Henry Smith Portrait

Henry Smith

Conservative - Crawley

Committees on Arms Export Controls (formerly Quadripartite Committee)
10th Oct 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
International Development Sub-Committee on the Work of the Independent Commission for Aid Impact
13th Sep 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
International Development Committee
11th Sep 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Committees on Arms Export Controls
10th Oct 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
European Scrutiny Committee
26th Jul 2010 - 30th Mar 2015


Select Committee Meeting
Tuesday 21st September 2021
14:00
Foreign Affairs Committee - Oral evidence
Subject: Implementing the Integrated Review in Nigeria
21 Sep 2021, 2 p.m.
At 2.30pm: Oral evidence
Patoranking - Nigerian music artist and performer
Adesope Olajide (AKA Shopsy Doo) - Broadcaster and definer of the Afrobeats scene
At 3.30pm: Oral evidence
Ofovwe Aig-Imoukhuede - Director at Africa Initiative for Governance
Helen Dempster - Assistant Director at Centre for Global Development
View calendar
Scheduled Event
Wednesday 22nd September 2021
Ten Minute Rule Motion - Main Chamber
Hen Caging (Prohibition)
View calendar
Division Votes
Wednesday 9th June 2021
Information Commissioner (Remuneration)
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 359 Conservative Aye votes vs 0 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 369 Noes - 2
Speeches
Monday 13th September 2021
HGV Driver Shortages

I was recently in the US, where a shortage of 60,000 truck drivers was across the media. Does my right …

Written Answers
Thursday 16th September 2021
Iran: Human Rights
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he plans to use UK's Global Human …
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
Tuesday 16th January 2018
British Indian Ocean Territory (Citizenship) Bill 2017-19
The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will …
MP Financial Interests
Monday 23rd August 2021
8. Miscellaneous
From 28 May 2020 until 6 October 2020, Chair of the Future of Aviation Group, a cross-party group focusing on …
EDM signed
Tuesday 23rd April 2019
Exiting the European Union
That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (Exit Day) (Amendment) …
Supported Legislation
Monday 10th February 2020
Voter Registration Bill 2019-21
A Bill to prohibit persons from being registered to vote in Parliamentary elections at more than one address; and for …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Henry Smith has voted in 272 divisions, and 13 times against the majority of their Party.

25 Mar 2021 - Coronavirus - View Vote Context
Henry Smith voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 35 Conservative No votes vs 305 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 484 Noes - 76
10 Feb 2021 - Public Health - View Vote Context
Henry Smith voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 24 Conservative No votes vs 327 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 526 Noes - 24
20 Jan 2021 - National Security and Investment Bill - View Vote Context
Henry Smith voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 6 Conservative Aye votes vs 350 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 269 Noes - 351
30 Dec 2020 - Sittings of the House - View Vote Context
Henry Smith voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 13 Conservative No votes vs 328 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 335 Noes - 212
1 Dec 2020 - Public Health - View Vote Context
Henry Smith voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 53 Conservative No votes vs 290 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 291 Noes - 78
4 Nov 2020 - Public Health - View Vote Context
Henry Smith voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 33 Conservative No votes vs 308 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 516 Noes - 38
13 Oct 2020 - Public Health: Coronavirus Regulations - View Vote Context
Henry Smith voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 42 Conservative No votes vs 298 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 299 Noes - 82
12 Oct 2020 - Agriculture Bill - View Vote Context
Henry Smith voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 14 Conservative No votes vs 327 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 332 Noes - 279
6 Oct 2020 - Public Health - View Vote Context
Henry Smith voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 12 Conservative No votes vs 285 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 287 Noes - 17
1 Jul 2020 - Finance Bill - View Vote Context
Henry Smith voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 12 Conservative Aye votes vs 316 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 254 Noes - 317
30 Jun 2020 - Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill - View Vote Context
Henry Smith voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 3 Conservative Aye votes vs 332 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 252 Noes - 332
17 Jun 2020 - Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill [Lords] - View Vote Context
Henry Smith voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 23 Conservative Aye votes vs 283 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 31 Noes - 400
10 Mar 2020 - Telecommunications Infrastructure (Leasehold Property) Bill - View Vote Context
Henry Smith voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 36 Conservative Aye votes vs 301 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 282 Noes - 306
View All Henry Smith Division Votes

Debates during the 2019 Parliament

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

Sparring Partners
Jacob Rees-Mogg (Conservative)
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
(21 debate interactions)
Matt Hancock (Conservative)
(10 debate interactions)
Grant Shapps (Conservative)
Secretary of State for Transport
(9 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Department for Transport
(14 debate contributions)
Department for Education
(12 debate contributions)
Leader of the House
(11 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Henry Smith's debates

Crawley Petitions

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

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

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

Petitions with highest Crawley signature proportion
Petitions with most Crawley signatures
Henry Smith has not participated in any petition debates

Latest EDMs signed by Henry Smith

11th April 2019
Henry Smith signed this EDM on Tuesday 23rd April 2019

Exiting the European Union

Tabled by: William Cash (Conservative - Stone)
That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (Exit Day) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2019 (S.I., 2019, No. 859), dated 11 April 2019, a copy of which was laid before this House on 11 April 2019, be annulled.
82 signatures
(Most recent: 29 Apr 2019)
Signatures by party:
Conservative: 73
Democratic Unionist Party: 7
Independent: 1
Non-affiliated: 1
View All Henry Smith's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Henry Smith, 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.


Henry Smith has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Henry Smith has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

3 Bills introduced by Henry Smith


The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress.


Last Event - 2nd Reading: House Of Commons
Friday 13th May 2011

The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress. A Bill to allow persons descended from individuals born in the British Indian Ocean Territory to register as British overseas territories citizens; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Tuesday 16th January 2018
(Read Debate)

The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress. A Bill to require the Secretary of State to instruct the National Health Service to record and audit the cost of treatment of individuals not entitled to free health care and of foreign nationals under the European Health Insurance Card Scheme and other reciprocal healthcare agreements; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Tuesday 11th September 2012

255 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
1 Other Department Questions
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, whether the Government has made an assessment of the potential merits of appointing a Minister responsible for male-specific issues.

The Equality Act requires the interests of both sexes to be considered when assessing equality impacts. The Government is focussed on delivering genuine equality of opportunity by addressing the real problems people, whatever their sex, face in their everyday lives using evidence and data.

That is why we recently announced the Equality Data Programme, a comprehensive project to improve equality data, enhance our understanding of equality, and get to the heart of the barriers all people face.

As ministerial appointments are made by the Prime Minister, any changes to ministerial titles would be a matter for him to consider. However, all Equalities Ministers have a responsibility to carefully consider issues affecting men and boys as part of their remit even where this is not necessarily indicated in their job title.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
5th Nov 2020
What recent assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the extension to the unduly lenient sentence scheme.

The unduly lenient sentence scheme was extended to incorporate further serious offences, in November of last year.

The horrendous crime of stalking involving serious alarm or distress was one of the offences which was added.

I am pleased to tell the House that this extension meant I was able to refer a case recently to the Court of Appeal, one in which the sentence of the offender was more than doubled.

Michael Ellis
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether the Government is taking steps ahead of the UK’s Presidency of the G7 in summer 2021 to ensure that (a) the safe reopening of borders and (b) restart of international aviation is a priority of the G7.

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

Penny Mordaunt
Paymaster General
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the findings by the Royal National Institute of Blind People in their report entitled Turned out 2019 that 68 per cent of blind postal voters and 22 per cent of partially sighted postal voters at the December 2019 General Election had to use assistance from another person to enable them to vote, what plans he has to review the accessibility of the postal vote system.

The Government is committed to ensuring that elections are accessible for all those eligible to vote and has already been working with the RNIB to improve the voting process for voters with sight loss.

It is important for security purposes that a physical poll card is sent to every elector at the property where they are registered, but we have already considered how electoral information might additionally be made available in more accessible format for those who request it.

Returning Officers already publish details of candidates in the order they will appear on the ballot paper online. We will work with partners in the electoral sector to ensure this information is accessible.

The Government will continue to work with the RNIB, the Electoral Commission and other relevant organisations to make blind and partially sighted voters aware of the support available to them at the polling station, and to consider what additional support could be provided to help blind and partially sighted people to vote including by post.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans his Department has to (a) conduct and (b) provide funding for external organisations to conduct research into the effectiveness of covid-19 vaccinations for (a) people with blood cancer and (b) other immunocompromised people.

UKRI is currently funding one study of direct relevance to these areas. UKRI has allocated an initial £1.8 million to the OCTAVE study, led by Professor Iain McInnes, University of Glasgow, for a twelve-month period, and is considering a case for additional funding beyond this. OCTAVE is supporting research on vaccine responses in groups of immune-supressed individuals, including those with inflammatory disorders, high risk cancer patient groups, and patients with severe kidney and liver disease. Cancer patient groups include chronic lymphocytic leukaemia, myeloma, acute leukaemia, and bone marrow transplants. As the OCTAVE study is being managed as a single project it is not possible to give costs for the individual groups.

In addition, there are proposals on vaccine responses in high-risk clinical groups under consideration as part of the UKRI COVID-19 Agile call, with announcements to be made shortly. Furthermore, UKRI continues to accept applications for COVID-19 related research, including on this topic, through its active calls, which can be found on the UKRI website.

Amanda Solloway
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with the Transport Secretary on plans for lifting covid-19 international travel restrictions to give the aerospace sector the long-term vision to recover from the pandemic.

The Department is in regular contact with the Department for Transport on the impacts of COVID-19 on the aerospace sector. Both BEIS and the Department for Transport (DfT) recognise the importance of the UK aerospace industry to the economy and the vital role it will play in the post-pandemic recovery.

DfT engages with the industry via multiple channels, focusing on a wide range of issues affecting the industry such as EU Exit transition, Covid-19 impact, technical certification and specification, and international cooperation.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make it his policy to support a roadmap to recovery for the pub and brewing sector to provide (a) financial and fiscal support throughout 2021 and (b) proportional easing of covid-19 restrictions for that sector at the earliest opportunity.

Over the course of the pandemic, the Government has worked closely with the hospitality sector to understand the impact of COVID-19 on their businesses and has responded with a substantial package of business support. We keep all restrictions under constant review.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 13 July 2020 to Question 68687, what formula was used to determine how much funding local authorities received from the Coronavirus Discretionary Grant Fund.

Each of the 314 billing authorities currently involved in the delivery of the Small Business Grants Fund and Retail, Hospitality & Leisure Fund will receive a fixed minimum allocation for the Local Authority Discretionary Grant Fund as a 5% uplift of the value of its in-scope hereditaments as identified at 3 May 2020. Individual letters were issued to all 314 Local Authorities on 20 May 2020 with a detailed explanation of their allocation.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will take steps to review the criteria for distributing and allocating funding through the Discretionary Grant Fund to local councils for supporting businesses during the covid-19 outbreak.

The?Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund is aimed at small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs that are not liable for business rates or rates reliefs.

Local authorities are responsible for defining the precise eligibility for this Fund?and?may choose to make payments to other businesses based on local economic need,?subject to those businesses meeting the specific eligibility criteria.

We are asking local authorities to prioritise the following types of businesses for grants from within this funding pot:

  • Small businesses in shared offices or other flexible workspaces. Examples could include units in industrial parks, science parks, and incubators which do not have their own business rates assessment.
  • Regular market traders with fixed building costs, such as rent, who do not have their own business rates assessment.
  • Bed & breakfasts which pay Council Tax instead of business rates.
  • Charity properties in receipt of Charitable Rate Relief, which would otherwise have been eligible for Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Rate Relief.

Businesses already in receipt of the Small Business grant or a Retail, Hospitality and Leisure grant are not eligible for this fund.?Businesses who are eligible for or in receipt of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme are now eligible to apply for this scheme.

There is currently no plan to change eligibility criteria for this scheme. Officials are keeping in close contact with local authorities to monitor the progress of the scheme.

Guidance for Local Authorities was published 13 May: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-business-support-grant-funding.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
26th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of directing UKRI to fund research into platform vaccine and diagnostic tools to support the development of vaccines during a potential pandemic.

We work with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), Department for International Development, and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) to support research on platform vaccine technologies and diagnostic tools that can be utilised as a rapid response during a pandemic. These form a component of the current DHSC and UKRI COVID-19 rapid-response call for proposals to address the threat of this novel coronavirus. Platform vaccines and diagnostics are an integral part of UKRI’s current approach for the development and translation of research findings into tangible benefits, with research funded across UKRI councils

DHSC and UKRI lead the UK Vaccine Network which brings together funders, industry and academia to identify and target investment opportunities for the most promising vaccines and vaccine technologies, including platform vaccine and diagnostic tools to combat infectious diseases with epidemic potential and to address structural issues related to the UK’s vaccine infrastructure.

Through the Network two vaccine manufacturing hubs have been established to streamline vaccine manufacturing. A £10 million award to Professor Robin Shuttock at Imperial College London aims to revolutionise the vaccine manufacture, stabilisation and storage, reducing costs, increasing efficiency and improving prevention of existing and new diseases. A £7 million award to Professor Tarit Mukhopadhyay at University College London aims to establish the UK as a global centre for vaccine discovery, development and manufacture, while also ensuring that new vaccine manufacturing processes can be used in low and middle income countries.

Amanda Solloway
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans she has to support the creation of carbon capture and storage clusters; and if she will make a statement.

Carbon capture, usage and storage (CCUS) will play a vital role in meeting our net zero greenhouse gas emissions target by 2050, supporting both our Industrial Strategy and the revitalisation of the economies of the UK’s industrial areas.

The CCUS Action Plan outlined that deploying CCUS in industrial clusters has the potential to allow a number of carbon capture applications – for industry, to hydrogen, to low carbon gas or bio-energy with CCS in power – to connect to shared carbon dioxide infrastructure.

That is why this Government has committed to invest £800 million to build the first fully deployed CCUS cluster by the mid-2020s and £500 million to help energy-intensive industries move to low-carbon techniques.

CCUS is also likely to play an important role in achieving our Industrial Clusters Mission, creating the world’s first net zero industrial cluster by 2040. This is supported by up to £170 million from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund to support the deployment of low carbon technologies and enabling infrastructure in one or more clusters.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans he has to support equine rescue charities whose income has reduced as a result of the covid-19 outbreak and who are ineligible for the job support schemes.

There are already generous measures in place to support the voluntary and community sector which include more than £1.3 billion a year in respect of Gift Aid on donations. Charities play an invaluable role in this country which is why the Government has made available an unprecedented £750 million package of support, specifically for charities, social enterprises and the voluntary sector so that they can continue their vital work through the coronavirus outbreak.

The Government has also worked closely with the sector through the Canine and Feline Sector Group and National Equine Welfare Council to agree and update guidance to animal rescue and rehoming organisations, and other animal charities and businesses. This has enabled them to undertake core operations as far as possible, whilst maintaining compliance with the social distancing rules and need for hygiene precautions to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

DCMS and Defra remain committed to continued engagement with the sector to understand the longer-term impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, monitor the animal welfare implications of this and offer appropriate advice and support.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the effect of the introduction of the 14-day quarantine period on the (a) tourism, (b) travel and (c) hospitality sectors.

We remain in regular contact with stakeholders, including UKHospitality, UKInbound and the ABTA, to closely monitor COVID-19’s impact on the tourism, travel and hospitality sectors. No impact assessment has been made by my Department.

The Home Office commissioned Her Majesty's Treasury to assess the economic impacts of the mandatory 14 day self-isolation requirement. The Department for Transport fed into this analysis and ensured that the significant impact of the policy on the transport sector was reflected.

We appreciate that the quarantine measures will present difficulties for these sectors. The quarantine policy will be reviewed regularly and the first review will take place in the week beginning 28 June. We are also working with the transport industry to see how we can introduce agreements with other countries when safe to do so, so people from the UK can go abroad and tourists can come here.

Tourism and hospitality businesses and workers can access the Government’s economic support package. These include the recently extended Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, loan schemes, as well as business rates relief and grants for eligible retail, hospitality and leisure businesses.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the 14-day quarantine period on the financial viability of businesses in the travel sector.

We remain in regular contact with stakeholders, including UKHospitality, UKInbound and the ABTA, to closely monitor COVID-19’s impact on the financial health of businesses in the travel sector. This includes holding discussions about the effect of the 14-day quarantine period.

The Home Office commissioned Her Majesty's Treasury to assess the economic impacts of the mandatory 14 day self-isolation requirement. The Department for Transport fed into this analysis and ensured that the significant impact of the policy on the transport sector was reflected.

We appreciate that the quarantine measures will present significant difficulties for the travel and tourism sectors. The quarantine policy will be reviewed regularly and the first review will take place in the week beginning 28 June. We are also working with the transport industry to see how we can introduce agreements with other countries when safe to do so, so people from the UK can go abroad and tourists can come here.

Travel businesses and workers can access the Government’s economic support package. These include the recently extended Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, generous loan schemes and VAT payment deferrals for firms.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to ensure transparency in the criteria for the (a) allocation and (b) application process for the £360 million allocated from the public purse to supporting charities financially affected by covid-19.

The £750 million funding package announced by the Government on 8 April is to ensure charities providing frontline services to vulnerable people affected by the pandemic can continue their vital work. £360m is being distributed via individual government departments based on evidence of service need. Up to £200m of this will directly support hospices and be administered by the Department of Health and Social Care. Departments are using a range of approaches to allocating funding in order to meet identified needs quickly, including bidding processes and awarding funding directly. Applications are now open for funding for the distribution of food to vulnerable people, safe accommodation for survivors of domestic abuse, armed services charities, and charities working to tackle loneliness and homelessness. Further information has been released on gov.uk.

The criteria for each fund are determined by the department responsible for distributing the funding. Each department is also responsible for due diligence and monitoring of the grants. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport will publish an online resource signposting charities to these funding opportunities available for applications through government departments.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
29th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Department of Culture Media & Sport, whether charity employees furloughed on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme can still participate in fundraising activities for their employer.

HMT guidance on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme confirms that furloughed employees can take part in volunteer work, provided that it does not provide services or generate revenue for their employer. The system has been carefully set up to encourage employees whose working is not required due to social distancing to take up a unique opportunity to support the frontline delivery of essential support services.

However, the scheme is not designed to help charities cut the costs of delivering vital services. Where staff are needed in organisations to provide vital services and help vulnerable people through the Covid-19 crisis, these organisations will be eligible to apply for the new £750m funding package that was recently announced.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
16th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions she has had with the BBC on its decision not to provide free TV licences to people aged over 75 that are not in receipt of pension credit.

The Secretary of State has met with the Chairman of the BBC Board and the Director-General of the BBC and asked them to do more to help those affected by its decision.

The Government is disappointed with the BBC's decision to restrict the over 75 licence fee concession to only those in receipt of pension credit.

We recognise the value of free TV licences for over 75s and believe they should be funded by the BBC.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to support (a) local libraries and (b) regional museums in Crawley constituency.

Local libraries
Local authorities in England have a statutory duty to provide a comprehensive and efficient library service. It is for individual local authorities to decide how best to provide a public library service that meets local needs within their available resources. The net expenditure on the library service by local authorities in England increased in 2018/19 from 2017/18.

In October 2019, DCMS announced the £250 million Cultural Investment Fund, of which over £125 million will be invested in regional museums and libraries over five years from 2020/21. The funds will be used to upgrade buildings and technology so public libraries across England are better placed to respond to the changing ways people are using them.

West Sussex Council received £178,830 from Libraries: Opportunities for Everyone Innovation Fund in 2018 to ensure more people had access to digital technology by establishing a collection of tablets and laptops that could be loaned out to the local community. The emphasis of the project was on meeting the needs of disadvantaged groups within the council’s communities – such as older people or adults with learning disabilities.

Arts Council England, funded by DCMS, is the development agency for libraries, and also provides support to public libraries in England. Arts Council England is providing £1.6 million per annum to seven libraries’ organisations through its National Portfolio 2018 to 2022, including Libraries Connected, which is funded as the Sector Support Organisation for public libraries.

Regional Museums
In 2018, Crawley Museum reopened after an extensive, publicly funded renovation project. The project received £1.15m from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and £763,000 from Crawley Borough Council.

This independent local history museum puts community participation at its heart, including through its current exhibition in partnership with members of the Crawley Kashmiri community on the history, traditions and culture of Azad Kashmir.

Museums around the country are supported by Arts Council England as the development agency for the sector. Museums can contact area offices and Museum Development services to find out what support is available, such as National Lottery Project Grants which fund a range of activities such as developing collections, audiences, and skills. The South East Museum Development Programme is managed by a consortia of museums led by the Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton and Hove, and will receive £2m of funding from the Arts Council 2018-22.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to support local authorities to meet their statutory targets for Education, Health and Care plan assessment waiting times.

The special educational needs and disability (SEND) code of practice makes clear that local authorities must give their decision in response to any request for an education, health and care needs assessment within a maximum of 6 weeks from when the request was received or the point at which a child or young person was brought to the local authority’s attention.

We have been using data to provide challenge and support to those local authorities where there are long-standing delays. Additionally, because of circumstances relating to the COVID-19 outbreak, we are carrying out monthly surveys of local authority performance. Our teams of SEND Advisers, and colleagues in NHS England, are working with local authorities to help improve performance. Each year, we also deliver a training programme to local authorities, health, and social care staff on their statutory duties for education, health and care plans and reviews, and we have continued to do this on a virtual basis.

Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) re-started their revisit programme to areas that received a Written Statement of Action in May, with the full inspection programme re-starting in June. We are continuing to provide support and challenge to individual local authorities with a Written Statement of Action. We have commissioned the CQC and Ofsted, with the support of the Department of Health and Social Care, to develop a new area SEND inspection framework to launch after the existing cycle has finished.

Furthermore, we are providing over £42 million in the 2021/22 financial year to continue funding projects to support children with SEND. This investment will ensure that specialist organisations around the country can continue to help strengthen local area performance, support families, and provide practical support to schools and colleges.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to Answer of 21 June 2021 to Question 10325 on Education: Gender and with reference to the attainment gap between girl and boys, if he will design education policy to target pupils who are falling behind in their attainment to help close the attainment gap between boys and girls in education.

The Department recognises, and continues to monitor, the educational attainment gap between girls and boys. We do not design education policy that exclusively targets certain groups of pupils based on gender. The Department is focused on providing world class education and training for everyone, whatever their background.

The Government recognises that extended school and college restrictions have had a substantial impact on children and young people’s education and is committed to helping pupils catch up. The Department has announced over £3 billion to support education recovery and pupil premium is providing over £2.5 billion in the 2021/22 financial year targeted at disadvantaged pupils.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to tackle the learning gap between girls and boys.

The Department recognises, and continues to monitor, the educational attainment gap between girls and boys. We have worked hard over the last decade to embed the reforms needed to raise standards for all children. Thanks to these efforts, the proportion of schools now rated by Ofsted as Good or Outstanding has risen from 68% in 2010 to 86% in 2020.

The Department does not design education policy that exclusively targets certain groups of pupils, including policy based on gender. We are committed to providing high quality education and training for everyone, regardless of their background.

When it comes to raising standards, evidence shows that teachers are the most important in-school factor affecting pupils’ education. The Department has recently announced an investment of over £250 million in our National Professional Qualifications and Early Career Framework programmes which are based on the best available evidence and have been developed in partnership with the Education Endowment Foundation. Through this, the Department is committed to helping tackle the educational attainment gap for all pupils.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that all children with SEND are able to access education remotely which meets their needs.

On 8 January 2021, the department published updated guidance regarding the provision of remote education during national lockdown while attendance is restricted: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/952443/210114_School_national_restrictions_guidance_FINAL_14012021.pdf.

This includes guidance for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

During the period of national lockdown, primary, secondary, alternative provision and special schools will remain open to vulnerable children and young people, including those with an education, health and care plan. For pupils with SEND, their teachers are best-placed to know how the pupil’s needs can be most effectively met to ensure they continue to make progress even if they are not able to be in school due to COVID-19. The requirement for schools to use their best endeavours to secure the special educational provision called for by the pupils’ special educational needs remains in place. Where possible, special schools should follow the age-related guidance for primary schools and secondary schools.

Schools should work collaboratively with families, putting in place reasonable adjustments as necessary, so that pupils with SEND can successfully access remote education alongside their peers. All further education (FE) providers should give particular consideration on how best to support vulnerable and disadvantaged students and students with special educational needs who may not be able to access remote education without support.

The government is investing over £400 million to support access to remote education and online social care, including securing 1.3 million laptops and tablets for disadvantaged children and young people. This includes over 800,000 laptops and tablets that were delivered to schools, academy trusts and local authorities by 17 January 2021.

In addition, the department has also made £4.84 million available for the Oak National Academy, both for the summer term of the academic year 2019-20, and then for the 2020-21 academic year, to provide video lessons in a broad range of subjects for Reception up to year 11. Specialist content for pupils with SEND is also available. This covers communication and language, numeracy, creative arts, independent living, physical development and early development learning. Additionally, the Oak National Academy offers therapy-based lessons and resources across occupational, physical, sensory and speech and language therapy.

We have provided additional funding to one of our Demonstrators, National Star College, to provide training in assistive technologies to school teachers, leaders and special educational needs coordinators (SENCo). This training can be accessed by all state-funded schools and is available via the SEND hub: https://www.nationalstar.org/products-services-facilities/star-technology/accessible-tech/send-support-hub/?doing_wp_cron=1610617013.4222929477691650390625. The training has been designed to help secure remote education arrangements for pupils with special educational needs, with advice and guidance is also available to support the development of an inclusive curriculum. Between now and 31 March 2021, National Star College will:

  • Boost the support available through the Demonstrator Network, through training specifically targeted on SEND practice using accessible technology in order to ensure skills and knowledge sustainability within the Demonstrator network.
  • Provide teacher and SENCo training through online learning covering teaching techniques, accessibility considerations and assessment methodologies.
  • Offer leadership training focused on inclusive curriculum design.
  • Pupil assessments, partnering with demonstrators and SENCos to guide them through an initial assessment of pupil need before any interventions take place.
  • Weekly training webinars (between 20 to 40 mins every Thursday at 4:15pm) focusing on the best ways to integrate accessible technology into classrooms – enabling teachers to improve the outcomes for all of their pupils. The webinars can be found here: https://www.nationalstar.org/products-services-facilities/star-technology/accessible-tech/?doing_wp_cron=1610617612.5390760898590087890625.

There is a wide range of resources available to support schools and FE providers to meet the expectations we have set. The Get Help with Remote Education page on gov.uk provides a one-stop-shop for teachers and leaders, signposting the support package available: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/get-help-with-remote-education. This includes helping schools and colleges to access technology that supports remote education, as well as peer-to-peer training and guidance on how to use technology effectively. It also includes practical tools, a good practice guide and school-led webinars to support effective delivery of the curriculum, information on issues such as safeguarding and statutory duties and expectations information for supporting pupils and students with SEND, as well as signposting support for recovery and catch up.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that young carers and their families are (a) identified and (b) adequately supported so that those young people can be helped to achieve at school.

The government is committed to supporting young carers so that they are properly protected from excessive or inappropriate caring responsibilities and are supported to achieve their full potential. Consistent identification remains challenging, with many being ‘hidden’ and therefore unrecognised and/or unsupported.

Changes through the Children and Families Act 2014 simplified the legislation relating to young adult carers’ assessments, making rights and duties clearer to both young people and practitioners. This included promoting whole family approaches which triggers both and adult support services into action – assessing why a child is caring, what needs to change and what would help the family to prevent children or young people from taking on this responsibility in the first place.

The Department for Education also provides schools with £2.4 billion each year in additional funding through the pupil premium to support disadvantaged pupils. We expect schools to make effective use of their pupil premium budgets. Schools know their pupils best and will spend the grant accordingly to meet pupil needs, which includes where needs are based on a parent’s health issues or disability.

We published the Children in Need Review conclusion in 2019. This sets out our approach to helping schools and children’s social care improve the educational outcomes of children in need, including those young carers assessed as being in need of help and protection.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what his Department's policy is on the importation by the UK for the purposes of scientific research of (a) the offspring of wild-caught non-human primates and (b) non-human primates from supply establishments that trap wild monkeys for breeding purposes and export.

Non-human primates are only used in research where absolutely necessary and where they are considered the most appropriate and scientifically justified species. They play an important role in the public safety testing of novel pharmaceuticals prior to human trials, fulfilling international guidelines and national regulatory requirements.

The import of non-human primates is controlled by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Captive-bred specimens may be traded under CITES rules, including first generation offspring bred in a controlled environment where at least one parent was sourced from the wild.

CITES allows for the introduction of wild sourced specimens into captive breeding facilities to reduce the effects of inbreeding in the captive population. Any introduction must be in line with CITES requirements, including having no detrimental impact on the species survival in the wild and being in line with any domestic laws. Where the UK Government is confident that these conditions have been met, imports will be permitted.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if his Department will end the import of long-tailed macaques for the purposes of scientific research from Mauritius into the UK.

Non-human primates are only used in scientific research where absolutely necessary. Non-human primates play an important role in the public safety testing of novel pharmaceuticals prior to human trials, fulfilling international guidelines and national regulatory requirements. All imports of long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis) into the UK are controlled by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), by way of their listing on CITES Appendix II. To meet our obligations under CITES, all applications for import are reviewed on a case-by-case basis and only allowed for scientific research purposes where we are confident the imports will not have a harmful effect on conservation status of the species. The UK Government has no plans under CITES to end the import of long-tailed macaques for scientific research where they are the most appropriate and scientifically justified species.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many (a) wild-caught, (b) captive-born or F1 generation and (c) captive-bred long-tailed macaques were imported from Mauritius into the UK for the purposes of scientific research in 2020.

Between 1 January 2020 and 31 December 2020, the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) recorded 1142 live long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis) as being imported into the UK from Mauritius. All were captive-bred (Source C) and were imported using purpose code M (bio-medical research).

APHA did not issue any import permits for wild (source W) or first-generation captive bred (source F) specimens in 2020.

A further 122 captive-bred live macaques were imported in early 2021 using Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species permits issued in 2020.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Jan 2021
When he plans to bring forward legislative proposals on animal sentience.

We have committed to bringing in new laws on animal sentience. Any necessary changes required to domestic legislation will be made in an effective and credible way and will be brought forward when parliamentary time allows.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans his Department has to ban supertrawlers from UK waters.

Now that the transition period has ended, we are reviewing our policy on access for supertrawlers. This review will be driven by evidence. Under the Fisheries Act we have the powers to choose which vessels we license but our measures must comply with the UK/EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement which prohibits discrimination against individual vessels. Supertrawlers are mostly pelagic, operating mid-water, and do not make contact with the seabed.

Vessels permitted to fish in UK waters will have to be licensed and comply with UK rules and regulations including those on sustainability. Licence conditions set by UK Sea Fisheries Authorities will apply to both UK and foreign vessels alike.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans his Department has to ban seal shooting in UK waters before the US Marine Mammal Protection Act Import Provision Rule deadline of 1 January 2022.

The Government is taking action to prevent the killing of seals in English, Welsh and Northern Irish waters as a result of commercial fishing. The Marine Management Organisation has not issued licences to kill or take seals in the last ten years under the Conservation of Seals Act for the purpose of preventing damage to fisheries. However, the ‘netsman’s defence’ provision in the Act allows the unlicensed shooting of seals to prevent damage to equipment, or fish within it, and where specific firearms and ammunition are used. We have tabled amendments to the Fisheries Bill that will, if passed, make it illegal to kill seals intentionally or recklessly. These amendments aim to ensure that UK fisheries exports are compliant with the US Marine Mammal Protection Act. The Scottish Parliament recently passed similar legislative changes via the Animals and Wildlife (Penalties, Protections and Powers) (Scotland) Act 2020.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of potential effect of intensive animal farming on the prevalence of zoonotic diseases.

We know that potential zoonotic pathogens transfer from the environment, wildlife and livestock to humans. Research so far indicates that global changes in land use are disrupting the balance of wild animal communities and the beneficiaries appear to be species that carry diseases known to infect humans. It is estimated that 60% of all human diseases originate in animals. More intensive farming may expedite the spread of the pathogens.

The Department's Veterinary Risk Group and the Human Animal Infections Risk and Surveillance Group carry out horizon scanning and risk assessment for emerging threats associated with livestock farming and wildlife, internationally and domestically.

The Defra agency Cefas is currently working on a review of risks of zoonotic pathogens arising from aquaculture settings globally.

We routinely carry out surveillance on farms for zoonotic pathogens. We have significant surveillance programmes testing for TB, avian influenza, salmonella, AMR and brucelloses. We work closely with the Food Standards Agency on detecting food borne pathogens and with local health protection teams and environmental health officers to control any outbreaks of zoonotic disease associated with livestock farming, consumption of products of animal origin or exposure to livestock.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to bring forward legislative proposals to ban the long-distance transportation of live animals; and if he will make a statement.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the Rt Hon Member for Chipping Barnet on 11 June 2020, PQ UIN 55899.

https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-06-08/55899

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what funding his Department has allocated to programmes to help protect Asian elephants living in the wild.

Defra has provided over £4.2 million in funding for Asian elephants living in the wild since 2015 through the Darwin Initiative and the Illegal Wildlife Trade (IWT) Challenge Fund. These are competitive Defra grant schemes funded entirely through Official Development Assistance (ODA).

The IWT Challenge Fund and the Darwin Initiative have committed £2.9 million and £1.3 million respectively for Asian elephants since 2015 through 14 separate projects. These include a project seeking to reduce the illegal ivory trade in Cambodia, and a project supporting Nepal’s world-leading community anti-poaching efforts.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what reports he has received on the increase in (a) the international trade in tigers and tiger body parts and (b) captive breeding of wild animals; and what steps he is taking to ban trophy imports to the UK.

The UK is a Party to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), which places strict controls on international trade in tigers. We are aware of concerns raised in relation to the illegal trade in tigers and tiger farms and remain fully committed to working with our international partners, including through CITES, to ensure strong protection is in place and to bring an end to the illegal trade in wildlife.

A consultation on controls on the import and export of hunting trophies to and from the UK was undertaken between 2 November 2019 and 25 February 2020. The outcome of the consultation, and the accompanying call for evidence, will inform our next steps and we are continuing to work on this important area.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans his Department has to bring forward legislative proposals to ban the import of foie gras into the UK.

While allowed under EU law, the Government has made clear that the production of foie gras from ducks or geese using force feeding raises serious welfare concerns. The production of foie gras by force feeding is banned in the UK as it is incompatible with our domestic legislation.

After the transition period, there will be an opportunity to consider whether the UK can adopt a different approach to foie gras imports and sales in the UK.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to tackle (a) organised waste crime and (b) fly-tipping.

Waste crime damages the environment, is a blight on local communities and the Government is committed to tackling this criminal activity. We have given the Environment Agency (EA) an extra £60 million to tackle waste crime since 2014 and have also made a range of legislative changes. In addition, the Resource and Waste Strategy sets out an ambitious package of further reforms to modernise the way waste is regulated, clamping down on illegal operators and improving performance across the sector. Some of these commitments are being taken forward in the Environment Bill, including measures to further strengthen EA powers when dealing with criminal operators.

The new Joint Unit for Waste Crime (JUWC), a taskforce dedicated to tackling serious and organised criminality in the waste sector was launched last month. The JUWC will tackle criminal activity including the large-scale illegal dumping, or false labelling of waste so it can be exported abroad to unsuspecting countries. It brings together the EA, the National Crime Agency, the police, HMRC, Natural Resources Wales and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency in a concerted UK-wide effort to share intelligence and resources to tackle crime which costs the economy at least £600 million every year.

Fly-tipping is unacceptable whether it occurs on public or private land and tackling this crime is a priority for the Government. In recent years we have bolstered local authorities’ powers to tackle fly-tipping. As well as enhanced powers to search and seize vehicles of suspected fly-tippers, we have given them the power to issue fixed penalty notices (FPNs) of up to £400 for fly-tipping offences, including to those caught fly-tipping and householders who pass their waste to a fly-tipper. FPNs provide local authorities with an efficient mechanism to hold fly-tipping perpetrators to account without having to go to court, which can be a time consuming, resource-intensive and expensive process.

If a prosecution is taken, then a fly-tipper can receive a fine of up to £50,000, or 12 months imprisonment if convicted in a Magistrates' Court. The offence can attract an unlimited fine and up to 5 years imprisonment if convicted in a Crown Court. Defra has worked with the Sentencing Council to amend sentencing guidance for magistrates to ensure that they are aware of local fixed penalty levels for these offences, but will continue this work to help to secure tougher penalties in line with our manifesto commitment.

We have also committed to the development of a fly-tipping toolkit, hosted by the National Fly Tipping Prevention Group (NFTPG). This will be a web-based tool to help local authorities and others work in partnership to tackle fly-tipping. It will cover, for example, the use of new technology to report fly-tipping, sharing of intelligence within and between partnerships, dealing with unauthorised encampments and promoting the duty of care to individuals and businesses. The Government is also consulting at the moment about strengthening police powers to tackle unauthorised encampments. The NFTPG has also published a Fly-tipping Partnership Framework outlining best practice for the prevention, reporting, investigation and clearance of fly-tipping and a series of fly-tipping prevention guides for householders, businesses and landowners.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many (a) reindeer and (b) consignments of reindeer were exported from the UK in (i) 2018 and (ii) 2019; and to which countries those exports were sent in each year.

The number of reindeer and the number of consignments exported from the UK to the EU in 2018 is as follows:

Country of Destination

Number of Consignments

Number of Reindeer

France

1

2

There were no exports of reindeer to third countries recorded in 2018.

There were no recorded exports of reindeer from the United Kingdom to third countries or EU Member States in 2019.

The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) can access information using Trade Control and Expert System (TRACES) for species of animals that require a health certificate for movement to the EU.

APHA does record Export Health Certificates issued for animals to third countries that do not use the TRACES system.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
8th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many (a) reindeer and (b) consignments of reindeer were imported into the UK in 2019; from which countries they were imported; and if she will make a statement.

The information regarding reindeer imports is based on Trade Control and Expert System (TRACES) data. This data is provided by third parties.

There have been no recorded imports of reindeer into the United Kingdom from the EU in 2019.

The Animal and Plant Health Agency are not able to provide any data regarding the number of imports from third countries. This is because they are covered by a commodity code in TRACES which does not allow a breakdown by species.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, pursuant to Answer of 27 April 2020 to Question 37585 on World Health Organisation: Overseas Aid, what reforms to the World Health Organisation her Department is seeking as a result of that agency's response to the covid-19 pandemic.

DFID expects WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme (WHE), established in 2016, to continuously improve and develop its critical work.

As an example, in our annual reviews of performance, we have noted the need for WHE to continue to develop its capabilities around human resources – to ensure it can get the right people, in the right place at the right time.

Any review of WHE’s should come after the world has successfully addressed the COVID-19 pandemic and should consider the whole global response across countries and the international system, as well as WHO. The UK will engage on any review with a detailed position when this is forthcoming.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what information her Department holds on how the World Health Organisation plans to spend funding granted to that organisation by the UK Government in the next 12 months.

The Government provides funding to the World Health Organisation (WHO) through a number of specific health programmes and through core funding. In the next 12 months, our core funding will support WHO deliver its 13th General Programme of Work that seeks to protect 1 billion people from health emergencies, provide 1 billion more people with access to universal health coverage, and enable 1 billion more people to live healthier lives. Our health programme support addresses specific UK priorities within the 13th General Programme of Work, for example, health systems strengthening, global health security and work to end the preventable deaths of mothers, children and new-borns.

The UK is the second largest Member State funder to WHO overall; this amount varies year upon year based on need – this was around 10% of WHO’s income over the last two years. The UK’s contribution to WHO for COVID-19 response is world-leading and will likely significantly increase UK’s share.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for International Trade on improving bilateral trade with developing countries.

The Department for International Development and the Department for International Trade are working together to ensure development and global prosperity are at the heart of UK trade and investment policy.

Once we leave the EU, the UK will be able to offer an integrated trade and development package, encompassing preferential trade arrangements for developing countries and aid that facilitates trade and promotes investment.

At the UK-Africa Investment Summit, we announced plans to establish an import promotion service, Trade Connect, to help developing countries make the most of preferential trade access to the UK, and increase their presence in international markets. We also announced an extension to our SheTrades Commonwealth programme so that it can continue to help female entrepreneurs to access trading opportunities.

11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment she has made of the effect of the 14-day quarantine period on international trade and exports.

The Department for International Trade has ensured that the economic impact assessment, led by the Treasury, reflects the impacts the regulations are having on UK imports and exports, as well as the wider economy, and that there are specific and targeted exemptions to mitigate the impact.

Exemptions exist for those who provide vital services to the UK, such as road haulage and freight workers, to ensure the supply of goods is not impacted, and medical professionals who are travelling to help with the fight against coronavirus.

Graham Stuart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment she has made of the importance of UK aviation to the Government’s international trade priorities.

The Government recognises the importance of UK aviation, both as a source of exports and as a facilitator of international trade and investment. UK airports support the movements of high-value goods which, in 2019, accounted for half of all UK exports of goods by value to non-EU countries.

Air freight plays an important role in supply chains and in ensuring that essential goods can continue to be brought in and out of the UK without disruption. The Government is continuing to monitor air freight capacity.

The Department for International Trade engages with other government departments, UK suppliers from across the aviation industry, and trade associations to support exports and investment and understand industry requirements and capabilities.

Graham Stuart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the thresholds are for (a) vaccination rates and (b) infection rates when assigning countries to red, amber and green lists for international travel.

Decisions on red, amber and green list countries are taken by Ministers, who take into account risk assessments produced by the Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC), alongside wider public health factors. Risk assessments are based on factors such as the level of community transmission of variants of concern or variant under investigation, levels of testing, genomic sequencing and reporting. Details of the in-country and territory vaccination profile are included as contextual information in the assessment.

A summary of the JBC methodology has been published on GOV.UK, alongside key data that supports ministers’ decisions.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, by what criteria countries are assigned to the red, amber and green lists for international travel.

Decisions on red, amber and green list countries are taken by Ministers, who take into account risk assessments produced by the Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC), alongside wider public health factors. Risk assessments are based on factors such as the level of community transmission of variants of concern or variant under investigation, levels of testing, genomic sequencing and reporting. Details of the in-country and territory vaccination profile are included as contextual information in the assessment.

A summary of the JBC methodology has been published on GOV.UK, alongside key data that supports ministers’ decisions.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the Government is taking steps ahead of the UK’s Presidency of the G7 in summer 2021 to ensure (a) the safe reopening of borders and (b) that the restart of international aviation is a priority of the G7.

The Secretary of State for Transport met with G7 Transport Leaders on 5 May to begin setting out a strategy for the safe reopening of international travel.

This will focus on the need for a coordinated and sustainable reopening of travel through a number of aligned international measures including best practice for sharing scientific data and promoting coordination on universally recognised travel certificates.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with his US counterparts on resuming trans-Atlantic travel at pre-covid-19 pandemic levels as the covid-19 vaccine roll-out continues.

As set out in the Global Travel Taskforce recommendations, we are engaging bilaterally with international partners to explore how we can open international travel safely, including the potential piloting of digital and non-digital COVID-19 certification. We continue to work with a range of international partners to look at the technology and evidence as it emerges, assessing if it could be applicable to international travel in the future.

These are diplomatically sensitive discussions, and we cannot comment further at this stage. However, the Department for Transport, with colleagues from across UK Government, is now working at all levels to continue dialogue with the US on the specifics of our future travel arrangements.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will remodel the Airport and Ground Operations Support Scheme to allow ground handlers to use the grant for other fixed costs as well as business rates relief so that the package equally supports all parts of the aviation supply chain.

Payments are not limited to use on business rates cost only.

The Airport and Ground Operations Support Scheme (AGOSS) opened for applications on 29 January to provide support for eligible commercial airports and ground handlers in England. It will provide support up to the equivalent of their business rates liabilities in the 2020/21 financial year, subject to certain conditions and a cap per claimant of £8m.

Grant payments made to successful applicants can be applied toward costs which are essential to enable the operation of a commercial airport or ground handling operations and falls within the list of eligible expenditure.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions his Department has had with HM Treasury on the potential merits of introducing a 12-month waiver for Air Passenger Duty to support vital trade and connectivity during the covid-19 pandemic.

The Department recognises the importance of maintaining a thriving and competitive aviation sector in the UK to deliver connectivity.

Air Passenger Duty is led by HM Treasury. The Department for Transport works closely with HM Treasury and both Departments have engaged closely with the aviation sector to understand their assessment of the outlook for the sector and implications of any sector specific support measures.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, on what dates he had discussions with chief executives of UK airports in (a) March, (b) April, (c) May and (d) June 2020.

In recognition of the challenging times that the aviation sector continues to face due to Covid-19, the Secretary of State has kept an open dialogue with UK airports. Engagement has included regular structured round tables with the Minister for Aviation as well as one-to-one calls, considered on a case by case basis. It would not be appropriate to comment on individual engagements or their frequency.

11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what progress he has made on establishing air bridges to other countries.

The Government is actively considering the concept of international travel corridors, including air bridges, and how they could be implemented in practice along with other measures.

Ultimately, we will be guided by the science, and the health of the public will always come first.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what advice he has received from SAGE on the effectiveness of (a) quarantine periods, (b) temperature checks and (c) testing of passengers arriving at UK airports.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply previously given to the hon. Member for Cardiff South and Penarth on 20 May 2020, PQ UIN 43656.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what comparative assessment he has made of the effectiveness of steps other countries have taken at their airports, ports and other entry points to tackle the spread of covid-19.

The Department has been closely monitoring developments in the global aviation sector and how the international community has responded to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The UK has been working with a range of international partners to drive forward a shared agenda on public health and aviation through regular meetings and correspondence. The UK is a member of the governing Council of ICAO and has played a leading role in the ICAO Civil Aviation Recovery Taskforce (CART), which was set up specifically to address the aviation industry’s recovery from the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In terms of maritime port entry requirements, pre-existing control of infectious diseases is already in place through the Public Health (Ships) Regulations 1979.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when his Department first assessed the effectiveness of a 14-day quarantine period.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply previously given to the hon. Member for Cardiff South and Penarth on 20 May 2020, PQ UIN 43656.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment the Government has made of the economic effect of covid-19 on (a) airports and (b) the local authorities in which they are located.

The Government recognises the challenging times facing the aviation sector as a result of COVID-19, and has been engaging regularly with airports throughout the UK to understand the impact that COVID-19 is having on their financial position. The Government continues to do so.

Businesses across the industry, including airports, have drawn on the unprecedented package of economic measures we have put in place during this time.

The Government has now made £3.2 billion available to local authorities, through an un-ringfenced grant, so they can address pressures they are facing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government will continue to work with local government over the coming weeks to develop a collective understanding of the costs that local authorities are facing, and to ensure that they are managing as the pandemic progresses.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of temperature screening at UK airports as a method for preventing the spread of covid-19.

The Government’s approach to tackling coronavirus has always been guided by science. Testing will not identify everyone who is infected with coronavirus when they enter the UK – especially as some people might be asymptomatic. That is why we will be asking all travellers to self-isolate for 14 days.

The Government will continue to review whether and when additional measures are needed to slow the spread of coronavirus and we are monitoring the decision for some airports to trial temperature screening.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what comparative assessment he has made of the effectiveness of steps other countries have taken to support their aviation industries during the covid-19 pandemic.

The Department has been closely monitoring developments in the global aviation sector and how the international community has responded to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Chancellor has announced an unprecedented package of measures which the aviation sector has made extensive use of, 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. Additionally, Government remain open to discussions about bespoke financial support, but only as a last resort. The Department has been in close contact with key industry stakeholders to understand more about their position and the support they need. Calls with the industry are continuing in parallel to our work to progress potential support measures.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when SAGE were consulted on the implementation of a 14-day quarantine period for people arriving at UK ports.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply previously given to the hon. Member for Cardiff South and Penarth on 20 May 2020, PQ UIN 43656.

26th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how much financial support has been provided to (a) airports, (b) airlines and (c) the aviation supply chain in response to the covid-19 outbreak, to date.

The Government recognises the challenging times facing the aviation sector as a result of COVID-19.

Businesses across the industry have been able to draw on the unprecedented package of economic measures put in place during this time by the Government. In addition the sector has been able to apply for the Bank of England’s Covid Corporate Finance Facility. However, if businesses across the sector find themselves in trouble as a result of coronavirus even following the Government’s cross-economy wage and financial interventions, the Transport Secretary and Chancellor have confirmed that the Government is prepared to enter discussions with individual companies seeking bespoke support as a last resort, having exhausted all other options. Any intervention would need to represent value for money for taxpayers.

Businesses across the sector are eligible and have accessed these schemes which has protected a number of jobs across the industry. We do not comment on the commercial or financial matters of private firms and are therefore unable to say anything further at this stage.

26th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the effect of covid-19 on employment within the UK aviation sector and associated supply chain.

Before the impact of COVID-19, the UK aviation sector directly employed around 230,000 jobs (130,000 in air transport and 100,000 in aerospace). Following the sharp contraction in aviation demand as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, employment in the UK aviation sector has been significantly impacted.

Workers in the aviation sector are being supported by the unprecedented economic measures we have put in place, including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. At least 50,000 airline and aerospace employees have been furloughed using the scheme. However, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, easyJet, Rolls Royce and John Menzies are among UK aviation companies that have announced plans for tens of thousands of redundancies.

Government is continuing to monitor the impact on employment within the UK aviation sector, and as we now begin to re-open the economy, it is right that state support is slowly reduced and the focus shifts to getting furloughed employees back to work.

13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether there are criteria in place for lifting the proposed policy of 14 days' quarantine for inbound airline passengers to the UK.

The Home Office will be introducing new health protection measures at the border, and details will be published soon. Further queries should be directed to the Home Office.

13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether it remains Government policy to work with international partners on global common screening standards for international travel.

The UK is engaging with a number of key international organisations (including ICAO and IATA), and we are working with our international partners to drive forward a shared agenda on public health measures for international travel.

The Government has also established five ministerial-led taskforces to develop plans for reopening sectors which have been heavily impacted by COVID-19, including a taskforce on international aviation.

The Government aims to support industry in developing guidance on a baseline set of measures, based on the available evidence, and for these to become widespread and well-understood, thereby avoiding confusion and uncertainty for both industry and passengers.

13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to determine the list of exemptions to the proposed 14-day quarantine policy for inbound airline passengers to the UK.

The Home Office will be introducing new health protection measures at the border, and details will be published soon. Further queries should be directed to the Home Office.

24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans the Government has to amend the system of refunds for rail season tickets to ensure that commuters are not adversely affected when claiming refunds as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

All season ticket holders are entitled to claim a refund for time unused on their tickets in accordance with the National Rail Conditions of Travel.

We have worked with the rail industry to make the process for claiming season ticket refunds easier during this crisis, for example by allowing passengers to claim refunds remotely rather than returning their ticket to a ticket office. We have also allowed passengers to backdate their season ticket refund claim to 17th March, when ‘do not travel’ advice was first introduced, or the date their ticket was last used, whichever is later. The refund acceptance period for passengers has also been extended from 28 to 56 days.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the covid-19 outbreak, whether the Government has made an assessment of the potential merits of introducing a specific support package to (a) protect jobs in and (b) support the travel industry.

The Chancellor has set out unprecedented support for workers - including those in the travel sector - to protect them against the current economic emergency. This includes the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme.

These measures, and others available through the Government’s comprehensive support package, have been designed to ensure that companies of any size receive the help they need to get through this difficult time. Government is committed to helping the travel industry through this crisis and beyond.

20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department has made an estimate of the number of jobs at risk from the potential collapse of the UK travel industry as a result of the cessation of international travel in response to the covid-19 pandemic.

No estimate has yet been made on the number of jobs at risk in the travel industry as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

We are aware that the coronavirus outbreak and related travel advice is significantly impacting all aspects of the travel industry. We are in close contact with stakeholders to monitor the situation. Our national priority is containing the spread of the virus. As soon as it is safe to do so, we will be encouraging people to book holidays and support travel companies once again.

The Chancellor has set out unprecedented support for business and workers - including those in the travel sector - to protect them against the current economic emergency.

29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will undertake a review of the effect on the safety of the hard-shoulder of the M23 smart-motorway works.

The Secretary of State for Transport heard the concerns about smart motorways and asked the Department to carry out, at pace, an evidence stocktake to gather the facts quickly and make recommendations.

While I would not want to pre-judge the results of that work, what I can say is that we will continue to prioritise improving safety – making conditions safer for everyone on our roads.

29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the planned completion date is of the M23 construction works.

The Secretary of State confirmed at Transport Parliamentary Questions on 30 January that all stretches of Smart Motorway that are currently being worked on will not be opened until we have the outcome of the stocktake.

23rd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 13 January to Question 2479 on Aviation: Crew, if he will undertake a review of the licensing of pilots over the age of 65 who are fit and healthy in relation to UK domestic routes after the UK leaves the EU.

We cannot commit to a formal review of the licensing of pilots over the age of 65 at this stage. However, we continually review matters of aviation safety, and are working closely with the CAA to fully understand the evidence base around this issue. This includes, but is not limited to, the EASA report referred to in the response to Question 2479.

13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if his Department and the Civil Aviation Authority will consult on removing the ban on pilots who are over 65 years of age and otherwise fit and healthy from flying domestic commercial aircraft.

We understand that the upper age limit restrictions on pilots can be a frustration and the DfT and CAA have worked closely with EASA to understand the evidence on what the upper age limits should be. At present, the UK continues with its policy of regulatory alignment with Europe, and EASA is still considering its position. EASA has recently asked for views from the European Aviation Medical Assessors Council, and it is expected that EASA will consult on any formal proposals developed. We will of course continue to contribute actively, and keep the situation under review when further evidence and/or proposals become available.

22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people have had a (a) telephone and (b) digital appointment with the Pension Wise service since the start of the covid-19 outbreak.

Between 1 March 2020 and 22 September 2020, the following number of Pension Wise appointments were held:

  • Total combined complete/incomplete telephone appointments: 53,370
    • Fully completed telephone appointments: 46,928
    • Incomplete telephone appointments: 6,442
  • Digital appointments (self-service): 30,443

An incomplete appointment is where a customer attended an appointment, but it was not completed fully due to a variety of reasons.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people have contacted Action Fraud on potential pension scams since the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government continues to work with Regulators and the Police to prevent scams and this has continued during Covid-19. In the period March – July 2020, 116 reports of pension fraud were received by Action Fraud, compared to 179 for the same period in 2019.

In recognition of the potential impact of Covid-19 on individual’s pensions savings the Department convened a cross-government and regulator group, to closely monitor and respond to any increase in transfers and scams. Regulators, Police and Action Fraud have confirmed that to date no evidence has emerged to demonstrate an increase in either transfers or scams, based on their internal monitoring of the industry. Although this is encouraging Government recognises it needs to continue to monitor and react to the changing environment.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what discussions her Department has had with HMRC on its investigation of tax rule breaches arising from pension scams.

Tax liabilities relating to unauthorised payments and HMRC’s investigation of tax rules arising from pension scams are the responsibility of HMT. DWP will continue to work closely with HMRC to understand their position and how these may impact the Pensions Schemes Bill and savers.

Government continues to work with regulators and industry to protect consumers and find the best ways of preventing pension scams. HMRC and DWP have held regular discussions relating to the enhanced protection measures in the Pension Scheme Bill 2020.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the potential increase in pension scams since the covid-19 outbreak.

Through Project Bloom, DWP works with other government departments, regulators, enforcement agencies and the pensions industry to monitor the evolution of scam typology and respond with a collective and coordinated response. Project Bloom is examining the range of measures that all agencies including providers and financial professionals could take to help prevent scams.

At the onset of the covid-19 pandemic, the Department convened a cross-government and regulator group to closely monitor and respond to any increase in transfers and scams. The group includes DWP, HMT, both the Pensions Regulator and the FCA as well as the Money and Pensions Service and the Pension Ombudsman. This is supported by cross government and regulator gathering, monitoring and evaluating of data in order to develop as complete and robust a picture as possible. At this point the Department doesn’t yet have any robust evidence showing an increase in pension scams activity but will continue to monitor across the industry.

In addition to active monitoring, the Government, working with the regulators and the Money and Pension Service has been communicating with pension savers to alert them to the risk of scams in the current climate. DWP continues to communicate regularly on social media out the warning signs of a scam. A joint statement was issued by The Pension Regulator, Financial Conduct Authority, and Money Advice and Pension Service on 7 April pointing to the actions members should seek to take to safeguard against becoming victims of scams. Additional guidance was issued to trustees, and providers from both The Financial Conduct Authority and the Pensions Regulator to support them to produce suitable communications during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Please see links below for more information about the joint statement from Regulators and the Money Advice Service, and help available, produced by the Pension Protection Fund and supported by government.

https://www.fca.org.uk/news/press-releases/covid-19-savers-stay-calm-dont-rush-financial-decisions

https://www.ppf.co.uk/sites/default/files/file-2020-05/COVID-19-and-your-pension.pdf

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people have booked a Pension Wise guidance session since the start of the covid-19 outbreak.

Between March 1st and September 9th 2020, the number of Pension Wise guidance sessions booked totalled 64,221.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what discussions her Department has had with (a) pension regulators, (b) pension providers and (c) HMRC on encouraging victims of pensions scams to report that scam.

Through Project Bloom, DWP works with other government departments, regulators, enforcement agencies and the pensions industry to monitor the evolution of scam typology and respond with a collective and coordinated response. Project Bloom is examining the range of measures that all agencies including providers and financial professionals could take to help prevent scams.

DWP consistently works with other organisations to raise awareness of pension scams and encourage reporting, including regular campaigns, from the Financial Conduct Authority and the Pensions Regulator, conducted through the ScamSmart branding. Alongside promoting what to look out for to recognise a pension scam, the ScamSmart campaigns and website encourage people to report when they think they have been scammed. These messages are proving effective, in the most recent campaign prior to Covid-19, June to September 2019 over 222,000 visited the ScamSmart website to find out how to identify a scam scheme and report a scam.

The Government, working with the regulators and the Money and Pension Service communicates with pension savers to alert them to the risk of scams in the current climate. DWP continues to communicate regularly on social media to set out the warning signs of a scam and has made 18 posts referencing Pension Scams and ScamSmart in total across Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn in the period March to September 2020.

A joint statement was issued by The Pension Regulator, Financial Conduct Authority, and Money Advice and Pension Service on 7 April pointing to the actions members should take to help safeguard against scams. Additional guidance was issued to trustees, and providers from both The Financial Conduct Authority and the Pensions Regulator to support them to produce suitable communications during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Please see links below for more information about the joint statement from Regulators and the Money Advice Service, and help available, produced by the Pension Protection Fund and supported by government.

https://www.fca.org.uk/news/press-releases/covid-19-savers-stay-calm-dont-rush-financial-decisions

https://www.ppf.co.uk/sites/default/files/file-2020-05/COVID-19-and-your-pension.pdf

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what discussions her Department has had with representatives of (a) Macmillan Cancer Support and (b) other similar charities on the potential merits of retaining (i) remote identity verification, (ii) flexible assessments and (iii) other such recently introduced measures to help universal credit claimants living with cancer.

The Department and its Ministers work in partnership with a variety of stakeholders, including local authorities, charities and employer groups, and listens directly to their feedback about Universal Credit. At its core, Universal Credit is about ensuring we deliver a service which is tailored to individual claimant circumstances and abilities. Following the outbreak of COVID-19, we adapted many of our services to be delivered remotely, and we will consider if changes can be retained longer term. But, many claimants benefit from having face to face contact with Work Coaches to overcome barriers and we will ensure this method of contact continues to be used where appropriate.

Measures, such as identity verification, are key components of the Universal Credit claim process to confirm the accuracy of information supplied, allowing us to make timely and accurate decisions. In addition to our usual online verification, since early June we have been trialling the online identity service, Confirm Your Identity. This has enabled a higher number of claimants to verify their identity online, and we are continually monitoring and testing the impact this has on a claimant’s ability to verify remotely.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress his Department is making on research into the efficacy of the use of (a) monoclonal antibodies and (b) other alternative treatments for immunocompromised and immunosuppressed groups.

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) has supported 15 studies on monoclonal antibodies and other therapies for immunocompromised and immunosuppressed groups, including cell therapy and the use of probiotics. Twelve of these studies are now complete and three are ongoing. All NIHR-funded research is expected to be published in peer-reviewed, open access journals once completed to promote translation into patient care where appropriate.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will provide an update on his plans to conduct research into the efficacy of a third covid-19 vaccine booster dose for immunocompromised and immunosuppressed groups.

The COV-BOOST study was commissioned through the National Institute for Health Research and will provide vital data on the impact of a third dose on patients’ immune responses. Initial findings are expected in September. To fully understand how COVID-19 vaccines respond as a booster dose they must first be studied in people with a fully functioning immune system.

UK Research and Innovation is providing £4 million towards the OCTAVE study examining COVID-19 vaccine responses in clinically at-risk groups, including immunocompromised patients.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department is developing to tackle specific health issues affecting men and boys.

The Department does not have a specific men’s health strategy. Relevant issues are identified and policy developed on a condition specific basis.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to support targeted research on motor neurone disease.

We are currently working on ways to significantly boost further research on dementia and neurodegeneration. On 29 April, I hosted a roundtable event on boosting motor neurone disease research with the National Institute for Health Research Sheffield Biomedical Research Centre. The event brought together researchers, charities, people with motor neurone disease and funders. We will be working closely with these stakeholders over the coming months to consider ways forward for this vital area of research.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to help ensure that primary care networks improve heart failure prevention.

Heart failure is a key priority in the NHS Long Term Plan. The Plan sets out a number of key ambitions to improve care and outcomes for those individuals with cardiovascular disease (CVD), including enhanced diagnostic support in the community, better personalised planning and increasing access to cardiac rehabilitation.NHS England and NHS Improvement are investing £4.5 million in 2012/22 to support whole pathway improvements in cardiac networks and to reduce variation in care across the service.

To reduce readmissions, the National Health Service is supporting patients to better understand their condition, so that they can be supported to self-manage at home. The NHS Long Term Plan will provide for greater awareness of the symptoms of heart failure and to ensure early and rapid access to diagnostic tests and treatment. Greater access to echocardiography in primary care will improve the investigation of those with breathlessness - a key heart failure symptom.

Those people with heart failure and heart valve disease will be better supported by multi-disciplinary teams as part of Primary Care Networks (PCN). Development of a PCN Directed Enhanced Service for CVD prevention and diagnosis is ongoing and will be implemented in 2021/22.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to reduce the (a) variation between hospitals in the provision of specialist care for heart failure patients and (b) rate at which people with heart failure are readmitted to hospital after their first admission.

Heart failure is a key priority in the NHS Long Term Plan. The Plan sets out a number of key ambitions to improve care and outcomes for those individuals with cardiovascular disease (CVD), including enhanced diagnostic support in the community, better personalised planning and increasing access to cardiac rehabilitation.NHS England and NHS Improvement are investing £4.5 million in 2012/22 to support whole pathway improvements in cardiac networks and to reduce variation in care across the service.

To reduce readmissions, the National Health Service is supporting patients to better understand their condition, so that they can be supported to self-manage at home. The NHS Long Term Plan will provide for greater awareness of the symptoms of heart failure and to ensure early and rapid access to diagnostic tests and treatment. Greater access to echocardiography in primary care will improve the investigation of those with breathlessness - a key heart failure symptom.

Those people with heart failure and heart valve disease will be better supported by multi-disciplinary teams as part of Primary Care Networks (PCN). Development of a PCN Directed Enhanced Service for CVD prevention and diagnosis is ongoing and will be implemented in 2021/22.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when NHS England and Improvement plans to publish the Getting It Right First Time report on cardiology services.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are currently considering the Getting it Right First Time Programme report, which includes cardiology services and will publish their findings later in the year.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that heart failure data collection includes (a) primary and community care services, (b) the underlying cause of heart failure, (c) whether genetic testing has been considered and (d) the rehabilitative and long term support that has been put in place.

NHS England’s Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) includes data on heart failure collected in primary care and community care services. In April 2020, the QOF was updated to support moves towards earlier diagnosis and management. This encourages general practitioner surgeries to capture data confirming heart failure diagnosis. Cardiovascular disease encompasses a range of conditions extending from heart attacks to congenital heart disease and stroke many of which are heritable. Research is being undertaken on personalised medicine to detect genes that make people more vulnerable to heart attacks and strokes


The National Institute for Cardiovascular Outcomes Research collects data through the National Cardiac Audit Programme, which helps the National Health Service improve the quality of care by ensuring that heart failure data collection covers the most appropriate areas, including whether the patient has been referred to a rehabilitation programme following hospital episode.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress he has made on the launch and implementation of the Innovative Medicines Fund; and if he will make a statement.

NHS England and NHS Improvement and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence are developing proposals for the operation of the Innovative Medicines Fund. Timescales for a public engagement exercise and implementation of the Fund will be confirmed in due course.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions his Department has had with (a) NICE and (b) NHS England and NHS Improvement on setting levels of ambition in the NICE Methods Review.

Departmental Ministers and officials regularly discuss a range of matters with colleagues in the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and NHS England and NHS Improvement, including the NICE methods review. However, NICE is an independent body and is therefore responsible for its own methods and processes.

NICE is currently engaging with stakeholders and exploring options. However it is too soon to comment on the potential outcomes and any changes to its methods.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the changes needed in (a) NICE, (b) NHS England and NHS Improvement health technology approval processes and (c) NHS England’s commercial policy to improve access to and uptake of new medicines and vaccines; and if he will make a statement.

The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is the independent body responsible for developing authoritative, evidence-based recommendations for the NHS on whether new medicines represent a clinically and cost-effective use of resources. The NHS in England is legally required to fund medicines recommended through a NICE appraisal. As NICE is an independent body, it is responsible for the methods and processes it uses in the assessment of health technologies.

New commercial flexibilities and support structures have been introduced to support access and uptake of transformative medicines, including the publication of NHS England and NHS Improvement’s Commercial Framework which sets out the new commercial flexibilities available to the most clinically and cost-effective new treatments. Drawing on these commercial flexibilities, a host of innovative commercial deals have been agreed with NHS England and NHS Improvement and NICE in recent years, providing United Kingdom patients with access to the best value new treatments.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure effective, joined up data collection for familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH) across the UK, such as a national FH registry from birth to death, to support the Government’s ambition to identify 25 per cent of people FH in the UK by 2024, as set out in the NHS Long Term Plan.

The NHS Long Term Plan sets the ambition to increase genetic testing and diagnosis of familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH) from 7% to 25% by 2024. To achieve this, the National Health Service will undertake a service evaluation of child-parent cascade screening in seven Academic Health Science Network areas in England. NHS England and NHS Improvement have provided £500,000 to enable this pilot to be implemented. The pilot will be launched in June 2021 and will test over 30,000 children for cholesterol at their one-year vaccination over the next 24 months.

This will support early diagnosis by identifying families with FH before the onset of clinical disease providing an opportunity for prevention with statin therapy and where necessary other lipid lowering drugs. NHS England and NHS Improvement are working with clinicians and patient representatives to inform on a functional FH registry and are investing an additional £335,000 on a single life-long nation-wide database.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the target set out in the NHS Long Term Plan, what progress he has made on achieving the ambition of identifying 25 per cent of people with familial hypercholesterolaemia in the UK by 2024.

The NHS Long Term Plan sets the ambition to increase genetic testing and diagnosis of familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH) from 7% to 25% by 2024. To achieve this, the National Health Service will undertake a service evaluation of child-parent cascade screening in seven Academic Health Science Network areas in England. NHS England and NHS Improvement have provided £500,000 to enable this pilot to be implemented. The pilot will be launched in June 2021 and will test over 30,000 children for cholesterol at their one-year vaccination over the next 24 months.

This will support early diagnosis by identifying families with FH before the onset of clinical disease providing an opportunity for prevention with statin therapy and where necessary other lipid lowering drugs. NHS England and NHS Improvement are working with clinicians and patient representatives to inform on a functional FH registry and are investing an additional £335,000 on a single life-long nation-wide database.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when genomic laboratory hubs will fully implement the National Genomic Test Directory to ensure uniform testing for familial hypercholesterolaemia is available across the UK.

Each of the devolved administrations has a different approach to the delivery of genomics into the healthcare system. In England, genomic testing for familial hypercholesterolaemia is already available as part of the NHS Genomic Medicine Service through the genomic testing network of seven Genomic Laboratory Hubs for all patients in England who meet the eligibility criteria for testing as outlined in the National Genomic Testing Directory, which aligns with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s guidance.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of adding cholesterol as a cardiac indicator in the Quality and Outcomes Framework.

The Integration and Innovation White Paper builds on the commitments made in the NHS Long Term Plan. Whilst not having a direct impact on previous commitments to cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention legislation will allow every part of England to be covered by an integrated care system. This builds on the work the system has been doing since the publication of the NHS Long Term Plan, and is in line with NHS England’s recommendation of formally recognising the need to bring together National Health Service organisations, local government and wider partners at a system level to deliver more joined up approaches to improving health and care outcomes, coterminous with local authorities.

NHS Digital has made no such assessment.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the focus in the NHS Long Term Plan on cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention, what effect the Integration and Innovation White Paper will have on previous commitments to CVD prevention (a) in general and (b) in the light of the effect of covid-19 on CVD outcomes.

The Integration and Innovation White Paper builds on the commitments made in the NHS Long Term Plan. Whilst not having a direct impact on previous commitments to cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention legislation will allow every part of England to be covered by an integrated care system. This builds on the work the system has been doing since the publication of the NHS Long Term Plan, and is in line with NHS England’s recommendation of formally recognising the need to bring together National Health Service organisations, local government and wider partners at a system level to deliver more joined up approaches to improving health and care outcomes, coterminous with local authorities.

NHS Digital has made no such assessment.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to publish the final report of the NHS Health Checks Review.

The report of the Review will be published in spring/summer 2021.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has for international collaboration on research into the covid-19 vaccine response in immunocompromised groups.

Our investment in the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) supports ongoing vaccine research and development to respond to an evolving virus. Whilst there are no current plans for United Kingdom Government-initiated international research into the COVID-19 vaccine response on immunocompromised groups, it is important to emphasise that the research community is truly global in its collaboration and studies, those planned or published, will be shared, discussed and closely scrutinised by international researchers in this field and vice versa.

UK Research and Innovation is funding research on vaccine responses in groups of immune-suppressed individuals specifically, as part of its support for the OCTAVE study. This study includes those with inflammatory disorders, high risk cancer patient groups, and patients with severe kidney and liver disease.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when second doses of the covid-19 vaccine will be administered to all clinically extremely vulnerable people; and what long term support will be provided to clinically extremely vulnerable people after the shielding deadline of the 31 March 2021.

By mid-February we successfully offered a first vaccine dose to everyone in the top four priority groups identified by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), including clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) individuals. The National Health Service across the United Kingdom will continue prioritising the first dose of the vaccine to those in the most high-risk groups; however, this will not interfere with everyone receiving their second dose within 12 weeks of their first. The second dose completes the course and is important for longer term protection.

As virus infection rates continue to fall, advice to CEV individuals to shield will cease from 1 April, but they must continue to follow the rules in place for everyone under the current national restrictions. Those on the shielded patient list will receive letters with updated guidance on steps people can take to reduce their risk.

Regarding longer term support for CEV individuals, local councils will continue to provide support to those in their communities in need and have systems and relationships in place with other organisations to provide that. The NHS Volunteer Responders Programme will also continue providing support with food, prescriptions and essential items to those who are self-isolating for any reason. This also includes anyone that is clinically extremely vulnerable, or anyone that is vulnerable for another reason.

Further guidance on shielding and protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable can be found at the following link: www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether data is being collected on covid-19 infections and admissions among clinically extremely vulnerable people who have been vaccinated.

This data is not being collected in the format requested. Admissions and positive test data does not record those who are clinically extremely vulnerable or whether they have been vaccinated.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, which officials in his Department are responsible for deciding what support will be provided to people who are shielding during the remaining period of covid-19 restrictions.

Decisions on the support provided to clinically extremely vulnerable people are made by Ministers in the Department, in conjunction with other Government departments as appropriate. In doing so, Ministers are advised by the Chief Medical Officer, the Deputy Chief Medical Officers, the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies and other experts.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how unpaid carer is defined in relation to covid-19 prioritisation; and whether that definition includes adult household members of clinically extremely vulnerable people.

The Green Book: chapter 14a defines adult carers as those who are eligible for a carer’s allowance, or those who are the sole or primary carer of an elderly or disabled person who is at increased risk of COVID-19 mortality and therefore clinically vulnerable. This includes unpaid carers and those who care for clinically extremely vulnerable people as a sole or primary carer. Adult carers will be prioritised for vaccination and are included in priority group six of phase one.

Other adult members of a household that includes someone who is clinically extremely vulnerable are, in line with the current Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation advice, prioritised for vaccination according to their own age, clinical and other risk factors.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of covid-19 vaccination uptake among clinically extremely vulnerable people, by disease or condition.

We have made no such estimate as data is not collected in that format.

Weekly updates are published on the number of first and second dose vaccinations in England to clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) patients covering cumulative totals, numbers identified as CEV and the percentage of CEV people who have received at least one dose. The data is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/covid-19-vaccinations/

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of a national campaign on differential diagnosis between common skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis and Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma, a very rare type of blood cancer.

No such assessment has been made.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the UK Rare Disease Framework, what steps he plans to take to engage with the rare blood cancer community to improve care coordination for people living with mycosis fungoides and Sézary syndrome, two subtypes of Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma, a rare blood cancer.

We will continue to engage with a range of stakeholders, including the rare blood cancer community, before publishing action plans that outline how the priorities and underlying themes in the Framework will be addressed.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will engage with the rare disease and blood cancer communities to ensure that rare conditions such as mycosis fungoides and Sézary syndrome, two subtypes of skin lymphoma, are considered when drafting the UK Rare Disease Framework national action plans.

The Government is committed to ensuring that the UK Rare Disease Framework is a success and will continue to engage with a range of stakeholders before publishing action plans that outline how the priorities and underlying themes in the Framework will be addressed.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government has taken to enable equitable access to treatment and care for people living with mycosis fungoides and Sézary syndrome, two subtypes of Cutaneous T-cell lymphoma.

Cancer Alliances have pathways in place to support diagnosis of T-cell lymphomas as part of their skin cancer pathways. No recent assessment on Sézary syndrome or Mycosis Fungoides has been made. However, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence is due to publish guidance on the use of mogamulizumab for previously treated mycosis fungoides and Sézary syndrome at the end of March 2021.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment has been made of the adequacy of treatment provisions for people diagnosed with advanced-stage of mycosis fungoides and Sézary syndrome, two subtypes of Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma.

Cancer Alliances have pathways in place to support diagnosis of T-cell lymphomas as part of their skin cancer pathways. No recent assessment on Sézary syndrome or Mycosis Fungoides has been made. However, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence is due to publish guidance on the use of mogamulizumab for previously treated mycosis fungoides and Sézary syndrome at the end of March 2021.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to (a) improve early diagnosis of mycosis fungoides and Sézary syndrome, two subtypes of Cutaneous T-cell lymphoma and (b) ensure adults with that condition are not misdiagnosed.

Cancer Alliances have pathways in place to support diagnosis of T-cell lymphomas as part of their skin cancer pathways. No recent assessment on Sézary syndrome or Mycosis Fungoides has been made. However, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence is due to publish guidance on the use of mogamulizumab for previously treated mycosis fungoides and Sézary syndrome at the end of March 2021.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of covid-19 vaccinations for (a) people with blood cancer and (b) other immunocompromised people.

Public Health England will monitor vaccine effectiveness in different targeted groups using a range of existing surveillance systems, new enhanced surveillance and by building upon established research studies in specific populations.

UK Research and Innovation has provided initial funding of £1.8 million towards the OCTAVE study in supporting research on vaccine responses in groups of immune-supressed individuals, including those with inflammatory disorders, high risk cancer patient groups, and patients with severe kidney and liver disease. Cancer patient groups include chronic lymphocytic leukaemia, myeloma, acute leukaemia and bone marrow transplants.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of establishing a patient registry on Kawasaki disease.

NHS England supports closer monitoring of Kawasaki disease and is now collecting data on incidence monthly, nationally and by region, by assessing finished consultant episodes coded for Kawasaki disease and Kawasaki like disease. In addition, the British Paediatric Surveillance Unit of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, funded by Public Health England, is conducting a one-year study of all cases of the disease in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to build long term capacity in hospitals to allow services to tackle the backlog of care for people with heart and circulatory diseases.

On 23 December, NHS England and NHS Improvement published their operational priorities for winter and 2021/22. This confirms that maximising capacity in all settings to treat non-COVID-19 patients and responding to other emergency demands are key priorities for the National Health Service this winter. Cardiac services have been highlighted as a priority area for improvement through developing system-based recovery plans that focus on addressing treatment backlogs and long waits.

To support the NHS in tackling the impact of COVID-19, a £3 billion, one-year package has been announced for 2021/22 as part of the Spending Review. This includes £1 billion to address backlogs and tackle long waiting lists, by facilitating up to one million extra checks, scans and additional operations. Additionally, the NHS is running an ongoing media campaign ‘Help us help you’, which includes clear messaging for patients to call 999 with symptoms of a heart attack or stroke. NHS services will continue to adapt to ensure that they are there for those who need them, as well as launching a major campaign urging people to come forward for help.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that services for people with heart and circulatory diseases can be provided throughout the covid-19 outbreak to mitigate poorer health outcomes from delays to treatment.

On 23 December, NHS England and NHS Improvement published their operational priorities for winter and 2021/22. This confirms that maximising capacity in all settings to treat non-COVID-19 patients and responding to other emergency demands are key priorities for the National Health Service this winter. Cardiac services have been highlighted as a priority area for improvement through developing system-based recovery plans that focus on addressing treatment backlogs and long waits.

To support the NHS in tackling the impact of COVID-19, a £3 billion, one-year package has been announced for 2021/22 as part of the Spending Review. This includes £1 billion to address backlogs and tackle long waiting lists, by facilitating up to one million extra checks, scans and additional operations. Additionally, the NHS is running an ongoing media campaign ‘Help us help you’, which includes clear messaging for patients to call 999 with symptoms of a heart attack or stroke. NHS services will continue to adapt to ensure that they are there for those who need them, as well as launching a major campaign urging people to come forward for help.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people received (a) chemotherapy and (b) radiotherapy for the treatment of (i) breast cancer, (ii) bowel cancer, (iii) lung cancer, (iv) blood cancer and (v) prostate cancer in each of the last 12 months for which figures are available.

The information is not available in the format requested.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he will take to assess the effectiveness of covid-19 vaccines in immunocompromised people post-vaccination.

Prior to the recent authorisation, the efficacy of COVID-19 mRNA Vaccine BNT162b2 was evaluated in two clinical studies. Both studies excluded immunocompromised subjects and therefore no data is available about use of the vaccine when used at the same time as immunosuppressant medicines or the immune response to the vaccine in those on such medications. The second trial allowed inclusion of subjects with autoimmune disorders who were not currently receiving immunosuppressants. There are no specific contraindications or warnings in the product information regarding use in individuals with autoimmune disease.

Evaluation of data for other vaccines is ongoing but will include a robust review of all quality, safety and efficacy data, including in immunocompromised subjects if they were included in clinical trials.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, where clinically extremely vulnerable people will be given a covid-19 vaccine; and what steps he is taking to ensure that those premises will be covid secure.

Vaccinations are being delivered at a wide range of sites across the country to give people options about how and where to receive their vaccine. These sites include vaccination centres, hospital hubs and local vaccination centres.

All vaccination sites must administer the vaccine in line with the best Infection Prevention Control (IPC) procedures including social distancing, ventilation and wearing masks. Large-scale centres are required to have an environmental risk assessment in place which is expected to cover requirements for ventilation in a pandemic when transmission and virus shedding is a significant concern.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he has taken to identify clinically extremely vulnerable people who are at high risk from covid-19 but who cannot receive vaccines for clinical reasons; and what steps he will take to notify those individuals.

The vaccine prioritisation is focussing on those most at risk of mortality and morbidity, beginning with care home residents and staff, people over 80 years old and frontline health and social care workers. People who are defined as clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) are considered to be at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19. Many individuals considered as CEV are in the oldest age groups and so will be called for vaccination as part of their age cohort. However, for those that are not captured by their age group, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation also advises that, given the level of risk seen in the CEV group as a whole, the remainder of the group should be offered vaccine alongside those 70-74 years of age. People will receive an invitation to come forward to receive their vaccination, in the form of a letter either from their general practitioner (GP) or the national booking system. This will include all the information they need, including their National Health Service number.

Anyone who is in the CEV group and for whom the vaccine is contraindicated, will instead have a consultation with their GP or another clinician responsible for their care when it would be their time to be vaccinated.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to invite clinically extremely vulnerable people for covid-19 vaccination.

The vaccine prioritisation is focussing on those most at risk of mortality and morbidity, beginning with care home residents and staff, people over 80 years old and frontline health and social care workers. People who are defined as clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) are considered to be at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19. Many individuals considered as CEV are in the oldest age groups and so will be called for vaccination as part of their age cohort. However, for those that are not captured by their age group, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation also advises that, given the level of risk seen in the CEV group as a whole, the remainder of the group should be offered vaccine alongside those 70-74 years of age. People will receive an invitation to come forward to receive their vaccination, in the form of a letter either from their general practitioner (GP) or the national booking system. This will include all the information they need, including their National Health Service number.

Anyone who is in the CEV group and for whom the vaccine is contraindicated, will instead have a consultation with their GP or another clinician responsible for their care when it would be their time to be vaccinated.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how clinically extremely vulnerable people will be identified for the purposes of covid-19 vaccination.

The vaccine prioritisation is focussing on those most at risk of mortality and morbidity, beginning with care home residents and staff, people over 80 years old and frontline health and social care workers. People who are defined as clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) are considered to be at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19. Many individuals considered as CEV are in the oldest age groups and so will be called for vaccination as part of their age cohort. However, for those that are not captured by their age group, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation also advises that, given the level of risk seen in the CEV group as a whole, the remainder of the group should be offered vaccine alongside those 70-74 years of age. People will receive an invitation to come forward to receive their vaccination, in the form of a letter either from their general practitioner (GP) or the national booking system. This will include all the information they need, including their National Health Service number.

Anyone who is in the CEV group and for whom the vaccine is contraindicated, will instead have a consultation with their GP or another clinician responsible for their care when it would be their time to be vaccinated.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 18 June 2020 to Question 40578, how many people who are on the shielding list and defined as clinically extremely vulnerable with blood cancer are aged (a) 80 and over (b) between 75 and 79 (c) between 70 and 74 (d) between 65 and 69, (e) between 60 and 64 and (f) 59 or younger.

The following table shows a count of patients that are classified as being on the Shielded Patient List (SPL) in England with a blood cancer disease group by age band, as at 3 December 2020.

Age Band

Patients on the SPL

80 years old and over

35,298

75-79 years old

25,773

70-74 years old

29,676

65-69 years old

22,680

60-64 years old

19,084

59 years old or younger

55,362

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Transport on proposals by the Global Travel Taskforce set up in response to challenges posed by covid-19 on international travel; and if he will make a statement.

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care regularly discusses a range of issues related to COVID-19 with Cabinet colleagues.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether people who live in the same home as people who are clinically extremely vulnerable will receive a vaccine for covid-19 before the rest of the general public.

Whilst there is a desire for the whole United Kingdom population to be vaccinated, there may need to be an element of prioritisation based on vaccine supply, availability and evidence as data emerges from clinical trials on safety and efficacy in different cohorts of the population.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) are the independent experts who provide advice to Government on which vaccine(s) the UK should use and which groups within the population to prioritise. The JCVI and the JCVI sub-committee are currently reviewing evidence on clinical risk factors associated with serious disease and mortality from COVID-19. Following a review of the evidence, the Committee will develop advice on risk groups for any future COVID-19 vaccination programme.

The latest JCVI recommendations on the priority groups for a COVID-19 vaccine is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/priority-groups-for-coronavirus-covid-19-vaccination-advice-from-the-jcvi-25-september-2020

The minutes of JCVI committee meetings and statements on COVID-19 vaccination are available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/joint-committee-on-vaccination-and-immunisation

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he estimates the evidence-based model to predict risk of death or hospitalisation from covid-19, which has been developed by the University of Oxford, will be in use in the NHS.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have been using the University of Oxford’s ‘OpenABM-Covid19’ model for several months and it is used alongside other estimates and projections of hospital admissions including those provided via the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether NHS staff working directly in the care and treatment of people who are immuno-compromised are being prioritised for covid-19 testing even when asymptomatic; and if he will make a statement.

Asymptomatic testing is currently mainly conducted for outbreak investigation and infection control - where prevalence is thought to be higher and/or where individuals are more at risk from COVID-19. This includes patients, National Health Service staff, care home staff and residents.

As capacity increases and new innovations come onstream, and as we gain new clinical and scientific evidence, we will continually review our approach to asymptomatic testing to ensure we are deploying it in the most effective way and expand our testing offer.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect on patient survival rates of delayed diagnosis and screening for colorectal cancer as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The UK National Screening Committee is undertaking work to estimate the impact of delays to screening programmes, including cancer screening, caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This work is currently in its early stages and the results will be reported as soon they are available.

NHS England and NHS Improvement is working to clear the backlog of bowel cancer screening as quickly as possible. All 64 bowel screening centres are now undertaking diagnostic colonoscopies and sending routine screening invitations. As at 5 October 2020, the number of people who have had a faecal immunochemical test-positive result and are awaiting a diagnostic test has nearly halved in comparison to those waiting in April 2020.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of the care and treatment provided to people with metastatic colorectal cancer in England in light of survival rates being lower than comparable European countries.

There is a wide range of treatment options available to manage metastatic colorectal cancer and these are set out within pathway guidance published by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.

While treatment decisions are based on individual clinical circumstances, systemic anti-cancer treatment is the mainstay of care. There are a number of treatments available depending on where the colorectal cancer has spread. For example, where cancer is in the liver, patients may be able to access interventional procedures including laparoscopic resection and ablative treatments as well as radiotherapy (Selective Internal Radiation Therapy and Stereotactic Ablative Radiotherapy).

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure the adequate future supply of cardiologists to work in the NHS.

As at June 2020, the number of doctors of all grades in the specialties of cardiology and paediatric cardiology in England was 3,600 full time equivalent. Of these, 1,589 were consultants. This is an increase of 1,168, of which 646 are consultants, since 2010. The specialty is popular, with a 96% to 100% fill rate for training posts every year.

We have increased the number of medical school places by 1,500 over the last three years and have more medical students in training than at any other time in National Health Service history. As part of this record expansion, we opened five new medical schools across the country. This will ensure a significant further increase in the supply of doctors, including a larger pipeline for cardiologists, in coming years.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the care and treatment of patients with heart valve disease; and what plans he has in place to mitigate that effect.

Patients with heart valve disease have been prioritised throughout the pandemic and continue to be through the recovery period. Services in both primary and secondary care have been open throughout and patients have been encouraged to use these services.

With the learning from the initial wave of the pandemic we are planning for any future waves, meaning we can protect the most vital services.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of primary care networks on rates of detection of heart valve disease.

No assessment has been made of the effect of primary care networks (PCNs) on rates of detection of heart valve disease.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to section 3.70 of the NHS Long Term Plan, what plans the Government has for the appointment of a national cardiovascular disease policy lead to support primary care networks in establishing greater community detection of heart valve disease.

NHS England has appointed a National Clinical Director for cardiovascular disease prevention and a National Clinical Director for heart disease.

They are working closely with the NHS England and NHS Improvement primary care contracting team, to develop the draft specification for the Cardiovascular Disease Prevention and early diagnosis Primary Care Network Directed Enhanced Service which will support primary care networks to improve community detection of heart valve disease.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that people with heart valve disease symptoms are able to access (a) diagnostic assessments and (b) treatment during the covid-19 outbreak.

Primary and secondary care have remained open throughout the pandemic and patients have been encouraged to access these services.

Since 29 April NHS England has prioritised the reintroduction of non COVID-19 services with the aim of recovering as much performance as possible before winter. To aid this, new COVID-19 secure hubs for surgery and diagnostics have been established.

Further planning is underway to ensure critical services, such as cardiac surgery, are maintained during any future waves.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people with blood cancer have had (a) CAR-T cell therapy and (b) a stem cell transplant in each of the last six months for which data is available.

The data collected is for all conditions that are commissioned for stem cell transplant by NHS England and NHS Improvement. It should be noted that there will be changes to the data in the last quarter due to the time lag in the reporting arrangements.

Stem Cell Transplants

March 2020

164

April 2020

69

May 2020

63

June 2020

89

July 2020

120

August 2020

123

Total

628


The numbers for CAR-T are collected via an alternative route and are correct to the end of September 2020.

CAR-T infusions

April 2020

13

May 2020

17

June 2020

21

July 2020

21

August 2020

9

September 2020

24

Total

105

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the NHS Long Term Plan, when the national Quality of Life metric will be implemented to better support people living with blood cancer.

The Quality of Life Metric survey will help us better support people, including blood cancer patients, living with and beyond cancer. The survey, launched in September 2020, will initially be sent to people with breast, prostate and colorectal cancer. All other cancers will be included from 2021.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to introduce a shared decision-making model within the NHS to help meet the complex needs of people living with blood cancers throughout their patient journey.

The NHS Long Term Plan sets the ambition to offer personalised care to all cancer patients and transform follow-up care, giving people choice and control over the way their care is planned and delivered. This includes ensuring that shared decision-making in care, and personalised care and support planning, are routine for all patients including those with blood cancer.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the increased (a) risk and (b) effect of covid-19 on people living with blood cancer.

Blood cancer patients have a higher chance of severe disease if they contract COVID-19 compared to other cancers, which is why they were placed on the extremely clinically vulnerable list and were advised to shield. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, some treatments were delayed when the risk of contracting coronavirus was higher than the risk of delaying treatment.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 29 May 2020 to Question 43622, how many people received chemotherapy treatment in (a) May 2019, (b) June 2019, (c) April 2020, (d) May 2020 and (e) June 2020 for the treatment of (i) breast cancer, (ii) bowel cancer, (iii) lung cancer, (iv) blood cancer and (v) prostate cancer.

The data in the following table shows first or subsequent treatment of chemotherapy in May 2019, June 2019, April 2020, May 2020 and June 2020 for the treatment of breast cancer, lower intestinal cancer, lung cancer, urological cancer and haematological cancer:

Breast

Lower Gastrointestinal

Lung

Urological

Haematological

May 2019

1,856

1,148

1,154

817

1,982

June 2019

1,744

1,127

1,070

793

2,021

April 2020

1,044

750

639

381

1,335

May 2020

1,480

1,066

815

508

1,525

June 2020

1,610

1,095

863

725

1,697

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of covid-19 on people living with blood cancer being able to make an informed choice on their long-term care and treatment.

Support and information for all cancer patients, including blood cancer patients, is provided through four personalised care interventions:

- Personalised care and support planning based on holistic needs assessments;

- Health and wellbeing information and support, including nutritional advice and psychological support;

- End of treatment summaries, that provide symptom management information; and

- A Cancer Care Review with their general practitioner.

As outlined in the NHS Long Term Plan, these interventions will be implemented in full by 2021.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, all personalised care and support has continued by telephone, video, online or by post if face to face appointments and group sessions have not been possible.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the rising incidence of blood cancer on the funding requirements of NHS services for blood cancer patients.

The amount spent by the National Health Service on blood cancer-related services is not collected separately to the overall spend on cancer services.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if a representative from his Department will meet with the blood cancer community to discuss how patient initiated follow-ups could best support patients with blood cancer, during and beyond the covid-19 outbreak.

No immediate plans are in place to meeting with any members of the blood cancer community.

Support and information for all cancer patients, including blood cancer patients, is provided through four personalised care interventions:

- Personalised care and support planning based on holistic needs assessments;

- Health and wellbeing information and support (including nutritional advice and psychological support);

- End of treatment summaries, that provide symptom management information; and

- A Cancer Care Review with their general practitioner.

As outlined in the NHS Long Term Plan, these interventions will be implemented by 2021.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, all personalised care and support should be continuing by telephone, video, online or by post if face to face appointments and group sessions have not been possible.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what role patient organisations have had in developing the guidance entitled Using patient initiated follow-ups as part of the NHS covid-19 recovery, published by NHS England on 7 August 2020.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are working with a range of rapid adopter sites to implement patient-initiated follow-ups as part of the restoration of services following COVID-19. This includes joint work to monitor uptake in these sites. Alongside this, 50 trusts provided information detailing their implementation of patient-initiated follow-up this summer. For the longer term, NHS England and NHS Improvement are working with NHS Digital and other organisations to seek to capture further data on patient initiated follow-up usage in future.

The initial guidance was prepared in rapid response to the need to restore outpatient services following COVID-19. The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges patient lay committee was involved in the development of the guidance. We are working nationally with the NHS England and NHS Improvement personalised care group to engage further with patients and patient organisations as part of the ongoing development of supplementary guidance and tools for local systems. The guidance includes a recommendation that providers/systems carry out local patient engagement as part of implementation.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps NHS England is taking to monitor uptake of its Using patient initiated follow-ups as part of the NHS covid-19 recovery guidance published on 7 August 2020.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are working with a range of rapid adopter sites to implement patient-initiated follow-ups as part of the restoration of services following COVID-19. This includes joint work to monitor uptake in these sites. Alongside this, 50 trusts provided information detailing their implementation of patient-initiated follow-up this summer. For the longer term, NHS England and NHS Improvement are working with NHS Digital and other organisations to seek to capture further data on patient initiated follow-up usage in future.

The initial guidance was prepared in rapid response to the need to restore outpatient services following COVID-19. The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges patient lay committee was involved in the development of the guidance. We are working nationally with the NHS England and NHS Improvement personalised care group to engage further with patients and patient organisations as part of the ongoing development of supplementary guidance and tools for local systems. The guidance includes a recommendation that providers/systems carry out local patient engagement as part of implementation.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 22 June 2020 to Question 60724, what steps his Department is taking to ensure at-home treatment of severe asthma patients is available and offered to all patients; and what assessment has been made of the clinical capacity released within respiratory units as a result of such home management.

Specialist respiratory services for severe asthma, along with urgent and emergency treatment for other serious complaints, have continued throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. In most cases people with severe asthma have been able to receive their medication at home instead of having to attend hospital through increasing home care support and via access to remote outpatient consultations for new patients.

Although clinical capacity was re-directed to support care of patients with COVID-19 and this need has reduced, trusts are also required to prepare for potential future waves of COVID-19 and this will affect the clinical capacity required particularly in respiratory units. Regions have oversight of the local plans developed by each trust.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 22 June 2020 to Question 58769, what assessment he has made of the decline to the number of patients accessing biologics therapies for severe asthma in January to March 2020, and what he has to reverse that decline.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence COVID-19 rapid guideline on severe asthma provides guidance on starting or continuing on biological treatments, for people with severe asthma during the COVID-19 outbreak. The recommendations were written in collaboration with the NHS England Severe Asthma Collaborative. In writing the guidance, particular attention was paid to streamlining the process of moving patients onto biologic therapies to compensate for any possible barriers that may have occurred as a result of changes to the National Health Service, which were made as part of the necessary response to COVID-19.

Further work is being undertaken by the collaborative to share best practice on providing care to people with severe asthma to ensure on-going provision of high-quality care and to accelerate the initiation of biologics where required.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 25 June 2020 to Question 58767, what plans he has to centrally collate data on the total number of severe asthma patients (a) in England and (b) within each of the NHS E+I regions.

There are no plans for this.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish a national cancer recovery plan to tackle the backlog of cancer care resulting from the covid-19 outbreak.

As set out in the Terms of Reference of a letter sent to NHS Providers on 31 July 2020, a National Cancer Taskforce will be established, and publish a national cancer recovery plan in the near future. The Terms of Reference are available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/publication/cancer-forums-and-groups-terms-of-reference/

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he is taking steps with UK manufacturers to ensure that the country is self-sufficient in PPE production and supporting British enterprises; and if he will make a statement.

Lord Deighton is leading the Government effort to unleash the potential of British industry to manufacture personal protective equipment (PPE) for the health and social care sectors to create self-sufficient production of PPE for the United Kingdom. We are building up UK manufacturing with signed contracts to manufacture over 2 billion items of PPE through UK-based manufacturers, including facemasks, visors, gowns and aprons.

This includes Survitec, a survival technology company, who began producing gowns at the beginning of June; Bolle, who manufacture protective eyewear, will make 6.5 million visors over the course of the pandemic; Jaguar Land Rover are now manufacturing 14,000 visors/week for healthcare staff; Don & Low will be manufacturing 12 million metres squared of fabric for gowns over the next six months, with the first delivery expected later this month; Burberry is manufacturing non-surgical gowns at its factory in Castleford and sourcing masks through its supply chain. To date, the company has donated over 100,000 pieces of PPE to the National Health Service and healthcare charities.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department plans to introduce financial support to cover subsistence costs for parents with a baby receiving neonatal care during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government recognises that these are challenging times for everyone, but that it is an especially stressful time for parents with babies in neonatal intensive care units.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, services have been working hard to support parents to care for their babies as much as possible while still ensuring that services are safe.

The Department has no plans to introduce a bespoke fund to cover subsistence costs for parents with a baby receiving neonatal care during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Government is providing funding for the charity Bliss to support families with babies that require neonatal care during the COVID-19 pandemic, as part of the Government’s United Kingdom-wide £750 million package of support for the voluntary sector announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in April 2020.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the financial effect of the covid-19 outbreak on parents of babies born needing neonatal care during the outbreak.

The Government recognises that these are challenging times for everyone, but that it is an especially stressful time for parents with babies in neonatal intensive care units.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, services have been working hard to support parents to care for their babies as much as possible while still ensuring that services are safe.

The Department has no plans to introduce a bespoke fund to cover subsistence costs for parents with a baby receiving neonatal care during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Government is providing funding for the charity Bliss to support families with babies that require neonatal care during the COVID-19 pandemic, as part of the Government’s United Kingdom-wide £750 million package of support for the voluntary sector announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in April 2020.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what evidence his Department based it's decision on for the removal of blood cancer patients from the covid-19 shielding list.

The shielded patient list is dynamic – general practitioners and specialists continue to make clinical judgements based the shielding criteria, that may result in those who had initially been advised to shield from COVID-19 no longer being advised to do so. Doctors have also been provided with guidance to support these decisions, which should be made following discussion with the patient and taking into account their individual clinical circumstances.

Information on the number of patients removed from the shielded patient list is not held centrally.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to ensure that clinical criteria will be in place before further changes are made to the covid-19 shielding list.

The Chief Medical Officer (CMO) for England, working with the CMOs of the devolved administrations and other senior clinicians, commissioned NHS Digital to produce a list of vulnerable people at “high risk” of complications from COVID-19, who should be shielded for at least 12 weeks.

The next review point for the social distancing measures will take place the week commencing 15 June. As part of this, we will consider the next steps for shielding beyond 30 June. We will also review the risks for the clinically extremely vulnerable and assess whether the shielding period needs to be extended or whether it is possible for the shielding guidance to be eased further. We will base our assessment on clinical advice from our medical experts, and the best data available about the prevalence of COVID-19 in the community.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people with blood cancer have been removed from the shielding list by (a) clinicians and (b) GPs in England.

The shielded patient list is dynamic – general practitioners and specialists continue to make clinical judgements based the shielding criteria, that may result in those who had initially been advised to shield from COVID-19 no longer being advised to do so. Doctors have also been provided with guidance to support these decisions, which should be made following discussion with the patient and taking into account their individual clinical circumstances.

Information on the number of patients removed from the shielded patient list is not held centrally.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much funding his Department has been allocated from the £360 million charity sector funding.

The £360 million includes up to £200 million support for hospices. Further funding for this Department from within the £360 million total will be announced shortly.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 4 May 2020 to Question 40579, on Blood Cancer: Medical Treatments, how many people with blood cancer have had a stem cell transplant in each of the last six months for which data is available.

NHS England and NHS Improvement do not collect data for the number of haematopoietic stem cell transplants (HSCT) by condition.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many (a) men (b) women with blood cancer in each age group have (i) contracted covid-19 (ii) received intensive care support and (iii) died with covid-19.

This data is not currently held.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, which covid-free hospitals are specifically dedicated to the treatment of people with cancer; and on what date each such hospital started in that capacity.

Details of all the facilities currently being used for cancer treatment are not collected centrally. This will be a mix of National Health Service and independent sector facilities.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have published guidance and supported the development of ‘hubs’ for cancer surgery. Hubs are being developed in all 21 Alliance areas across England and are already fully or partially operational in at least 18 areas. NHS England and NHS Improvement are working now with all Cancer Alliances on plans for the next phases of service delivery.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many of the people who have been advised by the Government to shield at home for 12 weeks in response to the covid-19 outbreak (a) are undergoing active chemotherapy (b) have lung cancer who are undergoing radical radiotherapy; (c) have a cancer of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment (d) are having immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer; (e) are having other targeted cancer treatments which can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors; (f) have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last six months, or who are still taking immunosuppression drugs; (g) have severe respiratory conditions including all cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and severe chronic obstructive pulmonary; (h) have severe combined immunodeficiency and homozygous sickle cell or other rare diseases and inborn errors of metabolism that significantly increase the risk of infections; (i) are on immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increase risk of infection and (j) are pregnant with significant heart disease, congenital or acquired.

This data is currently unavailable.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people received chemotherapy treatment in (a) April 2019 and (b) April 2020 for the treatment of (i) breast cancer, (ii) bowel cancer, (iii) lung cancer, (iv) blood cancer and (v) prostate cancer.

The data in the following table shows first or subsequent treatment of all anti-cancer drug regimens (including ‘cytotoxic chemotherapy’, ‘hormone therapy’, ‘immunotherapy’ and ‘other’) for April 2019:

Breast

Lower Gastrointestinal

Lung

Haematological

Urological

3,458

1,060

1,247

1,950

3,354

The data for April 2020 is due to be published in June 2020.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the process is for NHS England's review of the existing criteria to determine who should receive letters asking them to shield at home as a result of covid-19.

Expert doctors in England identified specific medical conditions that, based on what we knew about the virus so far, place someone at greatest risk of severe illness from COVID-19. These were signed off by the UK Senior Clinicians Group (including four United Kingdom Chief Medical Officers and clinical leadership at NHS England, NHS Digital, and Public Health England).

Shielding is an advisory measure to protect people who are clinically extremely vulnerable by minimising all interaction between those who are extremely vulnerable and others. The Government’s position on shielding and social distancing is in line with the latest Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies and clinical advice. The shielded patient list is dynamic as it allows for individual clinical decisions to be made about patients, and for it to evolve as evidence about COVID-19 develops.

General practitioners (GPs) and hospital specialists have been asked to recommend patients follow shielding guidance, based on clinical judgement and an assessment of each individual’s needs. GPs and hospital specialists have been provided with guidance to support these decisions. Anybody who is concerned should contact their GP or specialist to discuss further.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many two week urgent cancer referrals there were in (a) April 2019 (b) April 2020 for suspected (i) breast cancer, (ii) bowel cancer, (iii) lung cancer, (iv) blood cancer and (v) prostate cancer.

The data on how many two week urgent cancer referrals there were in April 2019 and April 2020 for suspected breast cancer, bowel cancer, lung cancer, blood cancer and prostate cancer is not available in the format requested.

Data on urgent two week wait cancer referrals by suspected tumour group is collected and published by NHS England and available at the following link: https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/cancer-waiting-times/

Data for April 2020 will be published on 11 June 2020.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to his statement in 10 Downing Street on 18 April 2020, how many of the 750,000 reported volunteers are providing telephone support to the extremely vulnerable group of people being asked to shield at home as a result of the covid-19 outbreak measures.

As of 1 May 2020, out of the 750,000 people who have signed up to the NHS Volunteer Responders programme in England, 607,074 volunteers have completed the necessary identity checks to begin helping those most vulnerable, more than double the original target. Between 7 April – 1 May 2020, 17,594 check in and chats have been completed.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people with blood cancer have received a letter asking them to shield at home for 12 weeks from (a) NHS England and (b) their local clinical care team; and how many of those people have (i) chronic lymphocytic leukaemia and (ii) Myeloproliferative neoplasms.

As of May 2020, 164,427 patients had been identified in the category “people with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment” by NHS Digital, and received a letter asking them to shield at home for 12 weeks. The information about how many patients in this category identified locally is not held centrally.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people with blood cancer have had (a) CAR-T cell therapy and (b) a stem cell transplant in each of the last six months for which data is available.

The table shows the number of patients who have been infused with manufactured chimeric antigen receptor T (CAR T) cells. NHS England/Improvement report that the number of patients who have undergone apheresis (separating a particular blood constituent but returning the remainder to circulation) with an intention to treat will be significantly higher.

Indication

2019

2020

Grand Total

10

11

12

1

2

3

Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL)

Less than 5

Less than 5

Less than 5

Less than 5

Less than 5

Less than 5

6

Diffuse Lage B-Cell Lymphoma (DLBCL)

15

7

15

12

13

13

75

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what guidance his Department has provided to (a) people living with cancer and (b) their families and people who care for them during the covid-19 outbreak.

The National Health Service has been contacting patients that are at high risk of getting seriously ill with coronavirus since 23 March 2020. This will include people with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment.

NHS England and NHS Improvement suggest that patients read the advice given on the NHS website which is available at the following link:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

Further advice can be found on the MacMillan website at the following link:

https://www.macmillan.org.uk/cancer-information-and-support/get-help/physical-help/cancer-and-coronavirus

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his Department will provide guidance to people (a) living with and (b) caring for people with cancer on whether they should self-isolate as a precautionary measure during the covid-19 outbreak.

The National Health Service has been contacting patients that are at high risk of getting seriously ill with coronavirus since 23 March 2020. This will include people with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment.

NHS England and NHS Improvement suggest that patients read the advice given on the NHS website which is available at the following link:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

Further advice can be found on the MacMillan website at the following link:

https://www.macmillan.org.uk/cancer-information-and-support/get-help/physical-help/cancer-and-coronavirus

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to reduce the number of people who first receive a diagnosis of blood cancer in hospital A&E units.

The NHS Long Term Plan sets out an ambition that, by 2028, the proportion of cancers diagnosed at stages 1 and 2 will rise from around half to three-quarters of cancer patients.

Other key actions to increase an early diagnosis of blood cancer are:

- campaigns to raise greater awareness of the symptoms of cancer;

- lowering the threshold for referral by general practitioners (GPs);

- accelerate access to diagnosis and treatment and maximise the number of cancers that specialist’s can identify through screening; and

- roll-out of new Rapid Diagnostic Centres across the country to

- upgrade and bring together the latest diagnostic equipment and expertise.

The Long Term Plan also commits to invest £4.5 billion of new funding to establish Primary Care Networks based on neighbouring GP practices. The GP Contract, published on 6 February 2020, includes a new service specification for supporting early cancer diagnosis, including blood cancer.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent estimate he has made of the number of linear accelerator radiotherapy machines in use by NHS trusts that are past the recommended 10-year lifespan; and if he will make a statement.

NHS England and NHS Improvement produced a stocktake, which included age, of linear accelerators in full clinical use in 2016 as part of the Equipment Modernisation programme. Further work to update this stocktake is underway to reflect both the impact of the Equipment Modernisation programme and any local changes.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the capacity of radiotherapy services to be able to cope with anticipated future demand created by improved early cancer diagnosis.

A capacity planning exercise in England, run by NHS England and NHS Improvement, modelled radiotherapy activity levels over a five year period and it is expected that there will be 1 – 2% increase in referral to radiotherapy. In practice this level of growth remains relatively stable and is regularly monitored in conjunction with service providers.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Government's Pandemic Influenza Response Plan, published on 15 August 2014, what plans his Department has to produce a more general pandemic response plan to inform and support sectors of society in responding to pandemics.

The United Kingdom is well prepared for outbreaks of infectious diseases, with well-rehearsed and robust plans in place to respond.

National and international surveillance systems support the assessment of the risk to the UK posed by both influenza and other infectious diseases. When the Department identifies a pandemic risk facing the UK, we work with expert stakeholders to produce guidance to support all sectors in mitigating the risk to the public.

The National Risk Register of Civil Emergencies (NRR) provides an assessment of the likelihood and potential impact of a range of different civil emergency risks, including pandemics. Local planners use the NRR to highlight risks to sectors of society to raise awareness and guide contingency planning.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what comparative assessment he has made of the level of surgery rates for people with pancreatic cancer in Surrey and Sussex and those rates in other areas of England; and what steps his Department plans to take to improve surgery rates in Surrey and Sussex.

This information is not available as requested, and so no assessment has been made.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the levels of late diagnosis rates for people with pancreatic cancer in Surrey and Sussex; and what steps he is taking to ensure that people in those counties receive an earlier diagnosis for pancreatic cancer.

The latest NHS England data shows that the late diagnosis rates for pancreatic cancer in Surrey and Sussex increased between 2016 and 2017, from 78.2% to 81.9%.

Early diagnosis rates for pancreatic cancer in England increased by 2.9 percentage points between 2014 and 2017, from 21.0% to 23.9%, and improving early diagnosis of cancer is a top priority for the National Health Service. That is why of one of the core ambitions in the NHS Long Term Plan is to diagnose 75% of cancers at stage 1 or 2 by 2028 to save 55,000 lives a year. Cancer Alliances in England are using the Rapid Diagnostic Cancer model to improve the diagnostic experience for patients who are suspected of having particular cancers including pancreatic cancer.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to reduce the number of people with blood cancer visiting their GP three or more times.

In 2020, NHS England and NHS Improvement will continue to roll-out Rapid Diagnostic Centres across the country to upgrade and bring together the latest diagnostic equipment and expertise. They will initially focus on diagnosing cancers where patients often present with non-specific symptoms, such as blood cancer, and may go to their general practitioner many times before being sent for appropriate tests.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to exempt people undergoing chemotherapy from hospital parking charges.

The Department is working with the National Health Service to introduce changes to NHS hospital car parking in England from April 2020.

This will include free parking for frequent outpatient attenders.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the timetable is for his Department's consultation on eligibility criteria for free hospital parking.

The Department is working with the National Health Service to introduce changes to NHS hospital car parking in England from April 2020.

This will include free parking for frequent outpatient attenders.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many (a) people with relapsed diffuse large B-cell lymphoma and (b) children with relapsed ALL have received CAR-T therapy at each JACIE accredited treatment centre.

Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-cell (CAR-T) therapies have been available since November 2018 (acute lymphoblastic leukaemia) and December 2018 (relapsed DLBCL). The first patients were reinfused in January 2019. Therefore, the only data we have for the last five years is for 2019 and 2020. We do not have numbers for people treated in trials.

Number of people with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma that have received CAR-T therapies in each of the last five years:

Indication

2019

2020*

Diffuse large B cell lymphoma

133

Suppressed due to small numbers

Note: *Up to 21 January 2020

Number of children with relapsed acute lymphoblastic leukaemia that have received CAR-T therapies in each of the last five years:

Indication

2019

2020*

Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia

20

Suppressed due to small numbers

Note: *Up to 21 January 2020

We are unable to provide the numbers of people with relapsed diffuse large B-cell lymphoma and children with relapsed acute lymphoblastic leukaemia that have received CAR-T therapy at each Joint Accreditation Committee ISCT-Europe & EBMT (JACIE) accredited treatment centre treatment due to small numbers and the possibility of patients being identified. This will be possible in the future when the number of patients treated increases.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people with (a) relapsed diffuse large B-cell lymphoma and (b) children with relapsed acute lymphoblastic leukaemia have received CAR-T therapies in each of the last five years.

Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-cell (CAR-T) therapies have been available since November 2018 (acute lymphoblastic leukaemia) and December 2018 (relapsed DLBCL). The first patients were reinfused in January 2019. Therefore, the only data we have for the last five years is for 2019 and 2020. We do not have numbers for people treated in trials.

Number of people with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma that have received CAR-T therapies in each of the last five years:

Indication

2019

2020*

Diffuse large B cell lymphoma

133

Suppressed due to small numbers

Note: *Up to 21 January 2020

Number of children with relapsed acute lymphoblastic leukaemia that have received CAR-T therapies in each of the last five years:

Indication

2019

2020*

Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia

20

Suppressed due to small numbers

Note: *Up to 21 January 2020

We are unable to provide the numbers of people with relapsed diffuse large B-cell lymphoma and children with relapsed acute lymphoblastic leukaemia that have received CAR-T therapy at each Joint Accreditation Committee ISCT-Europe & EBMT (JACIE) accredited treatment centre treatment due to small numbers and the possibility of patients being identified. This will be possible in the future when the number of patients treated increases.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he plans to use UK's Global Human Rights sanctions regime against (a) Ebrahim Raisi and (b) other members of the Iranian Government in response to human rights violations in Iran.

Iran is a Human Rights Priority Country for the FCDO. We regularly raise human rights with the Iranians at all levels and take action with the international community to press Iran to improve its poor record. It would not be appropriate to speculate which individuals may be designated under the Global Human Rights sanctions regime in the future. To do so could reduce the impact of designations.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if the Government will ease the restrictions on travel from the UK to the British Virgin Islands in response to the improving covid-19 situation and to support the recovery of the tourism industry in that country.

Currently there are no restrictions on travelling to the British Virgin Islands. Current entry requirements for entering are for the BVI authorities to decide. Those returning to the UK from BVI are subject to current Amber border restrictions as part of the current border measures. The UK Traffic Light System is led by the Department for Transport, as part of a cross-government effort, and reflects measures at the UK border that aim to mitigate the overall risk to UK public health relating to inbound travel to the UK. This operates separately from FCDO Travel Advice. Decisions on Red, Amber or Green (RAG) List and associated border measures are taken by Ministers, who take into account the JBC risk assessments, alongside wider public health factors. A summary of the JBC methodology is published on gov.uk, alongside key data that supports Ministers' decisions.

James Duddridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if the Government will provide funding to the British Virgin Islands to support the recovery of the tourism sector in that country following the devastation resulting from Hurricane Irma in 2017 and the effect of ongoing covid-19 travel restrictions.

Since the start of the pandemic, the UK has provided in excess of £1.5 million of medical supplies, including testing kits, PPE, a field hospital kit and ventilators. The UK began supplying vaccines to BVI in February and will continue to supply sufficient vaccines for all adults in the Territory. In addition UK health experts continue to provide advice and information to the BVI Health Service Authority to help inform BVI's COVID response. The tourism industry is the responsibility of the BVI Government and they have recently announced protocols designed to enable the return of cruise ships to the BVI.

In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Irma, the UK provided a range of support, including military, police and humanitarian support and technical expertise. The UK then donated approximately £13 million to support immediate priorities identified by the BVI Government in partnership with the Governor's office, including critical infrastructure, the supply of water, electricity and housing.

Since then the UK has supported the long term recovery of the territory through the BVI territory programme which is funded by the UK Government's Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF).

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with his counterparts in British overseas territories on their contribution to the COP 26 Conference in the context of those countries having generally low carbon emissions but often being affected by climate change.

The UK Government is working closely with the Overseas Territories to ensure that their valuable contribution to address the environmental issues they face is featured appropriately during the COP26 conference. While the Overseas Territories make a minimal contribution to global emissions, they are on the frontline of climate change and work in the Overseas Territories contributes to global understanding of climate science. COP26 provides an opportunity for the Overseas Territories to showcase their unique biodiversity, environments and marine protected areas and highlight the importance of adaptation.

At the UK-Overseas Territories Joint Ministerial Council in 2020, each Overseas Territories government committed to endeavour to communicate a territory-led plan for climate change adaptation and mitigation, which contributes towards global carbon emission reductions, by the time of the COP26 Summit. The Minister for the Overseas Territories discussed the territory-led plans for climate change and COP26 with Overseas Territories Environment Ministers in June 2021.

James Duddridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will make it his Department's policy to fly the Commonwealth flag all year round from his Department's main building in Whitehall.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office will fly the Commonwealth flag for a week in March 2022 to mark Commonwealth Day, as well as for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. It is not our practice to fly on a permanent basis the flags of organisations of which the UK is a member.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will take diplomatic steps to hold the Myanmar military to account for the killing, maiming sexual violence against children identified in the UN Secretary-General's Annual Report on Children and Armed Conflict, published on 9 June 2020.

The UK is clear that the Myanmar Military is responsible for gross human rights violations across the country. This includes grave violations against children. On 23 June, I [Minister Adams] spoke to the Myanmar Minister for International Cooperation. I [Minister Adams] encouraged Myanmar to continue to engage with the International Court of Justice process, and highlighted the need for dialogue to deescalate the conflict in Rakhine which has seen a significant increase in crimes against children in the first half of this year. The UK has already imposed sanctions, through the EU, on members of the Myanmar military responsible for serious human rights violations. The UK led the international effort to establish the UN Independent Investigative Mechanism on Myanmar (IIMM), which will collect and preserve evidence for us in future domestic or international accountability processes.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of Russia's attempts to develop a military airbase close to NATO's southern flank in Libya; and what steps he is taking with the UK's allies to tackle that potential threat.

We remain concerned at recent reports of Russian fighter jets being deployed into Libya, and growing evidence of Russian involvement in the conflict, including the use of Private Military Companies. We take very seriously any reports of breaches of the UN arms embargo. Russia has a responsibility to uphold UN Security Council Resolutions and international law. External interference is exacerbating the conflict in Libya and undermining the UN-led political process. We regularly discuss with NATO allies our responses to potential threats from Russia.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs what diplomatic steps he is taking to help tackle disinformation on the covid-19 pandemic internationally.

Transparency and accuracy of information is essential for an effective global response to the pandemic. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is leading the UK's cross government effort to address disinformation and misinformation. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is supporting this effort. We are helping to identify disinformation narratives about the UK from foreign actors. We are working with international partners to better understand the scale, scope and impact of disinformation and help shield our citizens so they can get the right information to protect themselves and save lives. We are building international cooperation among like-minded nations to enable us to tackle the threat of disinformation.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, how his Department is supporting British Overseas Territories to deal with the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on their (a) economies and (b) healthcare systems.

The UK Government is firmly committed to supporting the Overseas Territories in dealing with Covid-19. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development are leading a cross Whitehall effort, working closely with the Overseas Territories governments, and taking a needs-based approach to providing support. The Minister for the Overseas Territories and Sustainable Development is in regular contact with the political leaders and Governors of the Territories. The impact of the pandemic on the Territories' economies and healthcare systems varies, and our support is being calibrated accordingly.

Just as the UK is doing, we are looking to Overseas Territories to make full use of their financial resources in order to address the needs of their people. Requests for further support to complement comprehensive economic local response plans are being considered on a needs basis. In the Territories which are in receipt of financial assistance from DFID, the UK Government will continue to provide the support needed to ensure delivery of essential services and to protect their economies.

In the areas where it's needed, the UK Government is providing support to strengthen the ability of the public health systems of the Territories to deal with the significant challenges from Covid-19, through provision of essential medical supplies, equipment and personnel.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
26th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps he is taking to improve data sharing agreements between countries in the case of a global health emergency.

Under the International Health Regulations (IHR) 2005, the World Health Organization (WHO) implements a clear policy on data sharing in the context of public health emergencies that all countries are encouraged to comply with. The IHR encourage States to share information with WHO before a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) is declared. Data can be made publicly available if a PHEIC is declared, if there is evidence of international spread of infections or other harmful agents or if there is an immediate need for international control measures.

Since the Coronavirus outbreak began, the UK has engaged internationally with affected countries to raise the importance of providing the WHO promptly with comprehensive "line-list" demographic and geographic information. The British Government encourages all countries to comply with requirements of International Health Regulations, which includes sharing of data in case of public health emergencies. Through Official Development Assistance, We are also supporting 6 Lower-Middle Income Countries to improve their compliance with International Health Regulations .

The UK also has other bilateral or multilateral relationships where we share information. These include the Global Health Security Initiative (GHSI) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will review the exclusion of nuclear energy from the Green Financing Framework with respect to the (a) inclusion in the International Capital Markets Association Green Bonds Principles of nuclear energy and (b) exclusion of nuclear energy from the Government’s Green Financing Framework which has been developed in accordance with the former principles.

The government recognises that reaching net zero emissions by 2050 will require power to be generated from low carbon sources. As set out in the Government’s Energy White Paper last autumn, nuclear power will play an important role in achieving net zero.

Nuclear energy is excluded from the UK Government Green Financing Framework, which is in line with current international market standards for sovereign green bonds. The Green Bond Principles published by the International Capital Market Association do not address the question of nuclear energy. All other major sovereigns have explicitly excluded nuclear energy in their green bond frameworks.

The Government is developing a UK green taxonomy, which will create a shared understanding of which economic activities count as environmentally sustainable and will establish an Energy Working Group to provide expert advice on the treatment of energy in the taxonomy, including nuclear power.

We will review the framework on a regular basis with the aim of adhering to best practices in the market.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
9th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will extend the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for those employees with blood cancer whose work makes it difficult for reasonable covid-19 adjustments to be implemented.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) is available to all employers and employees providing they meet the eligibility criteria. This includes Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV) individuals; such as those with cancers of the blood.

Shielding advice was paused on 1 April, and the Government is now advising clinically extremely vulnerable people generally to follow the same guidance as everyone else, taking appropriate precautions to keep themselves safe. The Health and Safety Executive has also published resources to support employers and CEV employees, which can be found on its website.

CEV individuals should also talk to their employer to discuss and agree options in relation to work, for example the ability to work from home, or returning to the workplace in a different role if their previous position cannot be fulfilled in a Covid-secure manner.

Closing the CJRS at the end of September is designed to strike a balance between supporting the economy as it opens up, continuing to provide support and protect incomes, and ensuring incentives are in place to get people back to work as demand returns.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on compensation and support for those affected by the Equitable Life scandal.

The Equitable Life Payment Scheme closed to claims in 2015 and there are no plans to reopen the Payment Scheme or review the £1.5 billion funding allocation previously made to it. Further guidance on the status of the Payment Scheme after closure is available at: www.gov.uk/guidance/equitable-life-payment-scheme#closure-of-the-scheme.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what his most recent estimate is of the number of people subject to Loan Charge repayments who have been made bankrupt.

No estimate can be provided for the number of people who have fallen into debt, or who have been declared bankrupt, and are subject to the loan charge.

Where debts arise, HMRC are not always the only creditor. Some individuals may fall into debt or are 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 they encourage taxpayers to get in contact 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 0300 322 9494. Where a taxpayer is unable to pay their debt in full HMRC will work with them to agree an instalment arrangement based on their individual financial circumstances, and there is no maximum length.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
11th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether his Department plans to include wholesalers in the guidance for local authorities on the administration of the new Business Rates Relief Fund.

The Government has announced a £1.5 billion pot of additional business rates relief for businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic that have not otherwise been eligible for existing reliefs. The statement by the Minister of State for Regional Growth and Local Government of 25 March 2021 explained the relief will be allocated to local authorities based on the stock of properties in the area and the sector-specific economic impacts of COVID-19.

Formal guidance will follow in due course, setting out the specific considerations that Local Authorities (LAs) should have regard for when providing relief. Relief will be for LAs to award on a discretionary basis. Funding will be available once the legislation relating to material change in circumstance provisions has passed and LAs have established their own local relief schemes. The Government will support LAs to do this as quickly as possible, including through new burdens funding.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
11th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will review ease of access arrangements to Child Trust Fund accounts for 18 year olds with learning disabilities.

All 18 year olds can access the funds from a Child Trust Fund as they would any other account, whether or not they have learning disabilities.

Where the young adult does not have the mental capacity to provide instructions to the account manager, the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and its equivalents in Scotland and Northern Ireland makes provision for another person to provide instructions on their behalf.

A cross-government working group comprising representatives from MOJ, HMT, HMRC and DWP has been established to look at the issues raised in relation to accessing matured Child Trust Funds (CTFs) in the light of the Mental Capacity Act.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will reintroduce the Job Retention Bonus at an increased rate of £6,000 per employee retained in the business who have either been fully or part-time furloughed.

The objective of the Job Retention Bonus (JRB) was to incentivise employers to retain employees between November, when the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) was due to end, and the end of January through a £1,000 bonus paid to the employer. However, the subsequent extension of the CJRS allowed employers to retain their staff during that period by covering 80% of furloughed employees’ wages. Given this extension to the end of April, the policy intent of the JRB falls away.

The Government remains committed to deploying a retention incentive set at a suitable level, at the appropriate time.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will extend the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme until end of July 2021 for aviation sector employees.

The Government will set out the next phase of the plan to tackle the virus and protect jobs at Budget 2021.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will hold discussions with the Secretary of State for Transport on the potential effect of the re-introduction of a return leg exemption from air passenger duty for domestic flights in the UK on (a) regional connectivity and (b) the viability of regional air routes.

The Government has committed to consult on aviation tax reform, as part of which we will consider the case for changing the APD treatment of domestic flights, and the potential impact any measure may have on regional connectivity and domestic routes. We will provide an update on timing in due course.

HM Treasury is engaging with relevant departments ahead of this consultation.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will ensure that future covid-19 business support grant schemes distributed by local authorities are based on the number of businesses and employment in an area rather than a per capita population figure.

The Additional Restrictions Grant, which is allocated on a per capita basis, is only one part of the Government’s comprehensive support package for businesses and local authorities during this time. The Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed) is allocated on a per-business basis and provides businesses in England which are legally required to close due to national or local restrictions with up to £3,000 per month of closures, depending on their rateable value. Businesses which are legally required to close are also eligible for one-off grants worth up to £9,000, depending on their rateable value.

In addition, through the Local Restrictions Support Grant (Open), local authorities which were subject to restrictions on socialising (in particular a ban on indoor household mixing) before the latest lockdown was announced received additional funding so that they could make grants of up to £2,100 per month to hospitality, leisure and accommodation businesses which were able to remain open, but which were experiencing a severe reduction in demand due to restrictions on socialising. This funding is also calculated on a per-business basis.

Given that both population and business densities create pressures on local authorities, by providing some funding per-head and some per-business we are achieving a fair balance.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment has he made of the merits of introducing a new airside tax-free shopping regime for international visitors at the end of the Brexit transition period.

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:

- Passengers travelling from Great Britain to any destination outside the United Kingdom (UK) will be able to purchase duty-free excise goods once they have passed security controls at ports, airports, and international rail stations.

- Personal allowances will apply to passengers entering Great Britain from a destination outside of the UK, with alcohol allowances significantly increased.

- The VAT Retail Export Scheme (RES) in Great Britain will not be extended to EU residents and will be withdrawn for all passengers.

- The concessionary treatment on tax-free sales for non-excise goods will be removed across the UK.

The Government published a consultation which ran from 11 March to 20 May. During this time the Government held a number of virtual meetings with stakeholders to hear their views and received 73 responses to the consultation. The Government is also continuing to meet and discuss the changes with stakeholders following the announcement of these policies.

The detailed rationale for these changes are included in the written ministerial statement and summary of responses to the recent consultation: https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-statements/detail/2020-09-11/hcws448 and https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/a-consultation-on-duty-free-and-tax-free-goods-carried-by-passengers. A technical note has also been issued to stakeholders to expand on this document and to respond to issues raised by stakeholders.

The concessionary treatment on tax-free sales currently affects airports that fly to non-EU destinations. The extension of duty-free sales to EU bound passengers will be a significant boost to all airports in England, Scotland and Wales, including smaller regional airports which have not been able to offer duty-free to the EU before.

HMRC estimate that around £150 million of VAT is not charged as a result of tax-free airside sales. As with the VAT RES, extending the relief to the EU would significantly increase the cost of the scheme and result in a large amount of deadweight loss by subsidising spending from EU-bound passengers which already happens.

On 25 November the independent Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) set out their assessment of the fiscal impact of the withdrawal of the tax-free airside sales. The OBR estimate that the withdrawal will raise approximately £170 million per year for the Exchequer, after behavioural responses are taken into account and passenger numbers recover from the impacts of Covid-19.

The Government also recognises the challenges the aviation sector is facing as it recovers from the impacts of Covid-19 and has supported the sector throughout the pandemic, and continues to do so, including schemes to raise capital, flexibilities with tax bills, and financial support for employees.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessments his Department has made of the potential merits of providing alternative airside tax-free shopping regimes for international visitors at the end of the transition period.

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:

- Passengers travelling from Great Britain to any destination outside the United Kingdom (UK) will be able to purchase duty-free excise goods once they have passed security controls at ports, airports, and international rail stations.

- Personal allowances will apply to passengers entering Great Britain from a destination outside of the UK, with alcohol allowances significantly increased.

- The VAT Retail Export Scheme (RES) in Great Britain will not be extended to EU residents and will be withdrawn for all passengers.

- The concessionary treatment on tax-free sales for non-excise goods will be removed across the UK.

The Government published a consultation which ran from 11 March to 20 May. During this time the Government held a number of virtual meetings with stakeholders to hear their views and received 73 responses to the consultation. The Government is also continuing to meet and discuss the changes with stakeholders following the announcement of these policies.

The detailed rationale for these changes are included in the written ministerial statement and summary of responses to the recent consultation: https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-statements/detail/2020-09-11/hcws448 and https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/a-consultation-on-duty-free-and-tax-free-goods-carried-by-passengers. A technical note has also been issued to stakeholders to expand on this document and to respond to issues raised by stakeholders.

The concessionary treatment on tax-free sales currently affects airports that fly to non-EU destinations. The extension of duty-free sales to EU bound passengers will be a significant boost to all airports in England, Scotland and Wales, including smaller regional airports which have not been able to offer duty-free to the EU before.

HMRC estimate that around £150 million of VAT is not charged as a result of tax-free airside sales. As with the VAT RES, extending the relief to the EU would significantly increase the cost of the scheme and result in a large amount of deadweight loss by subsidising spending from EU-bound passengers which already happens.

On 25 November the independent Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) set out their assessment of the fiscal impact of the withdrawal of the tax-free airside sales. The OBR estimate that the withdrawal will raise approximately £170 million per year for the Exchequer, after behavioural responses are taken into account and passenger numbers recover from the impacts of Covid-19.

The Government also recognises the challenges the aviation sector is facing as it recovers from the impacts of Covid-19 and has supported the sector throughout the pandemic, and continues to do so, including schemes to raise capital, flexibilities with tax bills, and financial support for employees.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what guidance he has issued to overseas sellers who need to register for UK VAT by 1 January 2021 for under £135 goods sold to UK consumers.

HMRC published guidance on 20 July 2020 setting out information on the proposed changes for overseas sellers and online marketplaces.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will provide support to people who receive income via company dividends that are taxed, during the covid-19 outbreak.

Dividends are not covered by the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) or the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) Grant Extension. Income from dividends is a return on investment in the company, rather than wages.

Those who pay themselves a salary through their own company are eligible for the CJRS. The CJRS is available to employers, including owner-managers, and individuals paying themselves a salary through a PAYE scheme. Where furloughed directors, including companies with a sole director, need to carry out particular duties in order to fulfil their statutory obligations, they may do so provided it is no more than would reasonably be judged necessary for that purpose.

As with the previous SEISS grants, it is not possible for HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to distinguish between dividends derived from an individual’s own company and dividends from other sources, and between dividends in lieu of employment income and as returns from other corporate activity.

This means, unlike the SEISS grants that use information HMRC already hold, targeting additional support would require owner-managers to make a claim and submit information that HMRC could not manageably verify to ensure payments were made to eligible companies for eligible activity.

The SEISS Grant Extension continues to be just one element of a comprehensive package of support for individuals and businesses. This package includes Bounce Back loans, tax deferrals, rental support, and other business support grants. The Government has also temporarily increased the Universal Credit standard allowance for 2020-21 by £20 per week and relaxed the Minimum Income Floor, so that where self-employed claimants' earnings have significantly fallen, their Universal Credit award will have increased to reflect their lower earnings.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
6th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what plans he has to financially support wholesale distributors in localities where local authorities do not include them in eligibility for five per cent discretionary grant funding announced as part of the Plan for Jobs.

During this difficult time for the country, I absolutely recognise the extreme disruption to people’s lives, jobs, and businesses due to the necessary actions to tackle COVID-19. This includes those in the wholesale sector who play a critical role in supporting our food supply chain.

The Government recognises that businesses which are legally required to close due to national or local restrictions will need additional support. This is why we have announced the Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed) scheme, which will provide businesses in England which are legally required to close with grants of up to £3,000 per four-week closure period, depending on their rateable value.

For businesses which are not legally closed, but which are nonetheless severely impacted by local or national restrictions, we have provided Local Authorities with a further £1.1billion across England via the Additional Restrictions Grant.

Local Authorities have discretion on how to use this funding to support businesses in their areas, but we encourage them to set up discretionary grant schemes to support businesses such as wholesalers which can remain open, but which are nonetheless severely affected by the enhanced COVID-19 restrictions.

Businesses across the country, including wholesale distributors, should also be able to benefit from others measures in the Government’s unprecedented package of support for businesses, including:

• The extension to 31 March of the CJRS, through which employees will receive up to 80% of their usual salary for hours not worked up to a maximum of £2,500 per month;
• Support for the self-employed via the SEISS, which will provide the self-employed with grants worth up to 80% of trading profits, covering November to January;
• The extension of the application deadline for loan guarantee schemes to the end of January 2021;
• An adjustment to the Bounce Back Loan Scheme rules to allow those businesses who have borrowed less than their maximum (i.e. less than 25% of their turnover) to top-up their existing loan; and
• Help for businesses in repaying loans from Government-backed schemes through the Pay as you Grow scheme and allowing lenders to extend the terms of CBILS loans to up to 10 years.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
6th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on extending business rates relief to wholesale distributors.

The Government has provided Local Authorities with £1.1billion across England via the Additional Restrictions Grant, for businesses which are not legally closed, but which are severely affected by local or national restrictions.

Local Authorities have discretion on how to use this funding to support businesses in their areas, but the Government encourages them to set up discretionary grant schemes to support businesses such as wholesalers which can remain open, but which are nonetheless severely affected by the enhanced COVID-19 restrictions.

All business rates reliefs in England will be considered through the business rates review.

In line with the practice of successive administrations, details of ministerial discussions are not normally disclosed.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what plans he has bring the UK's application of VAT on professional pilot training programmes into line with the VAT applied to (a) those programmes in the EU and (b) other vocational educational courses in the UK.

Under the current VAT rules, education and vocational training can be VAT exempt where it is provided by a government institution or certain regulated organisations. Providing an exemption to all pilot training would come at a cost to the Exchequer. Although the Government keeps all taxes under review, there are no current plans to change the VAT treatment of pilot training programmes.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
14th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of introducing a 12-month waiver on Air Passenger Duty to provide support to the aviation sector, trade and connectivity during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government recognises the challenging times facing the aviation industry as a result of COVID-19 and firms experiencing difficulties can draw upon the unprecedented package of measures announced by the Chancellor, including schemes to raise capital and support jobs and flexibilities with tax bills. The aerospace sector and its aviation customers are being supported with over £8.5 billion support through the Bank of England’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility, grants for research and development, loan guarantees and support for aerospace exports. The government has also launched a new Global Travel Taskforce to support the travel industry and the safe recovery of international travel.

Airlines’ Air Passenger Duty liabilities will have considerably reduced following the decline in passenger demand caused by COVID-19.

The Government has committed to consult on aviation tax reform and will provide more detail on next steps in due course.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
17th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether his Department conducted an impact assessment of the potential effect of changes to tax-free sales in airports of goods for passengers travelling to non-EU countries announced on 11 September 2020 on the aviation sector.

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 to or from Great Britain. The following rules will apply from 1 January 2021:

- Passengers travelling from Great Britain 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.

- Personal allowances will apply to passengers entering Great Britain from a destination outside of the United Kingdom, with alcohol allowances significantly increased.

- The concessionary treatment on tax-free sales of non-excise goods and the VAT Retail Export Scheme will not be extended to passengers travelling to the EU, and will be withdrawn for all passengers.

The concessionary treatment on tax-free sales currently affects airports that fly to non-EU destinations. The extension of duty-free sales to EU bound passengers will be a significant boost to all airports in England, Scotland and Wales, including Gatwick and smaller regional airports which have not been able to offer duty-free before.

The Government also recognises the challenges the aviation sector is facing as it recovers from the impacts of Covid-19 and has supported the sector throughout the pandemic, and continues to do so, including schemes to raise capital, flexibilities with tax bills, and financial support for employees.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
9th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of Exchequer, how many people have accessed and transferred their pension early resulting in the recording of an unauthorised payment from their pension fund since the onset of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government does not currently hold information about pension unauthorised payments since the onset of the Covid-19 outbreak.

The scheme administrator of a registered pension scheme must tell HMRC when certain reportable events occur; reportable events include pension unauthorised payments.

The scheme administrator does this by completing and submitting the Event Report for a tax year. HMRC must receive the Event Report by 31 January after the end of the tax year to which the Event Report relates, so there is no data currently available.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
11th Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions he has had with representatives of the aviation industry on business rates relief.

Treasury Ministers and officials meet with a wide range of stakeholders across sectors as part of ongoing policy development and implementation.

Ministers and officials from the Department for Transport are in regular contact with airlines, airports and unions to understand the impact that COVID-19 is having on the sector and its workers.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
11th Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what meetings (a) he and (b) his ministers have had with representatives from (a) UK airports, (b) airlines and (c) tourism bodies since the start of the covid-19 outbreak.

Treasury Ministers and officials meet with a wide range of stakeholders across sectors as part of ongoing policy development and implementation.

Ministers and officials from the Department for Transport and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy are in regular contact with airlines, airports and unions, and similarly the Department for Digital, Media, Sport and Culture are working with employers, delivery partners and industry groups to understand the impact that COVID-19 is having on sectors like tourism and its workers.

As we look forward, we welcome views from representatives and the Treasury will continue to monitor the impact of government support with regard to public services, businesses, individuals, and sectors, and to consider how best to support the economic recovery.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
11th Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to protect jobs in the (a) aviation, (b) travel and (c) tourism sectors after the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is closed in October 2020.

The Government recognises the extreme disruption the necessary actions to combat Covid-19 are having on businesses and sectors like aviation, travel and tourism.

The Treasury’s priority is to support the economy through the immediate crisis. That is why the Chancellor has already announced unprecedented support for individuals and businesses, to keep as many people as possible in their existing jobs, support viable businesses to stay afloat and protect the incomes of the most vulnerable in this current economic emergency. This includes changes to our welfare system with Universal Credit and Statutory Sick Pay; grant schemes such as the Discretionary Grant Fund; a range of government-backed and guaranteed loan schemes; the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, and the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

These measures aim to protect the productive capacity of our economy and to enable a strong and sustainable recovery from this crisis. The government has since set out a cautious roadmap for how it intends to gradually reopen our economy, whilst continuing to suppress the outbreak.

As we look forward, we will continue to monitor the impact of government support with regard to supporting public services, businesses, individuals, and sectors, and consider how best to support the economic recovery.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of business rate reductions for airports in (a) Scotland and (b) Northern Ireland on airports in England.

Business rates are devolved in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

The Government has provided enhanced support to the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors through business rates relief given the direct and acute impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on those sectors. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has published guidance for local authorities on eligible properties.

A range of further measures to support all businesses, including those not eligible for the business rates holiday such as airports, has also been made available. For example, the Government has launched the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to help firms keep people in employment, the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank backed by an 80% Government guarantee, and is deferring VAT payments for this quarter.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of business rate relief for airports in England on the financial viability of those companies.

Business rates are devolved in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

The Government has provided enhanced support to the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors through business rates relief given the direct and acute impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on those sectors. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has published guidance for local authorities on eligible properties.

A range of further measures to support all businesses, including those not eligible for the business rates holiday such as airports, has also been made available. For example, the Government has launched the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to help firms keep people in employment, the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank backed by an 80% Government guarantee, and is deferring VAT payments for this quarter.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions his Department has had with representatives of airports on the potential effect on their businesses of a reduction in business rates at airports in England.

Business rates are devolved in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

The Government has provided enhanced support to the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors through business rates relief given the direct and acute impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on those sectors. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has published guidance for local authorities on eligible properties.

A range of further measures to support all businesses, including those not eligible for the business rates holiday such as airports, has also been made available. For example, the Government has launched the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to help firms keep people in employment, the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank backed by an 80% Government guarantee, and is deferring VAT payments for this quarter.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of a temporary reduction in business rates paid by airports in England on the finances of (a) Gatwick Airport, (b) airports in England and (c) the aviation sector.

Business rates are devolved in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

The Government has provided enhanced support to the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors through business rates relief given the direct and acute impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on those sectors. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has published guidance for local authorities on eligible properties.

A range of further measures to support all businesses, including those not eligible for the business rates holiday such as airports, has also been made available. For example, the Government has launched the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to help firms keep people in employment, the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank backed by an 80% Government guarantee, and is deferring VAT payments for this quarter.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of temporarily suspending air passenger duty for (a) domestic routes, (b) short haul routes and (c) long haul routes to help support the aviation sector.

The Government recognises the challenging times facing the aviation sector as a result of COVID-19 and the Chancellor wrote to the aviation sector on 24 March to set out the Government’s position and the support measures available. The Government has announced an unprecedented package of support for workers and businesses to protect against the current economic emergency.

This includes the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which has so far helped 1 million employers across the UK furlough nearly 8.5 million jobs, protecting people’s livelihoods. This scheme was recently extended until the end of October, meaning that it will now be in place for a full eight months, giving businesses the vital support that they need.

The Government is also prepared to enter negotiations with individual companies seeking bespoke support as a last resort, having exhausted other options. However further taxpayer support would only be possible if all commercial avenues have been fully explored, including raising further capital from existing investors and discussing arrangements with financial stakeholders.

More broadly, the government has committed to consult on aviation tax reform. We will provide more detail on next steps in due course.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of extending the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to the aviation sector beyond the low season into 2021.

The CJRS will close at the end of October, after eight months.

It is the case that some firms will be affected by coronavirus for longer than others, and the Government will seek to support these firms appropriately.

It would be challenging to target the CJRS to specific sectors in a fair and deliverable way, and that may not be the most effective or sensible way to provide longer term support for those sectors most affected by coronavirus.

The Government will continue to engage with businesses and representative groups, with the aim of ensuring that support provided is right for these sectors and for the economy as a whole.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
6th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of extending the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to support workers employed on or before 19 March 2020 who had not been added to their employer’s payroll via RTI submission.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is open to any individual who was on an employer’s PAYE payroll on or before 19 March 2020 and for whom HMRC received an RTI submission notifying payment in respect of that employee on or before the 19 March 2020. Processing claims for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme where HMRC did not have RTI data by 19 March would significantly slow down the system while risking substantial levels of fraud. It would also require greater resource for HMRC when they are already under significant pressure to deliver the system designed.

Those not eligible for the scheme may have access to other support which the Government is providing, including a package of temporary welfare measures and up to three months’ mortgage payment holidays for those who may be in difficulty with mortgage payments.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
29th Apr 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether the staff of charities can participate in voluntary fundraising activities for their employer while furloughed under the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme.

The purpose of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is to support people who would otherwise have been made redundant. To prevent fraudulent claims, the Government has made it clear that individuals cannot work or volunteer for their organisation.

This is to protect individuals too; if workers were allowed to volunteer for their employer, the employer could ask them to work in an effectively full time way while only paying them 80% of the wages. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is working with other government departments and the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector to identify areas where volunteers can contribute to the COVID-19 response.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
29th Apr 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to support veterinary practices affected by the covid-19 lockdown through business rate relief.

Business rates are devolved in Scotland.

In England, the Government has provided enhanced support to the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors through business rates relief given the direct and acute impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on those sectors.

A range of further measures to support all businesses, including those not eligible for the business rates holiday, such as veterinary practices, has also been made available. For example, the Government has launched the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to help firms continue to keep people in employment, the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank backed by an 80% Government guarantee, and the deferral of VAT payments for this quarter.

The Government will consider any further financial assistance necessary to help businesses get through this period.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
29th Apr 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if employees of charities furloughed under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme can participate in fundraising activities.

The purpose of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is to support people who would otherwise have been made redundant. To prevent fraudulent claims, the Government has made it clear that individuals cannot work or volunteer for their organisation.

This is to protect individuals too; if workers were allowed to volunteer for their employer, the employer could ask them to work in an effectively full time way while only paying them 80% of the wages. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is working with other government departments and the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector to identify areas where volunteers can contribute to the COVID-19 response.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what representations he has made to credit and debit card companies and retail banks on raising the £30 limit on contactless payments to reduce physical interaction in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

Industry will increase the cap on the value of contactless transactions from 1 April, and shops will begin accepting payments up to £45.

The Treasury is working closely with industry and the financial regulators to ensure the steps they take are properly coordinated with Government’s wider economic response to COVID-19.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
29th Jan 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of the number of people who will still be eligible for the 2019 Loan Charge after the Government has implemented the recommendations of Sir Amyas Morse's review of the Loan Charge.

Of the estimated 50,000 individuals affected by the loan charge, the Government currently estimates that about 11,000 will be taken out of the loan charge altogether. In addition, individuals who have settled or are settling their tax liability with HMRC will be out of scope of the charge. There is not yet a firm estimate of the number who will choose to settle and so be out of scope of the loan charge.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
7th Jan 2020
Whether he has plans to undertake a review of HMRC's IR35 Tax Regulations.

The Government has announced today further details about the review of the off-payroll working rules reform. As set out at Budget 2018, the reform is due to be extended to all sectors from April 2020. The review will address any remaining concerns from businesses and individuals about how the upcoming reform will be implemented, and will focus on steps the Government can take to ensure smooth and successful implementation. The self-employed are not in scope of the rules; and the review will consider whether any additional support for businesses is needed to ensure that the self-employed are not affected.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she plans for her Department's policy to only allow non-human primates who are the offspring of those bred in captivity or who are sourced from self-sustaining colonies that do not trap monkeys in the wild to be used in scientific research in line with the EU policy due to be implemented in 2022.

The requirement of EU Directive 2010/63/EU that non-human primates cannot be sourced from the wild for breeding within a self-sustaining colony is already implemented for Marmosets, as stated in the UK legislation.

The UK legislation presently requires that all non-human primates used in research are bred specifically for research, so wild caught animals cannot not be used for procedures.

Establishments that have a licence to breed other primate species must have a strategy in place to increase the proportion of primates bred from primates bred in captivity.

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether her Department plans to include housing availability in the development of immigration policy.

The Home Office publishes Impact Assessments which analyse the impacts of migration policy changes, including quantified and unquantified costs and benefits.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the longest interval was between visits made by officials of her Department to any establishment designated as breeding, supplying or using animals under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 in (a) 2017, (b) 2018 and (c) 2019.

The Home Office Regulator inspects all establishments at a frequency that is fully compliant with the requirements of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act (1986). The Regulator aims to inspect all establishments at least once a year. The Regulator also undertakes a governance review of each establishment on an annual basis.

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with respect to Section 18, 2(b) of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, how many and what proportion of inspection visits carried out by officials of her Department to establishments designated as breeding, supplying or using animals during (a) 2017, (b) 2018 and (c) 2019 were without notice; and whether she has plans to increase those type of inspection visits.

Inspections are conducted by the Home Office in accordance with the requirements of ASPA and according to risk. In 2017, 59% of inspection visits were unannounced, 2018 63% and 2019 36%. Full details are published in the Regulator’s annual reports available at: Animals in Science Regulation Unit annual reports - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

The Home Office inspects establishments at a frequency that is compliant with the requirements of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act (1986). Both announced and unannounced inspections are undertaken, depending on the regulatory outcomes required. No plans have been made to change the frequency of unannounced visits.

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps the Government is taking towards the full replacement of procedures on live animals for scientific and educational purposes.

This Government is committed to maintaining high standards of animal welfare where procedures are undertaken on live animals for scientific or educational purposes. It champions the work of the National Centre for the Replacement, Reduction and Refinement of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) in supporting the research community to develop and use science and technology in the creation of new approaches to replace studies that require animals.

Central to any decision to use animals in research is the need for robust scientific evidence to justify the use of animals. The UK’s rigorous regulatory system requires that no testing takes place if there is a validated non-animal alternative that would achieve the scientific outcomes sought. Project licence proposals for research on animals for which there is no non-animal alternative must comply fully with the principles of the 3Rs: replacement, reduction and refinement.

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will make it her policy to introduce a visa ban on officials from the Peoples Republic of China entering the UK in response to the Chinese Government's policies in relation to human rights in Hong Kong.

All those coming to the UK are assessed against the immigration rules and must meet the suitability and eligibility requirements. All UK visa applications are considered on their individual merits.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many checks have been made by the police on people subject to a 14-day quarantine period after arriving in the UK.

New measures introduced on 8 June require all passengers arriving in the UK, who do not fall under a specified exemption, to self-isolate for 14 days to reduce cases of COVID-19 being brought in from abroad and to help prevent a devastating second wave of the disease.

An assurance service is contacting a random sample of non-exempted arrivals to check compliance. Where there is reason to suspect that an individual is not complying, details will be passed to the relevant police force who will consider enforcement action. Police will continue to take the 4 ‘E’s approach of engage, explain, encourage and, as a last resort, enforce. Guidance on enforcement activity is issued by the College of Policing. Interpretation of that guidance and any subsequent action is an operational decision for the police.

We have seen high levels of compliance with the rules to date, and expect that the majority of people will continue to do the right thing and abide by these measures.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
19th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Office, what review mechanisms she will put in place to assess the (a) effectiveness of and (b) need for a 14-day quarantine period for people arriving at UK airports, ports and other points of entry.

Public health will always come first. The government will carefully assess the impact of these measures in preventing transmission of coronavirus in the UK.

The need for the restrictions, and the requirements imposed, will be reviewed in line with social distancing measures, currently every three weeks. The first review will be in w/c 28 June.

The Government will consider factors such as SAGE advice, the domestic and international incidence of Covid-19, the level of infection and transmission, emerging scientific evidence for antibody and other screening methods being appropriate for international travel health measures, economic impact, and initiatives being trialled to secure safe travel.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to Question 41028, whether migrants who have illegally entered the UK in 2020, and have not been returned to other countries due to a suspension of the Dublin Agreement during covid-19 restrictions, will be re-assessed for return once the pandemic is over.

The Dublin III Regulation is a long-standing mechanism between EU Member States to determine responsibility for examining asylum claims. It is not an application route for transfer to the UK.

Under the Dublin III Regulation, member states have three months to make a request to another participating member state to take back or take charge of the asylum application. Requested member states have two months from receiving a request to accept or reject responsibility for processing the asylum claim. Once a Dublin request has been accepted, the Regulation provides that the sending Member State has six months to enact the transfer.

The Home Office continues to work closely with EU Member State partners to enact transfers as soon as possible and ahead of the six-month timeframe. We are responding to the unique circumstances of the coronavirus outbreak by closely monitoring the transfer suspensions imposed by other member states and will seek to return those migrants accepted by another member state as soon as the relevant suspension ends, and a route of return becomes available.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many illegal migrants have entered the UK via the English Channel since 1 January 2020; and how many of those illegal migrants were returned to France in that period.

People crossing the Channel to enter the UK have come from a safe country – usually France – and so there is no reason why they need to make this trip in order to claim asylum. Those fleeing persecution should stay in the first safe country they enter.

The UK continues to work closely with France and other countries to return migrants who have entered the UK by small boat in order to provide a strong deterrent against these dangerous crossings.

The number of migrants arriving in the UK crossing the Channel by small boats for the months of January to March 2020 is approx. 450. These are provisional figures based on operational management information. The figures for April have not passed through a data quality check and cannot be assured. The final figures will be published at a later date, once they have been verified

Since January 2019, over 155 people who entered the UK illegally on small boats have been returned to Europe. However, as a result of COVID-19 the vast majority of EU member states have temporarily paused accepting returns under the Dublin Regulations, but we are tracking those individuals and where appropriate will seek to return them when routes are available.

The processes to manage clandestine arrivals are kept under regular review. In line with Public Health Guidance we are not currently providing routine testing for clandestine arrivals to the UK. In line with established processes, those arriving across the Channel are immediately assessed to establish whether there are any medical requirements. Those showing symptoms of COVID-19 are provided with suitable accommodation in which to self-isolate.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
26th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the UK Biological Security Strategy, published June 2018, what steps he has taken to establish a central point of contact (a) on dual-use biological research and (b) to review the Government's approach to dual-use bio research.

We continue to support and recognise the value of biological research.

The potential security risk from dual-use of some biological research is recognised in the UK Biological Security Strategy and Government departments continue to monitor emerging technologies and work to mitigate these risks, whilst continuing to build the right regulatory environment for innovation.

26th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the UK Biological Security Strategy, published in June 2018, what steps she is taking to promote a responsible biological sciences research culture in the UK.

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the Medical Research Council (MRC), both part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), have a position statement in place on Dual Use, jointly with the Welcome Trust https://mrc.ukri.org/research/policies-and-guidance-for-researchers/managing-risks-of-research-misuse/

The research community must take active steps to develop mechanisms of self-governance, and that through doing so researchers can ensure that responsibly conducted research is not unnecessarily obstructed. UKRI-BBSRC and UKRI-MRC also have internal processes in place to review research grant applicants where Dual Use concerns arise during the course of peer review.

21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will guarantee the long-term funding of the National Wildlife Crime Unit; and if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of increasing that unit's funding to enable its expansion to investigate cyber-enabled wildlife crime.

The Home Office will be providing specific funding of £136,000 to support the work of the National Wildlife Crime Unit in 2020/21. This will be in addition to specific funding for the Unit provided by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the funding central Government will be providing police forces in England and Wales to tackle all types of crime, including wildlife crime.

Decisions about Home Office funding for the National Wildlife Crime Unit beyond March 2021 will be taken as part of the forthcoming Spending Review.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
30th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on having the benefits system for current and former service personnel administered by his Department.

No such discussions have taken place. In 2000, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) took on the administration of the War Pension Scheme from the Department for Work and Pensions as a discrete Scheme with benefit recipients who were already confirmed as veterans or widow/ers. However, the MOD is not resourced to take on the administration of the entire benefits system for all Service personnel and veterans and I have seen no evidence to suggest that such a change is required. In addition, there would be very significant logistical and administrative barriers to overcome, were such a change to be effected; MOD officials advise that over four million veterans records would have to be digitised to create a definitive database of all veterans.

19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how much covid-19 related support funding has been allocated to Crawley Borough Council up to April 2021.

Crawley Borough Council has received £2.9 million in direct funding to support the response to the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020-21, of which £1.9 million is unringfenced. Crawley Borough Council will receive a further £0.6 million in Covid-19 unringfenced grant in 2021-22. In addition, the Council’s Core Spending Power, in 2021-22, is £13.2 million. Further, West Sussex County Council received £45.9 million in funding for Covid-19 related support in 2020-21, and will receive £15.6 million in additional Covid-19 unringfenced grant in 2021-22.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will publish his Department's policy on new homes being built near to existing airports; and what assessment he has made of the compatibility of that policy with the Government's aim to reduce the number of people significantly affected by aircraft noise.

It is for local authorities to determine the most appropriate location for new housing, and they should do this having regard to the local circumstances that they know best. However, in determining the most appropriate locations, the National Planning Policy Framework makes clear that planning decisions and policies should avoid noise giving rise to significant adverse effects on health and quality of life.

In a situation where new homes are proposed near an airfield, and therefore could be affected by noise from air traffic, the Framework’s ’agent of change’ principle makes clear that the applicant ’or ‘agent of change' should be required to provide suitable mitigation to address adverse effects of noise. This principle is in place to avoid unreasonable restrictions being placed on existing facilities.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what provisions will be made through reforms of the planning system to better enable strategic planning across broader geographies.

It is too early to speculate about the detailed arrangements of the reformed Planning system. However, I can assure you that those parts of the country that currently have strategic plan making responsibilities will continue to do so, and that as part of the reform proposals we are considering how such powers can be made available to other parts of the country where they will be most useful in addressing long term development and infrastructure needs.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the removal of the Duty to Cooperate on sustainable place making.

There is no formal assessment of the effect of the removal of the Duty to Co-operate. However, the Duty has previously led to a number of Local Plans failing at Examination, leading to delays in plan making and some areas not having an up to date local plan for many years.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether a future replacement of the Duty to Cooperate will ensure that in two-tier areas all local authorities, including county councils, are involved in plan-making for the future of their areas.

As part of the proposed reform of the planning system announced in the 2020 White Paper, Planning for the Future, the Government announced its intention to abolish the Duty to Co-operate. We are developing our proposals further following the consultation responses to the White Paper. It is too early to speculate about the detailed arrangements which will replace the Duty to Co-operate. However, the reformed planning system will ensure that all relevant authorities are involved in plan making, and this will include County Councils, where applicable. The new system will be more efficient, effective and flexible in the way that plans are prepared.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what financial support the Government is providing to help (a) Crawley Borough Council and (b) West Sussex County Council during the November 2020 covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

Government has provided substantial resources to councils to support their communities, businesses and vulnerable people.

Government has provided West Sussex County Council with:

· £45.9 million across four tranches of unringfenced grant.


Government has provided Crawley Borough Council with:

· £1.9 million across four tranches of unringfenced grant.

· £2.2 million in the Additional Restrictions Grant Bullet and £1.5 million of the Local Restrictions Support Grant.


Any council with concerns about their ability to manage financial pressures should contact MHCLG in the first instance to discuss their situation.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what progress his Department has made on delivering new accommodation for rough sleepers in Crawley constituency.

On 18 July, we launched the Next Steps Accommodation Programme (NSAP). This makes available the financial resources needed to support local authorities and their partners to help prevent those accommodated during the pandemic from returning to the streets.

On 17 September we announced NSAP allocations to local authorities to pay for immediate support. Crawley has been allocated £296,500 for this aspect of NSAP.

On 29 October, we announced allocations to local partners to deliver longer-term move-on accommodation. More than 3,300 new long-term homes for rough sleepers across the country have been approved, subject to due diligence, backed by Government investment of more than £150 million. For this long term aspect of NSAP, Crawley has been allocated £200,000.

4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps he is taking to support regeneration in (a) Crawley and (b) other towns adversely affected by the covid-19 outbreak.

This Government is?committed to driving the regeneration of towns across the country as the nation responds to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Our immediate response to?Covid-19?builds on an ongoing programme of interventions. This includes the £3.6 billion Towns Fund which aims to deliver long-term economic and productivity growth to towns and high streets. In September 2019, we announced the initial 101 towns, including Crawley, invited to develop Town Deal proposals. We received Crawley’s proposals earlier in the year, and expect to make further announcements of Town Deals in due course. In July, the Prime Minister announced £81.5 million of accelerated funding to the 101 towns to support immediate improvements; Crawley received its £1 million share in September.

Other elements of the Towns Fund include the Future High Streets Fund competition, where announcements of successful bidders will be made in due course, and a further Towns Fund competition. In addition, the High Streets Task Force has also launched a range of online resources to provide support to places across the country: https://www.highstreetstaskforce.org.uk/products-and-services/support-for-all-high-streets/

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what recent discussions he has had with the (a) Chancellor of the Exchequer (b) District Councils’ Network on the Government’s plan to tackle the financial challenges faced by (i) borough and (ii) district local authorities.

On 2 July the Secretary of State announced a further £500 million in unringfenced grant funding for councils to meet pressures they are facing in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Our unprecedented package includes £4.3 billion for councils’ spending pressures, comprising £3.7 billion of unringfenced grants and the £600 million Infection Control Fund, bringing the total amount of additional support for councils, businesses and local communities to almost £28 billion.

The Government is also meeting 75p in the pound of lost income such as parking fees and museum entry charges, where that loss of income is more than a council could have been expected to plan for. For many councils, this will be a significant portion of the income lost as result of the pandemic, particularly where these income streams make up a disproportionate portion of income relative to the size of the authority.

I regularly speak to the District Councils’ Network and individual councils. I can offer the reassurance that our aim is that all councils will be funded for their Covid-19 pressures and placed on a stable financial footing.

27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many people classified by the NHS as extremely vulnerable people who have been asked to shield at home have (a) requested and (b) received support from (i) community hubs as announced on 21 March 2020 and (ii) supermarkets.

MHCLG continues to work closely with local authorities to manage the impacts of Covid-19 on the most vulnerable in our society.

Government provides food parcels directly to those identified as clinically extremely vulnerable to the Covid-19 virus if they do not have alternative means of accessing support. Over 280,000 clinically extremely vulnerable people have requested support and Government has delivered over 800,000 food parcels directly to people’s doorsteps since March.

Local councils across the country have set up local authority hubs and have local systems and processes to provide those who are medically vulnerable in their area with additional support, over and above that provided centrally.

Clinically extremely vulnerable individuals who have requested essential supplies through the gov.uk website have had their details passed onto supermarkets and the Government continues to work with supermarkets to support the prioritisation of clinically extremely vulnerable people for delivery slots.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps he is taking to encourage local growth in (a) Crawley and (b) the UK.

The Government is committed to levelling up the entire country and giving towns, cities and communities across the UK real power and investment to drive the growth of the future and unleash their full potential.

We have taken action to encourage local growth in Crawley that includes:

  • The opportunity to receive up to £25 million from the Towns Fund as one of the 100 places selected to develop a Town Deal with Government;
  • £24 million from the Local Growth Fund, supporting infrastructure, regeneration and skills projects;
  • Advice and support to 40 Crawley small businesses in the last financial year from Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership’s Growth Hub.

Across the UK the Government is supporting local partners to deliver local economic growth and prosperity through:

  • £12 billion of investment by 2021 through the Local Growth Fund in England in infrastructure, skills and innovation projects;
  • Devolving powers and funding to eight Metro Mayors, with ongoing negotiations for new devolution deals across the North;
  • Commitments to the Northern Powerhouse, Midlands Engine and Oxford-Cambridge Arc, as well as local industrial strategies being developed by Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) across England to drive growth across their areas;
  • Town Deals from the £3.6 billion Towns Fund and investment in our High Streets;
  • City and Growth Deals worth £10 billion in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland;
  • Developing a UK Shared Prosperity Fund to tackle inequality and deprivation in each of our four nations.
Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, pursuant to the Answer of 22 February 2021 to Question 153196, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of including parent and voluntary sector representation on the cross-government working group that has been established to look at the issues raised in relation to accessing matured Child Trust Funds (CTFs) in light of the Mental Capacity Act.

A cross-government working group has been convened to consider the issues raised in relation to access to matured Child Trust Funds for those who lack mental capacity. The group has representation from Her Majesty’s Treasury, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, the Department for Work and Pensions and the Ministry of Justice. Learning Disability England and MENCAP are also engaged and providing valuable input to this work. We recognise that there are many individuals and advocacy groups who have an interest in this work, and we will ensure that we continue to engage with interested groups as proposals develop.

Alex Chalk
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the effect on public safety of the proposed early release of prisoners during the covid-19 outbreak.

Public protection is paramount; only risk-assessed prisoners who are within two months of their release date will be considered for temporary early release from jail.

No high-risk offenders, including those convicted of violent or sexual offences, anyone of national security concern or a danger to children, will be considered for release, nor any prisoners who have not served at least half their custodial term. Additionally, no offender convicted of COVID-19 related offences, including coughing at emergency workers or stealing personal protective equipment, will be eligible.

Prisoners who pass the stringent criteria for release will be subject to strict conditions, and will be electronically monitored, including with GPS tags, to enforce the requirement to stay at home. Offenders can be immediately recalled to prison for breaching these conditions or committing further offences.

No prisoner will be released early if they have symptoms of coronavirus or without housing and health support being in place.

Lucy Frazer
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
11th Nov 2020
What discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on increasing transport connections between Scotland and the rest of the UK.

I regularly engage with Cabinet colleagues on this matter and fully support the Union Connectivity Review, which is being undertaken by Sir Peter Hendy.

The review will look at how best to improve road, rail, air, and sea links across the United Kingdom.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland