Health England’s ‘Measles and rubella UK elimination strategy 2019’. The actions include notifications from Child Health Information Services to help general practices identify children with due and overdue vaccinations and improving information to parents that emphasises the importance getting the MMR vaccination.

17th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what preparations he is making to tackle the potential increase in domestic alcohol abuse as a result of reduced social interaction during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government provides advice on the importance of drinking in moderation. This can be found through the One You service and at the following link:

https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/alcohol-support/the-risks-of-drinking-too-much

The 2016 UK Chief Medical Officers’ low risk drinking guidelines also provide the public with the most up to date information to help people make informed decisions about their own drinking.

Local authorities are responsible for assessing local needs and commissioning alcohol prevention, treatment and harm reduction services to meet these needs. It is important that these services are maintained during the COVID-19 pandemic. Guidance to support commissioners and providers of services for people who use alcohol during the COVID-19 pandemic has been published and is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-commissioners-and-providers-of-services-for-people-who-use-drugs-or-alcohol/covid-19-guidance-for-commissioners-and-providers-of-services-for-people-who-use-drugs-or-alcohol

Additionally, a Clinical Speciality guide for the management of people with alcohol dependence during the COVID-19 pandemic was published on 8 April and is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-content/uploads/sites/52/2020/04/C0157-Specialty-guide_-Alcohol-Dependence-and-coronavirus_8-April.pdf

Guidance to support alcohol-dependent drinkers to reduce their intake in a managed way will be published shortly.

9th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the current prevalence rate of women smoking during pregnancy; and what assessment he has made of the likelihood of reducing that prevalence to 6 per cent by the end of 2022.

In 2018/19 the prevalence of smoking in pregnant women was 10.6%.

The Government has a track record of reducing the harms caused by tobacco and is committed to achieving its ambition to reduce smoking in pregnancy to 6% or less by 2022.

9th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to facilitate the temporary return to work of recently retired NHS staff in the event of an outbreak of covid-19.

The National Health Service is working with its professional leads, regulators, NHS employers and the Department to set out how it engages with retirees and leavers who are willing to return to work for a period of time to provide the extra capacity we need to meet the demands of COVID-19.

The NHS has been developing with stakeholders, a clear and straight forward re-registration process including simplified employment checks. This will also include how it assesses if individuals are fit to work and the employment contract and terms and conditions. The NHS is also identifying what training is required to support returners as well as developing guidance to help employers engage these staff and to provide advice and support to all staff through this period.

25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the timetable is for the National Screening Committee to conduct the next review of the evidence on screening for prostate cancer.

Screening for prostate cancer forms part of the United Kingdom National Screening Committee’s 2019/20 work plan. A three-month public consultation will take place in summer 2020 where a recommendation will be made for the screening of prostate cancer.

Further information and how to participate in the consultation is available at the following link:

https://legacyscreening.phe.org.uk/screening-recommendations.php

12th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress he has made on increasing the availability of the ovarian cancer drug Zejula.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is the independent body responsible for developing authoritative, evidence-based recommendations on whether new medicines represent value for money for the National Health Service in England.

NICE may recommend promising new cancer drugs for use in the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF) where there is potential for the drug to be considered for routine commissioning but there is significant remaining clinical uncertainty which needs more investigation through data collection in the NHS or clinical trials.

In July 2018 NICE published guidance recommending niraparib (brand name Zejula) for use within the CDF as an option for treating relapsed, platinum-sensitive high-grade serious epithelial ovarian, fallopian tube, or primary peritoneal cancer, that has responded to the most recent course of platinum-based chemotherapy in adults who have had two or more courses of platinum-based chemotherapy. Niraparib is now available to NHS patients through the CDF in line with this guidance.

In March 2019, the Department asked NICE to conduct an appraisal of niraparib for maintenance treatment of advanced ovarian, fallopian tube and peritoneal cancer after response to first-line platinum-based chemotherapy. NICE expects to publish final guidance in February 2021.

11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment the National Supply Disruption Response has made of the potential risk to supplies of essential medicines in the next two years.

The Department assesses the potential risk to the supply of medicines on an ongoing basis. It is not the role of the National Supply Disruption Response to provide an ongoing assessment of the potential risk to the supply of medicines.

Where we are aware of a potential risk, the Department’s Medicine Supply team works closely with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Authority, the pharmaceutical industry, the National Health Service and others operating in the supply chain to help prevent shortages and to ensure that the risks to patients are minimised when they do arise.

In addition to this, marketing authorisation holders of United Kingdom licensed medicines are required under the Health Service Products Regulations 2018 to notify the Department if they are aware of an impending supply shortage of a medicine at least six months prior to the shortage or, if not possible, as soon as reasonably practicable.

10th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of trends in the uptake of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine in the last five years.

Between 2013/14 and 2018/19 coverage for one Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine dose at 24 months decreased 2.4% points from 92.7% to 90.3%. Coverage for two doses, at five years of age, decreased 1.9% points from 88.3% in 2013/14 to 86.4% in 2018/19. Coverage of the first dose by five years of age in England has been more or less stable from 2015 to 2018 reaching the World Health Organization’s target level of 95% for the first-time in 2016-17 but dropping to 94.9% in 2017-18.

The following table shows uptake of the MMR vaccine at first dose at 24 months and in five year olds, and second dose in five year olds in England since 2013/14.

-

24 months

Five years

Five years

-

% MMR (1st Dose)

% MMR (1st Dose)

% MMR (1st and 2nd Dose)

2013-14

92.7

94.1

88.3

2014-15

92.3

94.4

88.6

2015-16

91.9

94.8

88.2

2016-17

91.6

95.0

87.6

2017-18

91.2

94.9

87.2

2018-19

90.3

94.5

86.4

Source:

https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/nhs-immunisation-statistics/england-2018-19

7th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the news story entitled, Early cancer detection and survival to be prioritised by NHS, published by his Department in July 2019, if he will make it his policy to publish regular progress reports on the Government's ambition for three-quarters of all cancers to be detected at an early stage by 2028.

The National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service (NCRAS) are currently developing a new early diagnosis metric which will be used specifically to track progress towards the 75% ambition. This new metric will provide a more comprehensive measure of early diagnosis, including more cancer sites than the current available measures.

This metric will be regularly reported on the NCRAS website.

5th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what changes the NHS is making to (a) the management of CIN 2 cervical cell changes and (b) other aspects of colposcopy and programme management.

The National Health Service Cervical Screening Programme (NHS CSP) published its programme and colposcopy management guidance on 5 February 2020. This can be viewed at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cervical-screening-programme-and-colposcopy-management

This includes guidance on policy, management and referral for colposcopy, providing a quality colposcopy clinic as well as colposcopic diagnosis treatment and follow up. In addition, there is a new section on conservative management for cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN 2) cell changes and other aspects of colposcopy and programme management. This can be viewed at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cervical-screening-programme-and-colposcopy-management/3-colposcopic-diagnosis-treatment-and-follow-up

4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the Tobacco Control Plan 2017-2022 is making adequate progress to reduce adult smoking prevalence to 12 per cent by 2022.

Adult smoking rates in England are at their lowest level recorded at 14.4% of the population. The Government continues to make progress towards delivering the ambition of 12% or less by the end of 2022. As announced in the Prevention Green Paper the Government has set out a further ambition to go ‘smoke-free’ in England by 2030. Proposals for this will be set out at a later date.

3rd Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of the Childhood Obesity Plan on trends in the rate of obesity among children.

The high prevalence of childhood obesity has been decades in the making. It is going to take time to see results.

Through the three chapters of ‘Childhood obesity: a plan for action’ we are delivering a wide range of measures to help achieve our bold ambition to halve childhood obesity by 2030. We have seen important successes including the average sugar content of drinks subject to the soft drinks industry levy decreasing by 28.8% between 2015 and 2018, and significant investment being made in schools to promote physical activity and healthy eating.

Unicef’s ‘State of the World's Children’ report, published in October 2019, recognised that “the UK is paving the way to ensure that all children grow up in a healthy food environment”. The Unicef report is available at the following link:

www.unicef.org/media/61356/file/SOWC-2019.pdf

3rd Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the prevalence of smoking among 15 year olds.

The latest data from the NHS Digital Survey on ‘Smoking, Drinking and Drug use among Young People in England’ shows that in 2018, 5% of 15-year olds were regular smokers, down from 7% in 2016.

29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to tackle the increasing incidence of mumps.

NHS England and NHS Improvement, the Department and Public Health England (PHE) are working with national and local stakeholders to raise awareness of the rise in mumps activity and promote uptake of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine, in particular to the age groups that are most affected - 15 to 25 year olds.

PHE is running a ‘Value of Vaccines’ campaign to help share messages and information on vaccination, which is available at the following link:

https://campaignresources.phe.gov.uk/resources/campaigns/94-value-of-vaccines/overview

There have been targeted communications for university students and festival goers in collaboration with Universities and Colleges Admissions Service which will continue to be amplified in the coming weeks. PHE provides information on the benefits and risks of the MMR vaccine to the public using National Health Service branded leaflets. The leaflets address common questions about the MMR vaccine. This information is designed for use by schools, healthcare centres, accident and emergency departments, hospital wards, walk-in centres and general practices.

In addition, NHS England is running an MMR catch-up programme for 10 and 11-year olds through general practices.

21st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to reduce the incidence of (a) prostate cancer among men and (b) breast cancer among women.

It is not known exactly what causes prostate cancer, or breast cancer, although a number of things can increase the risk of developing the condition. These include age, ethnic group, family history, obesity and diet.

There are no interventions that can reduce the prevalence of prostate cancer or breast cancer for the first three risk factors, although the Government does have strategies in place to reduce obesity and improve diets, such as Change4Life.

28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, when she plans to respond to the correspondence from the hon. Member for East Londonderry of 25 February 2022 regarding assistance for a refugee family in Lebanon.

The Minister of State for Asia and the Middle East sent a response to the Honourable Member on 24 March 2022.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
10th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, when she plans to reply to the letter dated 22 December 2021 from the hon. Member for East Londonderry on the Northern Ireland Protocol negotiations.

The former Minister for Europe, Chris Heaton-Harris MP responded to the correspondence in question on 28 January. I thank the Hon. Member for East Londonderry for his engagement on this important issue.

James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
1st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if she will make representations to the Cuban authorities on reports from the Open Doors organisation of increased persecution of Christians in that country.

We have taken note of reports from the Christian non-governmental organisation, Open Doors.

The UK is concerned by the arrests of religious leaders and reports of their continued maltreatment by the Government of Cuba. We have raised our concerns over ongoing detentions directly with the Cuban Government, both in London and Havana. We are clear that all Cubans should have the right to protest peacefully, and that detention must not be used as a tool to restrict freedom of expression, assembly, and religion or belief. The UK was one of the first countries to call for the Cuban people to be allowed to express their views freely and peacefully following the Cuban Government's response to demonstrations on 11 July.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, when she plans to respond to the correspondence of 23 December 2021 from the hon. Member for East Londonderry on the Northern Ireland protocol negotiations.

I responded to the correspondence in question on 28 January. I thank the Hon. Member for East Londonderry for his engagement on this important issue and apologise for the delay.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
20th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what emergency (a) aid and (b) support her Department is sending to Tonga following the eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Haʻapai volcano and subsequent tsunami.

The UK is deeply concerned by the appalling devastation caused by the volcanic eruption and tsunami in Tonga. While full details of the humanitarian impact are still unknown, it is estimated that up to 80,000 people will have been affected. Her Majesty's Government has been working with partners on options for support, helping to ensure a coordinated regional response.

On Friday 21 January, the UK sent supplies to support the humanitarian and disaster relief effort on Australia's HMAS Adelaide. 17 pallets are on board, including 90 family tents, 8 community tents and wheel barrows. All of these items were requested by the Tongan government.

In addition, HMS Spey has now set sail for Tonga, loaded with additional items including fresh water and medical supplies.

The UK is also funding the deployment of crisis experts through the United Nations. They will support the Tongan authorities to coordinate the international response.

The UK-funded International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies' Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) has also released £345,000 to support Tonga. The UK has committed a £6 million contribution to the DREF through an annual £1.5 million donation 2020-2023.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
30th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will hold discussions with his counterpart in the US Administration on the decision to amend its list of countries of particular concern to exclude Nigeria in the context of continuing reports of persecution of Christians in that country.

The removal of Nigeria from the list of Violators of Religious Freedom is a matter for the Government of the United States of America alone.

The Government is committed to defending freedom of religion or belief for all, and promoting respect between different religious and non-religious communities. This is one of the Government's longstanding human rights priorities. Through our co-founding membership of the International Religious Freedom or Belief Alliance, we work with other countries, including the United States of America, to advocate for the rights of those who face discrimination or persecution because of their religion or belief.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if she will make representations to the Cuban authorities on the detention of Christian Pastor Lorenzo Rosales Fajardo.

We are clear that all Cubans should have the right to protest peacefully and that detention must not be used as a tool to restrict freedom of expression, assembly and religion. The UK was one of the first countries on 12 July to call for the Cuban people to be allowed to express their views freely and peacefully. We have raised our concerns over ongoing detentions directly with the Cuban Government, both in London and Havana.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, when the Maltese authorities were informed of UK Government approval of the Northern Ireland covid-19 vaccine certificate for those travelling to Malta.

Healthcare - including the COVID-19 vaccine rollout and vaccine certification - is a devolved competency. As such, Her Majesty's Government did not approve the Northern Ireland COVID-19 vaccine certification for international travel. Once the Department of Health in Northern Ireland had finalised its vaccine certification, officials communicated this to Malta who had included vaccine status in their entry requirements. Entry to Malta is a sovereign issue so it would be for the Maltese government to decide whether the certification met their requirements.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, when approval was given for the Northern Ireland covid-19 vaccine certificate to make it acceptable for international travel from UK airports during the summer of 2021.

Healthcare - including the COVID-19 vaccine rollout and vaccine certification - is a devolved competency. As such, Her Majesty's Government did not approve the Northern Ireland COVID-19 vaccine certification for international travel. Once the Department of Health in Northern Ireland had finalised its vaccine certification, FCDO officials communicated this to host governments who had included vaccine status as part of their entry requirements. Entry to a particular country is a sovereign issue so it would be for the host government to decide whether the certification met their requirements.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will make representations to his Nigerian counterpart on the kidnappings of students from Christian Schools and health centres in Kaduna State during 2021.

The UK Government condemns recent abductions and killings of students, healthcare workers and civilians in Nigeria's northern states, including Kaduna State, and calls for the release of those still held captive. Both Christian and Muslim communities have been affected.

We regularly raise concerns over insecurity, including kidnaps, with the Nigerian Government. For example, I [Minister Duddridge] discussed the impact insecurity has on education with the Nigerian Foreign Minister and Minister of State for Education in July in the margins of the Global Education Summit.

James Duddridge
Lord Commissioner (HM Treasury) (Whip)
8th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will hold discussions with his US counterpart on helping to further improve relations in the Middle East between Israel and other Arab nations.

The UK warmly welcomed the normalisation agreements between Israel, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Morocco and Sudan. These are historic steps which sees the normalisation of relations between friends of the UK. The changing regional context and converging Arab and Israeli interests presents an opening to make progress on the Israel-Palestine issue. We need to build on this momentum through further dialogue and compromise to move towards a two state solution and a lasting solution to the conflict. We look forward to working with the US, alongside regional partners, and the Israeli and Palestinian leaderships, to pursue that goal.

James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he has taken to offer support to the Taiwan people in respect of the current political climate involving China.

HMG considers the Taiwan issue one to be settled peacefully by the people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait through constructive dialogue. However, we remain concerned by any action which raises tensions and risks destabilising the status quo.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of progress in delivering the Sustainable Development Goal on the supply of clean drinking water in countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

The Joint Monitoring Programme (hosted by the World Health Organization and United Nations' International Children's Emergency Fund) is the global monitoring mechanism that tracks progress against the water supply and sanitation targets of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The Joint Monitoring Programme's most recent update concludes that since 2000, the proportion of the population of sub-Saharan Africa using safely managed drinking water supplies has risen from 18% to 27%. By comparison, the global estimate is 71%, indicating that more needs to be done. Less progress has been made on sanitation. Access to safely managed sanitation services has only increased from 15% to 18% since 2000. For both water supply and sanitation, progress is slower in rural areas compared to urban areas. The Joint Monitoring Programme also reports differences in coverage between the better-off and poorest households and regions within countries.

Between 2015 and 2020 the UK supported 62.6 million people to gain access to basic water and sanitation services. Africa was the largest beneficiary of our water supply, sanitation and hygiene programmes, with 26.3 million beneficiaries reached and we targeted some of the poorest communities in Africa. Our support to the region will continue by helping governments deliver reliable and climate resilient water and sanitation services that can reach the poorest households.

James Duddridge
Lord Commissioner (HM Treasury) (Whip)
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what the UK's funding contribution is to the World Bank International Development Association for 2021-22.

Donor contributions to the current International Development Association (IDA) replenishment are expected to be paid in over the period from July 2020 to June 2023. The UK pledged £3,062 million to this replenishment and we have contributed £995 million towards this to date. Our final specific funding allocations for 2021-22 will be published in due course. However, the 2021/22 Spending Review confirmed that the UK would remain the largest donor to this replenishment.

James Duddridge
Lord Commissioner (HM Treasury) (Whip)
5th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking with (a) United Nations and (b) other international partners to help ensure that the activities of the military in Myanmar are subjected to (i) worldwide scrutiny and (ii) diplomatic pressure to tackle human rights abuses and the killing of demonstrators on the streets.

We urgently convened the UN Security Council following the coup and secured a unanimous statement expressing concern at the situation. We convened the UN Security Council again on 5 March. We welcome the strong statements from the UN Secretary General in response to the coup and subsequent violence. We are working with his office, and with partners, to explore all options to seek a peaceful resolution to the crisis.

As a champion of the rules based international order, we are working closely with partners to deliver a strong international response, including in our role as President of the G7. We secured G7 statements on 3 and 23 February, which condemned the coup and the violent response unleashed on peaceful protestors. Working with partners, including the US and Canada, we have sanctioned 9 military officers, including the Commander-in-Chief, for their role in the coup. We are working with partners to consider further action to apply pressure on the military.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will hold discussions with his counterpart in the Democratic Republic of Congo to determine the steps that country is taking to tackle the killings of Christians and others by Islamic extremist groups in January 2021.

The UK is concerned about violence against all communities, whatever their religion or belief, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The violence is symptomatic of a broader picture of instability in eastern DRC. We continue to urge the DRC Government and the UN to work together to protect civilians from ongoing violence and address the root causes of conflict. During my visit [Minister Duddridge] to DRC in November 2020, I discussed the importance of addressing these issues with President Tshisekedi.

We are committed to ensuring the UN peacekeeping mission (MONUSCO) has a mandate focused on the protection of civilians and that vulnerable communities remain central to the UN's work in DRC. We are providing approximately £52 million of financial support in 2020/21 and three military staff officers to support the mission. Our six-year, £70 million, peace and stability programme is also helping communities secure land access, construct critical infrastructure and access income-generation opportunities in DRC.

James Duddridge
Lord Commissioner (HM Treasury) (Whip)
15th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether the planning dispute between Belfast City Council and the Consulate-General of the People's Republic of China in Belfast has been resolved.

Belfast City Council and the Chinese Consulate currently have a positive working relationship, as highlighted by recent exchanges between the First and Deputy First Ministers and the Consul General. As a sign of this continuing positive relationship, the Consulate has now made planning and listed building applications for further development at its premises.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, how much funding the Government plans to allocate to the International Development Association in financial year 2021-22.

Following the recent Spending Review settlement we are currently assessing the budgetary implications on all programme lines including IDA for 2021/22 to ensure strategic coherence of our aid budget. Until this process is complete we cannot confirm this as yet.

James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 12 January 2021 to Question 130648, on Northern Ireland Affairs Select Committee: Diplomatic Service, given that select committees are unable to travel due to covid-19 restrictions, what assessment he has made of the availability of the Ambassador to the Irish Republic; and if he will he meet with the Committee to discuss that matter .

While COVID-19 restrictions are in place, Her Majesty's Ambassador to Ireland and the Embassy team remain at the Committee's disposal, including by means of virtual contact, to support any virtual Committee visits to Ireland or other virtual engagement with the Irish authorities, in line with the existing arrangements.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
16th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will review his decision to decline permission for the UK's Ambassador to the Irish Republic to speak privately with the Northern Ireland Affairs Select Committee during the covid-19 pandemic.

It is long standing practice in Her Majesty's Government that Select Committees should receive briefings from the relevant Minister and from the relevant Ambassador when travelling. As has been made clear to the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee, Her Majesty's Ambassador to Ireland and the Embassy team will be at the Committee's disposal for their visits to Ireland or other engagement with the Irish authorities.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
22nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 22 October 2020 to Question 105294 on China: Embassies, what sanctions are available if a diplomatic and consulate mission fails to abide by their obligations under the Vienna Conventions on Diplomatic and Consular Relations and UK law.

We expect diplomatic and consular missions in the UK to respect our laws and regulations in line with their obligations under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and UK law. We encourage parties to any disputes to resolve differences through dialogue, but the Vienna Conventions and UK law provide for a number of sanctions, including placing limits on the size of diplomatic missions and consular posts, declaring members of the mission or consular post personae non gratae or not acceptable and, ultimately, breaking off diplomatic or consular relations. Questions of law relating to diplomatic, consular and state immunity are for the courts to determine.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what progress has been made on attempting to resolve the dispute between the Chinese authorities and Belfast City Council on the unauthorised erection of perimeter fencing at the Chinese Consulate buildings in Belfast.

Subsequent to a judgment earlier this year by the High Court of Justice in Northern Ireland about the planning dispute, we have continued to facilitate contact between with the Consulate-General and Belfast City Council. The perimeter works are complete and both parties continue to co-operate productively about the remaining construction works. We expect diplomatic and consular missions in the UK to respect our laws and regulations in line with their obligations under the Vienna Conventions on Diplomatic and Consular Relations and UK law.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what estimate he has made of the contribution of the UK to the World Bank International Development Association for 2021.

As indicated in the Report from the Executive Directors published in February, the UK pledged £3.062 billion to the 19th replenishment of the International Development Association, covering the period between July 2020 and June 2023. The UK's contribution in 2021 is to be confirmed.

James Duddridge
Lord Commissioner (HM Treasury) (Whip)
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will make representations to his counterpart in Eritrea on the ongoing treatment of 27 Christians released on bail after being detained without trial for several years.

We welcome the recent release of at least 60 Christians, as well as people from other faith groups. The UK Government, along with partners in the international community, takes every opportunity to voice our concern about arbitrary arrests and detentions in Eritrea, and have called for the release of those arrested and detained on the basis of religion. Over the past year, our Ambassador in Asmara has raised arbitrary detentions of members of the Christian community, as well as members of non-registered religious groups - most recently with the Minister of Information on 7 August. We will continue to seek opportunities to raise these cases in our engagements.

James Duddridge
Lord Commissioner (HM Treasury) (Whip)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will make representations to the Chinese authorities on the reports of persecution and monitoring of Christian groups and churches in that country.

We remain deeply concerned about the persecution of Christians and other religious groups on the grounds of their religion or belief in China. The freedom to practise, change or share ones faith or belief without discrimination or violent opposition is a human right that all people should enjoy. We regularly raise our concerns about freedom of religion or belief in China, including at the most recent session of the UN Human Rights Council on 25 September. We will continue to raise this important issue.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will make representations to his Zimbabwean counterpart on the (a) arrest and (b) alleged abuse of opposition politicians Joanah Mamombe, Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova.

The UK is deeply concerned by the arrest of Joana Mamombe, Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova including the recent return of Ms Mamombe to prison. Our Ambassador in Harare tweeted on 28 September to express her concern at the unfair treatment of Ms Mamombe and called for the rights of all those detained to be upheld. When I wrote to Foreign Minister Moyo on 12 August, following a telephone call with him on 8 June, I raised specific human rights violations, including the treatment of Ms Mamombe, Ms Chimbiri, and Ms Marowa. I made it clear that the UK has yet to see meaningful progress on human rights. Until this changes, UK and international support for Zimbabwe would not be possible. Our Ambassador in Harare reinforced these messages when she met Foreign Minister Moyo in Harare on 14 August.

The British Embassy in Harare will continue to monitor developments on the case of Ms Mamombe, Ms Chimbiri, and Ms Marowa closely. We will continue call on the Government to uphold the rule of law. This includes respecting the Zimbabwean Constitution which clearly prohibits enforced disappearances, cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment.

James Duddridge
Lord Commissioner (HM Treasury) (Whip)
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of whether the Millennium Development Goal targets on access to clean water by the end of 2020 will be met in sub-Saharan Africa.

The UK Government works with the United Nations Statistics Division via the UNICEF and WHO Joint Monitoring Programme, an initiative which the UK supports, to assess progress against sanitation and water goals. The Millennium Development Goal target to reduce by half the number of people without access to improved water supply was not met in the sub-Saharan Africa region.

The Millennium Development Goal targets were superseded by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The sub-Saharan Africa Region is currently not on track to reach the SDG access to water target by the target year of 2030. The most recent evidence on access to safe water suggests that only 61% of people in sub-Saharan Africa had access to at least basic water supply services in 2017. The impact of COVID-19 makes attainment of the global goals harder but also more urgent as access to water is vital to enable people to wash their hands to stop the spread of the virus.

James Duddridge
Lord Commissioner (HM Treasury) (Whip)
2nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will ensure that Portugal is included on the air bridge destinations list for UK tourists.

A list of countries and territories from which passengers arriving in England will no longer have to self-isolate for 14 days was published on 3 July. This follows the Government's first review of public health measures at the border, which were introduced in June 2020. The Government has always been clear that any decisions on border measures will be proportionate and science-led.

We are continuing to engage with partners on all aspects of the global response to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make representations to the Chinese authorities on the need for planning permission for any perimeter fencing at the grounds of the Chinese Consulate buildings in Belfast.

The FCO is aware of the ongoing planning dispute between Belfast City Council and the Consulate-General of the People's Republic of China in Belfast and has been liaising with both parties. We will continue to support dialogue between both parties and hope they can reach a satisfactory resolution.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the benefits to (a) the UK and (b) Israel of the Britain Israel Research and Academic Exchange Partnership in each of the last eight years.

The Britain Israel Research and Academic Exchange (BIRAX) is a flagship project of the British Embassy in Tel Aviv and the British Council Israel. Since the launch of BIRAX in 2011, around £13 million has been invested in 26 research projects, focusing on regenerative medicine including cardiovascular and liver disease, Alzheimer's, Diabetes and Parkinson's. BIRAX-supported research has been published in 77 publications and presented in about 96 conferences around the world. With projects at the forefront of scientific innovation, BIRAX has now progressed to tackle the global challenge of ageing, a priority for both the UK and Israel.

James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what progress he has made through the United Nations Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict in tackling the use of child soldiers in conflict zones.

The UK is an active permanent member of the United Nations Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict (CAAC), which leads the international response to violations committed against children in conflict. These violations include: the recruitment and use of children, sexual violence against children, killing and maiming of children, abduction, attacks on schools and hospitals and the denial of humanitarian access to children in conflict. The Working Group focuses on responding to the UN Secretary-General's annual report on CAAC which lists governments and armed groups for committing grave violations against children. As a member of the group, the UK applies diplomatic pressure to listed parties to enter into concrete UN action plans to verify and release any children associated with armed groups and forces, to prevent re-recruitment and ensure the provision of appropriate reintegration and rehabilitation assistance. In recent years, we have negotiated strong calls to action for parties to conflict in Syria, Myanmar, South Sudan, Mali, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Colombia.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make representations to the Kenyan authorities on a reported attack on a school in Kamuthe on 13 January 2020 in which terrorists murdered three Christian teachers.

The UK is appalled by the reported attack on the school in Kamuthe, Kenya and the killings of three Christian teachers. The UK is firmly committed to promoting and protecting the right to freedom of religion or belief around the world. We are a strong voice internationally in defence of this fundamental right. Our High Commission in Nairobi regularly engages with the Kenyan authorities on the importance of protecting civilians, including all ethnic and religious communities, and human rights for all Kenyans.

While we have not made representations to the Government of Kenya about this specific incident, the UK and Kenya are close partners in the fight against terrorism and recognise Kenya's sacrifices leading efforts to defeat Al Shabaab. Further strengthening our counterterrorism cooperation is a priority under the UK-Kenya Strategic Partnership agreed on by the Prime Minister and President Kenyatta in their meeting on 21 January.

James Duddridge
Lord Commissioner (HM Treasury) (Whip)
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps he has taken to support North Macedonia to undertake a strategic defence review in preparation for NATO membership.

The United Kingdom provided two Defence Advisers to support the drafting and implementation of North Macedonia's Strategic Defence Review. The British Government remains committed to supporting North Macedonia's accession to NATO and looks forward to welcoming North Macedonia as the 30th member of the alliance.

22nd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the status of the peace process in Yemen.

We have been at the forefront of international efforts to reach a political settlement to the conflict in Yemen. The UK has used its role as penholder at the UN Security Council to help push the Yemen peace process forward. In September 2019, the UK co-hosted a political event at the UN General Assembly where UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths briefed his plan to begin political consultations. We welcome the Saudi-brokered Riyadh Agreement and the de-escalation we have seen in the border area in recent months. We are concerned about recent heavy clashes in the Nehm region and fully support the UN Special Envoy’s statement of 22 January calling on the parties to adhere to their commitments and avoid further escalation.​

21st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, with reference to the recent coronavirus outbreak in the Far East, what steps he is taking to help protect UK citizens travelling to or from that region from infection.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office are advising against all travel to the Hubei Province region and we are working to make available an option for British nationals to leave the area. We continue to monitor developments closely and are in touch with the Chinese authorities.

We encourage all British nationals to monitor our China travel advice page.

Heather Wheeler
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
11th Jul 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of reviewing buy to let tax relief in the context of the difference in mortgage interest cost for a limited company and a private landlord.

Property income for unincorporated landlords is taxed through the Income Tax system and is taxed through the Corporate Tax system for incorporated landlords. The Income Tax and Corporate Tax systems are not directly comparable, as they offer different rates of tax and reliefs, reflecting the different nature of the taxpayers.

From April 2017 to April 2020, the Government phased in a restriction of deductions for finance costs for landlords of residential properties to the equivalent of the basic rate of Income Tax. The restriction makes the tax system fairer by ensuring unincorporated landlords with higher incomes no longer receive the most generous tax treatment. As with all aspects of the tax system, the Government keeps these reliefs under review and will set out any reforms at a future fiscal event.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
17th Jun 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the approximate annual cost in the initial year of raising the personal tax allowance to £15,000 per annum.

The impact to the Exchequer from changes to the Income Tax Personal Allowance may be approximated using the “Direct effects of illustrative tax changes” table, which is published here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/direct-effects-of-illustrative-tax-changes.

The table shows the cost of £100, 1 per cent, and 10 per cent increases. These figures can be used to estimate the approximate impact from increasing the Personal Allowance to £15,000.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Jun 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to his oral statement of 26 May 2022 on Economy Update, what estimate he has made of the amount and proportion of cost of living financial assistance that will be allocated to residents of Northern Ireland.

The government is providing over £37bn this year to support people with the cost of living.

The government is expanding the Energy Bill Support Scheme by doubling grants from £200 per household to £400. Equivalent support will be delivered to people in Northern Ireland.

We are supporting the most vulnerable households, by providing UK-wide support through one-off cost of living payments of £650 for households on means-tested benefits, £300 for pensioner households and £150 for individuals in of receipt non-means tested disability benefits. Some households will be eligible for more than one of these payments.

The government is also providing £500m of further support through the Household Support Fund. The Barnett formula provides around £79m of this to the devolved administrations of which around £14m will go to Northern Ireland.

Simon Clarke
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
1st Jun 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he plans to take further steps to protect people affected by authorised push payment fraud.

The Government is committed to tackling fraud within payment networks, including to protect people against Authorised Push Payment (APP) fraud. This is a priority.

The recent Queen’s Speech therefore confirmed that the government will legislate, when Parliamentary time allows, to remove barriers in law so that the Payment Systems Regulator is able to require banks to reimburse APP fraud losses.

25th May 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of the number of people in who were waiting more than twenty working days for VAT refunds on eligible building works in April (a) 2022 and (b) 2021.

VAT relief is available on a wide range of eligible building works. In such cases a zero or reduced rate of VAT applies, providing relief without the need to claim a VAT refund. VAT refunds for DIY builders and converters allow self-builders to reclaim VAT on eligible building materials and some related services when constructing or converting for domestic, non-profit, or charitable use. HMRC aims to respond to claims relating to the DIY Housebuilders Scheme within six weeks of receipt. Therefore, it is not expected that VAT refunds will routinely be completed within twenty working days following receipt of a claim.
Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
17th Mar 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many individuals who (a) promoted and (b) operated schemes now subject to the loan charge have been prosecuted for that activity.

I refer the Hon Member to the answer that was given on 3 November 2021 to UIN 62867 and the answer that was given on 21 February 2022 to UIN HL6054.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
16th Mar 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of the change in the number of free to use ATMs between 1 January 2021 and 1 January 2022.

LINK (the scheme that runs the UK's largest ATM network) publishes the total number of free-to-use ATMs across the UK. As of January 2022, LINK reported that there were around 41,000 free-to-use ATMs in the UK. LINK’s Monthly ATM Footprint Report also publishes information monthly on the break down by constituency.

More broadly, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) publishes data on access to cash coverage across the UK. As of the third quarter of 2021, the FCA reported that nearly 96% of the UK population are within 2km of a free-to-use cash access point.

The government recognises that the ability to access to cash remains important to millions of people across the UK and has committed to legislating to protect access to cash.

Last year, the Government held an Access to Cash Consultation on proposals for new laws to make sure people only need to travel a reasonable distance to pay in or take out cash. The Government’s proposals intend to support the continued use of cash in people’s daily lives and help to enable local businesses to continue accepting cash by ensuring they can access deposit facilities. The Government will set out next steps in due course.

3rd Mar 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will postpone restrictions on the use of red diesel from April 2022 in the context of recent and forthcoming increases in the cost of living.

At Budget 2020 the Chancellor announced that the Government will remove the entitlement to use red diesel from most sectors from April 2022. This will more fairly reflect the negative environmental impact of the emissions they produce and help to ensure that the tax system incentivises the development and adoption of greener alternatives.

The Government recognised that this would be a significant change for some businesses and ran a consultation to gather information from affected users on the expected impact of these tax changes and make sure it had not overlooked any exceptional reasons why affected sectors should be allowed to continue to use red diesel beyond April 2022.

Following the consultation, the Chancellor announced at Spring Budget 2021 that the Government will grant further entitlements to use red diesel after April 2022 for a limited number of users. However, having assessed the cases made by other sectors to retain their red diesel entitlement, the Government did not believe that they were compelling enough to outweigh the need to ensure fairness between the different users of diesel fuels, the Government’s long-term environmental objectives and the need for the tax system to incentivise the development of greener alternatives to polluting fuels.

To support the development of alternatives that affected businesses can switch to, the Government is at least doubling the funding provided for energy innovation through the new £1 billion Net Zero Innovation Portfolio. From that portfolio, the Government announced the £40 million Red Diesel Replacement Competition, which will provide grant funding for projects that develop and demonstrate lower carbon, lower cost alternatives to red diesel for the construction, and mining and quarrying sectors.

As announced at Spring Budget 2021, from 1 April 2021 until 31 March 2023, companies can also claim 130% first-year capital allowances on qualifying plant and machinery investments.

3rd Mar 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will remove VAT on purchases of defibrillators by individuals irrespective of where they are purchased in the UK.

The Government already maintains VAT reliefs to aid the purchase of Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs), including VAT relief on purchases made by local authorities and those made through voluntary contributions, where the AED is donated to eligible charities or the NHS. Otherwise, they attract the standard rate of VAT.

Any new VAT relief would come at a cost to the Exchequer and the Government has received over £50 billion worth of requests for relief from VAT since the EU referendum.

The Government keeps all taxes under review.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
8th Dec 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will hold discussions with the Financial Conduct Authority on increasing the frequency of reviews of the £85,000 limit in compensation for savers and investors in the event of the demise of financial institutions.

Under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (as amended), the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) have statutory responsibility for making rules on how the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) should provide compensation when authorised financial services firms are unable to meet claims against them. This responsibility includes setting the limits for compensation payments made by the FSCS. The FCA carries out reviews of FSCS compensation limits independently of government.

The FCA published a discussion paper on 6 December 2021, which invites views on key elements of the FCA’s compensation framework and remains open for responses until 4 March 2022. The paper includes discussion of the FSCS compensation limits which are set by the FCA. The FCA discussion paper can be found at:

https://www.fca.org.uk/publication/discussion/dp21-5.pdf

23rd Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how much interest was paid in servicing the National Debt in (a) October 2020 and (b) October 2021.

The Office for National Statistics, jointly with HM Treasury, publishes monthly data on the public sector finances including central government debt interest spending. Central government debt interest payments in October 2021 were £5.6 billion, and £1.8 billion in October 2020.

2nd Nov 2021
To as the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether the UK is entitled to a share of the fine issued by the European Commission to Google in 2017 for favouring its own price-comparison shopping service and giving it an unfair advantage against smaller European rivals.

Under Article 141 of the Withdrawal Agreement the UK is entitled to its share of fines revenue related to its period of membership of the European Union. The UK has started to receive its share of fines revenue under the Withdrawal Agreement which become definitive and are entered into the EU Budget. This takes place once all potential avenues of appeal have been exhausted.

The Government understands that this specific case remains an Ongoing Administrative Procedure that was commenced by the European Commission before the UK left the EU but which has not yet become definitive and been recorded as budget revenue.

Simon Clarke
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
1st Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 19 July 2021 to Question 33130, if he will hold discussions with the British Business Bank to help ensure that the standard terms and eligibility criteria support UK nations and regions to access investment support.

The government is committed to ensuring that small and medium sized enterprises can access the finance they need, across the UK, including through the programmes of the British Business Bank (BBB). One of the BBB’s objectives is to identify and help to reduce imbalances in access to finance for smaller businesses across the UK, including through its specific regional programmes. HM Treasury regularly engages with the British Business Bank on its activities in support of its objectives.

At Autumn Budget and Spending Review 2021, the Chancellor announced over £1.6 billion for the British Business Bank’s regional funds to expand these funds into the North East and South West of England, to set up new funds in Scotland and Wales and to build on its existing programmes in Northern Ireland. In addition, the Chancellor announced a further £150m to the BBB’s Regional Angels Programme.

20th Oct 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he plans to take to monitor potential increased fraudulent use of contactless cards following the payment limit increase to £100.

Since 15 October 2021, consumers and businesses have been able to take advantage of new higher contactless payments limits.

The legal contactless payment limits were raised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) through changes to the Strong Customer Authentication rules in March 2021. The FCA has the power to amend these limits subject to public consultation and Treasury approval.

In line with this process, the FCA publicly consulted on increasing contactless limits. In making this decision the FCA fully considered the risks to customers, including the potential impacts on fraud, alongside the benefits. When the limits were last raised in Spring 2020 from £30 to £45 there was no significant recorded increase in the fraudulent use of contactless cards.  Similarly, no material increase in fraudulent transactions has been observed in other countries where the contactless limit increased to the equivalent of £100 or above. The FCA continues to monitor fraud rates across all payment types and will consider action as appropriate if fraud rates rise.

19th Oct 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when he plans to announce the outcome of the effect of Air Passenger Duty on regional air routes in the aviation tax reform proposals.

The Government recently consulted on aviation tax reform. As part of the consultation, the Government outlined its initial view that the effective rate of Air Passenger Duty (APD) on domestic flights should be reduced in order to support Union and regional connectivity and that the number of international distance bands should be increased in order to align APD more closely with our environmental objectives.

The consultation sought evidence on the potential impacts of these proposals, including on regional air routes, and closed on 15 June. The Government will update on next steps in due course.

15th Oct 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will extend the 12.5 per cent VAT rate for the hospitality sector beyond 31 March 2022.

The temporary reduced rate of VAT was introduced on 15 July 2020 to support the cash flow and viability of around 150,000 businesses and protect over 2.4 million jobs in the hospitality and tourism sectors. As announced at Budget 2021, the Government has extended the temporary reduced rate of VAT of 5% for the tourism and hospitality sector. This relief ended on 30 September. On 1 October 2021, a new reduced rate of 12.5% was introduced to help ease affected businesses back to the standard rate. This new rate will end on 31 March 2022.

This relief will cost over £7 billion and, while all taxes are kept under review, there are no plans to extend the 12.5% reduced rate of VAT. The Government has been clear that this relief is a temporary measure designed to support the cash flow and viability of sectors that have been severely affected by COVID-19. It is appropriate that as restrictions are lifted and demand for goods and services in these sectors increases, the temporary tax reliefs are first reduced and then removed in order to rebuild and strengthen the public finances.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
23rd Sep 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when he plans to respond to the letter from the hon. Member for East Londonderry dated 4 August 2021 regarding preferred locations for the establishing of a Freeport facility in Northern Ireland.

The Treasury has no record of receiving the letter of 4 August from the Hon Member regarding the creation of Freeports across the UK and the need for Northern Ireland to be included in this proposal, listing preferred locations. An email was received on 17 September from the Hon member’s parliamentary office with a copy of the letter attached. I responded on 27 September.

Simon Clarke
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
6th Sep 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will hold urgent discussions with credit card companies on the possible increased potential for theft if companies proceed with plans to increase the contactless limit from £45 to £100 in October 2021.

At the 2021 Spring Budget the Chancellor announced changes to increase the legal single contactless payment limit from £45 to £100, and the cumulative transaction limit from £130 to £300. The legal contactless payment limits are set by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) through the Strong Customer Authentication rules, and the FCA has the power to amend these limits subject to public consultation and Treasury approval.

In line with this process, and prior to the Budget announcement, the FCA publicly consulted on increasing contactless limits. In making this decision, the FCA considered the risks to customers, including the impacts on fraud, alongside the benefits. When the limits were last raised in Spring 2020 from £30 to £45, there was no significant recorded increase in fraud levels.

The Government looks forward to the implementation of the new higher limits by industry in October, bringing benefits to consumers and businesses across the UK by making it easier than ever to pay safely and securely.

6th Sep 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many calls were made to the helpline established to report instances of potential fraud regarding the furlough scheme in the last twelve months; and how many of those calls related to cases in (a) England, (b) Scotland, (c) Wales and (d) Northern Ireland.

There are two hotlines that the public can use to contact HMRC to report potential fraud. The first (0800 788 887) is a dedicated HMRC line and the second, the COVID Fraud Hotline (0800 587 5030) is a Government line, in conjunction with Crimestoppers, which was launched in October 2020.

HMRC are unable to provide the breakdown requested within the timeframe given to respond. However, HMRC are able to provide the total number of calls received about the furlough scheme over the last 12 months from 01/09/2020 to 31/08/2021:

Hotline

Calls received

Crimestoppers

73

HMRC line

19681

TOTAL

19754

15th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when he plans to inform port operators in Northern Ireland which locations are to be considered for free port status.

Freeports will be national hubs for international trade, innovation and commerce, regenerating communities across the UK by attracting new businesses, spreading jobs, investment and opportunity to towns and cities throughout the country.

We want to ensure that the whole of the UK can benefit. We continue to work with the Northern Ireland Executive to establish at least one Freeport in Northern Ireland as soon as possible.

Steve Barclay
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
14th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent estimate the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation has made of the total amount of frozen assets held by UK institutions belonging to officials in the Myanmar military.

The Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) undertakes an annual review of frozen assets in the UK, requiring all persons or institutions that hold or control frozen assets in the UK to report to OFSI. Details of assets reported to OFSI in 2020 are not yet available and will be published in OFSI’s 2020-2021 Annual Review.

Details of assets reported to OFSI in 2019 were published in OFSI’s 2019-2020 Annual Review. As of September 2019, £12.5 billion of frozen funds across all regimes were reported to be held by UK institutions. This figure is provided on an aggregate basis so as not to disclose the value of funds held by particular individuals.

14th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when he plans to announce his decision on the use of red diesel by private pleasure craft users in Northern Ireland, particularly those who travel to and from Great Britain.

The government announced details regarding the use of red diesel in Northern Ireland at Budget 2021 and Excise Notice 554 was updated on 21 May 2021. This includes guidance on private pleasure craft (PPC) that travel to and from Northern Ireland and Great Britain. Specifically, PPC can refuel with red diesel in Great Britain after 1 October 2021, then travel to Northern Ireland with the red diesel already in the fuel tank. PPC users are advised to keep receipts or other documents (such as logbooks) to show HMRC officers if required.

The Excise Notice can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/excise-notice-554-fuel-used-in-private-pleasure-craft-and-for-private-pleasure-flying/excise-notice-554-fuel-used-in-private-pleasure-craft-and-for-private-pleasure-flying

14th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how much investment support had been allocated via the Future Fund to businesses in (a) London and the South East, (b) Scotland, (c) Wales and (d) Northern Ireland by 30 June 2021.

The British Business Bank have published final Future Fund data, including the breakdown of funding by region and is available on their website here: https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/final-future-fund-final-data-shows-scheme-completed-1-14bn-of-convertible-loan-agreements/

The Future Fund used a set of standard terms with published eligibility criteria, independent of ministers. This was a clear, efficient way to make funding available as widely and as possible, irrespective of location. This means that the proportions allocated to different regions and nations of the UK have followed wider-VC funding trends that exist in the market.

As of the 30th June the final amount of investment support allocated to the following areas are:

a) London and the South east: £798.7m

b) Scotland: £8.3m

c) Wales: £18.7m

d) Northern Ireland: £11.6m

12th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of public sector net debt at the end of the 2021-22 financial year.

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. In their March 2021 forecast, the OBR projected that Public Sector Net Debt (PSND) for 2021-22 will be £2.5 trillion or 107.4% of GDP. In addition, underlying debt (PSND excluding the Bank of England) is forecast to be £2.2 trillion or 93.8% of GDP in 2021-22.

This reflects that the policy support announced by the government in response to the pandemic has led to a significant but necessary increase in borrowing and debt. At the Budget in March, the government set out steps to strengthen the public finances, with the OBR forecast showing the public finances on a more sustainable footing with debt stable over the medium-term.

Steve Barclay
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
12th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what the total amount was that the Republic of Ireland received under the Loans to Ireland Act 2010; and how much in interest was paid on that loan.

Ireland received a loan of a total of £3,226,960,000 under the Loans to Ireland Act 2010, which has been repaid in full as of 31 March 2021. The total interest paid was £628,677,551.77.

6th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the potential benefits to the UK of introducing an international minimum corporation tax rate of 15 per cent.

Reaching a two-pillar solution on global tax reform which reallocates taxing rights and introduces a global minimum tax has been a long-standing priority for the UK.

The Government is delighted that the G7 agreement secured on this in June has formed the basis for an historic agreement among over 130 members of the OECD Inclusive Framework. The Government looks forward to continuing discussions with its global partners in the coming months with a view to finalising the details by October.

Securing and implementing a final agreement on this will help stabilise the international tax framework and ensure multinational businesses pay their fair share, with the right companies paying the right amount of tax in the right place.

If final agreement is reached and both pillars are implemented in the UK, they would be subject to standard tax policymaking process, with their impacts formally assessed through the OBR forecast process.

6th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 30 June 2021 to Question 22225 on Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: Fraud, how many (a) employers and (b) employees have received payments under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme; and how many investigations into fraudulent abuse are underway but have not yet reached the stage of being considered for potential prosecution.

A total of 1.3 million employers have claimed under the furlough scheme (Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, CJRS) and 11.6 million employments have been put on furlough for at least part of the duration of the scheme. These figures are based on CJRS claims received by HMRC up to 14 June 2021.

Employees may be on furlough from more than one employment, in which case they would appear in these statistics for each job from which they are on furlough.

HMRC have opened 6,150 inquiries into suspected overpayments due to error or fraud as of 30 June. This figure refers to any cases open where HMRC believe there has been fraud or an error which requires HMRC intervention.

29th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of trends in the levels of the use of cash by people since April 2020.

The Government continues to engage with the regulators and industry to monitor and assess trends and risks around cash, including those resulting from COVID-19. The Government created the Joint Authorities Cash Strategy Group in 2019, which has provided a forum for the public bodies to formally co-ordinate regarding access to cash. This is chaired by HM Treasury and attended by the Bank of England, Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) and Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The Group published an update on the actions of the Group’s members in July 2020. This included work led by the PSR and FCA to develop a comprehensive picture of cash access infrastructure across the UK.

UK Finance publishes annual analysis on payment trends in the UK. The UK Payment Market Report 2021 was published on 16 June 2021 and shows that cash remained the second most frequently used method of payment in the UK, as of 2020, representing almost a fifth of payments.

The Government recognises that cash remains important to the daily lives of millions of people and businesses across the UK and has committed to protecting access to cash for those who need it and ensuring that the UK's cash infrastructure is sustainable for the long term.

To these ends, the Government made legislative changes via the Financial Services Act 2021 to support the widespread offering of cashback without a purchase, and on 1 July published a consultation on broader legislative proposals to protect access to cash. These proposals seek to ensure that people only need to travel reasonable distances to pay in or take out cash, and that the right regulatory oversight for cash access is in place for the future. The consultation is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/access-to-cash-consultation.

28th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the potential effect of the rate of air passenger duty on regional airports.

The Government recently consulted on aviation tax reform. As part of the consultation, the Government outlined its initial view that the effective rate of Air Passenger Duty (APD) on domestic flights should be reduced in order to support Union and regional connectivity and that the number of international distance bands should be increased in order to align APD more closely with our environmental objectives.

The consultation sought evidence on the potential impacts of these proposals, including on regional air routes, and closed on 15 June. The Government is currently reviewing responses and will update in due course.

25th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many (a) prosecutions and (b) convictions there have been for fraudulent use of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

To date there have been no prosecutions or convictions for fraudulent use of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). HMRC have made arrests in relation to the CJRS, with the first coming just two months after the scheme was launched. These cases are complex and will take time to investigate thoroughly in order to present to the relevant prosecuting authorities across the United Kingdom for consideration of charge and prosecution.

21st Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what progress the Government has made on establishing freeports in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales since 1 January 2021.

Freeports will be national hubs for international trade, innovation and commerce, regenerating communities across the UK by attracting new businesses, spreading jobs, investment and opportunity to towns and cities up and down the country.

We want to ensure that the whole of the UK can benefit. We remain committed to establishing at least one Freeport in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as soon as possible.

Steve Barclay
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
18th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to his announcement on 18 June on the UK Infrastructure Bank, what plans he has to ensure that projects across all of the UK, including Northern Ireland will benefit from the bank.

The UK Infrastructure Bank is now operating in interim form and it is able to support projects across the entire UK, including Northern Ireland.

Currently the UKIB offers private sector financing. Once fully operational, the UKIB will invest in private and public sector projects that reflect the Bank’s two core objectives to tackle climate change and support regional and local economic growth.

As it builds its presence, the UKIB will actively pursue relationships with each of the devolved administrations as well as project sponsors, institutions and local leaders across the whole of the UK.

14th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the proposed minimum global corporation tax rate on (a) the UK economy and (b) other European economies that the UK has trading links with.

The Government is delighted that the G7 has come together to back the proposals developed by the OECD to reform the international tax framework.

Reaching final agreement, with the G20 and OECD Inclusive Framework, on a two-pillar solution which reallocates taxing rights and introduces a global minimum tax would be a major multilateral achievement and introduce greater stability into the international tax landscape.

The details of a final agreement are still subject to international negotiation, and it would not be appropriate to provide a detailed impact assessment.

If a political agreement is reached and both pillars are implemented in the UK, they would be subject to standard tax policymaking process, with their impacts formally assessed through the OBR forecast process.

18th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to ensure that the establishment of freeports will include all (a) regions and (b) nations of the UK.

At Budget, the Chancellor announced 8 Freeports from 8 regions of England, as selected by the Secretary of State for the Ministry for Housing, Communities & Local Government – this followed the fair, open and transparent assessment process outlined in the Bidding Prospectus.

We want to ensure that the whole of the UK can benefit, not just England. We will continue to work with the Devolved Administration to establish at least one Freeport in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as soon as possible.

Steve Barclay
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether the Republic of Ireland is due to conclude the repayment of its loan under the Loans to Ireland Act 2010 by March 2021; and how much in interest will have been paid from the outset to full repayment.

Ireland is due to repay the final tranche of its bilateral loan from the UK in March 2021. The Government continues to expect the loan to be repaid in full and on time. The next report under section 2 of the Loans to Ireland Act 2010, which the Government will publish in April 2021, will disclose all interest payments from the outset to full repayment.

25th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many people requested their tax repayments to be considered under HMRC's Time to Pay system in (a) November 2019 and (b) November 2020.

HMRC’s “Self Service Time to Pay” online payment plan (SSTTP) enables Self-Assessment taxpayers to set up an instalment plan to pay their Self-Assessment liabilities, without the need to contact HMRC directly.

This service was previously available to those Self-Assessment taxpayers with liabilities of up to £10,000. On 24 September 2020 the Chancellor announced that the £10,000 threshold was being increased to £30,000 to increase support for businesses and individuals. Taxpayers using this service can have up to 12 monthly instalments to pay their Self-Assessment tax liabilities.

In the period 1 November to 30 November 2019, 109 SSTTP arrangements were set up, to pay Self-Assessment liabilities totalling £295,092. In the period 1 November to 30 November 2020, 5,248 SSTTP arrangements were set up, to pay Self-Assessment liabilities totalling £12,291,633.

22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 20 October 2020 to Question 104701 on Help to Save Scheme, what plans he has to ensure that reminders are sent to people who have opened a Help to Save account but have not made a deposit yet of the advantages of using that account.

In addition to HM Revenue and Customs’ regular contact with customers with no deposits in their Help to Save accounts, HMRC are about to start a programme of sending e-mails to customers, with no money in their account after 3 months, to explain the advantages of using their accounts and the impact on their potential bonus payment.

15th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 30 September 2020 to Question 906670 on Duty Free Allowances: Northern Ireland, what guidance was issued, on what date that guidance was issued, and to whom that guidance was issued.
16th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, What estimate he has made of the number of people subject to the Loan Charge who have been declared bankrupt.

No estimate of the number of individual bankruptcies has been made, although the original impact assessment acknowledges that there are likely to be some. The impact assessment can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/disguised-remuneration-further-update/disguised-remuneration-further-update.

HMRC cannot provide an estimate for the number of people subject to the Loan Charge who have been declared bankrupt, as they could have been declared bankrupt for many reasons and not necessarily as a direct result of a Loan Charge liability. HMRC are not always the only creditor and some people may be declared bankrupt as a result of a non-HMRC debt, and some individuals may choose to enter insolvency themselves based on their overall financial position.

HMRC only ever consider insolvency as a last resort, and encourage people to contact them to agree the best way to settle their tax debts. Anyone who is worried about being able to pay what they owe is encouraged to get in touch with HMRC as soon as possible on 03000 599110.

23rd Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will extend the 31 January 2021 deadline for submitting tax returns during the covid-19 outbreak.

There are no plans to move the Self-Assessment (SA) filing date from 31 January 2021. However, the Government recognises that some taxpayers may have difficulty submitting their SA return due to the impact of COVID-19 on their personal circumstances.

HMRC do not charge penalties for failure to submit a return on time where taxpayers have a reasonable excuse. HMRC’s current guidance explains that they will accept the impact of COVID-19 as a reasonable excuse for submitting a return late, provided that taxpayers explain how they were affected and submit the return as soon as they can. More information is available in the HMRC online guidance covering the reasonable excuse provisions.

The Government urges taxpayers to submit returns on time where possible. Where taxpayers or their agents are struggling to get the information they need to submit a return by 31 January, they can complete it using provisional figures and give HMRC the actual figures as soon as they can.

Taxpayers who are unable to pay all of their SA tax due on 31 January can access HMRC’s enhanced Time to Pay (TTP) arrangements. HMRC have recently enhanced their self-serve, online TTP service.

This now allows liabilities of up to £30,000 – increased from £10,000 - to be paid in up to 12 instalments without having to contact HMRC beforehand.

22nd Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of the additional costs to the public purse incurred as a result of measures introduced in Northern Ireland due to the covid -19 outbreak between March and October 2020.

To support the Northern Ireland Executive to respond to coronavirus across its devolved responsibilities, the UK Government announced an unprecedented upfront funding guarantee. This means a total increase this year of at least £2.4 billion for the Northern Ireland Executive, on top of their Spring Budget 20 funding. This is in addition to the UK-wide measures that have directly supported the people and businesses in Northern Ireland.

Steve Barclay
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
16th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many Help to Save accounts (a) have been opened and (b) have no deposits; and what steps he is taking to encourage account holders to actively utilise those accounts.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has published statistics on Help to Save accounts up to July 2020. These statistics show the total number of accounts opened now stands at 222,000 and there are 60,500 accounts that are yet to receive a deposit. The latest publication is available at: www.gov.uk/government/statistics/help-to-save-statistics.

HMRC has recently issued regional press releases to highlight the advantage of the Help to Save scheme and bonuses available.

All Help to Save customers receive a welcome pack that gives them information on how to maximise the bonus available. They also receive annual statements that update them on their account status. HMRC regularly contacts customers with no deposits to remind them that their account is open and how this affects their future bonus payments.

15th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when he plans to respond to the outcome of the consultation on the pre-paid funeral plan sector.

As part of the Budget, the Chancellor published the government’s response to its consultation on the pre-paid funeral plan sector. This can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/regulation-of-pre-paid-funeral-plans-consultation-on-a-policy-proposal

14th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what plans he has for the further roll out the comprehensive communications plan from October 2020 to the end of the 2020-21 tax year.

It is not possible to answer this question in detail, without further information about the specific plan referred to.

The Honourable Member may wish to note that for the forthcoming Self-Assessment deadline HMRC are developing an integrated external campaign which includes direct communications, social media, press and stakeholder management. HMRC would like taxpayers to complete and file their tax return early, so they can plan and budget and ultimately pay the tax they owe. HMRC’s communications will include messages to explain the support available to taxpayers who have been affected financially by COVID-19 and who cannot pay in full by the deadline.

13th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what the status is of the Infrastructure Finance Review.

The Government is committed to ensuring that businesses and infrastructure projects have access to the finance they need.

In March 2019, the Government launched the Infrastructure Finance Review, to examine how it can best support infrastructure investment in the future. The review will be concluded in the Autumn.

12th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the transfer of businesses to the Customs Declaration Service model.

The Government is committed to delivering an operating customs model by December 2020 as set out in the Withdrawal Agreement, with the introduction of customs controls over a period from 1 January 2021.

The Government keeps its delivery plans for the Customs Declaration Service under continuous review, alongside input from software developers, Community Systems Providers and Express Operators, in order to ensure that any impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic are considered.

7th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 6 October 2020 to Question 98157, what the change in the number of prosecutions has been for fuel fraud in Northern Ireland in each of the last five years.

Prosecution is an important tool in tackling fuel fraud and is used where it is most effective. However, HMRC cannot prosecute every oils crime, and neither is it in the public interest to do so. HMRC reports cases to the Public Prosecution Service where there is sufficient evidence and it is considered proportionate across the range of fuel crime they detect.

Financial Year

Number of NI Prosecutions

15/16

32

16/17

8

17/18

0

18/19

6

19/20

6

7th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many employers have been convicted of offences related to under-payment of the National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage in the last two years.

HMRC enforce the National Minimum?Wage (NMW)?and?National Living Wage (NLW) in line with the law and policy set out by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

Breaches of NMW legislation are normally a civil (non-criminal) matter which attract penalties of up to 200% of the identified wage arrears and public naming.

Prosecutions can be lengthy and cause delays in recovering arrears for workers and do not necessarily guarantee payment. HMRC therefore balance recovering NMW arrears for workers as quickly as possible with the robust enforcement of NMW when deciding whether to pursue prosecution. Prosecution is reserved for the most serious NMW offences involving obstruction, falsifying of documents or wilful failure to pay workers the minimum wage, and such cases are referred to the CPS who decide whether to prosecute.

In the last two years (2018/19 – 2019/20), HMRC have completed nearly 6,400 NMW investigations, identifying over £45 million in arrears for nearly 485,000 workers, issuing over £35.5 million in penalties, and resulting in one conviction.

6th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of the level of public sector net debt as a share of GDP, on 1 September 2020.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) publishes regular data on the public sector finances including for end-month Public Sector Net Debt. Public sector net debt was 101.9% of gross domestic product (GDP) at 31st August 2020. The next ONS Public sector finances release is expected on the 21st of October 2020.

Our fiscal response has been the right thing to do to support jobs, livelihoods and the economy, and will ensure stronger public finances over the longer term. Although this will lead to a rise in borrowing and debt in the near-term, with borrowing costs now close to record lows, this is affordable and sustainable. Over time and as the economy recovers, the government will take the necessary steps to ensure the long-term health of the public finances.

Steve Barclay
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
1st Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to reduce the amount of money lost to the public purse as a result of fuel fraud in Northern Ireland.

Fuel fraud is an important issue, particularly in Northern Ireland. HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) continually refreshes its comprehensive anti-fraud oils strategy introduced in 2002, and the illicit market share in Northern Ireland has since reduced from 26% to 6% in 2018-19. More details can be found at:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/907122/Measuring_tax_gaps_2020_edition.pdf

The Accutrace fuel marker, introduced into rebated fuel in 2015, presents criminals with a significant challenge and continues to be effective in driving down fuel fraud. HMRC has also expanded its capacity for fuel testing and investigation of fuel fraud in Northern Ireland.

28th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many 18 year olds are estimated to be eligible for proceeds under the Child Trust Fund in September 2020.

Since 2002, around 6.3 million CTF accounts have been set up, roughly 4.5 million by parents or guardians and a further 1.8 million set up by HMRC where parents or guardians did not open an account. From 1 September 2020, the oldest children eligible for a Child Trust Fund will have turned 18 and will be able to access their money. As set out in HMRC’s press release in August 2020 it is expected that over 700,000 accounts will mature each year.

HMRC cannot provide an estimate on how much Child Trust funds, which were introduced in September 2002 and now eligible for maturity, are worth as of September 2020. This analysis would require a significant amount of resource and therefore unachievable in the timescale provided.

28th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how much Child Trust Funds, introduced in September 2002 and now eligible for maturity, are worth as of September 2020.

Since 2002, around 6.3 million CTF accounts have been set up, roughly 4.5 million by parents or guardians and a further 1.8 million set up by HMRC where parents or guardians did not open an account. From 1 September 2020, the oldest children eligible for a Child Trust Fund will have turned 18 and will be able to access their money. As set out in HMRC’s press release in August 2020 it is expected that over 700,000 accounts will mature each year.

HMRC cannot provide an estimate on how much Child Trust funds, which were introduced in September 2002 and now eligible for maturity, are worth as of September 2020. This analysis would require a significant amount of resource and therefore unachievable in the timescale provided.

22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to his Department's news story Duty Free extended to the EU from January 2021, published on 11 September 2020, whether those new arrangements will apply to airports in Northern Ireland.

Ahead of the end of the transition period, the Government has announced the VAT and excise duty treatment of goods purchased by individuals for personal use and carried in their luggage, arriving from or going overseas (passengers). The following rules will apply from 1 January 2021:

- Personal allowances will apply to passengers entering England, Scotland and Wales from a destination outside of the United Kingdom, with alcohol allowances significantly increased.

- Passengers travelling from England, Scotland and Wales to any destination outside the United Kingdom will be able to purchase duty-free excise goods once they have passed security controls at ports, airports, and international rail stations.

- The VAT Retail Export Scheme in England, Scotland and Wales will not be extended to passengers travelling to the EU, and will be withdrawn for all passengers.

- The concessionary treatment on tax-free sales for non-excise goods will be removed across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

21st Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether the Republic of Ireland will conclude repaying its loan under the Loans to Ireland Act 2010 by March 2021.

The total outstanding principal of the bilateral loan to Ireland stands at £806,740,000 as of 24 September 2020. Ireland is scheduled to pay the final tranche of the loan when it matures in March 2021. The Government continues to expect the loan to be repaid in full and on time.

21st Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how much was paid in fines by people who submitted tax returns after the deadline of 31 January 2020.

The 2018-19 Self-Assessment tax return typically has an online filing deadline of 31 January 2020.

The value of payments attributed to late filing penalties for people filing late and after the deadline of 31 January 2020:

Tax Year penalty relates to

Penalty payments

2018-19

£18,558,000

Note: The figure has been rounded to the nearest thousand. The figure has been produced using an extract of the data provided for analytical purposes, and there may be small differences between this and other HMRC systems including the live SA system (CESA).

This analysis is based on penalties created and payments received to 4 September 2020. It includes penalty payments made during a period of about six months. Further penalties will be issued and paid relating to this tax return.

The figure provided should not be compared with previous figures provided for earlier years. More penalties will be issued and paid relating to all years but further payments to recent years will be relatively higher, so there will be greater changes to recent years. It is not possible to make meaningful comparisons between different years’ figures.

The above figures include payments for the initial £100 late filing penalty. Late Payment penalties have not been included.

These late filing penalties relate to: individuals who filed online after 31 January after the end of the corresponding tax year and at least 3 months after they were issued with a notice to file; individuals who have missed the 31 January deadline and who have not yet filed their SA return for the corresponding tax year; and individuals who did not need to file an SA return for that tax year but received late filing penalties due to late notification.

The figures may include some penalty payments relating to Trust returns as they receive the same penalty code. Penalty payments relating to partnership returns are not included.

Penalties are not used as a means of generating revenue. HMRC charge penalties to encourage taxpayers to meet their tax obligations and to act as a sanction for those who do not, so the majority who do pay correctly and on time are not disadvantaged. Not all taxpayers who fail to submit their return on time will have to pay a penalty. A penalty will not be payable if a taxpayer had a reasonable excuse for not filing their return on time or if they no longer need to file a return.

HMRC recognise that because of the exceptional circumstances presented by COVID-19, some taxpayers will not be able to meet their tax obligations on time, or appeal or review HMRC decisions within the usual time limit. HMRC’s approach has been to collect the tax and penalties due in a way that recognises the challenges that businesses and individuals are facing, and these figures reflect that approach.

7th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many eating establishments registered for the Eat out to Help out Scheme in Northern Ireland, by constituency.

Excluding businesses with more than 25 outlets, there were 2,207 restaurants registered for the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme in Northern Ireland on 27 August.

HMRC published a parliamentary constituency breakdown for the Eat Out to Help Out scheme on 4 September: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/eat-out-to-help-out-scheme-claims-by-parliamentary-constituency.

28th Aug 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when he plans to respond to the correspondence of 23 June, 21 July and 3 August 2020 from the hon. Member for East Londonderry, on extending maternity pay.

The Treasury has passed this correspondence to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, who are responsible for this policy.

9th Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he has taken to prevent abuse of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme since 1 July 2020.

More than £27.4 billion has been claimed through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), supporting 1.1m employers and 9.4m furloughed jobs. The vast majority of employers have used the scheme responsibly. Compliance and anti-fraud measures have been built into the administration of the scheme since its inception.

Since 1 July, Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs have enabled employers who have overclaimed the CJRS to pay back part or all of their grant; this includes employers that have accidentally overclaimed without intending to abuse the scheme. Employers can either correct overclaims in their next claim or make a payment to HMRC.

Since the start of the scheme, the Government has asked employees to report any concerns about CJRS fraud to HMRC. Fraudulent abuse of the scheme can be reported through HMRC’s online reporting form, which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/hm-revenue-customs/contact/report-fraud-to-hmrc.

HMRC will not hesitate to act on reports of abuse and the first arrest made in relation to CJRS fraud took place on 8 July.

17th Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an urgent assessment of the potential merits of reducing the VAT rate for on street retail shopping.

Raising over £130 billion in 2019/2020, VAT is an important source of revenue for the Exchequer and plays an important part in funding the Government’s spending priorities including hospitals, schools and defence.

A VAT reduction would therefore come at a considerable cost to the Exchequer.

In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Chancellor has announced a range of measures to help individuals and businesses through the crisis, including grants, loans and relief from business rates worth more than £300 billion.

The Government keeps all taxes under review.

12th Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, what the average furlough payments were to (a) employees and (b) self-employed people in Northern Ireland in the first month after the commencement of those schemes.

The average payment for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme per furloughed employee in Northern Ireland is not available.

Payments for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) covered a period of three months. As of 31 May 2020 the average payment from the SEISS to individuals in Northern Ireland was £2,900.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he make an assessment of the potential merits of extending the remit of the Public Works Loan Board to include local councils in Northern Ireland.

The Public Works Loan Board provides loans at lower than market rates for capital expenditure to local authorities in England, Scotland and Wales. The Local Government Finance Act (Northern Ireland) 2011 provides the legal basis which permits district councils to borrow and sets out the responsibilities of the council should they choose to do so. The Financial Provisions (Northern Ireland) Order 1983 is the legislation which underpins government lending from the Northern Ireland Consolidated Fund to local councils to support capital expenditure. This provides loans at lower than market rates for capital expenditure without extending the remit of the Public Works Loan Board to include local councils in Northern Ireland.

13th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will review the required identification documents for the Self Employed Income Support Scheme to allow people in Northern Ireland, whose only identification is a Northern Ireland Driving Licence, to use the scheme.

Everyone in Northern Ireland who is eligible for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will be able to claim their grants.

People who have engaged with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) online in the past using an existing Government Gateway credential – for example, to file their Self-Assessment tax return – can reuse their existing online Government Gateway credentials to claim the grant. Most people who are eligible to claim have credentials already.

Those dealing with HMRC online for the first time will be required to verify their identity. HMRC worked quickly with the Driving and Vehicle Licensing Agency to enable people to use a GB driving licence to verify their identity for SEISS. It has not been possible to add non-UK passports or non-GB driving licences to the Government Gateway authentication service in the same timeline. HMRC are currently exploring whether it is possible to connect to Northern Ireland Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA) and Irish Passport Service data, as part of their continuing improvement of the Government Gateway.

Those who do not have a UK passport or GB driving licence can use the multiple-choice questions option to verify their identity. This uses a financial checking service that does not require a passport or driving licence. Anyone who is unable to verify their identity in this way can also make their claim by telephone.

13th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when the Border Delivery Group next plans to meet.

The Border Delivery Group (BDG) is a function within HM Government. Officials in the BDG meet regularly with a wide range of stakeholders.

27th Apr 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what effect the covid-19 outbreak will have on traders being transferred to the Customs Declaration Service by late 2020.

HMRC have confirmed to businesses that to preserve the integrity of the customs platform, both CHIEF and CDS will continue to be dual run beyond the end of the Transition Period. This decision was based on delivery partner assessment of achieving the 2020 migration target prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. As is the case for all businesses, the COVID-19 outbreak is having an impact on delivery partner capacity and HMRC continue to work closely with the sector on the delivery of CDS.

27th Apr 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to ensure the longer term availability of free to use ATM's (a) in rural areas and (b) throughout the UK.

The Government recognises that widespread access to cash remains extremely important for consumers and businesses across the whole of the United Kingdom, particularly in rural areas.

That is why, at the March 2020 Budget, the Chancellor announced that the Government will bring forward legislation to protect access to cash. This will ensure that millions of people can get the cash they need when they need it.

This announcement builds upon existing initiatives from industry. LINK, the scheme that runs the UK’s largest ATM network, has acted to protect remote free-to-use ATMs which are one kilometre or further from the next nearest free-to-use ATM or Post Office. Furthermore, LINK continue to support the viability of ATMs in rural areas through premium fees paid to ATM deployers.

24th Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of the number of people who will be eligible to receive 80 per cent of their salaries under the terms of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme during the covid-19 outbreak.

Any employer using a UK PAYE scheme can access the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme provided they meet the other eligibility criteria.

As of January 2020, there were about 29.2 million employees being paid through a PAYE scheme.

24th Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the covid-19 outbreak, whether he has plans to extend the deadline by which single premium pension payments may be made into existing personal pension plans in the current year beyond 5 April 2020.

There are various types of deadline that may relate to single premium pension payments.

If the deadline is set out in the contract of the personal pension plan, this is a contractual issue between the individual and their pension provider.

In relation to tax matters, the Government allows up to three years of unused annual allowance to be carried forward, if individuals have not used up their whole annual allowance in previous tax years.

10th Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of the level of public sector net debt by March 2022.

The government’s medium-term economic and fiscal forecasts are produced by the independent Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR).

The most recent Budget forecast was published on 11 March 2020. In this publication, the OBR’s forecast for the level of public sector net debt is £1827 billion in 2021-22, which is 75.0% as a share of GDP.

On 13 March 2020, the OBR are due to publish a supplementary forecast.

Steve Barclay
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
28th Feb 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what plans he has to review the effectiveness of the UK Guarantees Scheme for infrastructure investment across the UK.

The Infrastructure Finance Review was launched at the Spring Statement 2019 and consulted on how the Government can best support private investment in infrastructure. This included consulting on the Government’s existing financial tools, such as the UK Guarantees Scheme. The review will conclude later this year. The UK Guarantees Scheme remains open across the UK and has so far supported over £4 billion worth of investment.

25th Feb 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 6 February 2020 to Question 11458 on Capital Gains Tax on what date the comprehensive communications plan began.

HMRC recognise that this is a significant change and on 24 February started to roll out a comprehensive communications plan publicly, so that people understand what the changes mean for them and what they need to do. HMRC are confident that the majority of tax agents are aware of this change, as it has been widely reported in the sector media.

On Monday 24th February HMRC held a webinar with approximately 1,200 agents to talk through the new process and requirements. This was well received and HMRC is in the process of planning further events around the time of implementation. A news story on GOV.UK has now been published: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/get-ready-for-changes-to-capital-gains-tax-payment-for-uk-property-sales.

Further targeted communications are planned throughout March into April, and throughout the year, to make sure this information is fully embedded.

25th Feb 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how much was paid in fines by people who submitted tax returns after the deadline of 31 January in (a) 2017, (b) 2018 and (c) 2019.

The 2015-16 Self-Assessment (SA) tax return typically has an online filing deadline of 31 January 2017, the 2016-17 Self-Assessment (SA) tax return typically has an online filing deadline of 31 January 2018 and correspondingly, the 2017-18 Self-Assessment tax return typically has an online filing deadline of 31 January 2019.

The value of payments attributed to late filing penalties for people filing late and after the deadline of 31 January in (a) 2017, (b) 2018 and (c) 2019 is as follows:

Tax Year penalty relates to

Penalty payments

2015-16

£133,669,000

2016-17

£111,272,000

2017-18

£75,363,000

Note: Figures have been rounded to the nearest thousand. These figures have been produced using an extract of the data provided for analytical purposes, and there may be small differences between this and other HMRC systems including the live SA system (CESA).

This analysis is based on penalties created and payments received to February 2020. The 2017-18, 2016-17 and 2015-16 figures cover a period of 1, 2 and 3 years’ penalty payments respectively. More penalties will be issued and paid in relation to all these years but further payments to recent years will be relatively higher, so there will be greater changes to recent years. It is not possible to make meaningful comparisons between different years’ figures.

The above figures include both full and part-payments for the initial £100 late filing penalty, daily penalties, 6 month and 12 month late filing penalties. Late payment penalties have not been included.

These late filing penalties relate to individuals who filed online after 31 January after the end of the corresponding tax year and at least 3 months after they were issued with a notice to file; individuals who have missed the 31 January deadline and who have not yet filed their SA return for the corresponding tax year; and, individuals who did not need to file an SA return for that tax year but received late filing penalties due to late notification.

The figures may include some penalty payments relating to Trust returns as they receive the same penalty code. Penalty payments relating to partnership returns are not included.

Penalties are not used as a means of generating revenue. HMRC want taxpayers to comply with their obligations.

HMRC charge penalties to encourage taxpayers to meet their tax obligations and to act as a sanction for those who do not, so the majority who do pay correctly and on time are not disadvantaged.

Not all taxpayers who fail to submit their return on time will have to pay a penalty. A penalty will not be payable if a taxpayer had a reasonable excuse for not filing their return on time or if they no longer need to file a return.

HMRC will not know if a taxpayer has a reasonable excuse or no longer need to file a return until the taxpayer tells HMRC.

10th Feb 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of trends in the level of UK productivity between 2009 and 2019.

Labour productivity in the UK is just 2.4% above its pre-crisis peak. Productivity growth has slowed globally since the crisis but in the UK this slowdown has been more pronounced - across the G7 productivity growth has slowed from 1.9% per year in the decade to 2007 to just 0.8% since. In the UK, by comparison, it has fallen from 2.3% pre crisis to 0.3% since. To level up growth we will continue to invest responsibly including increased investment in infrastructure - connecting the country and businesses by road, rail and broadband and committing to our target of 2.4% of GDP being spend on R&D. We will also continue to invest in people – our greatest asset – levelling up skills and opportunity by creating a new national skills fund.

Simon Clarke
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
6th Feb 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what changes there will be to meetings of the Border Delivery Group between February 2020 and 31 December 2020.

The Border Delivery Group will continue to have regular engagement with representatives from the border industry throughout 2020. The frequency and nature of these meetings will be regularly reviewed to reflect the changing priorities of the border industry.

6th Feb 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what fiscal steps he is taking to support UK drinks manufacturers following the removal of post duty point dilution.

The upcoming changes to discourage post duty point dilution are intended to bring the wine category into alignment with the rules affecting other alcoholic products. UK drinks manufacturers have been given over 18 months’ notice to adapt their business models. However, the Treasury keeps all taxes under review, including their impact on drink manufacturers.

Simon Clarke
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
5th Feb 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what progress the Financial Conduct Authority has made in directing consumers with pre-existing and historical medical conditions to the most appropriate insurance providers.

On 5 February, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) published new rules and guidance to improve access to travel insurance for all consumers with medical conditions.

Included within the FCA’s rules is a requirement for firms to signpost consumers to specialist providers if they are declined cover, offered cover with an exclusion, or charged a significantly higher premium based on their medical condition.

3rd Feb 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to ensure people selling residential properties which may lead to a potential capital gains tax payment are aware of the changes to that tax which will be introduced from 6 April 2020.

From 6 April 2020 anyone disposing of a UK residential property on which a chargeable gain arises, such as on a second home or a rental property, will be required to report and pay any capital gains tax due within 30 days of the completion of the sale.

HMRC recognise that this is a significant change and are starting to roll out a comprehensive communications plan, so that people understand what the changes mean for them and what they need to do.

3rd Feb 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when he plans to respond to the report from the Office of Tax Simplification entitled Inheritance Tax Review, second report: Simplifying the design of Inheritance Tax, published July 2019.

The Office of Tax Simplification have produced two reports on inheritance tax on both the administration of the tax and its policy design. The Government will consider the recommendations made, and as is customary for tax policy, any changes to inheritance tax will be delivered through a future fiscal event.
30th Jan 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he plans to make an assessment of the effectiveness of the UK Guarantees Scheme in relation to infrastructure investment.

The Infrastructure Finance Review was launched at the Spring Statement 2019 and consulted on how the Government can best support private investment in infrastructure. This included consulting on the Government’s existing financial tools, such as the UK Guarantees Scheme. The review will conclude alongside the upcoming National Infrastructure Strategy at the Spring Budget 2020. The Strategy will set out the Government’s long-term ambitions for economic infrastructure, to ensure that the benefits of a prospering economy are felt across the whole of the UK.

29th Jan 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the Answer of 1 July 2019 to Question 268996 on taxation: self-assessment, how much was paid in fines by people who submitted tax returns after the deadline of 31 January in each year since 2018.

The 2016-17 Self-Assessment (SA) tax return typically has an online filing deadline of 31 January 2018, and correspondingly, the 2017-18 Self-Assessment tax return typically has an online filing deadline of 31 January 2019.

The value of payments attributed to late filing penalties for people filing late and after 31 January for these two tax years has been provided below.

Tax Year penalty relates to

Penalty payments

2016-17

£106,244,000

2017-18

£63,956,000

Note: Figures have been rounded to the nearest thousand. These figures have been produced using an extract of the data provided for analytical purposes, and there may be small differences between this and the live SA system.

This analysis is based on penalties created and payments received to 3 January 2020. The 2017-18 figures cover a period of 11 months. The 2016-17 figures cover a period of 23 months. HMRC anticipate that more penalties will be issued and paid in relation to 2017-18, so it is not possible to make meaningful comparisons between the two sets of figures.

The above figures include both full and part-payments for the initial £100 late filing penalty, daily penalties, 6 month and 12 month late filing penalties. Late payment penalties have not been included.

These late filing penalties relate to:

• Individuals who filed online after 31 January after the end of the corresponding tax year and at least 3 months after they were issued with a notice to file

• Individuals who have missed the 31 January deadline and who have not yet filed their SA return for the corresponding tax year

• Individuals who did not need to file an SA return for that tax year but received late filing penalties due to late notification

As with the answer to PQ268996, the figures may include some penalty payments relating to Trust returns as they receive the same penalty code. Penalty payments relating to partnership returns are not included.

Penalties are not used as a means of generating revenue. HMRC want taxpayers to comply with their obligations and to file their returns on time.

HMRC charge penalties to encourage taxpayers to meet their tax obligations and to act as a sanction for those who do not, so the majority who do are not disadvantaged.

Not all taxpayers who fail to submit their return on time will have to pay a penalty. A penalty will not be payable if a taxpayer had a reasonable excuse for not filing their return on time or if they no longer need to file a return.

HMRC will not know if a taxpayer has a reasonable excuse or no longer needs to file a return until they inform HMRC.

21st Jan 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when and where the next meeting of the Northern Ireland Borders Steering Group is scheduled to take place.

The Northern Ireland Steering Group does not have its next meeting date or location planned. Members of the Steering Group will continue to be included in future engagement.

15th Jan 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether all traders were transferred to the Customs Declaration Service by 1 January 2020; and whether that service is fully operational.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer given on 9 September 2019 (UIN 286140). The migration of traders to the Customs Declaration Service (CDS) is planned to be completed by late 2020. CDS can accept all types of import and export declarations and the final elements of IT functionality will be delivered by the end of March. HMRC are dual running the CHIEF system alongside CDS until all trader migration is completed.

9th Jan 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether the Border Delivery Group has met in Northern Ireland since 13 December 2019.

The Border Delivery Group (BDG) has not met any parties face to face within Northern Ireland during the dates specified. BDG has engaged in London with Northern Ireland Government departments (Border Force NI, DAERA, NIO and FSA NI) during this period.

9th Jan 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking with the Payment Systems Regulator to assess the scale of the reduction in the number of free to use ATM's, particularly in rural areas in the last two years.

The Government recognises that widespread free access to cash remains extremely important to the day-to-day lives of many consumers and businesses in the UK.

LINK, the scheme that runs the UK’s ATM network, has put in place a Financial Inclusion Programme that includes premium fees for ATM deployers to protect remote free-to-use ATMs one kilometre or further from the next nearest free-to-use ATM or Post Office counter. LINK recently announced that £5 million would also be made available to fund requests for new ATMs from local areas with poor access to cash.

Furthermore, UK Finance – the trade association for the UK banking and financial services sector – has launched a Community Access to Cash Initiative, offering grants to local communities to improve cash access where an ATM is not appropriate or required.

The Payment Systems Regulator is closely monitoring developments in the ATM market and has used its powers to hold LINK to account over commitments to preserve the broad geographic spread of ATMs.

The Government continues to engage with the Payments Systems Regulator via the Joint Authorities Cash Strategy Group, along with the Financial Conduct Authority and the Bank of England, to ensure comprehensive oversight of the overall cash infrastructure.

24th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to reduce waiting times for passport applications.

Ahead of unrestricted international travel returning, HM Passport Office prepared extensively to serve an unprecedented number of customers, with 9.5 million British passport applications forecasted throughout 2022.

These preparations, which include the recruitment of 650 additional staff since April 2021 and with plans in place to recruit a further 550 by this summer, have ensured passport applications can be processed in higher numbers than ever before. This was demonstrated in March and April 2022 when HM Passport Office achieved a record monthly high by completing the processing of nearly two million applications.

Ministers continue to meet regularly with officials to monitor performance, and to explore further options that will help to ensure people receive their passports in good time.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
24th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many passport applications remained pending two months after they were initially submitted in (a) January 2022 and (b) April 2022.

A British passport cannot be issued until all checks are satisfactorily completed. If further information is required to enable an application to be progressed, then it will take longer.

Approximately 250,000 passport applications are being processed each week.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
21st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will introduce an expedited process for family members of EU/EEA Nationals awaiting decisions on applications to the EU Settlement Scheme, to match the announced introduction of an expedited decision-making process for family members of UK nationals.

Settled status holders of any nationality, plus EEA and Swiss citizens with EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) pre-settled status based on UK residence before the end of the transition period will be able to sponsor family members under the new Ukraine Family Scheme.

There are no plans to change the arrangements for the EUSS or EUSS Family Permit.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans she has with the National Cyber Security Centre to tackle growing cyber crime in the next five years.

As technology develops, so too do opportunities for cyber criminals to target the UK. The arrival of 5G and the Internet of Things will create multiple new vulnerabilities, including inside people’s homes. ‘Deep Fake’ technology provides opportunities for fraud and identity theft or for exploitation and extortion. We need to confront these crimes and develop and improve technological safeguards so that citizens never become victims.

As we made clear in the Beating Crime Plan published earlier this year, we are working across government to deliver improvements to the UK’s cyber resilience and ensure we stay ahead of cyber criminals. We have invested £195 million over the last five years to establish a specialist cyber law enforcement network to disrupt and prosecute cyber criminals and support victims in response and recovery. We are developing a campaign to confront the growing threat of ransomware and to disrupt cyber criminals based overseas.

We will publish a new National Cyber Security Strategy later this year. The Strategy will drive significant improvements in the UK’s response to cybercrime. It will strengthen the Law Enforcement response and drive greater collaboration with the National Cyber Centre and the National Cyber Force

14th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether he plans to review the Universal Permission to Travel requirements as a result of the Northern Ireland Protocol.

The Common Travel Area facilitates the free movement of people between the United Kingdom, Crown Dependencies, and Ireland.

As now, the UK will not operate routine immigration controls on journeys from within the Common Travel Area, with no immigration controls whatsoever on the Republic of Ireland-Northern Ireland land border given the Common Travel Area Arrangements and Ireland not being part of the EU’s Schengen Border Free Area.

However, as now, individuals arriving in the UK from will need to continue to enter in line with the UK’s immigration framework including the Universal Permission to Travel requirement (except British and Irish citizens) when it is introduced.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to tackle the increase in the number of sophisticated scam text messages being received and resultant financial losses by the victims of those scams.

Fraudsters will use any means they can, including through highly deceptive and sophisticated techniques such as text messaging scams, to trick people into handing over their hard-earned money.

This Government is committed to protecting people from all types of fraud and pursuing those who perpetuate these crimes wherever possible. It is for this reason as part of the 2020 Spending Review, the Government committed a further £63m to the Home Office to tackle economic crime, including fraud. In May, we published a Statement of Progress on the Economic Crime Plan which committed to developing a comprehensive Fraud Action Plan.

We are working closely with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS) and the telecommunication industry to tackle fraud carried out through texts and calls and close those vulnerabilities criminals too easily exploit. We are also engaging with the banking sector to ensure victims are not left out of pocket through no fault of their own. Certain banks are subject to the Contingent Reimbursement Model; a voluntary code signed up to by some banks, which commit them to reimbursing victims of fraud. More information on this can be found here:

www.lendingstandardsboard.org.uk/contingent-reimbursement-model-code/.

We continue to encourage the public to forward suspicious text messages to 7726 (which is free of charge) and anyone who has been a targeted by fraud to report it. Action Fraud is the national reporting service for all victims of fraud and cybercrime and can be contacted by phone on 0300 123 2040 or through their website:

http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud.

All of this information is being used by the City of London Police, the National Cyber Security Centre, and the National Crime Agency to identify, disrupt and stop fraudsters.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will take steps to ensure that tourists from countries in the EEA and Switzerland can travel to the UK without additional ID security checks.

Now freedom of movement has ended, EU, EEA and Swiss citizens may continue to travel to the UK for short trips, including for tourism, short-term business visits or short-term studies, and will not require a visa, but they will need to seek entry on arrival at the border and meet the requirements of the relevant immigration rules: they will also require a passport for travel to the UK from 1 October 2021.

EU, EEA and Swiss citizens can also continue to use their biometric passports to pass through e-passport gates (Where available) on arrival.

It is also worth noting there are no routine immigration controls on journeys within the Common Travel Area, which includes the Republic of Ireland, and none whatsoever on the Irish land border. This will not change.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will include community-based services in the Domestic Abuse Bill.

The Domestic Abuse Bill, as introduced on 3 March, includes a new statutory duty on tier one local authorities in England to provide support to victims of domestic abuse and their children within safe accommodation. These provisions have been designed in the light of extensive consultation and analysis about how to address the gaps in current provision.

We fully recognise the vital role played by community-based support services in helping victims of domestic abuse and their children to rebuild their lives. However, until we have undertaken a similar analytical exercise in relation to community-based support services, we believe it would be premature to legislate in this Bill.

To enable us to better understand the complex landscape for community-based support for all victims, including children, the designate Domestic Abuse Commissioner has agreed to undertake an in-depth exploration of the current community-based support landscape over 2020/21. The Government will then work with the Commissioner to understand the needs identified and develop options on how best to address them.

The provision of community-based services for victims of domestic abuse and their children in Northern Ireland is a matter for the Northern Ireland Executive.

15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when she plans to reply to the letter from the hon Member for East Londonderry dated 8 June 2020 regarding British National (Overseas) passport holders.

A reply was sent by the Minister for Future Borders and Immigration on 16 September 2020.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether Operation Gull is still operating in Northern Ireland.

Yes, Operation Gull is an intelligence led operation and is deployed on that basis.

27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps the Government is taking in co-operation with the Netherlands Government to ensure the prosecution of people posting online child sexual abuse material that is held in, and distributed from, the Netherlands and available in the UK.

The Government is committed to tackling child sexual exploitation and abuse wherever and however it occurs. There can be no safe space for paedophiles to operate either here or abroad and we will do all we can to keep children safe. We continue to work closely with law enforcement in the UK and international partners to close down online networks and bring offenders to justice. We announced in the 2019 Spending Round an investment of an £30 million to support UK law enforcement to bear down on child sexual exploitation and abuse.

The Government is working closely with the Netherlands to tackle online child sexual abuse material that is held in, and distributed from, the Netherlands and available in the UK. The Dutch approach to addressing the threat of online child sexual exploitation and abuse was outlined in a letter from their Ministry of Justice and Security to the European Union. This provided a useful platform for our engagement on how we can work together on this issue, identify areas of common interest, best practice and ways to coordinate our efforts to tackle the threat.

The Dutch hotline, EOKM, will also be working with the UK’s Internet Watch Foundation to combat the issue of child sexual abuse material. In 1996 when the Internet Watch Foundation was founded, the UK hosted 18% of the global total of online child sexual abuse content; in 2019 this figure was just 0.1%.

UK police have existing powers under section 72 and Schedule 2 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 which provides for extra-territorial jurisdiction in relation to certain offences under the 2003 Act where the victim is under the age of 18 years old. We continue to look at what more we can do with our international partners giving due consideration to the findings of the “Children Outside the UK report’ published by the Independent Inquiry on Child Sexual Abuse in January 2020.

1st Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 8 July 2021 to Question 27029, on Armed Forces: Recruitment, when he plans to provide an answer on the proportion of applicants to the (a) British Army, (b) Royal Navy and (c) Royal Air Force who were rejected in each of the last five years.

I wrote to the hon. Member on 5 August 2021. A copy of my letter, and associated tables, was placed in the Library of the House at the same time.

A copy of my letter, and tables, is attached.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what estimate he has made of the number of Afghan interpreters who have settled in the UK in the last ten years.

As at the 15 July 2021 through our relocation schemes, 1,646 former staff including their families have relocated to the UK so far, with several thousand more due to arrive over the summer. These have arrived through either the Ex Gratia Scheme (EGS), the Intimidation policy or the Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy (ARAP).

The EGS launched on 4 June 2013 with the first relocations occurring in August 2014. To date, under EGS 484 Afghan local staff have relocated to the UK, the majority of which were interpreters.

The ARAP launched on 1 April 2021, under the ARAP, 22 Local Staff have relocated to the UK. We are rapidly accelerating relocations under the ARAP, with thousands more Afghans and their families due to arrive in the UK over the Summer.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)
7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment he has made of the capabilities of the Afghan army and police to withstand any upsurge in violence once NATO forces have withdrawn from Afghanistan.

Afghan forces have led on security in Afghanistan for the last six years. The ANDSF are now 350,000 strong and are increasingly capable and self-sufficient. They have shown remarkable resilience and courage in meeting the challenges they face. They are committed to protecting the people of Afghanistan while tackling the threat from non-state actors, to ensure Afghanistan does not again become a safe-haven for terrorists. We are committed to providing financial support to the ANDSF through to at least 2024.

James Heappey
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, with reference to deployments of Military Aid to the Civil Authorities in Northern Ireland during the covid-19 outbreak, whether he has received complaints from political parties or representatives in Northern Ireland on those deployments.

Throughout the pandemic the Ministry of Defence has supported the Northern Ireland Assembly in their response to COVID-19. Armed Forces personnel have worked around the clock to protect our people in all four corners of the nation and assisted the Northern Ireland Department of Health with vaccinations and providing support to other health services. All political parties have recognised the overarching need to save lives and support the health service during the pandemic and Ministers have received no complaints regarding the support provided.

James Heappey
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what proportion of applicants to (a) the British Army, (b) the Royal Navy and (c) the Royal Air Force were rejected in each of the last five years.

The information requested to answer the hon. Member's question will take time to collate, and I will write to him in due course.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what discussions he is having with international partners on joint capability programmes.

The Ministry of Defence maintains a range of dialogues with strategic international partners to explore research, capability and industrial collaborative opportunities and deliver collaborative programmes. Specific examples include Eurofighter, A400M and Boxer. As outlined in the Defence & Security Industrial Strategy, these relationships start with Euro-Atlantic partnerships, in particular NATO and the US, and extends to our unique network of strategic partnerships across the globe, including with Indo-Pacific and Five Eyes partners.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
19th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps he is taking to help ensure RAF operations based overseas are protected from hostile attempts to interrupt satellite communications to and from aircraft taking off and landing.

The United Kingdom Government takes a multi-layered approach to detect, understand and deter state threats below the threshold of war through persistent engagement overseas. When aircraft are deployed overseas on operations a wide range of multi-layered Force Protection measures are put in place to ensure their safety.

James Heappey
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what progress NATO is making on expanding its membership since the joining of North Macedonia.

NATO membership is open to any European country that is able to undertake the commitments and obligations of membership of the Alliance, and contribute to security in the Euro-Atlantic area. This "open door policy" is based upon Article 10 of the Washington Treaty.

Since the accession to NATO of the Republic of North Macedonia in March 2020, three NATO partner countries have continued to undertake domestic reforms which will help them to pursue their Euro-Atlantic aspirations: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Georgia and Ukraine. NATO's engagement with each of these continues through bespoke means: with Georgia through the NATO-Georgia Council; with Ukraine through the NATO-Ukraine Council; and with Bosnia-Herzegovina through the Membership Action Plan, which has been in place since 2010. As a means of improving their interoperability with NATO, Georgia and Ukraine also enjoy "Enhanced Opportunities Partner" status with the Alliance.

James Heappey
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many occasions army bomb disposal units were called out in Northern Ireland in 2020; and on how many of those occasions it was established that devices were found to be not viable.

For the year 2020, 264 Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) taskings were conducted in Northern Ireland by army bomb disposal units. 103 taskings related to "suspicious items", of which 70 devices were found to be not viable.

James Heappey
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, when will he respond to the correspondence sent by the Member for East Londonderry on 6th November 2020 on employment with defence contractors.

Unfortunately, the letter posted by the hon. Member has not yet been received by the Ministry of Defence. When alerted to the problem on 4 January the Ministry of Defence requested that the letter be sent by email. This was received the same day and a response has already been sent by email.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, when he plans to review the outcomes achieved by the Defence Safety Authority in providing safe working environments for the armed forces.

As detailed in the Defence Safety Authority (DSA) Charter, the Director General DSA prepares and submits an Annual Assurance Report for consideration by the Permanent Secretary, as chair of the Defence Health, Safety and Environment Protection (HS&EP) Committee, prior to consideration by the Defence Board and final approval by the Secretary of State for Defence. This yearly report provides the Secretary of State for Defence with independent assurance that Defence policy for HS&EP is being promoted and implemented. In addition, an independent audit of the DSA is planned for 2023 to provide assurance of the continuing effectiveness of the DSA.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, on how many occasions Army bomb disposal units were called out in Northern Ireland between 1 July 2019 and 1 January 2020.

Northern Ireland Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) call outs from 1 July 2019 to 31 December 2019

Month

Total Improvised Explosive Device Disposal (IEDD) Tasks

Total Conventional Munition Disposal (CMD)Tasks

Jul 19

24

4

Aug 19

12

1

Sep 19

22

3

Oct 19

10

4

Nov 19

13

3

Dec 19

9

5

Total

90

20

James Heappey
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
27th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether he plans to discuss with his EU counterparts changes to Third Country involvement in their Coordinated Annual Review on Defence.

As a non-EU country, the UK will not participate in the Coordinated Annual Review on Defence (CARD), and we have no plans to ask for CARD to be open to third countries. The UK will, however, continue to call for full coherence between CARD and NATO's Defence Planning Process to avoid unnecessary duplication.

James Heappey
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
12th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what changes to the duty of care for armed forces personnel have been introduced under the Defence Safety Authority since 2015.

The safety and wellbeing of our personnel remains our top priority. Many elements of our training carry risk, and it is regularly assessed and monitored. The Defence Safety Authority (DSA) works in tandem with the new Director of Health Safety and Environmental Protection (D HS&EP), appointed in March 2019, to assist the Permanent Secretary in discharging his HS&EP responsibilities. Since 2015, the DSA has made a significant contribution to the development of the Ministry of Defence's Safety approach, including:

a. Supporting the introduction of the Defence Safety & Environmental Committee (DSEC), chaired by the Permanent Secretary, to improve oversight of the duty of care and risk associated with defence activities;

b. The establishment, in 2016, of a pan-domain standardised approach to Duty Holding for managing hazardous activities that represent a credible and foreseeable Risk to Life. The Duty Holder role being to balance and reduce the risk to as low as reasonably practicable and tolerable with due regard to the strategic benefits required from Defence; and

c. The publication of new guidance and regulations setting out rules and standards for Defence HS&EP, in line with the Defence Secretary's Policy Statement for all HS&EP matters in Defence. These include chapters on the duty holding construct and duty of care on deployments. Those appropriate for the Gov.uk website are available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/implementation-of-defence-policy-for-health-safety-and-environmental-protection-dsa-012

Johnny Mercer
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister for Veterans' Affairs)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether UK defence forces will be deployed with the EU battlegroup until 31 December 2020.

There will be no UK forces deployed to an EU Battlegroup during 2020.

James Heappey
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, when he plans to begin discussions with EU member states on co-operation in relation to defence capabilities development.

The UK regularly collaborates with international partners and will continue to explore the opportunity to work with partners in Europe and beyond on joint capability programmes.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
30th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many Naval asset visits there have been to Northern Ireland ports in (a) 2018 and (b) 2019.

There were 11 visits to Northern Ireland ports by Naval Ships in 2018 and five visits in 2019.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
8th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, when he will announce the outcome of his decision on the location of freeports in Northern Ireland.

Freeports will level up and regenerate communities across the UK by attracting new businesses, spreading jobs, investment and opportunity to towns and cities up and down the country.

The UK Government remains committed to extending the Freeports programme to Northern Ireland as soon as possible


22nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, with reference to the Answer of 21 February 2022 to Question 121697, on Levelling Up Fund: Devolution, in the context of Northern Ireland being the only devolved region of the UK to which the first round allocation was below the anticipated allocation, what steps he plans to take to ensure that the second round of funding redresses any imbalance.

In August 2021, we provided £1,375,000 to 11 local authorities in Northern Ireland, to support the development of high-quality bids for future rounds of the Levelling Up Fund. Officials have already begun to work with a range of stakeholders to prepare them for future funding opportunities.

In addition, following the launch of round two of the Fund in spring 2022, we will implement a support offer to further help applicants to develop high quality bids that will have lasting impacts for communities across GB and NI.

Future rounds of the Levelling Up Fund will continue to prioritise a fair deal for all nations of the UK, meeting the commitment we set out to at least £800 million for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland over the lifetime of the Fund.

9th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what proportion of first round allocations of the UK Levelling Up Fund went to (a) Scotland, (b) Wales and (c) Northern Ireland; and how did those allocations compare to the minimum allocations that had been set out.

The first round of the Levelling Up Fund will invest £1.7 billion in 105 local infrastructure projects across the UK


The first round allocations for each nation are as follows: Scotland - 10.1%; Wales - 7.2%; Northern Ireland - 2.9%.

The Levelling Up Fund prospectus stated that at least 9% of total UK allocations were to be set aside for Scotland; 5% for Wales; and 3% for Northern Ireland.

There was significant interest in the first round of the Fund. Whilst some bids have not been successful, there will be further funding opportunities through a second round of the Levelling Up Fund which will open in spring 2022. More information on this will be available in due course.

2nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, when he plans to announce the location of freeports across the UK; and whether the decision on those locations is linked to the Government's levelling up agenda.

Freeports will level up and regenerate communities across the UK by attracting new businesses, spreading jobs, investment and opportunity to towns and cities up and down the country. At the Autumn Budget the first Freeport tax sites were announced in Tees, Thames and Humber. The UK Government remains committed to establishing its Freeport programme across the whole of the UK including in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as soon as possible and are confident our model embraces the highest employment and environmental standards. Any future process for allocating a Freeport in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will follow a fair, open and transparent assessment process.

15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, with reference to the Answer of 26 April 2021 to Question 185295 on British National (Overseas): Northern Ireland, if he will hold discussions with the Home Secretary on the need for recognition of Northern Ireland identification documentation for those people with BNO status who wish to relocate to Northern Ireland.

The Government’s priority is to ensure that the Hong Kong Welcome Programme is UK wide and supports British National (Overseas) status holders wherever they choose to settle in the UK. My Department continues to work closely with the Northern Ireland Strategic Migration Partnership and the Northern Ireland Executive, including through regular officials’ meetings, to support implementation of the programme.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will hold urgent discussions with representatives of financial institutions on their requirement for an EWS1 form in order to approve mortgage applications relating to low-level flats.

The External Wall System form (EWS1) and process was introduced by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors to assist in the valuation of high-rise residential buildings for mortgage purposes. Not all lenders request an EWS1 form and the Government does not support a blanket approach in EWS1 use for lower risk properties. The EWS1 process should only be used where there is clear need, and where no reasonable assurances or regulatory evidence exists to support valuations. Ministers and officials continue to engage with lenders on this issue.

16th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what the next stages are of the roll out of the Drug Recovery Prison pilot at HMP Holme House.

The Drug Recovery Prison pilot at HMP Holme House ran from April 2017 until March 2020. It was a jointly supported programme commissioned by both the Ministry of Justice and HM Prison and Probation Service and the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England and Improvement. NHS England and Improvement as well as HM Prison and Probation Service continue to support the programme with many of the activities introduced during the pilot phase moving into business as usual delivery. A Process Evaluation of the Drug Recovery Prison Programme has been completed and will be published shortly. An Impact and Economic Evaluation is due to be completed in 2023.

Lessons learned from the Drug Recovery Prison pilot continue to be used to inform wide reaching initiatives such as the HMPPS Security Investment Programme and the Accelerator Prisons Project.

11th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what recent discussions he has had with the Attorney General on the implications of the acquittal of four people charged with criminal damage to a statue of Edward Colston in Bristol for the criminal justice system.

In any case where there is an acquittal in the Crown Court, the Attorney General has the power to ask the Court of Appeal for its opinion on a point of law which arose in the case.

The Attorney General is carefully considering whether to make such a referral.

25th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to the report entitled Unlocking Potential, A review of education in prison, published in May 2016, what progress has been made in implementing the recommendations contained in that review.

Following Dame Sally Coates’ 2016 review, the budget for prison education was moved from the Department for Education (DfE) to the Ministry of Justice. This was in response to the core recommendation to give prison governors more flexibility and control over the curriculum so that they could better meet the learning needs of their prisoners. To address further recommendations, we introduced assessment on entry for English, maths and learning difficulties and disabilities, and boosted the capability of prisons to engage with employers through the creation of the New Futures Network (NFN). We expect to further improve the infrastructure for learning through the Government’s commitment to invest £200 million a year by 2024-25 to tackle reoffending and meet the manifesto commitment of delivering a new Prisoner Education Service. We have already started to trial innovation such as specialist education roles, as well as invest in digital tools to support prisoners with additional learning needs, such as trialling the use of reader pens.

6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many drug finds in prisons there have been in the (a) two year before and (b) two years since the launch of the National Prison Drug Strategy in April 2019.

Data on drugs finds are published online in the HMPPS Annual Digests. Although the data does not cover the precise period detailed in the question each Digest provides data for a 12-month time period up to March for a given year. From this data it is possible to calculate how many drug finds in prisons there have been in the two years before 1 April and the two years following 1 April 2019 (inclusive).

In August 2019, the Government committed to invest £100 million in prison security in an ambitious new Security Investment Programme. One of the aims of the Programme was to reduce the quantity of illicit items, including drugs, entering the prison estate.

Since then, we have seen the installation of 73 X-ray body scanners, with over 9000 positive indications. This has included contraband being retrieved, for example in one case 10.5g of cocaine with an estimated prison value of £4000 was recovered. The roll out of Enhanced Gate Security (EGS), based on the measures used in airport screening, has resulted in hundreds of illicit items prevented from entering prisons.

20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the implementation of the Government's policy to allocate £100 million funding to improve prison security and restrict the supply of drugs into prisons, as announced in August 2019; and what criteria his Department has used to assess the value for money of that funding.

Preventing contraband such as drugs into prisons via the gate, reception and post is a key priority of my department. Despite challenges to operational delivery during the pandemic, we are delivering on our commitment for safer and more secure prisons including through the £100 million investment in prison security through the Security Investment Programme (SIP).

The evaluation of the impact of SIP is still in its early stages and we will report indicative findings in Spring 2022 and final findings in Spring 2023. Although formal evaluation is in its early stages, we do know that within its first year, the SIP has had multiple successes, achieving the following:

  • The installation of 69 X-ray body scanners, with over 9000 positive indications. This has included contraband being retrieved, for example in one case 10.5g of cocaine with an estimated prison value of £4000 was recovered.

  • The roll out of Enhanced Gate Security (EGS), replicating the measures used in airport screening, resulting in hundreds of illicit items being prevented from entering prisons.

23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, whether an assessment has been made of the effect of the number of prison visits received by a prisoner on offending rates after release.

This Government is committed to reducing reoffending by ensuring that all offenders have the tools they need to turn their backs on crime.

Families and friends can be a positive influence on reducing reoffending. Strengthening the ties individuals have with their families and friends is one of the many important factors to successful rehabilitation and reducing intergenerational crime.

We know family contact can reduce the likelihood of reoffending, Ministry of Justice research analysis reporting on surveys carried out from 2001 to 2004 found that the odds of reoffending were 39% higher for prisoners who had not received visits compared to those who had. The research summary is available here: Factors linked to re-offending: a one-year follow-up of prisoners who took part in the Resettlement Surveys 2001, 2003 and 2004 (antoniocasella.eu). However, information on the number of visits a prisoner receives and a reduction in reoffending behaviour is not available.

The latest published data on reoffending rates for those released from custody was published 27 May: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/proven-reoffending-statistics-january-to-march-2019

6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if he will set a target for the reduction of drugs in prisons during the lifetime of the 2019 Parliament.

Stopping drugs getting into and circulating in prisons is a key priority. Whilst we will not be introducing a specific target, we are taking decisive action to improve our ability to disrupt this type of criminality by putting in place security counter-measures that would allow us to seize more items than ever before.

In August 2019, we announced £100 million investment to boost prison security and restrict supply with a focus on technology to detect and disrupt drugs and mobile phones from entering prisons. This is supported by enhancements to intelligence and counter corruption capabilities.

This investment supports our National Prison Drugs Strategy published in April 2019. The Strategy has three strands to tackle drugs in prisons: (1) restricting the supply; (2) reducing demand; and (3) building recovery from drugs and substance misuse. We are working with law enforcement and health partners across government to implement this and improvements to our drug testing framework are a key component of this strategy.

The Drug Recovery Prison (DRP) at Holme House, is a £9 million project which is jointly funded by the Department for Health and Social Care and MoJ. It provides an innovative, whole system approach to tackling substance misuse. The pilot aims to reduce the supply and demand for illicit substances in prisons, whilst supporting recovery. Findings from the evaluations of the pilot will help to identify successful initiatives that will be shared across the prison estate.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if he will provide an estimate of the volume of the reduction of illegal drugs smuggled into prisons he expects to be delivered through the implementation of the National Prison Drugs Strategy.

By its very nature, drug trafficking is intended to be a clandestine activity. It is therefore not possible to estimate a volume reduction in drugs being smuggled into prisons. However, we are taking a number of steps to strengthen our prisons’ defences against this type of criminality.

To support the ‘reducing supply’ strand of the National Prison Drugs Strategy, we are taking decisive action to improve security. This will make it much harder for illicit items to be smuggled in by prisoners, staff and visitors; strengthen staff resilience to corruption; and target organised criminals who exploit prisons as a lucrative illicit market. This package of measures is being funded through the £100m investment to tackle crime behind bars, announced by the Prime Minister last summer. This is funding tough new measures including X-ray body scanners to detect items smuggled inside prisoners’ bodies. Our ability to tackle drugs supply is also supported by efforts to reduce demand for drugs. This is why the National Drugs Strategy takes a three-pronged approach and focusses on tackling supply, reducing demand and building recovery from substance misuse.

A planned evaluation of the £100m investment will consider the wider benefits and outcomes for the safety and security of prisons as measures of success. It will use a range of both quantitative and qualitative measures to assess whether delivery of the investment has successfully reduced drug trafficking into prisons through the targeted supply routes.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what recent steps his Department has taken to reduce the rate of prisoners re-offending after their release.

Employment is a significant factor in reducing reoffending. Secure and sustained employment for people released from prison starts with getting the right education in prison and we are creating a Prisoner Education Service focussed on work-based training and skills.

The Sentencing White Paper also sets out proposals for changes to rehabilitation periods – shortening the time in which prison leavers have to declare criminal records to prospective employers. For the first time, some custodial sentences of over 4 years will become spent as part of criminal records checks for non-sensitive roles in addition to significant reductions to the rehabilitation periods for sentences under 4 years.

These proposals, along with recently approved legislation to change the rules governing disclosure for sensitive roles by removing the multiple convictions rule and the disclosure of youth cautions, reprimands and warnings, will help those who have offended in the past access employment.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what comparative assessment he has made of the number of adults convicted of offences involving the online grooming of children in 2018 and 2019.

The Ministry of Justice publishes statistics on proceedings and outcomes for a range of offences relating to grooming including: sexual communication with a child; and meeting a child aged under 16 following sexual grooming. Offences relating to online grooming are not distinguished from all grooming offences in court data.

Data on these offences is published up to December 2019 and available in the Principal offence proceedings and outcomes by Home Office offence code data tool:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/888344/HO-code-tool-principal-offence-2019.xlsx

Filter ‘detailed offence’ for:

Engage in sexual communication with a child

Meeting a female child aged under 16 following sexual grooming etc. - offender aged 18 or over

Meeting a male child aged under 16 following sexual grooming etc. - offender aged 18 or over

Or filter ‘offence’ for:

88A Sexual Grooming

19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps his Department is taking to halt drug supplies into prisons.

We are taking decisive action to improve security to: stop illicit items being smuggled in by prisoners, staff and visitors; to strengthen staff resilience to corruption; and to target organised criminals who exploit prisons as a lucrative illicit market. This package of measures is being funded through the £100m investment to tackle crime behind bars, announced by the Prime Minister last summer.

Enhanced gate security is being deployed to the most challenging prisons in the estate. Cutting-edge x-ray body scanners will target prisoners internally smuggling illicit items into prisons. We recently announced the first 16 sites to receive this equipment.

Whilst the vast majority of our staff are honest and hardworking, we are also investing new resource to step up our counter corruption capability and strengthen (in scale and reach) intelligence-led operations and investigations with law enforcement partners against those that present the greatest threat of harm to prison security and the community.

We will also equip sites with new technology and staff to enhance staff and visitor searching at the gate. We have already announced the first 7 sites for this provision.

We are fully supporting the Right Hon. Member for Chesham and Amersham’s Private Member’s Bill on Prisons (Substance Testing) which is due to have its second reading on the 15 May. This Bill will improve our ability to test for drugs across the estate and provide the appropriate support to prisoners using drugs.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of trends in the level of drug finds in prisons between 2008 and 2018.

The number of drug finds in prisons across England and Wales between 2008 and 2018 can be found in the HMPPS Annual Digest 2018/19:

2008

4,654

2009

4,392

2010

3,537

2011

3,353

2012

4,143

2013

4,292

2014

5,617

2015

8,757

2016

10,611

2017

12,077

2018

17,283

Drug finds in prisons continue to rise, and in the 12 months to March 2019, there were 18,435 incidents; an increase of 41% over the previous 12-month period.

The increase in drug finds since 2015 is partly due to the increase in finds of psychoactive substances. HM Prison and Probation Service has also put in place a number of security counter-measures over this period, allowing it to seize more items of contraband than ever before. These included:

  • In 2017 - intelligence units to help identify, understand and disrupt security threats at prisons;
  • In 2018 – Serious and Organised Crime Unit, Financial Investigations Unit, technology to obtain data from mobile phones seized in prisons, dedicated search teams, X-ray body scanners for 20 prisons including the establishments in the Ten Prisons Project who also received bag scanners and metal detectors and dedicated search teams; and
  • In 2019 - our new Counter-Corruption Unit.

We are now investing a further £100m in prison security to stop contraband such as drugs from entering prisons. This includes more X-ray baggage scanners to enhance searching of visitors and staff and more X-ray body scanners to detect prisoners concealing contraband inside their bodies.

This is part of our £2.75 billion investment to make prisons safer for offenders and staff, while working closely with healthcare providers to ensure prisoners have the support they need to live drug-free. We therefore also published in April 2019 The National Prison Drug Strategy which has three strands: restricting supply, reducing demand and ensuring prisoners are encouraged to engage in meaningful activity and treatment interventions.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
3rd Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many people who were released from prison following a decision by the Independent Parole Board were subsequently convicted and imprisoned for a further offence in the last three years.

This Government is committed to reducing reoffending by ensuring that all offenders have the tools they need to turn their backs on crime. Prisons and probation must provide the opportunity for prisoners to rehabilitate, which will ultimately reduce reoffending and protect the public.

The Ministry of Justice does not hold data on the number of offenders released following a Parole Board decision who were subsequently convicted and imprisoned for a further offence. However, a breakdown of the total number of reoffences following release after serving an indeterminate sentence is published. A breakdown of these is included below:

Table 1: Total number of reoffences following release from custody after serving an indeterminate sentence

Indeterminate sentence

Reoffending cohort

April 2015 – March 2016

April 2016 – March 2017

April 2017 – March 2018

Indeterminate sentence for public protection

141

191

231

Mandatory life prisoner

10

17

27

Other life1

27

37

21

  1. ‘Other life’ category includes discretionary and automatic life sentences

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, when the Law Commission plans to publish a response to its consultation on wills, which closed on 10 November 2017.

The Law Commission remains committed to completing its work on wills, the timetable for which remains under review. The next step will be publication of its final report rather than a response to the consultation undertaken in 2017.

10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, when he plans to reply to the correspondence from the hon. Member for East Londonderry of 28 October 2021 on Policing Ombudsman delays regarding a murder case in Londonderry.

A response was issued from my office on 11 January 2022.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
25th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, when he plans to respond to Question 59717 on UK Shared Prosperity Fund tabled by the hon. Member for East Londonderry on 20 October 2021.

This question was answered on 26 October 2021.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
27th Oct 2021
If he will have discussions with the Northern Ireland Executive on delays in the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland in concluding investigations.

The Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland is an independent and impartial organisation; It would not be appropriate for the Government to enter into discussions on the conduct of their investigations.

The Hon Gentleman is welcome to write to me directly on this topic.

20th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, when he plans to announce proposals on how the UK Shared Prosperity Fund will be used to strengthen the Union.

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund will help to level up and create opportunity across the United Kingdom.

It will operate UK-wide, using the new financial assistance powers in the UK Internal Market Act 2020. We will ramp up funding so that total domestic UK-wide funding will at least match EU receipts, on average reaching around £1.5bn a year.

The Spending Review 2020 set out the main strategic elements of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund in the Heads of Terms.  The Government will publish further details later this year and confirm its funding profile at the upcoming Spending Review.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, when he plans to publish the Government's proposals on tackling the legacy of Northern Ireland’s past.

The current system for dealing with the legacy of the past is failing to bring satisfactory outcomes for families and placing a heavy burden on the criminal justice system. It is not working for anyone and is leaving society in Northern Ireland hamstrung by its past.

On 24 June, the UK Government - along with the Irish Government - agreed to commence a process of intensive engagement with the Northern Ireland parties and all relevant stakeholders and civil society, including victims groups, with a view to making progress on this issue as soon as possible. This engagement process has now started, and the UK Government has committed to bringing forward proposals and to introducing legislation to address the legacy of the Troubles in Northern Ireland as soon as possible.

19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, when was he informed of the decision by the Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland that she was unavailable to meet HRH The Prince of Wales on his visit to Northern Ireland which began on 18 May 2021.

Private audiences with members of the Royal Family are a matter for the Royal Household.

4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what discussions he has held with Cabinet colleagues on Northern Ireland's allocation under the UK Shared Prosperity Fund in the last four weeks.

The UK Government is committed to creating a UK Shared Prosperity Fund which will bind together the whole United Kingdom, tackling inequality and deprivation in each of our four nations. It will, at a minimum, match the size of the EU structural funds in each nation.

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland continues to engage regularly with colleagues from across the Government and will ensure that the UK Shared Prosperity Fund works for the people and businesses of Northern Ireland, drives growth and promotes innovation. The UK Shared Prosperity Fund will be used to boost the links between our family of nations, Strengthening the Union and levelling up the entire country creating a more successful and resilient economy.




6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, if he will hold discussions with the Foreign Affairs Minister and the Justice Minister of the Northern Ireland Executive on the funding of a documentary called The Unquiet Graves broadcast on RTE Irish State Television which was broadcast in September 2020.

Funding decisions are made at arms length from the Government and the Government does not comment on individual cases.

1st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, if he will hold discussions with the Northern Ireland Victims Commissioner on the introduction of a veterans' railcard.

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland has had regular discussions on a wide range of issues with office holders in Northern Ireland including the Victims Commissioner and the Northern Ireland Veterans Commissioner, who was recently appointed to act as a voice and advocate for veterans as they make the transition to civilian life.

The Department for Transport have been leading on the programme to introduce railcards for veterans and, with support from the Office for Veterans’ Affairs, have been working closely with the devolved administrations to determine how this is delivered across all parts of the UK. In Northern Ireland, the decision on implementing this proposal is for the Minister for Infrastructure to take.

30th Sep 2020
If he will make representations to the Chancellor of the Exchequer on ensuring that the extension of duty free arrangements to the EU from January 2021 includes Northern Ireland airports.

I regularly speak to Treasury Ministers to discuss opportunities for the economy in Northern Ireland. The Government continues to work through the implications of the Northern Ireland Protocol and the unique situation it creates for VAT and excise. Guidance will be provided on how the Protocol will work, including for duty-free goods ahead of the transition period.